Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Some Favorite Poems

An Analysis of "Bright Star"

After discussing the poem "Bright Star" by John Keats several times here, and having been studying it for Poetry Out Loud, I think it deserves a complete analysis.

What I see when I look at the poem, is the narrating voice, likely Keats, to be first introducing the idea of eternity and consistency in comparison to a star. He wishes to be as "steadfast as thou art," speaking directly to the star. However, he then dismisses all other qualities of the star, not alone, looking from above onto the world below as sleepless creature, something that no human could ever be.

No, this star is unreal to us. "No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable-- Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast," says lines 9-10. What is truly being asked is for the constant nature the star possesses, the eternity it gets to live. Contrasting with the star is the impermanence of life, the "ripening breast" implying change and movement of humans not seen in the lines preceding it in reference to the star.

The eternity being asked for is not the infinite time a star experiences, but a forever of love and passion on Earth. Only in the final line does Keats accept the possibility of dying in pleasure over living in harmony forever.

The poem asks for the lifetime of a star, yet the narrator cannot relate to what the star is, in itself. He is asking for something entirely inhuman and impossible. Keats struggles to cope with the rush of time on Earth as human, when stars existing above Earth live forever. In the final line, he says he will go willingly if he can die in love if he cannot exist forever. Keats died away from his love, Fanny Brawne, at the age of 25 in Rome, Italy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

A NaNoWriMo Story

I always loved writing, but all of my writings I start, really trying to complete a long work, I without fail become discouraged and stop. It all feels too forced, most of the time the idea would come to me out of the blue, and I would drop everything to write out what I was thinking before it slipped my mind. I wrote myself into a brick wall, most of the time, which led me to want to write myself off a cliff, when you’re hardly 2,000 words in and you’ve already used up all of your plot points and ideas that once looked so promising.

However, even though this is essentially what always happens, I still consider myself to be a very enthusiastic and optimistic writer. When I get an idea, I can’t wait to start it. That’s why I waited anxiously, counting down the days until November 1st, the day NaNoWriMo began.

Last year, I tried it, but I ended up scrapping it on about the third day of writing. I was so discouraged it took me another twelve months to open another blank Google Doc and just go for it again.

This year, I don’t know what I did, but something in how I write is just different. Maybe I’ve learned more about the kind of writer I am through other novelists, and have been just exposed to more literature now. But most of all, I learned that the biggest, most important part of understanding how to write a novel in a month was to accept that it’s going to be sloppy, it’s going to be, probably, terrible, and it isn’t going to be easy. I never really followed the word limits last year, I was more of a free spirit on that front, but this year, aiming for 50,000 words,  I see how extremely important it is to keep on schedule, and after missing November 1st and 2nd and I’m still trying to catch up from it, twelve days later.

Today was the best day I have ever had writing in my entire life. I wrote, easily and without strain 4,450 words, majorly helping me get back on track to meet my goal by the end of November. You know, I never understood in my childhood years why J.K. Rowling had to kill Sirius Black. I loved Sirius Black, you see. But now, I’m beginning to see that you don’t control a character. Really, you don’t! I never, until this day, understood that. Today I have no idea how it happened, but my keys typed the entrance of a character into my story, and he just became one of the most central and interesting characters in the novel. He says what he says, does what he wants, not what I create for him.

I’ve always loved, just, characters. I love finding this connection to another person, through reading, through books. They have always felt so real to me, and now, finally, my characters are beginning to take on a life of their own, as well. Just sitting down and allowing my characters to work through me and tell their own story is one of the most important, and just plain enjoyable, lessons I think I will take away from NaNoWriMo this year.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Reading of "Bright Star" by John Keats

In preparation for Poetry Out Loud, finding a video of someone reading "Bright Star," the poem I selected, helps monumentally. I think this is the most beautiful video and reading of the poem, and truly does do it justice!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Rhyme For Your Life

Binky, of the children's show Arthur, slips into a nightmare after trying and failing to write a poem for Mother's Day. He is transported into a universe where not rhyming is a crime, so he is forced to speak in the  almost foreign language he has so much difficulty understanding. 

And YES, this has some relevance to literature...skip to 6:56!

I absolutely find this hilarious, and I'm 17 years old, but you're never too old for Arthur. I think it's aimed more at the parents to keep them entertained sometimes. For example, I had no idea who William Carlos Williams was at seven, who makes a guest appearance in this episode, or the singing moose in one of the episodes being none other than Art Garfunkel.

Gosh, I love this show.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Existentialism in Literature

Existentialism has three outstanding founding fathers, Søren Kierkegaard, Friedrich Nietzche, and Jean-Paul Sartre. These three philosophers have paved the way for many others to follow, which has allowed the field of Existentialism, which centers around finding ones own purpose in life, to grow. This theme has become widely discussed and portrayed greatly as a theme in many works of literature.

Charlotte Bronte's Villette is a Existentialist novel before it's time, before the idea of existentialism was ever created. The novel focuses on Lucy Snowe, an orphan living with her godmother. After a death, Lucy feels overcome with despair and worthlessness. She decides in the span of only hours to leave that very day from Bretton to London. Similar to Jane in Bronte's previous work, Jane Eyre, Lucy describes herself as friendless, and without a relative in the world to turn to. Lucy is completely alone in the world, and sets off to London to find not only a job, but life itself.

She encounters and becomes a part of this vigor of life working in a boarding school as a teacher, but once the children are sent home in the summer, she is completely left bereft of happiness and the passion that once filled her, when she was surrounded by others, including M. Paul and Dr. John, two men she becomes companions to.

From early on in the novel, Lucy proves to be in great search of a purpose in life. She feels that there is a need for her at the school, but when the school lets out, she is lost, once again. This emptiness is similar to the depression she felt which predicated her move to London.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story, "Winter Dreams" tells the story of the quest for meaning that Dexter Green sets out upon. Dexter becomes enamored with Judy Jones, a woman who is perfectly elusive and unattainable, and despite that, she still pulls Dexter in.

Dexter quits his job, working at the country club Judy attends. He creates a life for himself, instead,  that is not his own, but one that Judy would want to be apart of. He hates the way he lives, but doesn't realize it yet, as it is complete with a steady and large income. Dexter becomes excessively wealthy as the story progresses. He sees Judy very rarely, and comes to discover that she is married to a man who neglects her. Dexter holds Judy in such high esteem, he is beside himself. How a princess could marry a peasant? But,that not what he was vying for all along?

Dexter and Judy begin a relationship, despite her marriage, and in the end it falls through. Dexter is left with a lifestyle he hates. He comes to hate himself, as well as his fortune. He comes to realize he has been spending his entire life crafting a life for one, single person who let him down. He is completely robbed of his purpose in the end. A true existential crisis.

Bronte's Villette and Fitzgerald's "Winter Dreams" are just two examples of existentialism in literature. Although Villette is British Literature and "Winter Dreams," written much later, is American Literature, the theme of existentialism is clearly reflected, not only greatly in literature, but also widespread over the world. This theme defies time and origin, to which these two provide an example. It can be seen from King Lear to Their Eyes Were Watching God, from The Hobbit to Fahrenheit 451. The search for self is an innately human quest, one which we can enjoy reading about from the point of view of another.

Crash Course: Literature

It was a dark and stormy night when John Green sadly ended Crash Course World History after 42 episodes...

The world mourned.

Tears were shed.


It was announced, the new Crash Course topic would be....LITERATURE!

I am very overjoyed with life right now.

                                                 The final crash course World History.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Boxer

Sometimes I think Simon and Garfunkel would have written wonderful poetry, as each song written by them  is, truly, an art.