Saturday, December 31, 2011

Getting ready for 2012: It's not quite a resolution

In less than 4 hours, it's going to be 2012.

A couple of days ago, my friend Melissa shared the link to One Little Word.  I love the idea of a word for the year!  I've decided that I'm going to use the word "Breathe" as a reminder to find my calm.  I look forward to trying out some of the project along the way.

My friend Megan shared the link to Make Something Every Day.  I love the idea, but knowing that I'm taking on Senior Thesis in the fall made me feel like I'd be setting myself up for failure.  When I mentioned it on facebook, my friend Kim suggested the Creative Every Day Challenge.  And that's right up my alley!

I have to admit, I'm excited to get started.  I don't know if I'll use the monthly themes or not.  We shall see.  But I very much like the idea of intentionally adding creativity in SOME form to every day!

So although I'll be working on the ideas of breathe and adding creativity to my days, it's not really a resolution.  Just something to look forward to (:

And on that note, I'll share my favorite New Year's status, shared by my friend Paula Storey Trueb:

Recipe for a Happy New Year

Take twelve fine, full-grown months; see that these are thoroughly free from old memories of bitterness, rancor and hate, cleanse them completely from every clinging spite; pick off all specks of pettiness and littleness; in short, see that these months are freed from all the past--have them fresh and clean as when they first came from the great storehouse of Time.

Cut these months into thirty or thirty-one equal parts.  Do not attempt to make up the whole batch at one tine (so many persons spoil the entire lot this way) but prepare one day at a time.

Into each day put equal parts of faith, patience, courage, work (some people omit this ingredient and so spoil the flavor of the rest), hope, fidelity, liberality, kindness, prayer, meditation, rest (leaving this out is like leaving the oil out of the salad dressing--don't do it), and one well-selected resolution.

Put in about one teaspoonful of good spirits, a dash of fun, a pinch of folly, a sprinkling of play, and a heaping cupful of good humor.

And enjoy!

Feeling Like Santa

This year, Mr. Skaggs bought skateboards for his Subculture Art class to make their own.  He had enough, that others could purchase if we wanted to.  I decided to get two and make my little boys personalized Skate  boards for Christmas.

My oldest's favorite animal is the horse and his favorite color is red.  My youngest's favorite animal is the hedge hog and his favorite color is blue-- but I didn't want to make him a Sonic skateboard.  His second favorite animal is the lion.


I visited WarehouseSkateboard and learned everything I needed to know to get all the right pieces to turn these wooden decks into usable skateboards.

I liked that the boards were natural wood and wanted to maintain that.   Then I drew directly on them.

This is the bottom of my oldest's board.

This is the top.  I used clear grip tape so that the images would still be visible.

The bottom of my youngest's board.

And the top.
 I really did feel like Santa staying up late at night after the boys had gone to sleep so that they wouldn't catch me in the act of making of these.

They were both surprised and like their boards a lot (:  They've used them almost every day this week (:

I love how they're wearing opposite colors (;

Semiotics of Moksha Patamu

For my final paper in Research and Criticism, like the previous one where we were required to use some of the ways to look at art that we'd recently learned to assess a piece of art, I chose my Moksha Potamu Board from Collaborative Studio.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The 21st Century Eve


Our final assignment in painting this semester was based on any way that we wanted to interpret "transparency", as well as using any of the other techniques we learned.  Following on the heels of my previous piece where I reused things from my past, I decided to cannibalize one of the by products of last spring's art-- my Tree of Life and Knowledge.  Another of my class mates brought in an assortment of computer parts from her sculpture class.  Between them, the idea for "The 21st Century Eve" was born (:


I mounted the transparency of my tree onto plastic and put it on the frame.  Behind, I've painted a fig leaf.  The serpent is created from the computer pieces.  And Eve is taking a bite from an Apple (;


I love the way the snake's head developed.  And as you can tell, I've written the Bible story along the length of the snake's body, with key portions pulled out.


There's a mirror in that upper section to allow the viewer to further identify with the piece.

