Memo to Self...

Monday, September 17, 2001

I have lots of stuff to post because I didn't get around to much Blogging this weekend. I actually need to go back and add some notes, too, at least to last Tuesday's blog.
Sooo, here goes!

American Lit: More discussion of Eliot and his Waste(land). I came into class late because I was preparing some stuff down the hall in the computer lab for my next class. The Prof was okay with it, 'cause I snuck in like a late student should. (Seriously, she was all right 'cause I didn't disturb her lecture when I entered the class. I'll try not to make it a habit though.)
Motto for this section: Poems of an earlier age might be monuments or portraits. Those of the Modernists are experiences of what is still, and still moving. Fitting, IMO.
As we go on, our discussions of the material become much less concrete. Which jives very well with the poem (I keep wanting to call it "Wastey"...*grrr*), since as it moves into section five, things become surreal and unreal and rather grotesque. This is where the climax should be building, really doesn't.
The three river daughters of the Thames who speak in section III come from the old Norse myths about the three river daughters of the Rhine. However, everytime Eliot brings the past into the present, there's something wrong with it. The Rhine daughters sing of the beauty of their river. The Thames daughters sing of the ugliness and pollution in theirs.
Eliot uses something called a "metaphysical conceit," which is borrowed from the metaphysical poets. Essentially, they liked to bring two dissimiliar things together and show how alike they were. Pretty spiffy, but it makes Eliot seem contradictory.
Eliot also uses a bunch o' specific images to convey his mood, such as dryness, broken things, disconnected or dead people. He also uses the opposing forces of fire and water and their own internal conflict (of sorts. Elements can't really be conflicted, I guess) for different parts of the poem. For example, in Section Two, fire is used in its good sense--to bring light and heat, warm and joy. Yet later on in "The Fire Sermon," fire is used to represent sin, passion, liscentiousness, obsessions--the fires of Hell. The theme of sight-vision needs the light of fire, but if it grows too big it'll burn the eyes out. (eeegh, creeepy.)
More than fire, though, water is represented in its duel form. Water kills both Phlebas and the Fisher King, yet is instrumental and NEEDED for the land's salvation and renewal. Water that kills but saves, fire that burns but helps. Both of these act as bridges.
Tiresias is another bridge figure: sight and sightless, man and woman, a character in the poem yet not a character, living even when dead.

Writing Fiction: Discussed character and ways to define them.

    Five Ways of Characterization
  • Indirect Characterization: Also called "authorial interpretation." Used in fairy tales and similar tales; detached from reader, not drawn in. "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" is a good example of this.
  • Direct characterization:when a person directly characterizes themself.

    • Appearance
      > these two are obvious, and go together
    • Action
    • Speech--summarized, indirect thought, dialogue
    • Thought--summary, indirect thought, direct interior monologue.

That's it for now. Spanish and Japanese notes this evening. 'Til then, jya!