LAST POST. The Invisible Man
Monday May 16th 2011, 11:17 pm
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After reading the Invisible Man i can say I really did enjoy this story because it hits so many of the points of racism that African Americans face on a daily basis that many other writers fail to do.
In the book we are introduced to the narrator without a name already he is being invisible to the world. As the story goes on over and over again the narrator is being treated an the invisible figure to the world. Whether it is through his words, his actions, or his status the narrator is always looked over.
He is given the opportunity to prove himself over an over again. He is made fun of when he has to make a speech in front of a bunch of white men. He is then made to fight in the battle royal to prove his worth.
When he is in college trying to educate himself he gets kicked out because he did something wrong. He thought through his education he would be able to make his presence to the world.
But when he is kicked out he tries once again to prove himself and this time he joins the Brotherhood to bring awareness to the brutality African Americans face but again he fails.
The entire book is about this character who is in search of making a place for himself in the world of prejudices.
He fights to prove that he exist and is of equal to other races.
I think the authors use of this title is an excellent move because when a person is in a constant search to find where they belong to, it makes that person think as if they are invisible to the world. No one seems to acknowledge ones existence when they dont respect you. So this character that is invisible to the eye has gained no respect from the world around him.

Comparing the Ambassadors
Sunday April 10th 2011, 5:20 pm
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After finishing the book the Ambassadors and then going back to the painting of the Ambassadors by Holebin i still found the many same similarties as i had the after the first time when i had approached these two topics.

The one thing that i had missed in the first view of the painting was the skull on the floor. Which we learned in class is referred to as an  anamorphosis .  I learned that many things in Holebin’s painting is in one way or another a replica to the things in James’ book and the skull plays as not just a skull but a very important symbol and theme in the book.

In my previous post I had thought the painting was invented after the book. I also felt that they were in some way connected to one another but when i learned they were not meaning the painting was not painted with the image of Stether in mind. However I learned that James based his book and the chratcters, events, and storyline according to Holebin’s painting.

In the painting it has painted the image of two men, one wealthy and the other not so wealthy, James had used that to create his characters. One of the major themes in the book is rich versus poor.  Most of his characters have the wealth seperating them from one another.

I also had seen many maps, compasses and globes in the painting, and in James’ book we learn the enitre book takes place in the understanding of Europe and America, the entire book is about the exploration of Europe through the Americans.

When viewing the two men it is clear that James based his characters on the painting because Strether’s character is resembled by  the image of the less wealthy and unhappy man. Throughout the enitire book Strether is unhappy and in search for self revelation.

The skull plays a big role in the book because when Strether meets little Bilham, he tells Strether to live life to the fullest. The skull represents death and so i think the image relates to the book in that Strether is alive but not “living” He needs to learn to live. Which he learns at the end of the book.

The skull isnt only a way Strether can learn to live life  but also a kind of summary for us as readers. I mean throughout the book I wondered what the skull stood for and then I realized that that was the purpose of the skull. In the early Renaissance such paintings were done so that the painting was a puzzle to the viewer and only after viewing it through a different angle were the viewers able to understand the painting. The same goes for Strether’s case, throughout the entire book he is looking at life through all perspectives and then finally it clicks and he learns what life is.

Painting and The Ambassador
Wednesday March 30th 2011, 11:23 pm
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The first that caught my eye when I looked at this painting was the two men and the difference in their clothing. While one is dressed looking very well groomed and wealthy the other seems to look very dressed down. One man is covered in fur and jewlery while the other is in raggedy clothes. Both men seem expressionless yet one can read so much from their faces. The wealthy man looks as if he is someone who is very hign class, withthe know it all attidude while the man who is poor looks like he doesnt really have a voice. He isnt someone who people would look up to. Looking at the picture and reading The Ambassador I felt was helpful because the book so far talks about the two differnt sides of class status, two differnt countries, and two different types of men and women. i was connecting the wealthy man to Chad and Waymarsh and the poor man to Lambert. I felt that the painting helped potray the wealth difference and the status difference that the book constantly talks about.

When I think of looking at the painting and then basing my view of the book on the painthing. I get the feeling it doesnt give me as much of a choice to be as creative. I felt that the painting kind of takes away the ability to make all the connections from the reading because you can point out the differences without the need for the book. I am not sure if this is making much sense. But what I think is the better way of understanding the image is to read the book and then draw the comaprison because then you can think more and be more creative rather than looking at the picture first and getting the feeling of the painting does all the explaining needed so why think harder. Sorry I dont even know if i am getting my point across its just hard to explain in writing.