Generally pleased with the overall end result (:

The Tri-Iconography of Split Aparts

For Research and Criticism, we were required to write 2 papers, using  the different movements we were learning about the time, in reference to any piece of art work that we wanted to.  Since the entire class were artists (and it's required for Senior Thesis) I decided to use my own pieces.




















Avante Guard and Kitsch

Okay, so this is mostly a test to see if I can share powerpoints (;  These is the powerpoint I created for my lead discussion in Research and Criticism regarding Avante Guard and Kitsch.


Storytelling, Our Human Connection


Our final assignment in English was a 6-8 page research paper using one of our primary texts and another text of our choosing and researching if and how it is relevant today.  I chose Malouf's Ransom and Homer's the Iliad focusing on the importance of storytelling.  I have no idea how I scored on this particular paper, but I got an A for the class and enjoyed working on the research for this project (:

Janin Wise
Dr. Ndeh
English 1102
November 30, 2011

Reaching Through Time, Homer’s The Iliad and Malouf’s Ransom, Our Human Connection
            Storytelling and narrative are an integral part of being human.1  As, Barbara Hardy said, “We dream in narrative, daydream in narrative, remember, anticipate, hope, despair, believe, doubt, plan, revise, criticize, construct, gossip, learn, hate and love by narrative” (quoted in McEwan, vii).  Homer wrote the Iliad in 800 B. C. and Malouf’s Ransom is influenced by this poem.  But why would a modern writer be inspired by a 3000 year old poem?  And are modern audiences able to connect to either narrative?  Storytelling, as illustrated in Homer’s Iliad and Malouf’s Ransom, is an essential part of the human experience and is as relevant today as it was in 800 B. C.
            Storytelling has many definitions.  Most dictionaries define it as a, “narrative account of a real or imagined event or events…used to pass on accumulated wisdom, beliefs, and values.”2   They have been shared in every culture to entertain, educate, teach morals and preserve social and cultural customs and norms. 3  In its most restrictive definition, it is defined as the act of performing a story for an audience.  But others expand that definition to include written texts and other narratives.  This paper focuses on the definition provided by Amy Spaulding in The Art of Storytelling:  Telling Truth through Telling Stories, when she said, “Storytelling is, at the same time, an act of creation and also a connection with people from the past who we never knew.  It feels meaningful, whether one is conscious of the connection with ages past or not” (13), because one of storytelling’s most enduring elements is the ability to illicit emotional and visceral responses in its audience, be it a group of live people or a single reader.
            The earliest forms of storytelling were oral, before writing, and used as part of religious ritual 4, accompanying daily activities, or done to rhythmic accompaniment. 5   As these stories evolved into third person narratives, they became sources of entertainment and records of a cultures history, opening the way for creative embellishment and the creation of hero tales. 6    With the invention of writing, these traditionally oral tales could be recorded and passed on into the future. 7
            In 800 BC, the poet Homer stood on the cusp of this change.  He used the newly acquired technology of writing to record the oral stories that had passed down through the Greeks for centuries, 8 thereby preserving them for subsequent generations.  In his time, the Greeks accepted Homer’s stories as historical fact.  After all, as Annette Simmons points out in The Story Factor, “The norms and habits of any group’s culture are passed down through the stories that are told and retold” (221).  On the surface, Homer’s Iliad appears to be the story of a long fought war with many battles, but this is the background used as the canvas for the story of the pride and wrath of Achilles.  This paper focuses specifically on Book 24, after the murder of Patroclus by Hector and the revenge murder of Hector by Achilles, centering on the abuse and subsequent ransom of Hector’s body.  Hector’s body is unburied and abused for 11 days.  Priam, the King of Troy and father of Hector, following the advice  of the gods, goes to the Greek encampment and offers a ransom to Achilles for his son’s body.  Reminded of his father and his own mortality, Achilles accepts the ransom and they share a meal.  Priam returns Hector’s body to Troy and Achilles is redeemed.  The poem ends with the funeral and lamentation of Hector (Homer).   But this is merely the plot.  This poem has “an historical background and an actual setting, but these are only incidental,” and used as “a stage on which the great tragedy of love, sorrow, passion, and death is acted” (Scott, 28).
            Homer used the formula of his time, repetition and effusive descriptive phrases, to share stories that were well known to his audience.  “Into the story of Achilles’ anger, the poet has woven most of the great human emotions and has endowed all his actors with an individuality that has never been surpassed.” (Scott, 42).  This endowment of emotions gives Homer a universality that “at times” makes one “hardly aware that we are reading him in translation and not in his own language” (Myrsiades, x). 
            In his time, Homer was considered the epitome of poetry and storytelling.  He is credited with the birth of the literary Western world, with the Iliad as a “nearly perfect example in European literature of the orally composed epic.” (Rexine, 71).  For the Greeks, his epics were taken as fact for a distant past that they were intimately familiar with.  “According to Dorthy Walsh, the essential function of literature is to convey what a given human experience might be like.  From this point of view the Iliad not only tells us what happened as a result of the anger of Achilles; it makes us feel in a particular way what that whole complex of actions “was like.”  We listen to Homer because he awakes in us a complicated emotional awareness that we cherish and could never have experience unassisted” (108, Dimock in Myrsiades).   As John Rexine says in The Concept of the Hero,
“All the Homeric heroes are fully human but also possess an excellence—that marks them as special… They are conscious of their humanity and of their mortality.  They know their limitations.  They know how to use both physical and intellectual human resources to confront problems.  They experience a certain heroic loneliness but at the same time know that as human beings they must function within human society.  They know that suffering is an innate part of the human experience, and they do not avoid confronting what has to be confronted.  They provide models of human action and character to be studied, admired and even imitated.  The Homeric heroes appeal to us because we recognize in them our own humanity and also the full possibilities of that humanity” (76, Rexine in Myrsiades).

