Memo to Self...

Thursday, September 27, 2001

Amer. Lit: We discussed Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Jean Toomer. The past coupla days we've been watching "Long Day's Journey Into the Night," which is FANTASTIC, so I haven't felt a need to Blog it. These notes are very disjointed, but essentially Hughes was an un-Modernist Modernist, McKay Modernist in themes but not in style, and Toomer in both themes and style. Toomer, BTW, writes VERY cool stuff.
Lesse what I can pluck out of this...our Prof. started to use some questions of Modernism to compare the three authors.
1. What to make of a diminished thing?
-Modernist sense that civ. was going down the tubes; take what exists and make something better out of it.
Hughes: uses a non-traditional form to change shape of poetry, bring to it a new rhythm and structure. Also proclaims justice on his side.
McKay: Shouldn't try to cover flaws, but look for what there is to love and value. Simultaneously hates treatment ofd him, but still finding a way to turn it to his advantage. Tradtional form for non-traditional ideas--rejection of the cultural monument of Shakespeare (since he uses a Shakespearian sonnet). Hatred-->personal strength.
Toomer: Fragmentation and connecting ideas. Cane's gone back looking for roots. Follows modernists in with fragmentation, moving towards a cultural wholeness and unity, drawing fragments up together. Blends literary forms very well.
2. How to make it "new"?
Hughes: Musical and speech aspect. Brings jazz into poetry.
Toomer: Images and fragments, all oddly imagist. Uses "voicelessness" as well. "Fern" exists as someone whose looked at, and she's never allowed to speak for herself. By the end, still important, but only wants to give to her something for himself. To make him feel more complete.
McKay: Attitude towards U.S.; using a very traditional verse form and takes over traditional language, grants that *authority* to his poetry.
4 (since we didn't answer some of them). How or where do we find meaning for our fragmented existence?
Hughes: Finds meaning in tomorrow, looks into the future to see hope for change, something to live for.
McKay: Fighting for the present to make the future.
Toomer: Finding life and the focused movements in fragments.

Writing Fiction: More plot stuff. Where does one get a plot from?
Borrow a plot from life--in this case, take the core of those instances and run free! and wild! with it.
Work backwards from climax--find your turning point, and then make up stuff that flows into it.
Work forward from an intial situation, which is what we've been working with. Start with a conflict, and then run it to the climax.

More Gardner--short story vs. novella vs novel.
Short story is 30,000 words or less. Novella is 30,000 to 50,000 words. Novel is, then, 50,000 words plus.
A short story is one single peak, one climax.
A novella has more conflict and a few more climaxes.
A novel is a sort of combination--more conflicts, but often one big climax and maybe a coupla smaller ones.
A novella is a tone poem, a novel is a symphony.

Epiphany (Joyce! My man, JOY-CE!): a moment of realization; large or small, it's a sudden moment of awareness, when all of a sudden, the light from heaven falls and either angels sing or devils cackle. It's like a light bulb being turned on. To quote the movie "Hook" about such things, "Lightning...has struck my brain." These are the "small" climaxes, or the antecedents to a climax. A character can either accept or reject their epiphany.

David Hartley and his psychology:
When two things are linked--say, chocolate and happiness--the next time chocolate comes up, it'll bring a murmur of happiness of some sort. First impressions are really important, and these connections feed on each other in the piece.

Spanish: This time, kiddies, we're gonna cover the PERFECT TENSES. These are all compound tenses with various forms of haber+past participle. First, a quick review of the past participle and its irregulars. These forms are used with both perfect tenses, and as adjectives. As adjectives, they correspond to number and gender, such as ventanas abiertas.
Formed with -ado or -ido:
If a participle is proceeded by the vowels a, e, o, then it gets an accent. If it's proceeded by u, it doesn't.
abrir--abierto volver--vuelto
cubrir--cubierto poner--puesto
escribir--escrito morir--muerto
romper--roto decir--dicho
ver--visto hacer--hecho

Now, for the PERFECT tense. First up: Present perfect. This is the present tense of haber + past participle (all of them use it):
he, has, ha, hemos, habéis, han
This corresponds in English to "have" or "has", dependent on person.
He comprado vejetales--I have bought veggies.
Has abierto las ventanas--She has opened the windows.
According to the book, it's used to express "recently completed past actions that still affect the present." This is nitpicky grammar, 'cause in Spain, they use it all the time. :)

Second: Pluscuamperfecto. This is imperfect haber plus participle:
había, habías, había, habíamos, habíais, habían.
This corresponds to "had," as does the Preterite form. This is the one that's used more, though. They use it for a past action finished before another action. "Ya" is very frequently used with this form.
Ellos ya habían comido cuando yo llamé.--They had already eaten when I called.
Ella ya había visto esa pelicula--She had already seen that movie.

Third: Preterite anterior. Pret. of haber + participle:
hube, hubiste, hubo, hubimos, hubisteis, hubieron.
This is used VERY rarely, and usually with "tan pronto como" (as soon as) to express temporal sorts of things with a verb in the pret.
Tan pronto como hubimos llegado empezó el programa.--As soon as we had arrived the program began.
Tan pronto como llegamos empezó el programa.--As soon as we arrived the program began.
It's a minute difference, really.

