Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Matthew Barney...

From what I've seen, I personally do not like his films. It's probably because I don't understand them. Some of his stills are crazy-psycho-cool, but I don't like the films after watching more film clips and trailers. Reading on the official website however didn't clarify anything for me. He talks about the cremaster cycle and pre-sexual development and how that represents to him a state of purity. That's an interesting thought, but I feel as if his films in no way whatsoever portray these ideas! Well, other then his diagrams which, even if they're strategically placed or formed out of grapes or people or horses, are so literal and straightforward. Boring! I don't know if I'm missing something crucial, but I personally am just not a fan by the slightest means.

Helen Frankenthaler

I really liked her piece when I saw it in Fleming and I liked what the book had to say about her blotting acrylics as if they were watercolors. I was intrigued so I decided to look her up on google when I found this picture.

I didn't realize Frankenthaler worked in such large dimensions. Furthermore, in this picture, her painting style reminds me Pollock in that she physically gets in her paintings just because they are so large. Although she may not be classified as an action painter, she still has to become very physically involved with the piece as with Pollock.
To me her art is just as revolutionary as Pollock, yet I did not learn about her until this month whereas I've known about Pollock for some years now. Who or what determines what becomes such famous art?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Rothko Painting in the Sky!

I was on the plane right after the sun had set and I looked out the window and thought it was beautiful. I decided to take a picture and after I looked at the picture, I was struck by the resemblance it held to a Rothko painting (minus the typical border thing).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"White Disease"

The disease that the Rani of Cooch Naheen contracts turns her skin from dark to light over a period of time. Eventually, when she dies, she is completely white. Though this probably is meant to mirror some actual disease, I think that it is mostly a metaphor for cultural assimilation and blending in India during this time. Though it is a good thing to be receptive to other cultures, it's important not to forget your roots though. The Rani even says that she is split between two cultures and her skin is a testimony to that.

Things Fall Apart.... In Other Countries Too, Not Just Africa

So I thought I would draw a parallel between the fragmented pieces of Saleem Sinai's world and those of a  character like Okonkwo's. In both stories, there is political and social upheaval which causes destruction to their respective communities. Both books deal with outside (and inside) sources that shatter their worlds. Especially with all of Saleem's worries about cracking off piece by piece, I think this book could also easily be called Things Fall Apart.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Re-Reading :/

So far, in my life I've never re-read a book (with the exception of like Dr. Seuss and other childhood books). I simply never thought I would enjoy a book the second time around once I know the ending. However, as I'm working on my pre-write, even though I'm not re-reading the novel by any means, I can see how re-reading could be interesting. Morrison uses a lot of foreshadowing that you wouldn't notice on a first reading. For example, early on she describes Beloved as holding her head up because her neck is too fragile to support it. Also a lot of events in the novel seem to have different meanings on a second reading. For example, when Denver thinks that she has been thinking of an excuse to try to get Beloved to share her room on first reading it seems that Denver is simply obsessed with Beloved and having a friend finally. However, on a second reading it can also be interpreted as an attempt of Denver to protect Beloved from Sethe. Finally I think by now we've also reached a point where we could re-read plenty of the novels and short stories from freshmen and sophomore year just because we've probably forgotten them by now. I always thought I might would re-read The Catcher in the Rye at some point or A Rose for Emily and Child by Tiger. Now I actually think I will!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Saleem Sinai = Beloved?

As we were discussing some of the chapters in class today, I noticed some similarities between Beloved incarnate and Saleem Sinai. In different ways, both represent their respective cultural history. Beloved's memories reveal a lot about the past of African Americans sold into slavery such as the Middle Passage. Saleem represents his cultural history in a slightly different way. His life and birth correspond with India's history and independence. He is often viewed as a child of all of independent India. Furthermore both Beloved and Saleem fear physically falling apart. Does anyone else see any similarities?