By committing these oral poems to written form, these same epic heroes could pass forward into time beyond the life of the poet himself.  It is interesting to note that these orally composed epics “belong to a literary genre that has been largely replaced today by the novel” (Rexine in Myrsiades, 71), like Malouf’s Ransom.
            When Malouf first heard The Iliad, as a grade school child 1943, he immediately connected the “ancient and fictional war” with World War II, “We too were left hanging in the midst of an unfinished war.  Who could know, in 1943, how our war too might end?” (Malouf, Afterword, A Note on sources.) 
The first section of Ransom is dedicated to Achilles, immersing the reader in his point of view, his mentality, and his emotions.  All of this is so that the reader can intimately understand why Achilles feels compelled to do what he does, and to anticipate how he will respond.  The rage, the need for an impetus to break the wearisome cycle of endless revenge.  One is steeped in Achilles’ despair and monstrous helplessness, a state created by his own actions.
            The second section of Ransom focuses on the unexpected motivations of Priam.  The reader is invited to see into the honor of a King and find the heart of a father.  And the final section focuses on Somax, as the storyteller.  The last thing left in the minds of the reader are the words of Somax.  In the first excerpt, it as Somax and Priam return to Troy and Somax looks on into to what the future will hold for him:
“As for all that has happened in these last hours, what a tale he will have to tell!  He will tell it often over the years.
            In the early days, while Troy still stands solid and gleaming on its high hill, the figures he has to speak of, Priam, Hecuba, Achilles, will still, in the minds of his listeners, be sharers of their own world, creatures like themselves of flesh and blood.  Later – when Troy has become just another long, windswept hilltop, its towers reduced to rubble, its citizens scattered or carried off, like Hecuba and Hector’s wife Andromache and Cassandra and the other Trojan women, into exile and slaver – all he has to tell, which was once as real as the itch under his tunic and the lice he cracks between his nails, will have become the stuff of legend, half folktale, half an old man’s empty bragging.
            Even the memory then, of what once was, will have grown dim in the minds of a generation who, for the whole of their lives, have known nothing but chaos and lawlessness”  (final chapter).