Fourth: Future perfect. Future of haber + particple.
habré, habrás, habrá, habremos, habréis, habrán.
Used to express a future action occuring before another future action, or to express probability, conjecture, doubt, like "probably" or "I wonder/suppose" in English.
Habremos preparado las maletas para mañana.--We will have packed the suitcases by tomorrow.
Ya habrán salido.--They have probably already gone out.

Fifth: Conditional perfect. Conditional of haber + participle.
habría, habrías, habría, habríamos, habríais, habrían.
Used to express what might have happened in the past if something else hadn't occured:
Yo les habría hablado, pero no los ví.--I would have talked to them, but I didn't see them.
Also, to express probability, conjecture, or doubt in the past:
Pensé que habrías ido a la playa.--I thought that you had probably gone to the beach.
Habría ganado Elisa el primer premio?--I wonder if Elisa would have won first prize?
Also, this tense is used with the pluscuamperfecto of the subjunctive in "si" clauses:
Si hubiera venido, lo habría visto.--If he had come, I would have seen him.

WHEW! Done with that!

Monday, September 24, 2001

There's something I have to get up here very quickly before I run over to Cavanaugh to study and study and study for my Japanese quiz. And this is just so I can review comparisons.

These are age, height, that sort of thing comparisons. Essentially, the formula for it is:

person wa person yori mo (comparison) desu.

For ex, to say "Mom is one year younger than Dad":
Okaasan wa otousan yori mo ichisai wakai desu.
It can also be said "Dad is older than Mom."
Otousan wa okaasan yori mo ue desu.

Some of the expressions that can be used around age are:
wakai=young, younger
toshishita=younger than
toshiue=older than
For other things:
To say something like, "Pam is shorter than Mom, but taller than Debbie":
Pamu wa okaasan yori mo hikui desu GA, Debbie yori mo takai desu.
To say someone is inbetween (as in, actually inbetween), this:
Debbie no se wa Arisu to Pamy no mannaka desu.
(In other words, Person's thing wa two compared people no mannaka desu.)

Spanish: Dios miyo, FINALLY getting around to blogging my Spanish stuff. For this entry, we have the FUTURE and CONDITIONAL tenses. Why? 'Cause they're formed in a very similar way, and use the same stems.
First of all, the normal endings:
Future: é, ás, á, emos, éis, án
Conditional: ía, ías, ía, íamos, ías, ían
These endings are the same for all three verb types. They're also added not to a certain stem ('cept for the irregulars) but the whole verb. So comprar in future and conditional is:
compraré, comprarás, comprará...
compraría, comprarías, compraría...
This makes pronouncing these verbs just right sometimes problematic.
And of course, the irregulars. Rather, the irregular stems. And surprisingly enough, neither ser, estar, ir, or dar are on this list. *wonder, wonder, wow!*
    Irregular stems for fut. and condit.
  • saldr(salir) vendr(venir) pondr (poner)
  • tendr(tener) podr(poder) valdr (valer)
  • habr(haber) sabr(saber) cabr(caber)
  • har(hacer) dir(decir) querr(querer)

Usos del futuro:
1. To indicate an action, state, or condition occuring after the present moment
Saldré para el aeropuerto dentro de una hora. (I'll leave for the airport within an hour.)
2. To express conjecture, probability, or doubt about an action, state, or condition, in the present or the future. The book says it's equivalent to "I wonder" or "I suppose," though there is a verb for the second. (Suponer)
Que hora será?--What time can it be?
3. It can also be used for commands or orders.
Escribirás la carta en seguida--You will write the letter.
4. There are actually three ways to express a future action. The first, and most students' favorite, is ir+a+infinite, or going to___ something, as in voy a caminar al parque--I'm going to walk to the park.
The second is with a verb in the present, if it follows some sort of time phrase Example: Mañana salgo para Japon.
The third is with the actual tense.

Usos del condicional
1. To express an idea in the future related to an idea in the past.
Él dijo que compraría las entradas.--He said that he would buy the theater tickets.
2. To express what would've have happened if something else hadn't occured. (much easier than it sounds.)
Iría contigo, pero no tengo tiempo.--I would've gone with you, but I didn't have time.
3. When using frases beginning with "si," the conditional is combined with the imperfect subjunctive.
Si Pepe llamara, hablaría con él.--If Pepe calls, I will talk with him.
4. To express probability, conjecture or doubt about a condition, state, or action in the PAST. PAST TENSE. PAST. :)
Serían las dos cuando él llegó.--It was probably two o'clock when he arrived.
5. Desear, poder, querer, and deber are used in the conditional to express courtesy.
Deberías visitar a tus abuelos.
6. They don't have this explicitly here, but the conditional is also used for "wishing." In essence, if asked a question like, "What would you do if you won the lottery?" you'd answer in conditional. It's something that would be in the future, but not likely to happen. "Gustar" is also a popular conditional verb--for example, "Me gustaría comer galletas ahora" (I would like to eat cookies now).
7. The book does note that students should check out the relationship between past and present. Here it is:
present <-> future
pret./imperfect <-> conditional