Thursday, December 09, 2004


I'm going to comment on Tristens website because it completely changed my point of view on a number of things. goes. I appreciate what he said about the war on terror. Up until recently, I have had a negative perspective on the issue. Now, due to the insight of one of my collegues, my own personal opinion that was craving for support, has been enlightened. I've never thought about the war in a Biblical sense. I do read the Bible a lot and it never occured to me that the angels, who were sent from God, created war to spread peace. It made me think that yes, we are doing the right thing in Iraq. Our buisness is their buisness because peace and harmony and the love of God should be granted to all people. The only way that we can achieve peace is to show we care about our freedom as a nation and people of this world. "Power" and "Greed" are roots of evil and I feel that if we can be an independant nation, it's important to show other countries the same. We can't sit back and let the evil things of this world corrupt us. We need to do something about it. This ties into what Nancy's paper topic was about. We need to take action and stop standing around. If no one shows what's right, the entire world will end up fighting against one another for one thing-Power. We aren't in Iraq to show that we are powerful, but we are there for human kind and to erase the evil corruption that has taken place and will expand if we don't do something about it.
On a lighter note, I appreciated what Tristen had to say about literary criticism. I too agree that it is a way to get to the next level of analysis. Now, I don't feel so dumb about saying something without having evidence to prove it. Now I know how to create that evidence to a different level and I "won't feel like someone with a personal opinion without a clue as to why I formed that opinion."
On the issue of abortion: I don't think it's relevant to the class. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but how far you take that opinion without the consideration of your audience in mind, is inconsiderate. I'm not going to say a lot about it because I think the topic has been touched on enough. I do know this-people should be aware of how material affects other people. You need to take your audiences feelings into consideration before you put pictures on the web-sometimes the extreme is not o.k.
With this being said-this has been one of my most precious classes in my college career. I have a deeper analysis of the world and am able to read "everything as a text." It has also changed my view in a more multiculturally. I'm going to leave you with a quote that reminds me why this class is so important. It's by Chris Cullinan, a Professor at Oregon Universtiy:

It is easy to see yourself in company with others like yourself. It is easy to believe by looking out your largest "windows" on the world, that everyone else has the same advantages you do. It is easy to igonore the little windows in the back of the house, and the voices that may intrude upon you from time to time, telling you that not everyone enjoys your panorama."
Thank you and have a wonderful year!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

MSU Bookmark

Making adjustments on the bookmark is difficult because their is no right or wrong opinion. However, we all are entitled to our own opinion and therefore I'm going to make a few comments on what I would like seen done with the bookmark. I've only read about a quarter of the books in MSU canon. So, it's hard for me to make drastic changes. I do have a couple suggestions though. First of all, I think that the Bible should be the number one book. Why do I think this? The Bible is the number one read book around the world. It teaches us how to "live the well lived life." The Bible and the word of God is my inspiration. He is the author of the world. Why shouldn't we put his word first? He is that is and he is his word. In addition, the majority of the authors always make reference to the Bible and feed off of it. It seems to me to be their number one influence, why shouldn't it be ours? Secondly, I think we should take "The Art of Memory" off the canon. First of all, I consider it more of a science book than anything. The only influence it has made in my life is that it has given me a short-cut to memorizing things. That's it. It has not influenced my view of the world, nor has it made me understand myself and others like a number of other authors have. I vote to take it off!

Group #5

As you all are aware of, I was part of group five. I played the characters of Poe, and Jane Tompkins. My group was in charge of psychoanalysis, pop-culture, romantics, and gender/sexualtiy. We decided to incorporate the "dating game" and Freud because it is pop-culture and Freud is all about psychoanalysis. The capitolone credit card scene and Ben's MSU top 100 books were both commercials to incorporate pop-culture as well. We decided to do Survivor because it involves a romantic atmosphere, which is prime for the romantic era. We decided to play various roles throughout the film . We were ourselves, our critics, and authors we never discussed in class like Poe. Let me just say this: working with all of my group members was great and I learned a lot from each of them. Great job guys!

How this class has influenced me

When I signed up for Dr. Sexson’s Literary Criticism course, the first thought that ran through my mind was, “Oh good, what am I getting myself into? How am I going to be a literary critic?” My second thought was, “Now I will be able to distinguish the difference between good literature and bad literature.” Now, having completed the course, I have found that my expectations of literary criticism have changed. This course has not taught me to decipher the good poets from the bad, but rather, it has taught me to accept literature for what it is and most importantly, it has taught me that there is no right or wrong way to create and evaluate literature.
Over the course, I have learned that it is difficult to compare and contrast one work from another because the value of a piece of work is accepted and responded to differently. Every author that we have covered from Plato to Derrida has influenced my way of thinking. I have agreed and disagreed with some of their ideas, but I have come to realize that the combination of all the critics has influenced my opinion tremendously.
When I first read T.S. Eliot’s Tradition and the Individual Talent, I agreed with the majority of what he had to say. A couple of weeks ago, I found myself reading it again. When I read it for the second time, I became critical of what he had to say. After a third reading, I became passionately angry with him. This passage by Eliot, despite the fact that I disagree with some of his ideas, has made me reach a revolution in my college career. I have discovered that there is no right or wrong way to rank the value of a piece of literature, and as a result I have chosen to write the majority of this paper in response to what he has to say.
Eliot claims, “We dwell with satisfaction upon the poet’s difference from his predecessors, especially his immediate predecessors. We endeavor to find something that can be isolated in order to be enjoyed.” I find this statement to be true. Each piece of work is different from the rest and its difference is the result of the author’s individual uniqueness. Each author’s style is the result of a combination of things: culture, family, childhood, acquaintances, influences etc…all influence the way an author writes. They write, as Eliot mentions, with “their own generation in [their] bones.” Because of these influences, each author’s experiences are dissimilar and as a result, the value of a piece of work should not be measured in comparison with prior works. An author and their work does not have to be compared and contrasted to traditional work in order to be valued and appreciated, but rather their creation should be valued for what it is and how it influences people individually. Therefore, judging a piece of work solely by comparison, oppresses its value.
Literary judgment, I have discovered, is not universal. It is a personal opinion. Since judgment is a personal opinion, it is impossible to say that a piece of work does or does not conform to the set standard. Moreover, a universal judgment, or ranking of a piece of work, is not valid because each critic, reader, scholar, etc…is influenced differently. Therefore, the standards that measure value are created in such a way that it oppresses our sense of evaluation and forces us to compare a piece of work to former pieces, which already contain a fixed value.
An author is aware of the “existing order” of prior works as Eliot mentions, but I do not agree that an author should be influenced by the “difficulties and responsibilities” (Eliot 1093) that have been set before them by prior authors. They should feel free to write without being manipulated with the standard. If they write without this constructed standard in mind, they will be writing from the heart. A work should be original and not created in order to seek the approval of critics.
I believe that originality is created through the expression of feelings and as William Wordsworth said, “poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.” Therefore, poetry, or literature is an expression of feelings-not an “escape”(Eliot 1097). An author is incapable of escaping emotion, because emotion and feeling is part of the foundation in which a piece of work is created. Without emotion and feeling, authors would lack motivation to write. Eliot states, “The emotion of art is impersonal” (Eliot 1098). The emotion of art is anything but impersonal, because emotion itself is personal. As we all know, emotion is un-escapable; therefore, any author who writes composes with emotion in their bones. Writing and spilling your guts on a sheet of paper is a surrender and sacrifice of yourself. Only when you do this can you take of your “straight jacket” (Tompkins ). Writing in the way in which we speak reveals the personal side of who we truly are.
Experience is the root of originality and as Eliot states, “The poet should operate upon the experience of the man himself.” Experience not only influences what an author writes, but it influences their audience as well. When I encounter an author who’s “experience’s line up with mine” as Jane Tompkins would say, I enjoy nothing more. Relating to an author in a personal way makes me crave what they have to say. I read further and further until I feel fulfilled. This fulfillment impacts my perception of the world around me. With this statement in mind, I asked myself a serious question, “Why does literary fulfillment impact my view of the world?”
I pondered on this question for some time and finally I came to the conclusion that literature fulfills me in many different ways. It fulfills me in that I know who I am, I can understand myself and others, and I can make wiser decisions. Literature has also taught me to value the opinions of others, because what they have to say may influence my life forever.