Solnit and Muybridge
Thursday March 17th 2011, 7:38 pm
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Form is henceforth divorced from matter.  In fact, matter as a visible object is of no great use any longer, except as the mould on which form is shaped.” (Solnit 21) is what Holmes had said in the piece by Solnit. In her article shhe seems to be arguing aganist what james and holmes believe to be the correct way of preceving a photograph. Holmes believed that having a photograph of the original object was fine and in fact it was the best way to et the viewer to feel the realness and the closeness of the object. James argued that a photo can remind you of the event but it doesnt remind you of the feeling you would get if you were really there. He said the viewer doesnt get to “experience” the event in the photograph.

When we were asked about the motion pitures and what they presented and how did the affect the time and space. I wrote that motion pictures was a way to help the viewer see the impossible. In other words throug motion pictures we were able to shhhow scences that one can probably see only once in a life time. For example the piture of a horse up on all four feet. we know the horse can do it because we have the picture that it can do it, the only problem is that the horse wont do that act all the time. SO having these motion pictures were helpful in the sense that they helped capture the scenes that the eye would miss in a blink. This affected the time and space becuase the time limits the viewers understanding of the event or object it sees, because of the technology advancement was so rrapid the viewer was rushing with time to be able to understand the image and move on.

Muybridge’s motion pictures was very interesting becuase it helped viweres see the images through different lenses The viewer was able to pinpoint the horse at differnt angels and how it moved.

I felt that

Carter and James explaination of the Stream of Consciousness
Thursday March 17th 2011, 6:48 pm
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While reading the work of both James and Carter I realized that they both seem to be following almost the same views on consciousness. Interesting thing is that James’ interpertation dates back to the 1890s while Carter’s is much more recent in 2002. Just from the dates I noticed that this topic on a way one observes things has been going on for so many years trying to establish a set ground or a set meaning for it.

When I read James’ piece one line that stood out the most to me was “Immediately, after 0 [seconds], even before we have opened our mouths to speak, the entire thought is present to our mind in the form of an intention to utter that sentence” (280) here I thought that James view on preception is that one always has thoughts of the object. Our minds view the object, think of what it could be and then say well this is what it is. I think James tries to say that our eyes and minds work together. In James’ piece i felt as though he was saying that the order in which we see things is very important, in the sense that when we are looking at an object what we first see, then second, third and so on is what out brain will pick up and put all together to make sense of it.

In Carter’s piece she uses reading as a exapmle to prove her theory of consciousness, which is very simlar to James’ Carter questions “Does your consciousness flow smoothly, continuously, and in real time? Or does it lurch along, punctuated by jump-cuts and freeze-frames, flashbacks and fade-outs” (Carter 12) as she tries to explain that your mind is countinuly processing words it sees on a page while you read. Your eyes read the indivdual words but it is your mind that makes seanse on it.

I feel taht both James and Carter seem to have the same thoughts in mind and that is that the thought of the human mind is continous.  Both writers state that the mind is constantly thinking and the eyes are the factor used to help the mind think. What the eye sees is what the brain will make sense of, as proved in James’ theory of the thoughts being continouus yet broken down in parts. Carter uses the computer reading as the exapmle, the rapid movement of the eyes that can be obtained by the computer shouws that the eyes are one source for seeing but the brain is the main source that works with the eyes to help percieve the object and make sense of it all.

paper 1
Tuesday March 15th 2011, 9:51 am
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Betty Mohammad

March 13, 2011

Professor D. Zino

English Senior Seminar 391

“Seeing the reality behind the poetry of Emily Dickinson in: The Brain is Wider than the Sky”

Vision is defined in Merriam Webster’s Dictionary as “a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination.” In the late 19th century the introduction of the stereoscope, a popular invention helped bring objects in view closer to the viewer through the viewer’s experience of the object. With the ability to view “solid” objects in a 3-dimentional lens, the stereoscope allowed two dissimilar objects to be separately viewed through the eyes and then let the brain make sense and connect the thought and imagination to the image. Jonathan Crary’s Techniques of the Observer argued that it is not merely important for vision to be viewed only for its biological and physiological truth but to also put into consideration the relation between vision and perception of the human mind. Emily Dickinson follows the similar techniques of observation as of Crary’s in her poem “The Brain is wider than the Sky.”

