Sunday, February 23, 2014

Goodbye Columbus, ch.3

Parallels:While Neil is in the Patimkin household, He feels out of place and like he is not at the same level as the rest of the Patimkin family. In likeliness to the help, it is assumed of him that he will do things without question as if it was, in this case its babysitting Julie while the rest of the family is out. " I felt like Carlota; no, not even as comfortable as that" (40).Neil is supposed to be a guest and yet he feels as though he is not treated as one and has responsibilities assumed for him. " I would have poured myself a drink- as a wicked wage for being forced into servantry-"(42).

Okay now I'm going to be sneaky and write another parallel that I found interesting but it's almost a contrast in a way as well because we will see it from the perspective of a poor colored boy versus the wealthy Patimkin family.
On page 37, we have the scene with the young lion tamer boy looking at the large Gauguin book. Gauguin's style in his paintings tend to use a lot of rosey pink tones and cheery colors, and yet at the same time "they ain't no yelling or shouting here, you could just see it". The images are peaceful and colorful. Again on page 42 Neil sees the three colored photo- paintings of the Patimkin children, all painted in a matter much like Gauguin, "smothered back of gobs of pink and white". It is as though the Patimkins are "living the fucking life", the life that has no shouting or yelling.

     - Cement Lions
     -Miss Winney's stool
     -Gauguin book
     -Fruit: This stood out as the most important prop to take not of in this chapter. In chapter one, Neil talks about fruit and how he loves it and his Aunt Gladys is always worried about fruit going bad in the fridge ( therefore wasting food as well as money) . Things are different though at the Patimkin household where they have an entire large refrigerator swelling with solely fruit. They don't need to worry about it spoiling. Fruit is like a symbol of wealth here, as well as luxury.

Class Consciousness: The scene on page 35 might be one of the most racist scenes I've read in memory... When John McKee is talking about the colored boy in the library who is in the art section to look at the Gauguin books, he assumes the worst of him because he is black. He refers to the blacks as THEY and acts as though there is no way that a black person could love or appreciate art, as if thats out of their capacity.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Goodbye Columbus ch 2

Parallel: On page 14 and 15 Neil is referred to as being like Brenda's slave / servant. "The next day I held Brenda's glasses for her once again, this time not as momentary servant" Neil says this as if he had previously been one for her and that she has authority over him. When he asks his cousin Doris to hold Brenda's sunglasses, she snarkily replies "I'm not her slave" as if that was his role.
Contrast: Brenda's family appears to have no big issues or problems but in Brenda's eyes she says " I think every conversation I've ever had has always wound up about my parents and how awful it is, it's. universal. The only trouble is they don't know it " meanwhile the family is happily playing tennis(26).
-sun glasses
-pool chairs
-milk silverware vs.meat silverware ~ the only reason that anyone would get ,mad about these two things mixing, or even having separate silverware, would be that they keep kosher, therefor implying that they are Jewish. It's interesting too because they are not open about it at all.
Class consciousness: while Neil is eating dinner with Brenda's family, he feels out of place in a way I would describe as being a little kid sitting at the adult table for the first time during thanksgiving. Page 22, " I felt for quite a while as though four inches from my height, and for good measure, someone had removed my ribs and my chest had settled meekly in towards my back.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Goodbye Columbus ch.1

 Parallels: On page 13 Neil and Brenda are talking about her family & nose jobs when he asks about her father and says " is he having his fixed" "why are you so nasty?" "I'm not. I'm sorry". This is a touchy subject for her and it makes her seem insecure; despite her edgy attitude. Again on page 15 Neil asks Brenda "Why don't you have your eyes fixed" " there you go again" "I'm sorry". Whenever Neil brings up "fixing" things Brenda puts her guard up.
Contrast: While Neil is talking to Brenda on their first "date" He asks her  on page 10+11 "Is that where you go to school?" "No. I go to school in Boston" "Boston University?" "Radcliffe." This really pisses Neil off because it is not something in his character to understand being so illusive and vague, he would just simply say he went to Newark Colleges of Rutgers University. this could be due to one of two things I think: A) due to his lesser income growing up school is a bigger deal/ accomplishment vs. Brenda who may not have had to worry about finances and college was very normal for the people she knows in her close circle. B) they are just two very different personalities.
-Fresh fruit vs. canned fruit (referenced)
-Tennis Racket
-Brenda's Glasses: this is a really important prop referenced numerous times and it was the identifying characteristic of how Neil met/ noticed Brenda. He is always stuck holding them for her because she doesn't want to deal with them. I think it's too early to call it a symbol but I can see it potentially developing as one as the book goes on * things to keep in mind: vision, perception, windows, eyes
Class consciousness: Theres a lot of contrast between the environments Brenda and Neil live in, Brenda lives in like "Kenilworth" while Neil lives in "Skokie", with college named streets and well manicured lawns versus gravel ally ways and dairy queens. So there is a separation of economical classes. Also whenever Neil says he or someone is "dark" she immediately assumes that they are black (negro) and she is quick to jump to this conclusion but the way she asks is very hesitant and"tip-toe-ey" so there is some racial tension on Brenda's half. Also she's referred to as always wearing very crisp white clothes which have their own connotation as well.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

summer reading qs

1.     Oedipus made the choice to pursue finding out his heritage and identity completely. Jocasta made it clear to him that the subject could be dropped and nothing much should be thought of it but he does not listen to her and still decides to uncover the secrets of his family. As for his fate of marrying his mother and killing his father, that was beyond his own control and the prophecy stated his fate before he was even born. His life had been determined in the eyes of the gods.
2.     I believe strongly that Oedipus was in fact a good loyal king who was true to his word and loyal to his country. Even though he hadn’t known the former king of Thebes, he still took the responsibility upon himself to settle the uncertainty in his people. Not only does he do this, but when realizing he himself was the perpetrator he did not view himself as being exempt from his punishment~ which was very respectable for not really putting himself “above the law” so to speak.

