Speaker for the dead (Pt. 2)

In this blog, I will be outlining my oral presentation. There will be bullet point and regular points. I’ve said it aloud so many times that I’m not sure whether it will sound good or not. I also have found that I can’t really grasp at the words I need for this genre:

I’d like to begin my discussion by approaching biology and literature. As we know it, the concept of literature has been homogeneously contained on paper and in books, what exists outside of paper is other. This, even, is a reflection of society, second only to the ideas portrayed Through the literature. Looking at literature as the body, I might compare literature to culture as the corpus callosum to the brain. The corpus callosum is a bundle of myelinated fibers that facilitate communication throughout the brain. The absence of even a small section of this intercranial bridge can lead to slow or impaired mental faculties, encompassing poor coordination and repetitive speech. It is therefore imperative to have an inclusion of oral literatures into the inspection of literature and culture, not only for reasons of representing the underprivileged and illiterate, but for understanding tradition and culture more fully.


While my paper discusses the function of orature in several different cultures as a basis of comparison, I will be focusing on the function of Orature, and by proxy music, in James Joyce’s “The Dead.” Through my close reading of a small section of “The dead” I will make the claim that Joyce’s use of music encompasses several different functions and intents of orature.

– The original intent of the Afghan poetry is to express emotion as well as dissatisfaction with society and the men of that society. The effect of the orality is that the poetry form itself is a remark on society and the culture.

-The original intent of African and afghan poetry is to pass down traditions and morals through performance: Dancing/singing and storytelling. Although this may be the original intent of the poetry, there are several different layers to what the effect of the poetry has on people, and how it makes remarks on society.

– Within “The dead” there exists several instances of musicality. In fact, most of the general action and epiphany centers around music: The dance which led to gabriel’s discussion with Ms. Ivors, Aunt Julia’s singing of the Arrayed for the Bridal, and the final song, The lass of Aughrim, which entices Gretta’s emotions and memories– exciting gabriel in, perhaps, a not so positive way. While I look more indepth with the Lass of Aughrim and it’s function within the literature, it is important to note that there are these other instances of music in the story which sets the stage for the significance of music to joyce’s writing

– Looking specifically at the Lass of Aughrim,

” O, the rain falls on my heavy locks
And the dew wets my skin,
My babe lies cold…”

the final song in the story– the one which causes tears for gretta, and an epiphany and realization of his insignificance in Gretta’s life, considering that he has never loved Gretta as did Michael Furey, nor did she love him as much. it seems that joyce’s

-According to Benini, ( A voice from the west: rediscovering the Irish oral tradition in Joyce’s “the dead”) joyce uses the lyrics of Lass of Aughrim to represent gretta as lord gregory in the tale- to make these connections for the reader. In doing this, he assumes that the reader has some connection with this song; in adding this historical piece, joyce is in fact passing down some tradition.

“If this old Irish tale was indeed a source for “The Dead”, Joyce is performing a revivalist operation” (212) I disagree, I feel that this is only one layer of intent; joyce isn’t just using these ballads to allow for the portrayal of traditional irishness, there is too much contrast in the story itself for us to think that; we see this in Gabriel’s discussions with ms. ivors lead us to believe joyce is commenting on or criticising west britons, and yet his particular addition of an old irish ballad fascilitates the idea of culture as a conglomerous thing, an amorphous identity.

Looking at the nature of the ballad, it originating from this idea of dance, ballads are this concept of communal re-creation, an idea of give and take. This is important on several levels; the recreational ability of these ballads is representational of a constantly changing culture. although the same old ballad is being used here (Harkening to the idea that joyce’s intent is to present irishness and tradition) the ballad is being seen in a new or different context by the readers or those who listen to it. This brings into light the idea of Nationalists versus west britons that is discussed in the dead. Rather than choosing between the two, The presence of orature in the dead is a nod to the restructuring of culture and or the people. The idea of identities being reformed by this communal recreation, not only is it the person that is being changed by how they read it, their view of their society and culture changes as well. The simple addition of these ballads remark on the Irish culture and how people add and subtract from it for what they require. Rather than a general of irishness existing, Irishness exists for the irish.