Clearly, the progression of the tales are evident.  From telling them to audiences who would know and have seen the living people—almost like sharing gossip to the ages beyond, when those hearing will believe them to be nothing more than legend and the stuff of make believe.
            The second excerpt is after all the time has passed, and Somax is an old man who, like he dreamed of doing, has told these tales for generations.
“So many stories!
            He tells them to anyone who will share a drink with him.  On summer evenings under the big misshapen sycamore at the tavern door, nodding off at times in mid-sentence so that his listeners creep away smiling and shake their heads.  Or by the light of a single oil lamp, and with a young one on his lap- one of his many great-grandchildren – on long nights when the entire village is holed up against invaders behind the doors of a fortified barn.
            Those who sit, intent as children, and give themselves up to these old tales, will have heard them a hundred times before and know every detail and unlikely turn.
            The meeting in the tamarisk grove with the impudent fellow who was, in fact, the god Hermes in the guise of an Achaean warrior: a dandified youth with golden tresses, and a scent – it was this that had given him away – like gillyflowers.
            How, in a quiet spot beyond the same tamarisk grove, he had managed without too much trouble, to tempt the old king, Priam, who had never heard of such a thing, to cool his feet in the running stream, and taste one of the little griddlecakes his daughter-in-law was such a dab hand at.
            How he had spent the night in the open yard beside Achilles’ hut in the Greek camp, and was given gobbets of meat to eat that the great Achilles himself had sliced and roasted.  With scallions, and the finest wheaten bread to soak up the grease.  And had slept very comfortably afterwards under a lamb’s wool rug provided by one of Achilles’ squires.
            His listeners do not believe him, of course.  He is a known liar.  His is a hundred years old and drinks too much.
            What he has to tell did happen – or so they say- but to someone else.  Idaeus, the man was called, King Priam’s herald.  Is it likely that such a figure, a king’s herald, would have griddlecakes in his satchel?  Do great kings dabble their feet in icy streams?
            This old fellow, like most storytellers, is a stealer of other men’s tales, of other men’s lives.”  (final chapter).

In this way, Malouf has done two things:  One is to recast Homer, the teller of the tales, in the skin of Somax; and the other, by also using Somax to represent himself, he has continued the tradition of telling and sharing tales and changing them in the telling.  It is both a nod to the original nature of orally shared stories and an embracement of the modern novel.  In his own words, Malouf says that,
Ransom is a return to that unfinished story;
It re-enters the world of the Iliad to recount the story of Achilles, Patroclus and Hector, and in a very different version from the original, Priam’s journey to the Greek camp.  But its primary interest is in storytelling itself – why stories are told and why we need to hear them, how stories get changed in the telling – and much of what it has to tell are ‘untold tales’ found only in the margins of earlier writers”  (Afterword, A Note on sources).
In interviews discussing Ransom, Malouf explained that the character Somax, which he introduced to the story, is meant to be a representation of himself as storyteller and to share with the reader (as audience) his point of view and perspective.  Malouf, himself, asks the important questions:  Why are stories told?  Why do we need to hear them?
            One possible answer lies in interpretation of the story of Achilles, Patroclus, Hector and Priam as an analogy. America is involved in an ongoing war in the Middle East, with no foreseeable end in sight.  In the narrative of today, America could be mighty Achilles with the attack of 9/11 equivalent to the shock and horror of the death of Patroclus.  When Bin Laden was slain this year, it was much like the death of Hector—answering a call for revenge, and much celebrated in the United States, and like Hector, he was denied the burial of his customs.  But unlike the unrelenting anger of Achilles, the act was cathartic for many Americans.
            It is more likely that these stories relevance today is in the ability to make people feel connected to each other and the world at large.  Stories give the feeling of finding one’s place and belonging.  It is an emotional connection that people are too often deprived in this modern age.   
“In our technological economy, human attention is the emerging scarce resource.  People need it, crave it, and will pay for it with their cooperation.  In today’s world almost anyone …is operating under a deficit of human attention… Depression is at epidemic levels because all of this information simply leaves us feeling incompetent and lost.  We don’t need more information.  We need to know what it means.  We need a story that explains what it means and makes us feel like we fit in there somewhere” (111, Simmons).

