Author: Melissa Rao

Wake, Wake, Wake

I’ve been milling among the ideas circulating in my mind about what I would concentrate on for my second blog post, and to be honest, it has been slightly disorientating. I believe that I was getting lost in the emotional minefields that kept popping up for me after enduring our continual viewings of When The Levees Broke, similarly to how Erin articulated her feelings on this turbulent documentary in her post. I instead took a step back after today’s class and decided to focus on the word “wake” that Beth brought up as the subject of a potential blog post. What I initially thought was going to be a fairly straight-forward post led me down a new strain of thinkING regarding etymologies and the many varying performances of individual words.

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“Remember me, but ah! forget my fate.”

Several classes ago we examined the photo of the troubling, arguably morally ambiguous, scene of the ‘Tot-Tanic’ in a park that Professor McCoy stumbled into. I believe it is fair to say that most of us in the class were quite taken a back that this horrific, albeit quite deeply embedded in the past, event was willfully turned into a playground for children to jump on and slide down. This reaction got me thinking about what we have investigated into Roach thus far regarding the many kinds of performances of both remembering and forgetting. Read more

Children of War

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler has been really striking a chord with me and it has proven itself to be quite a powerful journey for myself, and I am sure for many others in this class as well, to have embarked upon. In the section we just read, Chapters 7-12, I found myself paying particular attention to the frequent mentioning of children and bringing new life into what seems to be such a destitute, inhospitable world.

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Democracy and Citizenship in Our Time (and in Mr. Blandings’ Time)

On Friday April 7, 2017 I was fortunate enough to be able to attend one of the panels during the Democracy and Citizenship in Our Time teach-in that took place on campus. Topics that were discussed during Panel II included LGBTQIA+, education, economic inequality, immigration, and disabilities. I was particularly intrigued with what Dr. Kathleen Mapes had to say surrounding economic inequality in America and how this problem has been brewing for decades.  After our recent viewing of the 1948 film, “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House”, I felt this topic to be especially relevant to the themes that we have been discussing thus far in this class this semester and I wanted to explore how economic inequality is presented in the film and the effects that it has on the audience’s interpretations of what it means to build your dream home.

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Big Family Trees

When we first started reading The Turner House I was immediately hit with a rather strong sense of déjà vu as I came across in the paratext the family tree that Angela Flournoy prefaced her novel with. I took note of the many branches extending from the Turner patriarch and matriarch and saw an immediate correlation to my own extended family. My dad is the seventh child out of fourteen and grew up in a household that was a little bit different from the typical household at the time comprised of two parents and three and a half children. I felt the desire to compose my own family tree for a visual representation of the similarities that I see my family to have with the Turner family. Viewing that family tree laid out with three generations of Turners really reminded me of my family and prompted me to give a closer look to the sibling relationships within my own family.

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Scatological Language in The Big Short

As i’ve been reading The Big Short i’ve found it really interesting to focus on the concept of scatology that Dr. Beth introduced us to towards the beginning of the semester. Scatalogical language, as defined here, is obscene language that particularly deals with excrement or excretory functions in a humorous manner. Scatological words and phrases are frequently peppered throughout Michael Lewis’ novel, and I’ve noticed that they often function to drastically change the tone of a conversation.

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[Edmund the] bastard

During our discussions in class today I was really interested in the conversation that surrounded Edmund’s status as a bastard, or illegitimate child. I found that during both the small group that I was a part of, and when we all reconvened as a class, people had interesting ideas and interpretations of what it meant for Edmund to identify as a bastard and in particular, the connotations that the word, bastard, has. Read more

Jacob’s Unfinished Business

Almost immediately after today’s class concluded, Rachel asked me what I thought it meant that Jacob was never able to finish his house on the hills and what possible implications that this may have forged for the rest of the characters in the novel.  I did not have a fully formulated answer for her right then and there, but this was something I wanted to explore on a deeper level and delve back into on this forum. Read more