Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Modern Women

Reporting on the Lives of Women (Appendix F)during the time in which House of Mirth was written was very eye-opening to me. It's easy to read the novel and think about how bizarre and sad Lily's life and behaviors were and to write it off as just a story. But realizing that Edith Wharton's purpose in writting the book was to satirically comment on actual women and behaviors present in that time, makes it much more incredible. It's so sad to me to think that women lived with their only goal being to get married and find a rich husband who can support them.

Then I realized that I large percentage of today's women only live with the goal in mind to marry rich. I hear people all the time saying their financial plan is to marry a rich man. While most of this is joking, it is obviously routed in a very true practice, and there is some subconscious truth in it. Many women are perfectly happy having their husbands "bring home the bacon" while they stay at home and raise the children. Their is nothing necessarily wrong with this, but it does show that maybe we are not so far from Lily Bart than we think.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

journal response

Puddn'head Wilson, written by Mark Twain, is often included on the list of great and classic novels. Robert A. Wiggins disagrees. His article "A Literary Caesarean Operation" describes a novel that is shallow, poorly developed and lacking from an author that can do better. Twain proved himself, according to Wiggins, in Huckleberry Finn with his well-developed characters and their relationships. In comparison to PUddn'head Wilson. Wiggins finds the actors and story flaawed. He found the philosophy and racial commentary intriguing, but the execution seems disjointed and pieced together. This is probably because Twain ended up deviating from his original plot focuz on the "Extraordinary Twins"; however Wiggins does not accept this as an excuse. He finds areas of inconsistency in Twain's conclusion. Through Tom Driscoll, Twain makes the statement that "blood is thicker than water" (Wiggins 183). In direct opposition is Valet de 'Chambre who cannot live as a white man even when he discovered his blood-line, because he was raised as a black man. Wiggins' makes an illuminating analysis of the novel and concludes that Puddn'head Wilson is a poorly compromised novel that barely brushes the surface of its intriguing theme.

Although Wiggins' arguments are very logical and make sense, I disagree with him. I think that Twain is a brilliant author and proved it with his writing of Huckleberry Finn, but that Puddn'head Wilson exemplifies it even more. Twain showed his depth in Huck Finn and I therefore believe that he was just as purposeful with Puddn'head Wilson. IF there were inconsistencies in the social commentary, then it was put there for a reason. Like Wiggins, I noticed the contradicting ending with Tom and Chambers. But rather than Twain declaring one all-encompassing answer to the nature-nurture debate, which is what Wiggins seems to think he ewas trying to do, I believe he was showing the absurdities with placing emphasis on skin color. The tragic circumstances in the novel lead the audience to feel sorry for both boys mixed up in the race mess, and the conclusion is perfect to make a stand against prejudice and racial profiling.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I really enjoyed seeing my first "silent film" today. It was hard for me to take it seriously though, because I was constantly reminded of cartoons. The old Loony-Tunes where the picture fades out or gets smaller reminded me of the way the screen blacked out to put emphasis on one character. To add to the cartoon feel, the actors over-played their actions and showed dramatic emotion on their faces that we do not see in modern film, or in real life. For example, the scene at the wedding when the couple was looking at their gifts and the guests were standing around was very funny. It was at a slightly faster speed than real-life and when the man started spanking the children it added to it. However funny and odd it seemed at first, the dramatic actors played the parts well and for a good reason. With no sound, they have to portray the film somehow and the only way they can is through their expressions. Once I got used to it, it was actually very dark, sad and ominous.