Memo to Self...

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

Back, and will be here for awhile. ~_~ (and it's COLD in here...)

American Lit: Our last day of T.S. Eliot! Oh, I cry...almost. I've come to really like and respect his poetry this past couple of classes, and I really do want to read more. We also got to hear a partial reading of the poem today by Eliot (on tape), and spiffy it was. But onto notes...

  • One of Eliot's subtler themes is the beauty around people that they don't see. This is not so much apparent in this poem, but it does show up in some poems.
  • Another juxtaposition: in the "Game of Chess," Queen Elizabeth and her lover are placed alongside the typist and her lover. This shows how much both of these characters have no real regard for those that they're sleeping with, though the image of QE's lover is much happier than the typist. Another example of Eliot bringing something into the present and showing how distorted it is.
  • There are some images of order in the poem. The game of chess, for one. The bar scene is another, but the bigger figure in that scene (and in the section "A Game of Chess") is time. The fact that time orders our lives is shown in the ageing of the characters in AGoC, and the strict rules of the bar in Britain (the bartender ordering everyone out at a specific time). Time and chess are both imposed orders on essentially chaotic systems.
  • This part is kinda disjointed, but in the section "What the Thunder Said," the DA-DA-DA lines break the poem into sections on Sympathy, Self-Control, and Compassion...though not in that order. The key mentioned later is the ability to think beyond or outside ourselves.
  • In review of some of the aspects of the poem, there's fragmentation/the feeling of collage (in which Eliot pulls bits and pieces of things he knows and stitches them together to create a whole). The allusions he uses are part of this, as well as giving the poem an additional layer of meaning. The poem has quite a surreal quality to it, in part created by his use of collage. There's also no one consistent speaker all throughout the poem, BUT there is a unitary voice that comes through in fragmented pieces, which works for the transistional nature of the poem. Lastly, the main activity in the poem is construction, or just before construction. Everything has fallen to pieces BUT there is the possibility of rebuilding.

Just in general, Eliot is fascinated by moments that can be both Birth and Death, beginning and ending, especially if it's not immediately clear what the difference is. This appears more in "Journey of the Magi."
Also, the Eliot estate apparently charges huge sums of money to print lines of his poetry. I like this NOT.

Writing Fiction: Discussed more about the Gardner book, techniques to use, and all that. Reviewed "be" verbs, so I'll list those real quick:am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been, had, have, has. These act as equal signs in sentences. The rest of the stuff, we just discussed the story and how to vary sentence structure.

LPG class: Talked about just a couple of things (that I got notes on.)

  • There are three sorts of classifcations linguists use when talking about conversation. The most general is the speech situation, which is anytime language is used within an activity. The next specific is speech event, which is a conversation within the speech situation. Last is a speech act, which is a particular use of language for a particular purpose.
  • Direct speech acts vs. indirect speech acts.

    • Direct speech acts are when the form and function of the speech are in harmony, when the intent of the speaker matches the grammatical form of the phrase. Imperatives and casual speech are in this category.
    • Indirect speech acts are when the form and function are not in harmony, and the intent of the speaker does not synch up with their grammar. These speech acts are considered more polite.

I'm gonna stop here, as I will have to go soon. Jya!