Looking forward to Paula Gunn Allen’s analysis of the yellow woman stories in an academic setting, Allen describes oral tradition as “more than a record of people’s culture, it is the creative source of their collective and individual selves…. it is a living body. it is in continuous flux which enables it to accomodate itself to the real circumstance of a people’s lives.” This is crucial for this idea of irishness, and of this communal re-creation

Essentially, joyce’s intermittance of the ballads here are not simply the striking occurance required for gretta’s emotional outburst and Gabriel’s emotional awakening, nor is it simply intended to pass down the tradition, pass down irishness, but instead the presence of oral literature in the dead is a summation of these characteristics, embodying the quality of communal recreation.

Speakers for the dead

Today (Last week), Josh, Taylor and I met to discuss our panel for the symposium. Our panel is titled “Falling Snow and the Rising Snow.” The abstract we submitted for our paper is as follows:

” Much like the snow general all over Ireland,” there is no aspect of Irish literature that can escape an Identity crisis. In looking at Joyce’s novella through the lenses of oral literature, a patriarchal society, and an introspection into “The opposite.” This panel seeks to answer the Irish Question in the context of identity, culture, and interpersonal relationships.”

Taylor will be focusing on the imperial nature of identity (It’s a cultural thing) and the idea of patriarchy as an aspect of imperialism, or in root of imperialism (or is it vice versa???). Taylor will approach this topic by focusing on how Gabriel is effected by the presence of patriarchy in the Irish society. Towards the end of his essay, Taylor seeks to lean towards stating that Gabriel should choose a side and change his ideals. We will start with Taylor, as he will give an overview into culture and how it can effect the characters before Josh and I break down the ideas of culture and tradition.

Josh is looking at the identity and how characters do or do not experience identity crisis. He claims that identity crises are not exactly a crisis (hold on, he’s explaining…. it’s complicated)
” opposites work together to create a unifying identity…. my goal is not to better understand the opposition, by goal is to look at ways opposites work together… it’s meaningless to work in binary…  more productive as unified…. by looking at the opposites of the continent and ireland, protestant and catholic…..irish, you’re irish. you don’t have to be a nationalist to be irish… ” Josh does something and he talks about stuff… we’re not really sure at this point.

Halie, that’s me!, is writing about the function of orature in culture and within the story by looking at outside literature. By using examples of African/Native orature and Afghan women’s orature, I will claim that, while the primary purpose of Afghan orature is to address social/cultural concerns, and African/Native orature’s original function is traditional transferrence, the function of ballads/orature situated in the dead is a combination of these two functions– essentially, joyce’s “The Dead” is both a cultural criticism and a method through which cultural ideals and norms are passed down. This gets complicated, however, because we have the dimensions of joyce’s intent and the song’s intent– which are we looking at.

quick note: what is the statement made by the idea that the women sing the irish song– every other culture paper you’re looking at includes women as the influence of culture…

Heart of Darkness: Brantlinger’s analysis

When looking at this criticism, I think many of the questions that Brantlinger approaches are important to discuss: at what point do we separate conrad and marlow as narrators?
and how is it important that there isn’t, sometimes, this separation?

Brantlinger notes that the association with the inheritors and his “Abhorrence of King Leopald’s rape of the congo.” The novel, then, is a remark against imperialism (in a negative fashion rather than the racist, imperialist fashion that most readers will pluck from the heart). This is an interesting association to bring up, as we’ve discussed in lit theory– should we associate the author’s past history or associations with the text itself? Hmmmmm…? This idea is not necessarily relevant to the discussion of whether the novel is racist as hell, or a true commentary of the atrocity that was british imperialism in africa. In the beginning of the story, the narrator ponders the river and treats us to a little run-down of its illustrious history of playing host to countless British heroes who went forth to bring trade and civilization to less fortunate nations. The question for us outside of Conrad’s presence in the novel is to determine how sarcastic this narrator is.

Within this criticism, Brantlinger approaches the Congo Diary that Conrad wrote during his time in the congo, and how heart of darkness is not derived directly from this experience that he details of his journey, but rather more from literature read directly after his return. I question why this was necessary to bring up or approach. Again, going back to the idea of separating work from the author, even aside that– there is such a thing as research, and being in an imperialized country as a white man, you might not see all the horrors that are in store for the citizens.

HOWEVER, even if you step aside from looking at conrad and his positions on imperialism in africa, even if you look at the piece of work as satire or a remark on any negative aspect of imperialism, it’s STILL RACIST. As Brantlinger so appropriately approaches the idea of Evil in Africa. even when the white folks are posited as evil, it is only because they function in an african-like manner. Conrad is essentially demonizing blackness, and prioritizing whiteness or europeans.


