Ideas of Culture and Race in Passing and Catalonia

April 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Recently I have been getting very deep into the writing of my Capstone. It is over the ideals of Nationalism in the Catalonia region of Spain during the Spanish Civil War between 1936-1939. Basically I’m viewing the people that inhabit this region as extreme nationalists (regionalists) who speak their own language and hold their own ideals completely separate from the greater population of Spain. Their pride was a representation of the counter-movement against the dictator, Francisco Franco. I bring this up because it offers me new insight on the role of race in Nella Larsen’s Passing. While I did already write a paper over the subject, I did not examine the role of racial identity to any great extent. Now that I have done all of this research, it becomes obvious to me that the role of racial identification is utterly different between people, and that this confusion or indecision can lead to utterly different personalities. Irene is a perfect example of this, as she identifies herself as a black woman, but on occasion allows herself to pass for a white woman when the need suits her. I think that this says quite a bit about her personality, because of her role as a ”mulatta” woman. She is unable to exist wholly in one culture or another and thus adopts aspects of both. This idea of adopting aspects of different cultures is something that would be completely alien to the extreme nationalists of Catalonia. While I do not think that Irene’s adaptation of both white and black culture is neither negative or positive, it makes her a person that lives not wholly in one world or another. 

 

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Ideas of Nationalism and Ethnic Identification in Passing

April 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Recently I have been getting very deep into the writing of my Capstone. It is over the ideals of Nationalism in the Catalonia region of Spain during the Spanish Civil War between 1936-1939. Basically I’m viewing the people that inhabit this region as extreme nationalists (regionalists) who speak their own language and hold their own ideals completely separate from the greater population of Spain. Their pride was a representation of the counter-movement against the dictator, Francisco Franco. I bring this up because it offers me new insight on the role of race in Nella Larsen’s Passing. While I did already write a paper over the subject, I did not examine the role of racial identity to any great extent. Now that I have done all of this research, it becomes obvious to me that the role of racial identification is utterly different between people, and that this confusion or indecision can lead to utterly different personalities. Irene is a perfect example of this, as she identifies herself as a black woman, but on occasion allows herself to pass for a white woman when the need suits her. I think that this says quite a bit about her personality, because of her role as a “mulatta” woman. She is unable to exist wholly in one culture or another and thus adopts aspects of both. This idea of adopting aspects of different cultures is something that would be completely alien to the extreme nationalists of Catalonia. While I do not think that Irene’s adaptation of both white and black culture is neither negative or positive, it makes her a person that lives not wholly in one world or another. 

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My Poetic Preferences

March 26, 2012 Leave a comment

After reading the Dickinson poetry and taking it into consideration with the poetry that we read for class last week, I am forced to conclude that she is simply boring. I will admit, it does have a certain beauty to it, and it ebbs and flows very nicely, but it just lacks a certain oomph. Without it, I simply don’t care. This might simply be my own aversion to poetry as a whole, but I don’t think this is the case because I so enjoyed all four poems that were assigned last week. They had a power to them that made me want to listen, even if I didn’t agree with what he was saying, those authors got my heart pumping simply because of the passion they had for their material. I think this might have something to do with the fact that Dickinson is very pretty on paper, but Baraka punches you right in the stomach when you read it aloud. It has a certain character to it that simply wouldn’t exist in what most would consider “classical poetry.” While Dickinson is a joy to read simply for her mastery of the English language and the way she can put all of these words together into art, Baraka has a power over his readers. This power is something he aims for, because of his contempt for poetry that does not stir action. In the end, I think that he achieves his goal, whether for good or for ill, remains to be seen. 

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Baraka’s “Black Art”

March 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Amiri Baraka’s “Black Art,” is an interesting microcosm of rage and frustration aimed at a world that this man simply can not stand. He seems to believe in the power of poetry, but only that poetry that is aimed at something, poetry that is used as ammunition in the fight. They should reflect one’s own soul, as he says, and all of the rage that goes along with it. This in turn creates a new type of poetry, a form that hadn’t really existed before these innovators began to write. This isn’t the poetry of Dickinson or Shakespeare, this is poetry that was written to shape the world, through inspiration and hatred. He tries to inspire black people to create a black world, one that can only be shaped by war.

Alas, however, Baraka, seems utterly malicious and content in his rage. He rages at everyone, white people and Jews most especially. He doesn’t sound like a man in control, he seems blinded in his anger, and seeks to take it out on cops, Irish people, and Jews, seeking to “leave them for dead,” and “dagger poems…in the bellies of Jews.” (Baraka) I love the intensity of his writing and the passion he feels, but not the anger and rage, he seems as if a child, wildly firing a gun into a crowd, and hoping he hits the person responsible for his pain.

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Possession in Turn of the Screw

February 29, 2012 Leave a comment

After the constant strain of fighting to save the children from the possession of the ghosts, the governess believes that she cannot save them from the specters and thus sacrifices Miles to protect him from their possession.

  1. Establishes governess as being out of her element

  2. Establishes governess as woman ruled by her passions

  3. Transferring of obsessions to children

  4. Establishing governess’ obsession with children

  5. Obsessed with defending children from possession by ghosts

  6. Establishes reason as to why Miles is killed in the final scene

 

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Zitkala-Sa and a Modern Navajo College Student

February 9, 2012 Leave a comment

In Teaching of Writing for this week, we read an essay about a Navajo girl whose writing was considered “remedial” by the academic establishment, and her interactions with an African American writing tutor. It was interesting to think about how her experience related to Zitkala-Sa’s, particularly her relationship with school. She went to boarding school, where she and her friends were forced to speak English. She wants to teach in the boarding school, even though she feels that school has forced her to lose aspects of her culture. Apparently, Zitkala-Sa’s narrative is still very relatable (at least as of the 90′s) to the situation of many Native Americans today.

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The Modern Military’s Take on the Alamo

April 26, 2011 Leave a comment

http://www.texasmilitaryforcesmuseum.org/tnghist3.htm

Here’s an interesting website, trying to rally people around the military by giving people examples of historic “Texas military heroism.” Their mission statement is quite telling:

“Tell the story of the Texas Military Forces from 1823 through the present and into the future, support the mission of the Texas Military Forces, honor our veterans, educate our fellow citizens, inspire esprit d’ corps among the men and women of the Texas Military Forces, and inspire our youth to serve.”

The military of the United States has always seemed especially susceptible to myths about our history. The people in charge of recruitment, it appears, believe that it has to be this way in order to get recruits. The idea is that if our nation’s military history isn’t pristine and glorious, then no one will want to fight for the military in the present day. I think that is false, and as long as that notion pervades, we will still fight for the same misguided notions our fore-fathers fought for. If our military, and our state for that matter, were to fully accept its flawed history, it could then start afresh and work toward things that really matter. Things that people want to, need to, and should fight for.

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