3.     In both works, the oracles prophecies come true. Nothing happens as planned but it happens no matter what and that shows how in the end fate is inescapable. Oedipus didn’t know who is own father was but ended up killing him and John Anderton did not know his victim either but ended up killing him anyways as well. John says “how can I kill someone I’ve never even met?” , something ordinarily against his own nature and instinct and yet he does it. The precogs and oracles know about the future which humans simply cannot. Therefore, humans have no way of ruling out what will happen to them.

4.     The precogs see all. What they see determines peoples fate and destiny. They reveal “ the truth” and are seen as being all- knowing god like oracle figures.  A quote that is said directly to John Anderton is said by his drug dealer and goes “ in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king”, which Speilberg  plays with a lot in that he uses camera shots where one eye is covered or in the shadow. This can be interpreted as John has control of his fate and his own situation. When John Anderton ends up swaping out his eyes is when we can really see the switch in Johns character. He is no longer the hero –like cop and he questions himself more and who he is as he tries to find the minority report and his destiny. He does not completely lose his own identity though because he does hold on to his “old/original” eyes.  The rest of the world is constantly being watched and monitored . Where people are and what they are doing or buying- everything. All of this is because the government scans people via their eyes and that is their ID.  This is also interesting to think about.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Journal entry 5: Stitches

In the final segment of this book, it parallels by rewinding back to Davids childhood in the form of a dream. He is afraid of the outside world and in the dream he is the only resident in his home. I feel this is a reflection on the feeling of loneliness he felt as a child due to the distance between him and his family members along with the lack of healthy communication between the members of his family.
In his dream, he sees his mother sweeping a path for him to the insane asylum where his grandmother is. This is intended to be his fate in the way he feels others see it but he makes the choice not to follow this path. This brings up the whole concept of fate vs. free will. David has been thrown enough obstacles to the point where if he were to go down this path it would not be surprising or inappropriate in many peoples eyes. His mother doesn't love him, he was like a lab rat during his childhood, he had cancer, he lost his ability to speak and he had a dysfunctional relationship with the members of his family. But much like Oedipus, he choses the path he wants to go down, and in this case it means not letting his environment and circumstances he grew up with define him as a person.

Journal entry 4: Stitches

In this segment of the book, we see the reoccurrence of the Alice in Wonderland theme previously referenced on pg. 56 when he talks about falling in love with Alice and then again on pg. 62+63 he creates an escape by jumping "into the rabbit hole" of one of his drawings. Its his way of escaping his real world problems. Jumping back to this segment we see his therapist in the form of the white rabbit. He is coming face to face with his problems and fears in life and his therapist is there for his validation. On pg. 263 the therapist/rabbit says " you've been living in a world of nonsense, David. No one had been telling you the truth about anything. But I am going to tell you the truth". The truth here is the explanation for why his childhood was the way it was, and he puts it simply as " your mother doesn't love you". (255) David coming to terms with this allowed him to pull himself together while the rest of his family fell apart which was very important. I wonder if Davids mothers lack of love for David is really spelled out in the beginning to us with how she was born with her heart on the wrong side, as if it were to be inevitable.
Images and frames are really played with when Davids father confesses to him about giving him cancer. On 287 the entire page is filled with His dads horrified face confessing " I GAVE YOU CANCER" and then the very next page is just Davids blank stare reaction. The following page we see filled with the scene of his father standing behind the x-ray machine with three small rectangular frames overlapping it on the top showing Davids eyes. The next page is a switch to David as a baby strapped down and having the x-rays taken, its the other side of the scene pictured with his dad previously and now we see the three overlapping images on the bottom of the page, nearly identical to the ones on the front page except now it shows the eyes of david as a small child/baby. In the final page of this scene, we see again the page having one large frame with David as a baby overlapping with David in the present. Through these frames and imaging it takes us in and out of the process of the flashback David is having and bringing them together. While examining it, I picture it much like in Minority Report when we see the pre-cogs going in and out of a vision, like clarification.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Journal entry 3: Stitches

We see a great contrast in this segment of the book when looking at the different sides of David's mother. On page 175 she gives in and brings David his contraband "adult literature". She figures at this point he is dead anyways so what difference would it make? But later on she reverts back to her old ways and ends up taking back the book once she realizes he is going to live. After a near death experience she moves on in a second, she doesn't value him any more after that than she did before which I think shows a lot about her character. From this I cant help but wonder, how much does she really love her son? Does she struggle to express emotion or is her son mainly just an inconvenience to her?
David is faced with an identity crisis after his surgery when he loses ability to speak. His mother states it as "The fact that you now have no voice will define you from here on in, like your fingerprints, the color of your eyes, your name."(186). Here his identity is being defined for him, by his doctors who made his silence no longer a choice, as well as his own mother. We see him struggle with this newly found "fate" he has been presented with on page 190 and 191 where he comes face to face with his stitches and what the doctors had done to him. " Surely this is not me. No friend it surely is". David does not want to accept this as his new identity regardless of how other people are trying to construct it. And why should he trust other people and their construction of his identity when they lied to him about having cancer.