“Metaphor is Hard Science” by Valerie Prince

As we are listening to the This American Life episode “Toxie” during class, and as I’ve asked you to attend to all the literary concepts roiling and churning through the episode, I invite you to read Dr. Valerie Prince’s brief but important essay “Metaphor is Hard Science.”

A key passage:

Rather than standing around with its lip poked out insisting upon its continued relevance in an increasingly diverse and divergent society, the humanities should orient its curriculum around the study of metaphor. After all, metaphor is central to human cognition. The cognitive psychologists know it. So do advertisement agencies. Folks who are working on prosthetic devices, drones, and robotics rely on metaphorical thinking for innovation. Economists, politicians, information technologists— it seems everyone except the ones specializing in language usage appreciate the value of a good metaphor. And when I say “value” here, I’m not merely being metaphorical. Most of us English majors received that old adage, “You don’t study English for the money” as a virtue. There is a lot of virtue in the study of literary artistry. English majors find benefit in decoding messages, articulating meaning, admiring beauty, balancing design. Metaphor is one, albeit significant, literary device studied among many,treated as an ornamental embellishment that helps us use language to demonstrate wit and craft. The rest of the world— those who majored in finance, physics, biotech fields, for instance — see a good metaphor and know how to turn it into profit.

Continue reading ““Metaphor is Hard Science” by Valerie Prince”

An intro of sorts

*A brief note:  my intention is to have two main sections to my essay–what I have posted here is the introduction to the first section.  In my final draft, something will definitely come before the summary paragraph (which currently is the first paragraph) but I thought that would be much easier to write once I have everything worked out.  I’m planning to have a complete draft of the first section done within the next two weeks.  I have a good chunk of it done now, but at the completion of a draft I usually discover a much more logical way to organize the essay, so I’d prefer to present the body of this section in one large chunk to avoid any overly disjointed, incoherent writing.   I also expect this section to change quite a bit by the end, as introductions usually do.

I.The Devil in Silver chronicles Pepper’s stay at New Hyde Mental Hospital, a horrendously underfunded psych unit that is home to a monster that the patients call the Devil; the Devil, a patient by the name of Mr. Visserplein, lives at the end of Northwest 4, a hallway of New Hyde, behind the silver door.  The Continue reading “An intro of sorts”

Why 13 Siblings in the Turner House?

As I was reading the turner house, something that I wondered was why Angela Flournoy decides to include 13 Turner siblings in the novel, when only about 3 of them are heavily focused on and given a POV. Why have a family composed of so many siblings when some aren’t even accounted for?  Did Flournoy just want to show the dynamics of a big family, or was she trying to get at something deeper?  When I tried to answer this question in class, I said that perhaps Flournoy was trying to show that when you have such a large family, with so many stories to be told, some are “naturally” left out.  Beth compared this to picking up a large pile of leaves, where some leaves are naturally going to fall out of ones grasp.  However, my assertion that leaving out most of the siblings stories was a natural process was questioned.  Someone in class (sorry I am forgetting who!) pointed out that this is not really natural at all but very intentional.  This made me question my initial assertion, and look deeper into the stories that are not being told in this novel. Continue reading “Why 13 Siblings in the Turner House?”

Birth Order and The Turner House

Birth order has always been a very intriguing topic to me, mainly because I see myself fitting very nicely in the trope of “oldest child.” In my youth, and still today, like to keep myself busy by being involved in a myriad of activities and clubs, I’m loud, bossy, and like to be the center of attention. My younger sister, the middle child, fits her prescribed path as well: she often feels as though she is “forgotten” and is much quieter and more reserved (my mother says this is because I did all the talking for her). As for my brother, the stereotypical “youngest child,” he is just as free-willed and spoiled as you might imagine.   Continue reading “Birth Order and The Turner House”

Alpha’s Question (Delayed)

**I mis-entered my password too many times, so the blog locked me out.. but I’m back!

Blog Post:

“Although our learnings in this course have given us further insight into wall street ventures that most of us were not aware of in the past, crooked dealings by the 1% that have a huge trickling effect on the ‘real economy’ have always been hinted towards (very frequently by Bernie Sanders). With that being said, why did it take a required reading for us to finally dive into these issues? What was holding us back?”


So I’ve watched a lot of Scandal recently. Yes, the ABC network drama in it’s sixth season, that Scandal.  For those of you who have not yet religiously binge watched dozens of episodes, it’s a show starring Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, a high powered woman who knows all the Washington D.C. insider secrets, and uses them to “fix problems.” She takes on high profile clients, and helps them work around the legal system of the U.S. and work the media outlets, sometimes taking advantage of those who don’t know as much so that justice, or at least her interpretation of justice, can prevail.

When I was thinking about Alpha’s questions, I thought about it in two ways: 1. Why didn’t society as a whole dive into the issues of the financial world? 2. Why didn’t I, as an individual look into these issues? (Thank you to Jes during our group discussion in class for putting what I was vaguely thinking into concrete words).  My reasoning for both interpretations of the question stem from the same place. We aren’t concerned about things that don’t involve us on an individual level; we place a certain amount of faith in those who are making the decisions and setting the rules when it comes to things we don’t entirely understand. Prior to the stock market crash of 2009, not many people were affected by the actions of “the 1%.”   Continue reading “Alpha’s Question (Delayed)”

King Lear, “How to Harvest a Migrant Worker”, and Batteries

During the lecture on Friday, we discussed our readings of King Lear and The Big Short, by Micheal Lewis, and discussed how we could compare elements of the books and there representations of power to that of how modern society uses batteries.

I do not know much about how batteries work, but I’ve been thinking about how people use batteries everyday and for many uses, and once the batteries are drained, they are disposed of, normally without any thought of it’s environmental impact. We extract it’s energy, and then get rid of it.

There are obvious parallels we can look at when lending “batteries” as metaphors for actual people; King Lear gives away all of his power and is thrown out into the elements, and Wall Street gives away adjustable rate mortgages to impoverished immigrants as they present themselves as an easy target. There is little-to-no thought put into the future of these people by their benefactors; Roach writes in Echoes in the Bone that “violence is the performance of waste.” (Roach, 41), and, oddly enough, thinking about batteries has helped me analyze that quote a little more.

It will be interesting to see how environmentalism will tie into future readings; the transfer of power within the texts have shown that there is frequently little thought put into the future of their actions, and I can see the housing crisis possibly be a model of what happens when issues are left unregulated and ignored, for example, climate change, or capitalism as we know it.

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.

Continue reading “Scatological Language in The Big Short”

“$100 Million- Gets Thrown Around Like it’s Three-Digits Instead of Nine”

During my group discussion today in class, we talked about the fictionalization of the people discussed in this book and how they were more character-like than real people. We found this to be a present theme in our reading of The Big Short so far. Continue reading ““$100 Million- Gets Thrown Around Like it’s Three-Digits Instead of Nine””

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?

Continue reading “Meaninglessness; Inside and Out”