Writing fellows Blog post: Update

So, today is a fellows led discussion.

I don’t have much to discuss because I still have had no students come to my tutoring sessions (past the first two, I mean).

This is to be expected, and I’m not disappointed. If you’re going to be a tutor or a teacher, this is something you know is going to happen.

One new thing that may possibly be happening in my fellows responsibility is a fellows led class period. Rich has asked me to make a lesson plan for one of the classes and wants me to lead the class discussion entirely. We’ll see how that goes. I’m not sure which topic or essay I’ll be discussing yet, but I think that this is an interesting function that the fellow could take on.


Writing Fellows Blog

I have finally been able to access my blog without it crashing on me, so here’s a bit about my experience with my tutees (?)

A week or so ago, I worked with Rich to do an in class discussion of Amiri Baraka’s “Expressive Language.” I prepared several discussion questions to ask the students about the reading– or at least to guide the discussion in one way or another. Although I was meant to lead the discussion, Rich and I bounced off each other with ideas and discussion. The students, however, were not extremely responsive. They didn’t seem to have read the 4 page paper, and so the discussion was more of us talking at them. It was like pulling teeth. The few students that did add to the discussion, they had good and well thought input. Some students mirrored the more shallow interpretation of the text– most likely only having read the essay once.

As for tutoring sessions and how that is going, I have had one successful tutoring session. We talked about it in class, but I will go over it in brief here.

Adam and Michael came to my tutoring session (I found out later that evening that Michael was asked to go, and Adam asked if he, too, could come get writing help). Michael was the first person I met with for tutoring. The paper was discussing racial stereotypes in the media, as well as the idea of technology terrorism. Michael’s paper was well written and was structured well. He had great analysis and brought in good out-of-text examples to his argument. For example, the paper discussed Princess Hijab, a well known graffiti artist, and Michael incorporated Banksy and discussed his contributions to society. I asked him why he added this outside information, and he told me that he was fascinated by street art. I was really encouraged by this because it meant that he was truly interested in what he was writing. Although his paper was well written, we went over transitions and other ways that he could continue his discussion in his paper. He stated in the beginning of our appointment that he was a bad writer, which was quite the contrary. But at the end of the appointment he said that I was helpful, so wooo.

I tried to upload and it deleted itself when my computer died. Going to go through after class and edit this post. Here are the articles

Evolution, Narcissism, and Maladaptation in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening

Glendening, John. “Evolution, Narcissism, and Maladaptation in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening.” American Literary Realism 43.1 (2010): 41-73. Project Muse. Web. 23 Feb. 2015. <http://ejournals.ebsco.com.une.idm.oclc.org/Direct.asp?AccessToken=7DLL3TIB39M5MMIXNDVID9IMRJ53BTLNRT&Show=Object>.

To Die Laughing and to Laugh at Dying: Revisiting The Awakening

Parvulescu, Anca. “To Die Laughing and to Laugh at Dying: Revisiting The Awakening.” New Literary History 36.3 (2005): 477-95. Project Muse. John Hopkins University. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. <http://ejournals.ebsco.com.une.idm.oclc.org/Direct.asp?AccessToken=2311S9F8SEWHMZYZHEHX2MSHHEHF891YA9&Show=Object>.

“Drowned in a Willing Sea”: Freedom and Drowning in Eliot, Chopin, and Drabble

Emmitt, Helen V. “Drowned in a Willing Sea”: Freedom and Drowning in Eliot, Chopin, and Drabble.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 12.2 (1993): 315-332. JSTOR. University of Tulsa. Web. 21 Feb. 2015. http://www.jstor.org/stable/463932?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents.

It seems that, as his character develops at the Heights, Heathcliff becomes a more abusive and intolerable man. Much like “Wuthering,” after Heathcliff returns with money and power, he himself is this violent storm. From the beginning he is portrayed as this menacing man who is unpleasant and puts no thought towards the safety of others, not his tenants nor his family. We assume that he either has had a horrible life and has lost much, or we assume that he is like Darcy and will eventually show a side of his character that is enticing and pleasant. Heathcliff reflects the former of these to options. Let’s take a look at his life; he was orphaned and left for an inordinate amount of time on the streets, he was collected by a fine gentleman and brought to this household where he was considered an “Usurper” and ‘intruder’. Heathcliff was tortured by this family and then is “spurned” by Catherine (Except not really, Heathcliff just didn’t hang around to hear the second part of her conversation), and then she marries another and dies, not having expressed her love for Heathcliff. (this summary is not sympathy for this creep, but more of the outlying factors that could contribute to his curmudgeonly attitude)


His increasingly cold (not aloof) and aggressive attitude leads to and

Let’s be Frankly honest….

