Expulsion: Who Gets to Make the Choice?

            Expulsion is worth thinking about. The novel A Mercy, by Toni Morrison, encourages much thought about the forces of expulsion, the position of individuals in relation to their available choices, how those choices impact individuals beyond what may be initially thought possible, and how important it is to think through situations that potentially involve the movement of human beings. The novel explores many different characters who are effectively orphaned because of expulsion, but the central focus of the text revolves around Florens and her expulsion from her mother. As we tease out the different reasons for this and Florens’ interpretation of those reasons, we see how these decisions can alter a life greatly, for better or worse.

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Scope and Humble Comprehension: Why English Matters

            The Turner House and The Big Short are such drastically different works that it is difficult to compare them outright. In discussing if The Turner House is integral to understanding The Big Short, I certainly think that it helps to place a well-developed narrative at the crux of the crisis to understand how the crisis impacts individuals. We are all indeed individuals—not vast numbers ascribed to the “lower-middle class” or other denotations of status used in The Big Short. Cramming a narrative the size of The Turner house into every one of the numbers mentioned in The Big Short is nearly impossible, or would at least take a lifetime to document and understand with any degree of accuracy. The story telling aspect of The Big Short is remarkable given its task to explain the 2008 crisis in a succinct manner, evidenced in part by our struggle as a class to refrain from discussing the individuals present in the non-fiction work as “characters”. However, the scope of The Big Short is many degrees larger than The Turner House, which aims to flesh out how one family struggles as individuals and as a unit through evictions and unreasonable mortgages. Each text can stand alone outside of this course, but both are necessary to understand each other more fully, a point that ties in the danger of a single story, suggesting strongly that its counterexample of the importance of a multitude of stories is also true to better understand the depth behind large decisions, many of which we have attempted to dive into already in this course, including The Old Man and the Storm, King Lear, Inside Job, and David Cay Johnston, to name a few.

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A Deeper Understanding of King Lear

Looking at the terms “liquid(ity)” and “swap(ping)” under the context of King Lear certainly opens a large area of possibility for writing. That said, I knew I needed to begin my answer to the prompt with a close look at the definitions of these terms in various contexts. As per Investopedia and the context of finance, liquidity is a term used to describe assets one owns and their ability to be transformed into the most liquid asset, which is cash. As I apply this concept to King Lear, I will be thinkING (credit Dr. McCoy for that accurate term) about assets such as trust as abused by Edmund, and the stability of shelter for Lear. For swap, Investopedia describes a consensual agreement between two parties that likely benefits both parties in terms of short and long term. While the financial terms are not directly applied to King Lear, the idea of a swap happens many times with the primary difference for King Lear is that none of the swaps are consensual or mutually beneficial. This toxicity is what drives many characters into dangerous and frustrating situations. My attempt to bring these terms together in relation to expulsion includes a discussion on the relation of liquid assets as being used to initiate a swap, while illiquid assets, primarily honest speech, do not have enough time to fully manifest their potential before the demise of many of our characters. Lastly, in humble self-reflection on my tendencies in writing, I realize that I typically push word limits. While there is no set limit or minimum for these writing assignments, I will attempt to be conscious of my rambling potential while maintaining what I believe to be a sufficient exploration of an answer to this prompt.

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Through-Lines, Journeys, Poetry, Reflection

surely i am able to write poems
celebrating grass and how the blue
in the sky can flow green or red
and the waters lean against the
chesapeake shore like a familiar
poems about nature and landscape
surely but whenever I begin
“the trees wave their knotted branches
and…            why
is there under that poem always
an other poem?
–Lucille Clifton

I have so many things that I want to say in this post. For those of you who do read, I thank you. I understand that there are a ton of these going up in this moment, which creates an interesting dynamic for a blog.

I want to take this opportunity to reflect on this semester through the course epigraph by Lucille Clifton. I see many different things in this poem that bring the course into view for me; almost like a reflecting pool where I can see myself at various stages of the semester. I’ll move through the poem as I move through the semester, traveling week by week and line by line simultaneously, unpacking my time in this course as I do so. Additionally, I’ll attempt to discuss the prevalence of a through line (which I believe is present in this poem) and, in closing, discuss GLOBE, or Geneseo Learning Outcomes for Baccalaureate Education,  and their discussion about the reflective process as it pertains to this assignment in particular.

Ready? Set? Go! Continue reading “Through-Lines, Journeys, Poetry, Reflection”

Keep the Drafts!

Over the course of the semester, I have grown to really like the concept of blogging. It has allowed me to get thoughts out and into print. I’ve thought through things that I otherwise would not have, gaining better clarity in my mind about challenging concepts. I’m thinking back to my past English courses and the approach of a few large papers worked on for the whole semester that reflects a large amount of your grade, with a focus on tiny details for points. I’ve had other courses with daily write ups, but none like this. There is something about the public nature of a blog, and the compositional tools at my disposal that allow me to be a bit more raw than those daily write ups for class I mentioned. I think that the practice of blogging can be rooted in our course concepts: making a quilt.