            “The most significant form of visual imagery in the nineteenth century, with the exception of photographs, was the stereoscope.” (Crary 82)  The stereoscope creates a 3-D image off of a 2-D offset image that is viewed by the eyes and then perceived and combined to give the brain a depth meaning of the image. The different angular perceptive of the image makes the image seem as if it is “alive.”  The stereoscope allows the viewer to be able to see an object as if he or she is actually in the presence of the object itself. “[T]hese stereoscopic photographs are so true to nature and so lifelike in their portrayal of material things, that after viewing such a picture and recognizing in it some object like a house, for instance, we get the impression, when we actually do see the object, that we have already seen it before and are more or less familiar with it.” (Crary 85)

            The stereoscope was first invented by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1838. Wheatstone believed that the angle of the degree in the axis of the eye differed when focused on the same point. He claimed that the human eye had the power to combine the two “different ways it sees” into a single unitary image. “When the object is placed so near the eyes that to view it the optic axes must converge…a different perspective of it is seen by each eye, and these perspectives are more dissimilar as the convergence of the optic axes becomes greater.” (Crary 83) Wheatstone’s invention of the stereoscope helped create a relation between the observer and the experience of disjunct images which can help depict Emily Dickinson’s theory of “seeing.”

            Emily Dickinson is one of the most famous American poets of the 1800s. It was only after her death when her poetry was published and out came almost 1700 poems that she had written, leaving her readers to think of the many hidden meanings and depth behind her work. Her poems vary in range of themes but one theme that stands out amongst the many is the theme of “sight” or “seeing.” After doing a thorough reading of her poetry it is very hard to depict what exactly Dickinson wants her readers to get out of her poems but how she wants them to “see” the poetry is very clearly presented. The readers of her poetry are to be able to vision her words as if they are images that can be seen. Dickinson’s poetry helps readers see objects that are of two different spectrums through one lens similar to the stereoscope.

In her poem “The Brain is wider than the sky…” the reader is placed almost like on a globe where she has to run from one end of the pole to the other end and then somehow come back to the center and make sense of the whole thing. In this poem Dickinson describes objects that don’t really connect but yet when really thought about a similarity can be found within them. Like the stereoscope where the image is viewed though the right and left eye and then the mind plays the devil’s advocate and makes sense of the two images Dickinson’s poem seems to be following in the similar footsteps.

The Brain -is wider than the sky-

                        For-Put them side by side-

                        The one the other will contain

                        with ease- and you-beside-

                        The Brain is deeper than the sea-

                        For-hold them-Blue to Blue-

                        The one the other will absorb-

                        as sponges- Buckets-do-

                        The Brain is just the weight of God-

                        For-Heft them-Pound for Pound-

                        And they will differ if they do-

            As syllable from sound-

            When she writes her first lines of  “The Brain -is wider than the sky- For-Put them side by side-The one the other will contain with ease- and you-beside-” as a reader what comes to mind is imagining a brain that is so big that the sky seems to be this little blue thing within the brain. If one really thinks about it it seems as if Dickinson is making a connection of what the outside world and the mind share. By her saying the Brain is wider than the sky it seems as if she is saying that the mind’s ability to see things, understand things, and interpret things can be measured wider than the sky. Here is presented two different objects, the Brain and the sky yet in the mind of Dickinson they are similar because when a reader who actually looks at the two not through the physiological view but through the experience of the eye and mind as Crary states, the reader will be able to see the connection Dickinson is trying to construct.

            In her second stanza she says “The Brain is deeper than the sea-For-hold them-Blue to Blue-The one the other will absorb-as sponges- Buckets-do-” she compares the Brain to a sea and the sea to being soaked by a sponge or in a bucket. In these lines you see that she is constructing the brain in the form of an object that absorbs things as a sponge does. She visualizes the brain as how she sees it and then compares it to the sea. She says the sea can be absorbed with a sponge and like that the brain can be soak in all the things it sees and construct things to the way it wants to see it. The stereoscope can be used to explain Dickinson’s view again because here she uses the whole stereoscope theory of two dissimilar images that can be seen together to create a connection and meaning.

            In the third stanza of the poem she says “The Brain is just the weight of God-For-Heft them-Pound for Pound- And they will differ if they do-As syllable from sound-” Here she says that the brain is just the weight of god in other words it seems as if she is saying it is the brain that give god its existences. When she compares a syllable to a sound it’s like saying that a syllable gives a word structure while a sound keeps the word without a form. While looking at it from this perspective its seems as if she is suggesting that God is only in the mind and that it is the mind that gives God an existence.

                Dickinson’s poetry like the poetry of many other poets has been criticized, attacked, beaten through critics to get the real meaning out. Reading line by line each of her stanza’s readers can try to pick up what she wants her readers to get out of her poem and what she wants them to see in her poems. When she writes the words to her poems it’s like she takes words that can have simple meanings such as a brain but turn it so that one sees the brain in a totally different light. A reader may not ever think of a brain being as big as the sky but when Dickinson puts these images in the reader’s mind it gets the reader to look at the brain through a different view. The fact that she allows her reader to take something as simple as the Brain and come out by the end of the poem with such a complex meaning for Brain is applaud worthy. She makes the reader look behind the basic images of a brain, sea, and sky to what they actually mean.

