Recurrence of “Vesper”

In my rereading of Jazz, I was intrigued on page 30 when Morrison begins a paragraph with, “They met in Vesper County, Virginia, under a walnut tree.” I knew that Vespers was a type of prayer, and so immediately I marked it in my text, knowing that at least it had somewhat of a (potentially superficial) connection to religion, and therefore potentially Dante.

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Freudian Revisionism, Human-Oankali Relationships, and the Role of Stigmergy

In this post, I would like to address the question of Freud’s survival as well as the dynamics of ingroup and outgroup relations in Dawn as they both can be understood as examples of stigmergy. Here is an article from this summer that explores the ways in which Freud makes his way into modern psychology and other fields of study.

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Who’s to blame

In response to Sabrina’s most recent post about the question of who is to blame in the Octavia Butler works we examined this semester. I want to agree with Sabrina and add on that this has been something I have really struggled with these works. Butler writes novels with no set antagonist to blame. As a reader I was trapped into these loops where I was blaming whomever was easiest. For example, in Clay’s Ark I wanted to blame Eli for spreading the disease even though he was not 100% to blame. When looking back at this novel, when the farm enclave is infected its due to their own mistake of touching Eli while he was injured by their dogs. As a reader my instinct was to interject that Eli still could have told them. But reading that scene again it is clear this is not the case because Eli was so weakened by the attack.  Continue reading “Who’s to blame”

The Path to Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions

**Fair warning- I wrote this post on 10/05/2017 and forgot to publish it. So please keep in mind that this blog post was written prior to Professor Muench and Professor Kennison’s visit**

This blog post is a response to my classmate Rachel Katz blog post “Our “Good” Deed“. In her blog post she discusses “medical voluntourism” and our classes reaction to the idea of individuals going to third world countries and medically assisting natives without any prior medical experience with the intention of wanting to put it on a resume or college application. One of the parts of Rachel’s blog post was her line “In class we used words like “them”, that how weird it is that “they” would do something so wild without thinking of the repercussions”. Well I am here to put myself in a vulnerable position and speak of my experience as a previous member of this “they” and “them”.  Continue reading “The Path to Hell Is Paved With Good Intentions”


Each year in the U.S., approximately 12 million adults who seek outpatient medical care are misdiagnosed” according to a CBS News article. How is it possible that 12 million people are so easily misdiagnosed I think to myself but then I remember that I too have been misdiagnosed, even more than once.


A medical misdiagnosis is anything that a certified doctor diagnoses their patient with, but it ending up being incorrect. This is extremely dangerous because it can possibly harm the patient. In today’s society doctors visits tend to be rather rushed which is a factor in the possibility of being misdiagnosed. The CBS article discusses the possible ways a patient can help diminish the possibility of being misdiagnosed such as following up after one’s appointment because, “You can’t assume that if you don’t hear anything it’s good news…no news is not necessarily good news.” I do agree that no news isn’t necessarily a good thing but I believe that it is the responsibility of the doctor to inform their patient if there is in fact a diagnosis. As a patient, we pay copious amounts of money to be seen by these doctors so I believe it’s only fair to receive accurate results.


Medical misdiagnosis can connect to the book Zulus by Percival Everett. The protagonist Alice Achitophel was seen by a few doctors due to her mysterious pregnancy and the doctors made comments such as, “She’s intact, it seems.” and “Then she might well be pregnant.” Therefore the doctors were not entirely sure on whether or not Alice was actually pregnant or not because of their lack of experience.


I personally have had misdiagnoses throughout my life. I was told by my doctor at age 12 that I did not have scoliosis when I in fact did have scoliosis. I later on had to return to the doctors for x-rays and MRI’s to confirm how severe my scoliosis truly is. Unfortunately misdiagnoses are extremely common in today’s society.

