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?”

Good Writing and Trust

As Dr. McCoy pointed out a couple classes ago, we all started to read The Turner House with expectations. For me, a lot of my expectations for the novel were framed by the fact that we’re reading this in a college course and plenty of news outlets had named it the best book of the year. However, pretty much all of my expectations were thwarted, and, sadly, not in a good way. Continue reading “Good Writing and Trust”

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)”

Recontextualizing Water And Cyclical Rebirth in T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland”

In class last Friday, we ended our discussion on the language of water metaphors in finance by looking at common symbolic associations of water in literature, including the use of water to evoke symbolism of purity, vitality and renewal. We then touched on texts that aim to recontextualize the symbolic association connecting “water” to “purity,” and I mentioned T.S. Eliot’s modernist poem “The Wasteland” as a central modernist poem that invokes water imagery to highlight the growing accumulation of decay and disintegration in Modernist Europe.

Eliot plays with water imagery throughout the poem, but his most telling use of water imagery occurs in Part III of the poem, ironically titled “The Fire Sermon.” According to the footnote for the phrase “Fire Sermon” in my copy of “The Wasteland,”  “The Buddha preached the Fire Sermon against the fires of lust and other passions that destroy people and prevent their regeneration.” Here, the Bhudda’s cautions of excessive lust and passions that prevent “regeneration” serve as a stark foreshadowing of the remainder of the section, which explores devastation in modern London. Eliot suggests, then, that the West perpetuates a state of crisis in modernity, a commentary reinforced by his evocation of Eastern ideals pitted against Western gluttony. 

Continue reading “Recontextualizing Water And Cyclical Rebirth in T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland””

Cha-Cha’s Ghost and the “Big Room”

I thought Alpha’s questions for Monday’s (2/27) discussion were good things to explore. I especially had interest in the idea of Cha-Cha’s concern about the ghost “running him out of the room” because this was something I had subconsciously wondered myself, and I was curious to see where this would go in the conversation. Hearing this question put into words brought my attention back to a seemingly small detail I found interesting. Why is he more worried about being pulled out of the room than of being injured (or perhaps killed)? Continue reading “Cha-Cha’s Ghost and the “Big Room””

The Exclusivity of Language

Google defines “doublespeak” as “deliberately euphemistic, ambiguous, or obscure language.” I want to open up with this term because I am well-aware that there is some language used in the real estate business that is not only inaccessible to the people the realty agents sell to, but some of it is very deliberately misleading. There is plenty of discipline-specific terminology used in many varying fields, but not every field has any built-in need to deceive people. Continue reading “The Exclusivity of Language”

Testimony, Complacency, and the Ethics of Belief

In our last few classes, I noticed that topics in social epistemology—one of my pet interests—have been permeating our discussions about the Housing Crisis and The Big Short. Epistemology is the theory of knowledge and broadly concerns questions related to belief, justification, and knowledge. Social epistemology is concerned with the ways in which various social forces and systems affect knowledge, justification, and belief. Whether I trust what you say might depend on how I view you or how important it is that I have entirely accurate information, how teachers interact with you might depend on your gender (and race, and class), how doctors evaluate your pain might depend on your race (or gender), and whether I follow your orders might depend on whether you can give me something I need (e.g., a job). I have some ideas about the convergence of social epistemology and the issues we’ve been discussing, but I hoped to introduce the concepts and issues associated with testimony and the ethics of belief as we continue through the course. Continue reading “Testimony, Complacency, and the Ethics of Belief”

Interview with a Vampire (/My Dad)

Yesterday it occurred to me that my family actually bought a house during the crisis, sometime around May 2008. (We don’t actually live in that house anymore.) I was around twelve when we moved into that house, and I don’t recall ever hearing about financial difficulties within our family or struggles regarding the house; we actually made a number of improvements to the house, painting it, putting new floors in, new counters, etc. I don’t think I even knew there was an economic crisis going on. Thinking about it today, I wondered why my family was so unaffected by the crisis, so I called my dad to ask him about it. Continue reading “Interview with a Vampire (/My Dad)”

Wall Street and Stereotypes

As I was discussing the fictional elements of “The Big Short” in a small group, my group talked a lot about how many of the characters in the story are presented as “quirky”, not like how we would imagine someone on Wall Street to be like.  For example, Michael Lewis repeatedly mentions how Steve Eisman, one of the major players in the story is “atypical” when compared to the usual characters of Wall Street.   Continue reading “Wall Street and Stereotypes”