As Lizzie said in her post, I too thought the emphasis on brows in the latest reading from Dante was interesting considering how brows have become such an important part of beauty in recent years. But, like Lizzie, I’m unsure how this will connect with Morrison’s Paradise, if at all.
Because I am really into makeup, I’m very intrigued by how easy it is to change your appearance depending on your eyebrows– if they’re thick and full or very thin, it really does make a difference. It was funny how Dr. McCoy “challenged” us to pay attention to others’ eyebrows because I do that anyway. I’m not sure if this is because I have a passion for makeup or if I just notice little things.
It’s interesting that eyebrows can be seen as a form of expression. I’d never thought of it that way but when you look in the mirror and make faces at yourself, how often do your eyebrows give away what emotion you’re feeling? Many people furrow their brow in concentration or raise them when they’re surprised. So what does it mean that a few years ago the trend was to shave your brows? Without eyebrows, would it be harder to tell how someone’s feeling? This seems like a silly question but I really am curious, and this might be even sillier, but for some reason I thought of Britney Spears shaving her head during her famous breakdown.
Allow me to preface this post by mentioning that is was mostly inspired by Alpha’s post from last week, “Humanities for the Hood,” where he discussed Morrison’s purpose in writing alongside Dante.
Reading Dante beside Morrison has focused my attention on the collaborative nature of writing. As I discovered connections between Morrison and Dante, I was reminded of the Ted Talk “Creativity is a Remix” by Kirby Ferguson. At risk of turning this blog into a Ted Talk repository, I’ve embedded the video below. Ferguson posits that essentially no art is original, in the sense that all art is in conversation with other art. Ferguson focuses on music in his talk, but I think the same applies to writing, more or less. The video also discusses “ownership” of creative works.
On Wednesday, Dr. McCoy challenged the class to take notice of their eyebrows, as well as the eyebrows of others. It’s pretty amazing to think about what something so seemingly insignificant can say about someone’s personality, and it is even more powerful to think about how eyebrows can also shape an outsider’s view of a person. I also find it curious that we are focusing on eyebrows and their significance in both Dante and Morrison, given that brows have become much more of a point of conversation in recent media. There is a new trend of having much thicker, darker, and sculpted brows than was the trend when I was younger. Though I have yet to “make meaning” from this focus on eyebrows, I found an interesting article that talks about the evolving symbolism of eyebrows throughout history, and I look forward to seeing if there is any overlap with Dante or Morrison’s works!
“The love-hate relationship brow aficionados have with their facial hair often has roots in the eyebrow’s most important job (beyond conveying emotion): silently sharing cultural and group affiliations, whether realized or not. Just like clothes and accessories, eyebrows are another way of shaping the impression of our social standing.”
I found it interesting in Paradiso how Dante uses a white rose to symbolize the highest “level” of Paradise where the most blessed reside. It struck me at first as an odd comparison because, at least in my experiences, white roses tend to be “funeral roses” associated with death and loss. After making this connection, I decided to do some quick research on exactly why white rose appear at funerals. Continue reading “Rose Color Significance”
I don’t have anything particularly insightful to say about this, but I find it fascinating how many different ways Dante’s text is used.
A question I have had early on in our class is why Toni Morrison chose Dante’s trilogy to frame and play with in at least three of her novels. I read Dante in HUM I like everyone else. I thought the text was fascinating and rich, and I can see the value of studying it, and I have a great respect for the scholarship surrounding it. Yet, the moral, and perhaps anachronistic, implications of the poem are troubling for me. What struck me most, in the negative way, was how Dante put his father figure/teacher/mentor Brunetto Latini in a relatively deep level of hell for being a “sodomite. Continue reading ““Subverting” and Repurposing Dante”
In Dante’s Divine Comedy, specifically Paradiso, the reader joins the Pilgrim on a tour of heaven. At the beginning of this reading period in our class, Dr. McCoy alerted us to keep an eye out for the Muses. This is something that I have been attentive to, as a result, and after doing a bit of research and further reading, I noticed that Dante creates a balance and mixture of different faith traditions in his Commedia. We can see allusions to the Greek tradition (including Homer and, especially, Virgil), Judaism, and Christianity. As Mark Musa notes in his paratext to Canto XX, the six souls that compose the eye of the eagle the Pilgrim sees are two Jews, two pagans, and two Christians (243). This means that in Dante’s Paradiso, those of varying faiths are present and not condemned to the Inferno. This is a rather accepting stance in comparison with other historical literature. What kind of implications, then, are there for having this religious diversity in what seems to be a Christian Hell and Heaven? Continue reading “The Muses and Finding Wisdom”
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”
We have been talking a lot about how Dante is constantly romanticizing Beatrice, constantly proclaiming his love for her. A great example of this occurs pages 213-214 when Dante says:
“Those loving words made me turn round to face/ my Solace. What love within her holy eyes/ I just saw then–too much to be retold.”
Dante calls Beatrice his “solace” defined by dictionary.com as: “something that gives comfort, consolation, or relief.” Therefore, Beatrice allows Dante to feel calm. While looking up this definition, I notices that the stress for the word “solace” is at the beginning of the word: sol-is. Continue reading “Meter in Paradiso – Emphasis on the _____?”