I'm finding Midnight's Children particularly difficult to read. I like the way Rushdie portrays feelings, history, and social tensions through flesh and blood characters. The portrayal of India through Saleem, who faces tensions dealing with his own personal cultural identity (like oskar in TD), shows India's pularlism, culture, and struggles to become one nation (much in the same way Oskar wanted a unified poland after WWII and the dominating foreign power, in this case facist germany, finally left (though unlike the situation in India, the Germans were soon replaced by Russians who made Poland a satilite if I remember that right.) I know Rushdie chose his fragmented style to depict a fragmented India and a fragmented Saleem BUT honestly the endless circles make it difficult for me; repetitive themes like the prefferated sheet (seen in Aadam's courtship of Nassem and also in his daguther's determination to fall in love with her husband peice by peice) and even clocks are re-repeated in Saleems narrative style of telling the reader what is going to happen (literally) before it happens. While this functions as forshadowing, and it was Rushdie's choice to do it, it slows the narrative down a lot for me; the ciclical style when added to the fragmentation and dense descriptions made it difficult to read for me. I really really loved 100 Years of Solitude, and I know this book has been compared to Marquez (along with grass) but both though both of those books were dense, they relied on "show not tell" showing us the story and so creating a page-turning plot. You don't see suspense in this book, and also Rushdie seems to have made a consience, post-modern choice to do the reverse of show not tell by telling rather than showing. This choice, while a dilebrate, intresting plot decision, made Midnights Children a little slow for me...

Daddy Issues

I think it is interesting that once again in Midnight's Children, just like in The Tin Drum, the motif of a mystery father is present. Saleem makes it very difficult to figure out his father's identity. Saleem's alleged mother loves another (Nadir) but has a child with Ahmed. Then her child is switched at birth with that of Wee Willie Winkie, the clown, whose wife had an affair with an Englishman named William Methwold. Soooooo it all boils down to Saleem not actually being related to his "parents" and being the son of Methwold. Yet again another Gunter Grass parallel.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Melting Pot

I think it's very interesting that Rushdie chose to write about a character who was torn between two different identities. Aziz lived in Germany for five years and then returned to India. He suddenly couldn't figure out who he was nor where he belonged. Since Rushdie was originally born in British India and has ties to both Britain (his nationality and where he attended college) and India (his homeland), he himself could be very similar to Aziz. British India was a difficult time for everyone living in India. One would grow up following every order that the British officers commanded, but also develop a bond with the British. I don't know much about the British rule of India, but I think it is a huge (if not the most important) influence in Rushdie's work.

Friday, April 6, 2012


As a class we've already noticed the similarities between Tin Drum and Midnight's Children. It's too early to tell but I wonder if Rushdie deliberately sent Aadam to Germany to make a direct allusion to Tin Drum. I wonder if he could have go to any other country but choose Germany purposely. Furthermore it is interesting to think if the use of a character named Oskar is a direct allusion or not.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


After reading chapters 1 and 2 of Midnight's Children, I really like when he made the Arabian Nights reference. It wasn't obscure, but obvious. Even though it was pretty obvious, it really added to the point he was making in that section and it reminded me of people often refer to famous stories in america. Patiene of jobe for example.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pippin & Ros and Guil Are Dead

While I was watching Pippin (which was fantastic, Mallory and Meredith! great job!) I was struck by the similarities with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Like Ros and Guil, Pippin has a fruitless struggle to find the meaning in life. The players in both plays also constantly allude to death and the grand finale being their specialty. Furthermore when the protagonists finally decide for themselves and take action, Guildenstern stabs the Player King and Pippin chooses to be with Madeline's character and her son, it is to no avail. Guildenstern unknowingly uses a prop knife, Madeline walks away with the other players, and Madeline's son becomes the players' next victim. Finally, all of Pippin's actions take place in the players' play as is implied of Ros and Guil Are Dead in the film version, from what I've heard. I was talking to Mrs. Klebba during the intermission however and she doesn't seem to agree. Mrs. Klebba says she absolutely adores Ros and Guil, but views Pippin more as entertainment than of literary merit. It's up to you to decide what you think!