It is important to remember that storytelling is an integral part of being human.9  From relating what is experienced in a day to reading for enjoyment or telling a joke, even commercials, movies and television shows, storytelling is an inescapable part of everyday life.10  As many as the emotions there are to experience, there are words for sharing them and creating a narrative that gives them context and meaning.11 
Whether shared orally or written in text, stories “call us to consider what we know, what we hope for, who we are, and what and whom we care about” (Greene, quoted by Witherell in McEwan, 40).  It is this human interconnection that allows Achilles, Patroclus, Priam and Hector to resonate with us today, whether the teller is a 3000 year old, long dead poet, or a living, popular novelist from half way around the world.  In today’s disconnected, over stimulated and personally isolating, technology heavy world, it is that emotional connection and spiritual resonation that makes storytelling, in all of its form vital and necessary.
End Notes
1.      Spaulding, Amy  E.  The Art of Storytelling:  Telling Truth through Telling Stories , “George Gerbner, who was dean of the Annenberg School of Communication, reminds us that the one thing that no other species except human does is tell stories, says, “Our ability to tell stories is important not only because we live by storytelling, but also because we erect a world that is constructed from the stories we hear and tell.”” 93
Simmons, Annette.  The Story Factor  “The norms and habits of any group’s culture are passed down through the stories that are told and retold.” 221
2.      National Storytelling Association, 1997, storytelling.org
3.      Birch, Carol and Melissa Heckler (Eds.) Who Says?:  Essays on Pivotal Issues in Contemporary Storytelling, “Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, images and sounds, often by improvisation or embellishment.  Stories or narratives have been shared in ever culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and in order to instill moral values.” 1996
4.      Birch, Carol and Melissa Heckler (Eds.) Who Says?:  Essays on Pivotal Issues in Contemporary Storytelling, “The earlier forms of storytelling were thought to have been primarily oral combined with gestures and expressions.  In addition to being part of religious ritual, rudimentary drawings scratched onto the walls of caves may have been forms of early storytelling for many of the ancient cultures.” 
5.      Sawyer, Ruth.  The Way of the Story Teller, “The first primitive efforts at conscious storytelling consisted of a simply chant, set to the rhythm of some daily tribal occupation…They were in the first person, impromptu, giving expression to pride or exultation over some act of bravery or accomplishment that set the individual for the moment apart from the tribe.”  45-46
6.      Sawyer, Ruth.  The Way of the Story Teller, “As the third person narrative became the more popular form, stories began to be told for the sole purpose of entertainment…  A feeling for what we call historical record came into existence, a sense of its importance to the tribe…. Out of the recording of hero events grew the hero cycles or sagas.  Out of growing imagination came the impulse to exaggerate and idealize.  Where history failed, imagination stepped in; for with the increasing capacity to wonder had come the capacity to invent.  As storytelling came to be more and more a source of entertainment, as tribe vied with tribe to outdo each other in their records of achievement, storytellers began to fabricate a richer, more colorful pattern than facts could produce.”  52-53
7.      Birch, Carol and Melissa Heckler (Eds.) 1996.  Who Says?: Essays on Pivotal Issues in Contemporary Storytelling, “With the advent of writing, the use of actual digit symbols to represent language, the use of stable, portable medial, stories were recorded, transcribed and shared over wide regions of the world…Traditionally, oral stories were committed to memory and then passed from generation to generation.  However, in Western, literate societies, written and televised media has largely surpassed this method of communicating local, family and cultural histories.” 
8.      Manguel, Alberto. Homer’s The Iliad and the Odyssey: A Biography  ,“Among the literary works of ancient Greece, the Homeric poems may have been the first to take advantage of the possibilities offered by written language: greater length, since the composition no longer needed to be short enough to be held in the poet’s memory; greater consistency, both of place and character, than that of oral poetry; greater continuity, because the written text permitted comparison with earlier or later narrative passages; greater harmony, since the eye could assist the composing mind by enriching the purely aural rules of versification with those of the physical relationship between the words on the page.  Above all, the poem set down in writing allowed the work of a wider, more generous reach:  he who received the poem no longer needed to share the poet’s time and space.” 26
9.      Bryant, A. S.,  in Annette Simmons The Story Factor, “Narration is as much a part of human nature as breath and the circulation of blood.” 27
10.  McEwan, Hunter and Kieran Egan.  Narrative in Teaching, Learning and Research, “We rarely get through a day, hardly even an hour, without either hearing or reading a story in whole or part or telling one to someone else.” 4
11.  McEwan, Hunter and Kieran Egan.  Narrative in Teaching, Learning and Research, “By using narrative form we assign meaning to events and invest them with coherence, integrity, fullness, and closure.” 31



