While I would like this blog post to be able to clarify some of my ramblings from yesterday’s class, I can tell you right now that it is not going to. However, instead of using this space to fall into linguistic/philosophical problems which I do not have the tools to eloquently handle, I’m going to focus on one small—and violent—word; “need.” Continue reading “You “Need” To Read This”
King Lear, Rap Music and Talking to Ghosts
“…by the sacred radiance of the sun, the [mysteries] of Hecate and the night…From whom we do exist and cease to be, Here I disclaim all my paternal care…”
The above quote is spoken by King Lear in the first Scene of King Lear when he disclaims Cordelia. In one of our first classes Dr. McCoy said something about how the name “Katrina” held a violent history. I did some research into the origin of the name “Katrina” and apparently it comes from the name “Katherine.” The etymology of “Katherine” is debated but a couple of the possible etymologies directly adhere to violence. One of the possible origins is the Greek word for torture; “aikia.” Katherine was also the name “borne by a semi-legendary 4th-century saint and martyr from Alexandria who was tortured on a spiked wheel.”
However, I also noticed that the name is thought to have possibly derived from the name of the goddess Hecate. Apparently Hecate was “a goddess associated with witchcraft, crossroads, tombs, demons, and the underworld.” Continue reading “King Lear, Rap Music and Talking to Ghosts”
Meaninglessness; Inside and Out
Insecurity, invagination, in and out of doors, outdoors, property, maps; we have already discussed many topics in a short amount of class time. So many topics that it has already become both easy to find something to write about and difficult to keep a post within the extension of the word “comprehensible.” And in a sense that’s what I want to talk about; the term “extension.”
The word extension has a list of definitions but the one I want to focus on is the one that is used in the discipline of Logic: “The range of a term or concept as measured by the objects which it denotes or contains.” Okay, so what does this have to do with anything?
Choice and the Number Eight
In A Mercy, Jacob Vaark wants to build his house on a hill. The dream of a house on a hill is similar to the dream of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and John Winthrop’s idea of a City Upon A Hill (1630). I bring this up to draw attention to the fact that this colony was made up of Puritans who had come to the New World to be a “model of Christian charity” for the eyes of the world. Continue reading “Choice and the Number Eight”
Just Make It Go Away
Here is something that should be acknowledged; we made national news. A swastika was painted on a dorm hall with the word “Trump.” Look, Time mentions us.
These kind of acts have increased since the election and they have been met with social outrage. I’ll come back to this. Continue reading “Just Make It Go Away”
The Yonic and the Phallic
Thanks to the texts I’m reading this semester—specifically Pynchon and Yeats—I’ve had to pay more attention to phallic imagery than ever before. I started to pick up on some of this imagery in Toni Morrison’s Jazz, but I also noticed another kind of imagery, one that I didn’t immediately have a word for. I began to wonder what the female equivalent was of “phallic.” I expressed this curiosity to Brianne and she beat me to the Google-search-bar, sending me a few different links to websites discussing this exact topic. It seems that the choices we’re given are either the word “yonic” or “yoni” which originates in Sanskrit, or the currently more common word “vulvic.” Continue reading “The Yonic and the Phallic”
“Expectations” for Morrison’s Novel “Jazz”
Okay, I wanted to make a post before I started reading Jazz. It has taken slightly longer to write than I thought it would and most of that time was spent on making it coherent. I want to try and talk about “expectations” for Toni Morrison’s novel. I put the word “expectations” into scare quotes because I want to make it clear that I am referring to the definition, “A strong belief that something will happen or be the case” and not “A belief that someone will or should achieve something” (my italics). This post is going to be about some things that I think might happen in the book, not plot wise (by which I mean I’m not going to talk about the plot, but the ideas I’m going to present could still manifest in the plot), but more along the lines of the novel’s form and structure. It’s probably even more accurate to say that I’m not going to talk about thing that I believe are going to happen, but things that I’m going to pay specific attention to throughout my reading. I’ve never read the book before, so I’m drawing these “expectations” from the Morrison books we have read so far, some scholarly articles I’ve read for Dr. McCoy in the past, and my very limited understanding of Jazz Music. Continue reading ““Expectations” for Morrison’s Novel “Jazz””
The Name Game
Names in Toni Morrison’s A Mercy play an interesting role. We have already discussed in class and on the blog the name Patrician, the absence of a name for the Blacksmith, and the name Messalina/Lina. I’ve grown to enjoy finding etymologies for words, and if an author pays attention to names, as Morrison clearly does, then looking for meanings behind names can be equally fun, if not insightful.
A few disclaimers though, well, more like a disclaimer, a personal rule, and an acknowledgment. First, if I mention something that someone in our class has already pointed out and I don’t attribute it to that person then please let me know so I can promptly fix the offense. Second, I didn’t use any online or textual A Mercy guides or articles for this blog post. I don’t think there is anything wrong with using someone else’s research if you acknowledge it, but this removes some of the fun and it may be limiting if you don’t search beyond it. Lastly, sometimes the name game can be taken “too far” and the interpretations can begin to become less insightful and less pertinent. Our class is full of English majors, so I’m sure this gray area of interpretation is not too strange to any of you, but it seems particularly common in the name game. Anyway… Continue reading “The Name Game”
“It is always now”
Emily’s blog post noted a quote from Africans in America: America’s Journey Through Slavery. The quote, “Slavery is Indeed an American institution” is something that I haven’t stopped turning over in my head. At first the statement may seem a little shortsighted when you realize that other European countries, including Britain, had been participating in the slave trade. However, when you look at the definition of the word “institution,” the truth of the statement becomes more evident. The online O.E.D has multiple definitions for “institution,” but the one I’d like to draw attention to is, “An established official organization having an important role in the life of a country, such as a bank, church, or legislature.” This seems important to me, especially the phrase, “important role in the life of a country.” When looked at in the context of slavery, this definition has a special, contemporary pertinence. Continue reading ““It is always now””
Semiotics and Visual Literacy
Semiotics. A subject that I am not very well read in but am trying to learn more about in my spare time. Why do I bring it up? Because I found it useful to think about in our first reading of Morrison’s A Mercy, and it connects to the Davis/Morrison video that Dr. McCoy posted. In the video (which, if I’m being honest, I have only watched the first twenty minutes of) Morrison discusses the “power of reading and of course understanding the meaning of what one reads and what I like to think of as visual literacy.” This “power of reading” and “visual literacy” can be understood as another phrasing, or maybe a more specific type of Semiotics. Continue reading “Semiotics and Visual Literacy”