Author: Brianne Briggmann

Parrots, Self-Harm, and That Violet

“Maybe everybody has a renegade tongue yearning to be on its own. Violet shuts up. Speaks less until ‘uh’ or ‘have mercy’ carry almost all of her part of the conversation. Less excusable than a wayward mouth is an independent hand that can find in a parrot’s cage a knife lost for weeks. Violet is still as well as silent. Over time her silences annoy her husband, then puzzle him and finally depress him. He is married to a woman who speaks mainly to her birds. One of whom answers back: ‘I love you.’” (24)

Morrison, Toni. Jazz. Vintage Books, a Division of Random House, Inc., 2004.

“Self mutilation may occur during dissociative experiences and often brings relief by reaffirming the ability to feel.”

“These individuals are very sensitive to environmental circumstances.”

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013.

“We found that creating sub-optimal environmental conditions via deprivation of enrichment had significant and lasting effects on abnormal behavior. However, these effects were not the same across individuals. As predicted, we found that personality was an important factor in the severity of abnormal behavior in both optimal and sub-optimal housing conditions.”

“Furthermore, we extend this observation by providing evidence that different aspects of personality are related to distinct forms of abnormal behaviors. This has important implications for future studies investigating the relationship between personality and abnormal behavior in captive animals.”

Cussen, Victoria A., and Joy A. Mench. “The Relationship between Personality Dimensions and Resiliency to Environmental Stress in Orange-Winged Amazon Parrots (Amazona Amazonica), as Indicated by the Development of Abnormal Behaviors.” PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, 26 June 2015, journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0126170.

Introduction: Reflection and Healing through Morrison’s Jazz and Dante’s Purgatorio

Borderline Personality Disorder

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
  2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
  3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
  5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
  6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood.
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.
  8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger.
  9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

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Ascending Through the Texts

I will be the first to admit that I do not have much background knowledge on the Harlem Renaissance coming into Lewis’ book. I do take some blame for this myself as I haven’t done thorough independent research on Harlem in the 1920’s, but I’m going to shed most of the blame on current high school curricula. However, as I am beginning to read When Harlem was in Vogue I am quickly learning much more about Harlem and its history as a host of a civil rights revolution. Read more

Some Defining Fun

Hello folks!

So during our discussion today when we were trying to answer the questions “What brings people together?” and “What binds people together,” I was thinking about how helpful it would be if I had the definitions of the words ‘bring‘ and ‘bind‘ right in front of me. Even if I had looked them up in class, we would not have had enough time to really analyze them because there was a lot of other good stuff being thrown around. So for this kind of scattered blog post, I am going to attach the links to the google definition of each word. Read more

Hey folks.

So I don’t know if this post is appropriate to publish here. It’s not really ‘academic’ per se. Actually I just want to ask you all a question that has been bothering me throughout the semester. As we have progressed through the course I have found it increasingly more difficult to find hope for the future amongst our discussions of both the cruelties and the sufferings of human beings. Will there ever exist a world without greed? poverty? discrimination? rape? homelessness? As I have continued to grow, read, and learn throughout all of my life (but particularly my college years), I have lost the innocence I once possessed that allowed me to believe that such a world was possible. As I stand now, completely hopeless and devoid of faith in humans, I find myself returning to my first blog post on narrative foreclosure. I stated in that post that narrative foreclosure occurs when one believes that “it is too late to live meaningfully and, as Freeman puts it, ‘become stripped of new possibilities, emptied of new opportunities for self-renewal.'” I have begun to view the earth and it’s lifeforms in a state of narrative foreclosure as it is defined in the above quotation.

So, finally, my question is how do you all prevent yourselves from viewing this world in a state of narrative foreclosure? How do you continue to hope when surrounded by corruption and suffering? Beth said in class today that she believes it is essential to construct hope for a better future, because “the alternative is obscene.” I agree, the alternative is obscene. But with what do you construct hope? How do you maintain it?

Of course no one has to reply to this. But through all the discussion of the terror and pain and the seemingly hopeless solutions to salvage what good is left, I feel that we neglect to address the toll these discussions take on each of us, personally, both inside and outside of the academic setting. Therefore, I find it necessary to ask you folks what each of you do to construct and maintain hope, thus avoiding some kind of narrative foreclosure. Being in class with all of you this semester has been a wonderful experience, and I don’t hesitate to say that you folks are kind, intelligent, thoughtful human beings. Which is why I bring these questions to you and ask that you share your answers (on the blog maybe?) with anyone that is currently struggling to find hope.

Churning Thoughts on Circulation

In Parable of the Sower, Lauren and her group (well, really everyone who is not super rich) have had to revert to preindustrial methods of survival. (Disclaimer: that statement is flawed; those ‘preindustrial’ methods have been used in modern times, but not to the extent that people in Butler’s world have used them). Agriculture is a highly prevalent example of this, as the original neighborhood Lauren lived in relied on hand sowing for the entirety of their food source, and the group must continue to rely on it in the creation of Acorn. Water purification is another example. Though there are water purification tablets and water stations available, the cheapest and therefore most-used method of purification is by boiling the water. Yes, many people still have to boil water for sanitation purposes, but I assume that most students that attend universities do not boil drinking water in fear that it is contaminated. That method was more commonplace in the past. Read more

Research and Ramblings

Okay, so I’ve been wanting to do a blog post on the relationship between personal pride and hermeneutics. Basically, I want to do a ton of research on the psychology of pride, and do more research on hermeneutics and the methodologies humans either consciously or subconsciously (or involuntarily, as pride is an involuntary emotional response) engage in to expand upon their self-narrative, thus giving their lives further meaning.

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Narrative Foreclosure

So on the syllabus, in an asterisked note, Beth included that there are multiple meanings of the word “foreclosure,” explicitly stating that it can be applied to narratives/storytelling. This sparked my interest, so I decided to do some research on the term narrative foreclosure. I found this article (which I am linking here, but to view the full article you must first write a short written request to the institution it belongs to), in which they quote Psychologist Mark Freeman, who coined the term and defines it as “the premature conviction that one’s life story has effectively ended.” By ‘effectively ended,’ Freeman is implying that the ending of one’s life is seemingly already known by that person. In the instance of a narrative foreclosure, the individual neglects to create further meaning in their life through experiences or goals, and they cease to enjoy the reliving of events in their life through story or nostalgic thought because it is now too late to make changes. Read more

Dante and Beatrice

In class on Monday, my group began to question what (real, not fictional) Beatrice’s relationship was to Dante. Ari looked it up, and told us that Dante and Beatrice had only met twice before she had died at a very young age, and that there really wasn’t very much to their relationship besides the fact that Dante had been infatuated with her from the first time he saw her. I thought I’d do a little bit more research on the topic and share it with you guys. Read more

Episode Two of “The Name Game”

A few weeks ago, Frank discussed in his blog post the important role names play in understanding the significance of a character. When reading Jazz, the name Dorcas really stuck out to me, so I decided to do some research and continue the conversation about the meanings behind names. I found here that Dorcas means “gazelle” in Greek, and is the Greek translation of the name Tabitha in the New Testament. Gazelles are notorious for their grace and beauty, their “soft but brilliant eyes,” and are associated with “an image of female loveliness.” The biblical Dorcas, or Tabitha, was a disciple of Christ in the New Testament, and possessed these gazelle-like qualities. She was known for her good-hearted and charitable work, and is primarily recognized for sewing garments for poor people. I also thought it was interesting that the article from which I got all of this biblical information (I haven’t read the New Testament) mentioned Dorcas eyes briefly. It stated, “She certainly lived a lovely life, and had eyes reflecting the compassion of the Master whom she so faithfully served.” The last seemingly-valuable piece of information I acquired on Dorcas/Tabitha is that she died “in the midst of her works of charity.”

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