As this is my “last” blog post for a grade, I’m thinking about continuing the practice of writing my thoughts out at least once a week. If you all haven’t noticed, I certainly enjoy my pens and stationary, so I’ve thought about journaling in the past, which could be an outlet for me as well. Blogging, though, is public. I find the idea of putting content out there for others to read and think about to be exciting, that I could spur a discussion that otherwise would not take place. The approximate length of a blog post is excellent for me to explore a thought of this level, as I have now done eight times before on my own and once collaboratively. These past few posts have been about a similar theme in different contexts which is purposeful, not just me squeezing a similar idea into more posts so I can meet the deadline. It may be a both/and, but I’m really thinkING about the course concepts in preparation for the self reflective paper, which I have been preparing for during the entire semester. Continue reading “Keep the Drafts!”

White Psychology…and Course Concepts?

In some further reading suggested by Dr. McCoy one a prior post of mine, titled “Intellectual humility: the importance of knowing you might be wrong“, written by Brian Resnick, I found more engaging content than I could fit into my last post alone, so for those of you following what I write, consider this a continuation, but down a different road. The main thought striking me now about this article is this: in psychology, there are many who encounter evidence that disproves foundational psychological knowledge when those foundations are studied rigorously. Why are the psychologists responding with comments like this: “I will stand by that conclusion for the rest of my life, no matter what anyone says” when their research comes under scrutiny? My thought on course concepts pertain to Suzan-Lori Parks’ The America Play And Other Works and Ron Eglash’s African Fractals who discuss “repetition and revision” (8) and “fractals”(3)  respectively. These concepts relate to an idea of going back over what we already think we know to achieve a deeper understanding of the concept in greater detail, which I believe to be intellectually responsible. I think that the quoted psychologist, who isn’t named, could pick up a few beneficial notes from our class. As a note of caution to myself, though: I don’t know this psychologist, nor their study, nor the study that is proving them wrong, but I think the concept fits more than just a single case study. Continue reading “White Psychology…and Course Concepts?”

Learning Without Knowing It

My last post was about Big Machine, by Victor LaValle, and I had written about my experience reading the novel as one that is very different from past novels I’ve read in aspects related to plot, theme, and general timing of the release of information. You can read it here. The reply I got from Dr. McCoy with my grade for the post mentioned how the book calls back to some of our base course concepts, such as Snead, Eglash, Barkley Brown and Parks, to name a few. When I read this comment I felt like I was physically turned from the cave wall to the light, and this post is me walking fully out of the cave, so to speak (thanks to Plato for the Allegory of the Cave, by the way). Continue reading “Learning Without Knowing It”

One Dimension of How ‘Big Machine’ is Unique

As I progress further into this text, I am constantly left wondering why it is that our narrator, Ricky Rice, lets the reader in on information or narration at each moment that he does. Why does it take so long to discover certain aspects of his life or the lives of those around him? From an authoring standpoint, Victor LaValle is probably trying to keep his novel a real page-turner, almost impossible to put down because of that sense of wonderment and chaos (to great effect!) but why convey it through Ricky in this way? If we are meant to travel along his timeline with him, then why not begin with the story of the Washerwomen so that we understand what’s going through his mind as he doubts different things? I would still find the story gripping, if even those narrations were re-ordered, but at this point in the novel I believe that this text is treated more like gaining trust in a friend than gathering information to complete a plot. Continue reading “One Dimension of How ‘Big Machine’ is Unique”

WHY write a play? (Capitalization intended!)

I’ve been sitting on some thoughts for a week now from class discussion on 4/15 revolving around how the stage can be used in different ways. I am always fascinated by the ability that staged performances have to convey messages in an intimate way. The structure of a play itself is potentially limitless, but in a traditional setting we expect to go to watch other people give a performance of sorts, independent of the audience itself. For me, why would I go to a play instead of viewing a movie? After all, a movie truly acts independently of the audience! Perhaps its authenticity? Living in the moment? For me, the power of the staged play is its ability to interact, perhaps against the original desire of the audience members. The reality that living people are looking at the audience makes theatre potentially unsettling for the audience, but as Parks says in The America Play and Other Works in the section From Elements of Style, “Why does this thing I’m writing have to be a play?” (7). The intentional of choice to write a play for the artists creation should effectively make use of the unique tools in the toolbox of the theatre, namely personal connections to the audience (despite audience members still not expecting this!) Continue reading “WHY write a play? (Capitalization intended!)”

More on Thee / The (or THUH), and a Cross Cultural Look

I am continuously fascinated by the English language. I truly enjoy thinking about what the words I’m speaking mean on a deeper level, thinking about how language transcends time and human bodies, and how we speak these words differently based on all aspects of our setting. In class today, we scratched the surface of a discussion on the word “the” and its various pronunciations. In this post, I’ll dive deeper into that conversation, question why we do what we do when we speak, and look cross culturally to see what’s going on across the pond, so to speak. Continue reading “More on Thee / The (or THUH), and a Cross Cultural Look”