(did you like that slight pun, y’all?)

Revisiting my first journal, I realize that my approach to the subject and analysis of Emma was quite different from the rest of class, and was also quite sub-par in my opinion. Is it important to focus on the function of context and the idea of marriage portrayal within the books and how it’s associated with status. However, I would be more interested in pursuing the idea of Emma’s delusional character and the possibility of Jane Austen being an unreliable narrator. If we look at Austen’s other books, for example: Pride and Prejudice, we can find several examples of how she is an unreliable narrator– she is influenced/compelled by the character of Elizabeth Bennett with regards to Mr. Darcy’s character. In fact, much of what we know of Mr. Darcy is framed by Elizabeth’s bias, and an extremely small amount of his own voice is presented throughout the story. The same can be said for Emma and the introduction of her friend Harriet. I seek to work more on depicting the way the society is formed around Ms. Woodhouse.

Stratego: that game a 8 year old beat me at

Homework: Read Gillespie and Lerner, chaps. 2 & 3. For your blog entry, compare the strategies Gillespie and Lerner list to your own. Consider the following prompts:

  • What strategies could you add to their list and share with your fellow Fellows?
  • Under what writing situations or conditions have they been helpful?
  • Similarly, which specific writing challenges do they help you address?
  • Pick at least one new strategy to try out at your next tutoring session

While reading this text I found that the important aspects of the second chapter revolved around the idea of writer’s identity. A peer tutor’s job is not to create copies of themselves within others writing, but instead to encourage the voice of the one writing; Continue reading

Emma: The woman, the wonder, the legend

The novel Emma is a one of courtship and marriage; it begins with a marriage and ends with three others, as well as observing in action those of Emma’s sister Isabella and John Knightley, and of Mr. and Mrs. Elton, definitely a negative role model. “Nothing can be compared to the misery of being bound without love” , a point expressing a most basic value of Austen’s view of marriage.  It must not occur just to fulfill societal and economic ideals, which would be highly unethical.  To Austen there has to be genuine “Affection,” or “attachment,” which gives rise to genuine moral behavior.

In Emma, the match– the marriage– solidifies the social status of the individuals involved. Significantly important for women of this day and age, the idea of marrying within one’s social class is discussed within this novel. Austen informs her readers that, although marrying will bring security and, as mentioned before, solidarity, it can lead to situational conflict if one marries to far above or below their social standing (shown through the marriage of Weston and Miss Churchill). The relationship between marriage and social status creates hardship for other characters. For example, Mr. Churchill keeps his engagement to Jane Fairfax secret because his wealthy aunt would disapprove; Jane is an orphan retains a lower class status than Churchill himself. Jane then considers taking the position of a governess due to the lack of a perfect match. Yes, I know this seems frustrating, it’s because it is. The unmarried Miss Bates is threatened with increasing poverty without a husband to take care of her and her mother. The match between Emma and Mr. Knightley is a good one (by the book’s standards) not only because they are matched in temperament and behavior, but also because they are in the same social class.

With regards to Emma Woodhouse herself, There is much growth and development evident in her persona in the duration of the novel. In the beginning pages, the reader is witness to a headstrong and determined individual, relentless in her pursuits and determined to do what she thinks is best. This trait is evident in Emma’s determination to play matchmaker for several couples, despite warnings from her close friend Mr. Knightley. Although it is an imperfection, this independent quality of Emma’s nature is indeed impressive when her position as a young woman in a repressive society is taken into account. Emma Woodhouse is wealthy, she has a loving and doting father and an adoring sister, loyal friends, and is regarded with the utmost respect by those around her. But still, there are evident restrictions of the age that Emma must adhere to which she finds it against her nature to do. By choosing to remain unmarried for the duration of the book, Emma sets herself apart from the typical woman of the times by declaring this one shred of independent thought. Although ultimately Emma does experience love (with Mr. Knightley) and accepts his proposal of marriage, she never once compromises her beliefs in herself and her identity as being distinguishable from most women of that time.