Supporting Sinners: Rooting for Flawed Protagonist

It has come to my attention that throughout our readings, we often find ourselves supporting characters that harbor a dark past or some egregious flaw. Be it Frank Money and his quest to find his sister or Elias Doyle and the struggle to maintain his increasingly tenuous humanity, readers find themselves sympathetic for men who have done terrible things. Franks crime is hidden from readers until the end of the novel where he finally admits, almost to himself, “I shot the Korean girls in the face. I am the one she touched. I am the one who saw her smile. I am the one she said “Yum-yum” to. I am the one she aroused.” (Morrison, 133) Despite this revelation, Many readers like myself find it hard to condemn a man who, having suffered so much both at home and abroad, just wants to put the past behind him and find his sister, the one woman he could never abandon. Likewise, Elias, known as Eli to most, admits to infecting innocence with a deadly disease only leads to two outcomes: painful death or a dangerous half-life where superhuman attributes are gained at the desire to infect others and reproduce, willing or otherwise. Continue reading “Supporting Sinners: Rooting for Flawed Protagonist”

Dante, Morrison, and the prevalence of “violence”

**I’ll just start with saying that this is definitely going to be one out of a few blog posts I write in the next few days. I’m seeing a lot of connections between the two texts and have just some other thoughts on this whole process/project and I think that my ideas are best understood if they’re separated into different posts, rather than one giant one. So, bear with me if my name pops up here a ton.**

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Spread of Disease

For any disease that is new to the world, there is always a ‘patient zero’ or a source for where the disease first originated.  For the Bubonic Plague, commonly known as the ‘Black Death plague’, it was the traders’ ships sailing in from the Black Sea with most of the crew either dead or gravely ill. Even though authorities in the sailor’s port ordered the ships out, the disease still made it to land, spreading across the continent and caused devastation over the next 5 years ( Black Death). The 1918 Spanish Flu was first documented with Private Albert Gitchell, a soldier in the state of Kansas on a military base. Due to Private Gitchell being a cook on the US Army base, the disease spread rapidly throughout the camp, and then moved across the states to wreck havoc (Spanish Influenza).

The most known epidemic to hit the United States is the AIDS/HIV epidemic in the 1980s. Patient zero for this epidemic was Canadian Flight attendant Gaetan Dugas, as he was named repeatedly from different sources as having come in contact with those who had contracted the disease. However, after extensive researching it was confirmed that Duags, wasn’t exactly the source of it coming to America, seeing as he landed in California, and most cases surfaced in New York City. Nevertheless, many still point to him as being an important person in the outbreak ( AIDs outbreak). In Octavia Butler’s Clay’s Ark, there is a patient zero with a disease that is spreading throughout a secluded community, and that patient is Asa Elias Doyle, a geologist aboard Clay’s ark venture into space who has returned to earth.

Since the AIDS/HIV epidemic has been known, it is now considered a felony to have sexual relations or share a needle without letting your partner know you are HIV positive. If you do not tell them, and these actions commence it is considered a felony, and the repercussions are severe, with the possibility of jail for 7 years and a fine up to 5 grand. ( The Law). In recent news in the state of California, Governor Brown has changed the penalty for those who knowingly transmit the disease through sexual relations. Currently, the law in California states that if a person knowingly transmits the disease without informing their partner, they have committed a felony which is punishable by 3-8 years in prison. Under the new law which takes effect in the new year, the felony will be downgraded to a misdemeanor, and an imprisonment of 6 months (California). Even after the devastating effects that AIDS caused, there were still some people who knowingly spread the disease to others without telling them about it. Of course there are those that didn’t know they had the disease, despite healthcare officials recommending you get tested once a year if you are sexually active.

In Clay’s Ark, Eli knowingly spread this disease to the family that was trying to help him out, and the community that he now lives in is doing to same. Sure Eli didn’t want to spread the disease in the first place, but because of the compulsion of the organism inside of him, he had no choice but to, and the same goes for those he infected. Of course in this case, there is some disclosure to those they are going to infect before the deed is done, but it isn’t always on mutual terms, which can cause some discourse. Eli is different than those those who knowingly spread a disease only in the sense that he tries to keep the amount of those affected at a minimum for a short while, until the need to infect comes again. The only consequences of spreading the disease to others is the possible death of one victim, and having to move on to find someone else to infect.