Works Cited

Birch, Carol and Melissa Heckler (Eds.) Who Says?: Essays on Pivotal Issues in Contemporary
Storytelling, Atlanta, GA:  August House. Print.
Hacker, Diana and Nancy Sommers. A Writer’s Reference. 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s.
423-487. Print
Homer, translated by Herbert Jordan. The Iliad.  Norman, OK: Oklahoma Press, 2008. Print
Malouf, David.  Ransom. New York, NY: Pantheon eBooks, eISBN:978-0-307-37893-4, 2009.

Manguel, Alberto.  Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey, A Biography. New York, NY:  Atlantic
Monthly Press, 2007. Print.
McEwan, Hunter and Kieran Egan.  Narrative in Teaching, Learning, and Research.  New York,
NY: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1995.  Print.
Myrsiades, Kostas. Approaches to Teaching Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.  New York, NY: The
Modern Language Association of America, 1987.  Print.
Sawyer, Ruth.  The Way of The Storyteller.   Middlesex, England:  Penguin Books, 1970. Print.
Scott, John A.  Homer and His Influence. New York, NY: Longsmans, Gren and Co., 1931. Print
Simmons, Annette. The Story Factor: Secrets of Influence from the Art of Storytelling.
Cambridge, Massachusetts:  Perseus Publishing, 2001.
Spaulding, Amy E. The Art of Storytelling:  Telling Truths through Telling Stories. Plymouth,
UK: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. 2011. Print.


The Antagonizing Hero


This turned out to be my professor's favorite of my papers.  That may be because it was so limited in scope-- he told us which play to write about and even told us that he wanted us to look at the relationship between Troy Maxson and his son Cory.  I have to admit, it was my -least- favorite paper to write.  But I got an A on it, so I'm pleased with that (;