            “In devising the stereoscope, Wheatstone aimed to simulate the actual presence of a physical object or scene, not to discover another way to exhibit a print or drawing.” (Crary 84) The main point of the stereoscope was to allow the viewer to see the image as a “solid” object rather than a replica of it. Unlike the camera obscura, the stereoscope didn’t not want to take the viewer away from the “realism” of the object but in fact bring them closer to it. Dickinson’s poem “The Brain is wider than the Sky…” similarly to the stereoscope seems to bring the reader as close to the truth of the world as it possibly can. The fact that Dickinson constantly does this comparison between two different objects to prove a point of similarity between them shows that she is trying to bring her readers to a conclusion that objects can be viewed through different degrees but with the help of the mind the reader will be able to see the object’s existence past just the physiological view of it.

Blog post 2 Whitman’s and Trachtenberg view of the War
Monday February 21st 2011, 7:28 pm
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The writing of Whitman I believe was duirng the American Civil War, the era of when patriotism was being seen though different lights. Here the war had started in the effort of having everyone look eye to eye on the issue of slavery, at the same time we had writers such as Whitman and Trachtenberg who wrote of the war through thier views.
Whitman’s writing of the war was very imaaganative, when you read his work its almost as if you can see each even he writes happen in front of you. He tried his hardest to make his poetry of the war come out as “realistic” as possible.
He mentions “during the forenoon Washington gets all over motley with these defeated soldiers—queer-looking objects, strange eyes and faces, drench’d (the steady rain drizzles on all day) and fearfully worn, hungry, haggard, blister’d in the feet. Good people (but not over-many of them either,) hurry up something for their grub. They put wash-kettles on the fire, for soup, for coffee. They set tables on the side-walks—wagon-loads of bread are purchas’d, swiftly cut in stout chunks. Here are two aged ladies, beautiful, the first in the city for culture and charm, they stand with store of eating and drink at an improvis’d table of rough plank, and give food, and have the store replenish’d from their house every half-hour all that day; and there in the rain they stand, active, silent, white-hair’d, and give food, though the tears stream down their cheeks, almost without intermission, the whole time. (pg. 24-25) As you read these lines you can just picture these soldiers sitting in thier uniforms eating canned foods, with thier faces filled by dirt. You can imagine the blisters on their feet from old and worn out shoes.

While reading Trachtenberg’s piece and viewing the photographs that go along with the reading, it seems that even thought the photographer wasnt there at the exact location when the events of the war occured he tried through his photography to bring the photo’s as close to reality as he possibly could. “More important than who made each is how what was made came to be viewd as communication-how it came to have a meaning. it can be said that whoever may have authored Brady’s images, “Brady” authorized them, gave them imprimatur. Indeed on the occasion he placed- we might say inscribed himself within the picture, clearly not as the photographer but as the impresario or producer of the event itself.” (pg.5) Trachtenberg writes that his photographer tried to view the images as close to the reality of the war as he could.

Both the writers and the photographer, the ear of camera and the time matter of the civil war revolve around ones way of seeing things. The American war being viewd from two different angles, the north and south. The writing of Whitman, where he writes his poetry as close to the reality of the war. The photos in the writing of Trachtenberg, show the closest thing to what really happened in the war zones. All this shows the tiredless effort that authors and writers made to make the sure the viewers and readers were able to get a sense of the truth through their works.

Emerson’s “Nature” and “Experience”
Tuesday February 08th 2011, 11:58 am
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Reading the works of Emerson makes me really think of  all the choices i make on a daily basis of life.

While reading “Nature” i was awed by Emerson’s words. We never really sit back and think to ourselves of why we follow certain traditions or beliefs. We believe the home remedies that our grandmothers have past down to us are the correct ways of curing illnesses but little do we think of experiencing this illness to today’s nature.

We follow what other say and do without going out there and finding the answers to our own questions on our own. We rely on other opinions and then make their opinion our opinions. We don’t look for answer on our own, we don’t form our own way of knowledge. If we were to sit back and view our questions through the words of God and experiences of nature we would look at life in a total different way. We wouldn’t be as materialistic.

Emerson’s “Nature” and “Experience” go hand in hand because we learn that through our own experiences of life do we understand what life really is. Taking the shortcut and being a follower will give us no real understanding of the world.  Life as Emerson says is a confusing experience and to follow what every other confusing person does only makes it more confusing. One should follow their own way of life to learn from the difference. Life becomes much more interesting and easy when you understand why you choose to do such and such.