Individual Presentations

He believes that the statement "The only truth is that there is no truth" is contradictory and false.
Truth exists
"Poets are the legislatiors of the world" -Shelly
Viewed the Pepsi can as a poem because "everything is a text"-Derrida
We need to reform the educational system because 20-30 million people can't read or write
Literature can make us a better person. Wordsworth's "Ode to Mortality" helped him cope with his losses. He could also realte to Keats because poetry connects to us and the generation after us. Most of all, he was influenced by Hugh who believed the more we read, the closer we are to God-we should pick the berries from the page.
Literary criticism helps us lead a well lived life. We are consoled and find solitude in literature. It also allows us to see and understand the world differently. Language allows us to deconstruct and build it back up. Now, she can argue better and is more intelligent.
We learn how to interpret the world around us through mimetics. (Look at Walter Pater on pg 841). Romantics expressions are important and Wordsworths statement holds true "Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings"
Author and reader interaction is important. Without emotion, a work is dry. Passion effects the audience. He doesn't agree with deconstruction because all the facets aren't true. Likes Emerson because the "well lived life" should be focused on the individual and emotion. Man should always be pursuing power.
Reader response is the ultimate criticism. Angel treetoppers rather than star treetoppers because an Angel is more beautiful to look at . We shouldn't be afraid to write what we think.
How do we define Literary Criticism? People say what they want to see. What is the real news? How do we decide what a "well lived life is?" Jonathan Swift's "Modest Proposal" says, " the best way to deal with children is to eat them." Literary criticism shows us the bigger picture and different ways to understand the world around us.
What is a well lived life? Actions change your life and start caring about the world you live in. Literary criticism is life and is a criticism of life-it inspires.
Focused on three aspects that Lit. Crit. has taught her: 1) solving a problems 2) choosing an interpretation 3) how to judge
However, she points out that we should incorporate all interpretations in order to live a well lived life.
Attitude and personality is influenced by lit. crit.
Created a play based on Hitler to demonstrate the heiarchy system
A well lived life is having more understanding. All theories give us a better interpretation.
Ispired by a passage from the "English Patient". Words are powerful tools. Lit. crit. lets us express our beliefs on cultural diversity. We need to take a step back from rhetoric. What are we writing for? Look at individuals for inspiration. What matters is the experiences we have gained.
Objectivity and immersement. How do you know if an author is good if your not immersed in the material?
A well lived life is a well informed life. Reading contributes to our lives by offering us experience. There is no correct way to read a text. Walt Whitman "we are vast and contain multitudes." Reader response is the first level, but it's important to look at all levels of interpretation. We read for fullfillment.
Insired by the book "Lord of the Flies"

Group Presentations

Group One: deconstructinists, classical criticism, enlightenment
Presenting: Coffee Talk with Linda Richmond
*All critics encourage to look at the canon in a different way
-Butler-we should favor all sexualities
-Barthes-because the author is dead to the text, he wants Beowulf on the canon
-Hugh-wants the Bible as the canon
-Linda Richmond-wants the complete works of Barbra Strisann(sp?)
-Bhaba-the caonon represents society
-Peacock-no poetry! against construction and post modernism, we should go back to the classics, Uncle Tom's Cabin by Stowe should be in the canon
Group Four: New historisists, poetry, enlightenment, defense of criticism
Judge Judy
(sorry guys, I missed most of your presentation goofing around with the VCR)
Group six: Reader response theory, realism
I loved the personal touch of this group. Their personal interaction with the class made me appreciate what they said and made me listen closely. Now, I want to read Catcher in the Rye(don't laugh, yes, I haven't read it yet) and Crime and Punishment. Listening how their books influenced their lives made me appreciate literature more. Good job guys!
Group two: Feminists, drama, medieval theory, authorship
Jung-wanted feminism included in the play
Tristen-pretended to be a woman
Amanda-represented medieval times
(That's all I remember-sorry I didn't take very good notes)
Group three: novel, reniassance, body
I enjoyed this presentation as well. I though incorporating the Christmas Carol was a marvelous idea. The idea of the combination of all the critics we have discussed is what influences us the most and helps us make wise choices in life. Good job guys!
Overall, I loved all of the presentations. Sorry I didn't have through notes on all of them.