Janin Wise
Dr. Ndeh
English 1102
20 October  2011
The Antagonizing Hero

August Wilson wrote his play “Fences” representing the black experience in America in the late 1950’s, just before the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War.  The play focuses on the life and family of Troy Maxson, a man too old to pursue his own dreams but whose life paves the way for his son to follow after him. Analyzing the dramatic plot structure through exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution, one can see that the playwright presents Troy as a protagonist and antihero and Cory as the antagonist and a hero.
To begin with, the majority of the first act focuses on exposition, immersing the audience in Troy’s character and troubles.  The opening scene between Troy and his best friend Bono, on a Friday night after work, teaches the audience that both Bono and Troy are men born in the south, with absentee fathers, who moved north looking for better lives.  They are products of the same society and similar circumstances, but there are hints at Troy’s future infidelity and difficulties within his family.  The audience also learns that Troy was good at baseball in his youth but was never allowed to play professionally; now that blacks are playing professional sports, he is too old.  Troy’s character flaws and inability to let go of the past lead directly to the conflict with his son Cory.
Next, through the rising action, as the conflict between Troy and Cory unfolds, the audience is well aware of Troy’s character, how he thinks, and how he responds.  Cory wants to pursue his innate talent in football, but his father makes him quit the team and return to his job at the A&P.  Troy is stuck in the past, where black men like him are not allowed to excel in sports, where “the white man ain’t gonna let you get nowhere with that football noway” (I.III) and wishes a better life than his for his son.  When Cory finds out that Troy sabotaged his football plans and confronts Troy about it, he is at strike one.  Shortly after Cory confesses to his mother that he did not quit the team, Troy confesses his affair to his wife Rose, announcing that the other woman is pregnant.  In the midst of their argument, Cory enters and sees his father grabbing his mother.  When she says, “Troy.  You’re hurting me,” (II.II) Cory grabs his father and takes a swing at him, reaching strike two.  As we approach the climax, six months have passed, and the tension is palpable between Rose and Troy over his infidelity and his treatment of his son, Cory.  Before these issues are addressed, the phone rings revealing that Troy’s mistress died in child birth, but the daughter is alive and well.  Troy confronts the specter of death, promising to “build me a fence around what belongs to me.  And then I want you to stay on the other side.  See?”, (II.II) in an effort to protect his family.  That evening, Troy brings his daughter home to be raised by his wife.  Therefore, the unresolved issues between Troy, Rose and Cory set the stage for the climax.
The scene begins two months after Rose accepts the baby, shortly after Cory graduates from high school.  The tension between father and son is obvious from their first interaction, where no words are spoken, but stage directions are given, “Cory wanders over to the tree, picks up the bat, and assumes a batting stance.  He studies an imaginary pitcher and swings.  Dissatisfied with the result, he tries again.  Troy enters.  They eye each other for a beat.  Cory puts the bat down and exits the yard.” (II.IV)  When Cory enters the yard a second time; Troy is sitting in the middle of the stairs.  Their confrontation is about the respect that Troy expects from his son, and the resentment Cory feels for his father “being in his way” (II.IV), both literally as a block into the house, and figuratively in the pursuit of his dreams of being a football player.  Troy advances in anger on his son and Cory grabs the bat in self defense.  When given the opportunity to use it to kill Troy, he is unable to do so and Troy overpowers him, taking the bat away.  Like Cory, he stops himself from using it, and tells Cory to, “Go on and get away from around my house.” (II.IV) and Cory reaches “Strike three” and is expelled from the home.
Finally, the falling action and resolution happen in 1965, seven years later, after Troy’s death.  Cory returns home for the first time and is now a Corporal in the Marines.  He initially refuses to attend his father’s funeral, because he still feels stifled by his father’s “shadow” (II.V), but Rose points out that such disrespect does not make him a man and that, although Troy may not have gone about it well, he “wanted you to be everything he wasn’t…and at the same time he tried to make you into everything that he was” (II.V) meaning that he wanted Cory to have all of his good characteristics, but he also wanted him to have better opportunities that he was given.  Cory is resolved with the specter of his father when he decides to attend his father’s funeral, there by laying the shadow to rest.
In conclusion, Troy Maxson personifies the black experience in America in the late 1950’s, as a man prevented from pursuing his own dreams by racial inequality. His life and actions pave the way for his son to follow after him. Through exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution, one can see that the playwright presents Troy as a protagonist and antihero: a main character stuck in the past and bound by his character defects; and Cory as the antagonist and a hero: always in opposition to his father and the goals that Troy set for him.  Troy is clearly a flawed character of his time, but without him, the antagonizing hero of Cory would have no foundation from which to build.





Works Cited

Hacker, Diana and Nancy Sommers. A Writer’s Reference. 7th ed. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s.
423-487. Print
Wilson, August. “Fences.” Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry,
Drama, and Writing. Ed.  J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, 3rd ed.  New York: Longman,
2010. 1049-1109. Print.

Divinational Self Portrait

Our second to last painting assignment this semester was to work on incorporating three dimensional objects into our painting.  I decided that I would go through my old things and see if anything inspired me.  When I came across a tarot deck I'd kept in storage since I was 15 and a chinese fortune cookie that I opened when I was 18, I decided to use them both.

The result is what I've entitled, "Divinational Self Portrait".


This is a picture of the finished piece.  I shuffled and laid out the cards, like a real tarot reading, and my first card, the Signifactor, was completely blank.  It represents the person being read.  I thought that was pretty awesome, so the hand is holding it, with my name, as it was a general reading for myself.  After I placed the cards, as they'd appeared, I painted my hand as I would  for doing a palm reading.  The three dimensional hand holding the card has my prominent freckles and I also painted a replica of my watch and ring on it (:


I'm quite pleased with the way the piece turned out, though I'm still considering if I want to go through and write out what any of it means.  I kind of like the mystery.  And since the tarot book is right there, the truly curious could always look it up.


I actually have an 'x' at the base of my fate line, and I loved the idea of putting the fortune cookie on my fate line, especially as it reads, "Trust your intuition.  The universe is guiding your life."

This was one of my absolute favorite pieces from class this semester.