Sunday, February 26, 2012
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Sunday, February 19, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
American Literature 1865-present
Journal entry #4
Stephen Crane’s “Maggie; a girl of the streets.”
It’s easy for me to see why this piece by Crane is acclaimed as the premier piece in the move from romanticism to realism/naturalism.
While he may have embellished somewhat, the details in this story of life in a tenement, rife with poverty, in the Bowery of New York City, he makes it believable at the same time. Could such a scenario exist in real life? I think so; although I’m not sure the extreme naiveté of Maggie is quite believable. Anyone subject to the constant mental and physical abuse to which she was and who can come away seemingly unaffected is a little farfetched in my mind. But if the purpose, and I think it was his purpose, was to gain a sympathetic audience then He succeeded.
Painting a picture of hopes dashed he appeals to the humanistic qualities in every person. Then he smashes those hopes and makes suicide the answer. He could have taken this ending in a different direction but the impact would have been so much less dramatic.
This is a piece of in-your-face realism written for the express purpose to unveil the tragedy of slum life in America, to gain sympathy and perhaps effect change; to demand an outcry from the public that the powers that be i.e. the politicians would be pressed to make some meaningful changes.
It’s hard to say for sure whether this story was a catalyst for social reform and the labor movement in America, but the very fact that it survived to be read here over one hundred years later tells us that it impacted America’s thoughts about slum conditions.
The sad thing is that Stephen Crane could find in too many cities today the situation unchanged. Even in the America of social services and a plethora of laws to protect the poor and destitute, the populace turns an unseeing eye past the inhumanity of man to man and the cycle continues unchanged into the future.
How can we make the proverb, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,” the law of the land, of the world?
The facts scream at us from the 21st century slums; what you’ve done to fix the problem hasn’t worked. Do something different.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity and but was outlawed—as it was deemed “un-Christian”--at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine's Day should be a day for romance.
Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine's didn't begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England.) Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
freezing rain, sleet,hail, frigid cold
Many months ago for a few days in a row I had a tremendous increase in blog traffic and the search term was always the same: pileated woodpecker.
For the past week and a half my blog visits have once again doubled and tripled; the reason? First off, most of those visits are from Romania. A few other eastern European countries are represented but, by far, Romania is the most frequent. Their search words? freezing rain, frigid, and winter storms. So I had an inkling that the weather over there was more severe than normal.
On the other hand, the same news cast informed us that we here in the USA are having the mildest winter since 1950. Some how I knew that too. In fact, I've been blogging for a number of years about how much less winter we've had compared to when I grew up but you know how that's received; yeah, yeah, yeah whatta you know old man? You probably had to walk twenty miles to school through blinding snow storms,uphill both ways too.
Well maybe I did.....................
This is a blog piece I wrote in Dec. 2010: