Friday, August 31, 2012

Oskar's motives against Jesus

Oskar appears in the novel to mimic some of the qualities of Satan.  Just like Satan, Oskar goes against God when he challenges Jesus telling him he cannot play the drum.  Oskar does whatever he can to go against Jesus and the Church throughout his visits in the novel.  Oskar feels as if he is unique from others and better than Jesus.  He struggles with good and bad.  His music first seduces people, but eventually brings out their anger.  Oskar can snap and scream at any minute and cause destruction to glass.  Just like Satan, Oskar attempts to first seduce people but then his true motives always seem to come out.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dear Humanities Students,

I hope that all of you and your families weathered the storm safely.  If you're like me, you currently don't have power.  I had to come downtown to get some temporary AC and internet access.  It looks like many of you haven't been able to post to the blog this week.  If your power is restored, I would certainly encourage you to do so, but I also understand the limitations and inconvenience that the storm has caused.  We will discuss the blog issue when we return, but I assure you that I will not penalize those who haven't been able to post.  I will, however, count the posts toward your grade if you have been able to post this week.  For example, I might decide that they will count toward next week's required posts.

I haven't been able to get in touch with Mrs. Quinet yet, but I have tentatively rescheduled two due dates.  The tentatively rescheduled due date for the English summer reading paper outline will be Wednesday, September 5.  Also, as of right now, I intend to have you write an in-class essay on The Tin Drum on Thursday, September 6.  Once Mrs. Quinet and I have a chance to talk, we will give you a more accurate update, but please use these dates as your guide for now.  I assure you that we will be fair, but we also don't want to lose too much time to Isaac and his aftermath.  :)  Also, don't forget about the social studies paper on the summer reading novels.

Best,

Ms. King

P.S.  Please note that I have also changed these dates on the Homework Site.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Art

Oskar seems to have the ability to influence people with the sound of his tin drum and his voice. During the Nazi rally, he plays his tin drum and takes control of the rally, curbing the violence. Then his scream shatters glass. He uses the scream to help people steal from shop windows for awhile. He claims that it helps them realize their true natures  since most of them will steal from the shop. When Oskar plays on the tin drum he influences people with his music, often times reducing them to tears and sometimes bringing out their anger. I think Oskar's music on the tin drum (which is a form of magical realism in itself) is a representation of the power of art to influence people. Art means not just music and vocals, but all forms - music, song, writing, theater, and paintings. Art has the ability to give rise to emotions in people and, with powerful art, move people into action. Art in propaganda was a huge part of the Nazi regime - and in any country's war movement.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Photographs and God

Yesterday we talked about photographs and how God only takes pictures of people on Sunday's (assumably when they are in Church), and how his view of people would be distorted by his small "snapshot" of people's personalities. Well, as we talked about the Tin Drum's references to photos, I remembered that Jose Arcadio would only believe in God if he saw a daguerrotype of him. Perhaps photographs are a larger post-modern motif? After a little research, very little research, I came across a site that talked about just that: photography and its' place in post-modernism. It says that "For postmodern thinkers photography is not the stimulus for theory but the consequence of it." Before I forget the site is http://www.tardiffphotography.com/postmodernism.html. I find this to be a hard concept to grasp, but what I think is being said is that ideas are not produced through photography, but captured. So perhaps that is why Jose Arcadio Buendia wanted a photograph of God, to prove his existence. Are there any other interpretations?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Marriage

At the end of class one day, Ms. King mentioned that the role of sex and all the affairs could be Marquez's way of commenting on the institution of marriage in this book. Could all the affairs also represent how Marquez is once again commenting on human nature in regard to its incapability to sustain a "normal relationship"? In Macondo it is as if no one realizes the true meaning of marriage as they compulsively rush into begin married - like Aureliano Segundo who had decided that he was going to marry Fernada del Carpio when he knew her for what...all about a day? Aureliano Segundo's decision to marry Fernanda ended up in a marriage that hardly existed as Aureliano Segundo was always with Petra Cortes, and Fernada was shunned. This pattern exist throughout the book and makes me wonder if Macondo would be any different if people were not so rash in their decisions to get married for unthought-out reasons such as sexual attraction.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Why is Remedios the Beauty in this book?

We talked about how Macando in its early years resembles a Utopian or Eden-like society.  I was wondering which you chose to view as the dominant influence in the novel: communism or Christianity.  It is my understanding that Marquez is a friend of Fidel Castro, and we can infer from this that likely holds to certain communist principles.  Some other examples possible examples of his communist inclinations could be the less than warm reception the town gives the priest when he first arrives, in keeping with Marxist aversion towards religion, and the people's disdain towards the imperialist (and capitalist) fruit company.  Were it not for the pressence of Remedios in this novel, I wouldn't be bringing up this topic.  In my opinion, Remedios appears to be an overtly religious figure.  The fact that she doesn't understand nakedness seems very similar to how Adam and Eve didn't realize they were naked before the fall.  Not only does this religious symbolism conflict with the communistic aspects of the novel but she also seems to be an outlier in the Buendia family.  She doesn't share any of the eccentricities or obsessions of the other Buendias and consequently seems to break the cyclical time flow in the novel.  Any thoughts as to why Marquez put her in the story?

Orientalism, Edward Said


Edward Said wrote Orientalism in 1978 initiating post colonialism studies on colleges because he analyzed the arrogant Eurocentric mentality with which these Western entities colonized non-western areas. I think it’s weird/disappointing that it took till 1978 to spark that kind of interest among intellectuals about post colonization.  Maybe as a Middle Easterner (outsider by Western standards), Said was in a better position to observe and criticize the behavior and motives of the colonizers. Just like it is sometimes hard to acknowledge our own flaws or prejudices, it is hard for nations to recognize their possibly flawed ideologies and impact on other countries.  It is also hard for me to distinguish whether proselytizing, lifting the civilization to higher standards, or pursuing economic self interest was the predominant motive for colonization…(I’m going with economic pursuits was the first and formost purpose after a little while, with spreading the “True religion” and lifting up civilizations as a fa├žade.) But which came first among the 3, which was the biggest driving force, and so on might be hard to pin point. Kinda like its hard to determine which came first, the chicken or the egg?  

Ursula's Blindness

When taking the test today I came across something that I thought was kind of interesting. I was writing about Ursula Buendia's blindness and I suddenly had a realization....that maybe the reason she is blind is because she figures out that time is repeating itself (although we already knew that from class) and the reason she can be blind and not have to see her family members is because she knows that each one of them will make the same mistakes as their predecessors. I believe this is illustrated when Marquez writes that Ursula knew where everyone was in the house. This is one of Marquez's subtle hints that Ursula has indeed figured out his riddle that time repeats itself and because she knows that everyone will repeat their daily routine, and the lifely-routines of their ancestors, she does not need to "see" (literally) what everyone is doing and where they will be because she already know what they will be doing and where they will be!! (phew, take a big breath and try to read that sentence without stopping!)

Ursula and her obsession over pig tails...

As I was progressing through the book, I repeatedly read about Ursula concerning over her children or descendants growing pig tails because of the incest that started the family, and the continued incest throughout the family. I started to wonder if she would ever be right (later I found out she was in the end). After continuously reading about kids being born without pig tails I started thinking that maybe the "pig tails" in question were metaphorical. After thinking about it for a while, I decided that maybe the fate of the family and how things happened with them was the "pig tail". For instance, the mistakes the men in the family continually make and how that eventually leads to the downfall of the family and the town as a whole is the major "pig tail" in my mind. After thinking about this possibility for a while it started to make because Marquez's work is soo full of metaphors, so why can't the "pig tail" be another. This was all before I found out that Amaranta Ursula and Aureliano Babilonia had a kid with a literal pig tail, so maybe I'm wrong.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Could affairs have led to the Buendia family downfall?

While reviewing for tomorrow's test, the thought came to my mind about what we were talking about in class today when Ms. King mentioned the fact that most of the people with whom the Buendias had affairs with names started with a P.  One of the women who I am not sure if we mentioned was Petra Cotes.  She was the character that both Aureliano Segundo and Jose Arcadio Segundo had affairs with.  She could be added to the list with Pilar Ternera and Pietro Crespi as the lovers that were not related to the Buendia family that have names that start with P.

Also I found it interesting that affairs also in a sense led to much violence and killing amongst the Buendia family.  For example, the fighting between Amaranta and Rebeca over Pietro Crespi was possibly responsible for the death of Remedios.  Another example occurs at the end of the novel when Aureliano Babylonia is too busy having an affair with the prostitute Nigromanta to stop his son from being eaten by ants.  Once Aureliano Babilonia's son dies, this basically ends the Buendia family for good as Aureliano Babilonia dies short after himself.  I think that it is a strong possibility that the affairs that occurred throughout the history of the Buendia family could be partly responsible as well for the downfall of the family.

Babiliona's Embodiment of Colonialism (This is Will)

Marquez uses many characters throughout the book to epitomize the changes brought about to Macondo from the Gringos, but one character that stands out in my mind is Babiliona. The butterflies that follow him around are in stark contrast with the mechanic grease that embalms his body, and I think Marquez drew the contrast purposefully. On page 285 Marquez writes: "His name was Mauricio Babiliona. He had been born and raised in Macondo and he was an apprentice mechanic in the banana company garage". Mauricio's nativity, in my mind, is represented by the almost magical yellow butterflies that follow him, but the reality of the Gringo's dominance within Macondo is represented through the grease from his mechanical work. Not only does this suggest that Macondo is more natural, but it also portrays the Gringo's work as dirty- indeed Marquez goes on to write about the different ways in which Babiliona's appearance is dirtied by his work for the banana company.  As we say in math, //

Mirrors/Mirages

Some of you may have already realized this, but i noticed that the "city of mirrors (or mirages) can also play into the cyclical pattern/theme that One Hundred Years of Solitude follows. The city of mirrors represents the town looking in on itself with no apparent change as the generations pass and as a result the repetition of the characters names serves to resemble how the characters are "stuck" in their ways because the mirrors only reflect back their faults. Macondo is also referred to the city of mirages on the last page of the book. This could represent the dream life factor that Macondo possessed as Macondo was the city founded on a new start - the city that was promised improvement with all the new influences that came in ranging from the organized religion, to new governments, party politics, and foreign interference. However, this was all just a "mirage" as Macondo was doomed to the destructive fate that was already predetermined for it due to the fact that they could never learn from their mistakes.
Sharon James is quoted on page 6 of Autumn of the Patriarch, Forgetting to Live saying something like this: Rome was founded on swift destructive violence and its settlement was a long process. Aaron Bady continues to comment that the founding of Macondo is nothing like the founding of Rome. I care to differ. I believe the quote regarding Rome could simply be substituted with the words Macondo, Prudencio Aguilar, and Marquez. It would then read, "these two acts are so different — the one a slow, constructive struggle to settle down and build a civilization, the other a swift, destructive act of enraged killing — that by placing them in such prominent symmetry and using the same word of them, Marquez calls attention to the relationship between them…In linking the slow founding of Macondo to the swift stabbing of Prudencio Aguilar, Marquez suggests that the former rests on the latter. Thus he shows the violence and fury beneath the founding of Macondo." I believe that the founding of Rome and the founding of Macondo are essentially one in the same. They both were created upon violence, albeit Jose Arcadio Buendia is fleeing violence, and both Macondo and Rome took a while to establish and settle down and become a civilization. I think that Bady is wrong in his assertion that, "The most important thing to say about Gabo's epic might be that it thinks non of these things." So I ask that you all think about this point and consider is validity because I see nothing wrong with my reasoning and cannot figure out why Bady would make such a point. Does anyone know how to explain this to me?

The Future And Death

So, I was reading "Autumn of the Patriarch, Forgetting to Live" and one part of it talked about the first line of the book. "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when hos father took him to discover ice." Well, according to Aaron Bady (I think that's his name), since the first thing we read about Aureliano is his death (well, what we think is his death) before the firing squad. Bady says at first we'll forget about the firing squad, but eventually, as Marquez keeps reminding us of the firing squad, it becomes ingrained in our minds that Aureliano is going to face the firing squad and die. Every time his name is mentioned, we know him as a dead man. So for a few chapters before we find out that he doesn't actually die, Aureliano is a walking dead man to us. Bady says, "...we will read the story already knowing the end. To the extent that we remember his death, he is already dead even before it happens." But, in my opinion, Aureliano's death is not the only one that is predicted. Amaranta predicts her own death and dies calmly and prepared, we are told before hand that Arcadio thinks of Remedios while he is facing a firing squad, and at far in advance Marquez tells us of the deaths of all seventeen sons of Aureliano. Throughout the whole book there is always at least one character who we know, or at least we think we know, how and when he or she will die. Which basically means there are a bunch of dead people walking around the Buenida house - ghosts in their own right. I think this just adds to the magical realism of the book, since we are allowed the glimpse the future and know the fate of each Buendia family member, but I think that makes us associate death with each character even though that character is still alive in the book. So even though there are ghosts wandering around the Buendia household, there's also the Buendias themselves who mix life and death.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sexual Perversion in 100 Years of Solitude and Tin Drum



One of the striking similarities between the two books is this recurrent theme of sexual perversion specifically in the form of incest and rape.  Often sex isn’t associated with love, rather it is associated with impulsiveness, violence, or wild untamed passion.  In these books sex is a way of controlling others, exerting authority over others, and in a sick way, it is somewhat empowering. I think the authors used these common themes because both societies were raped in a sense by an outside force.  Columbia was dominated by Europeans and Americans and exploited to the point of ruin, and Poland was invaded by Nazis. Both places (Macando and Poland) were infiltrated and changed by outside, alien, forces that they had no control over.  The unfamiliar government is unnatural to them, just as incest is abnormal and unnatural. Also maybe since the characters felt oppressed, they used the one thing they were control of, their bodies, in order to feel independent and powerful as they controlled others through rape.   

AmIdoingitright?(Magical Realism and Death)

Okay, so i fixed my spacebar(sorry for that cheesy joke), but more importantly I have some comments about the magical realism presented in "100 Years Of Solitude". (should that be in quotes or some other citation?) I feel like a lot of the magical realism from the novel can be found centered around death. A few examples of this are: Melquiades and Jose Arcardio Bendia's ability to come back to the Bendias as a ghost, when Remedios the Beauty manages to float right up to heaven, when the last Aureliano is carried away by ants after his mother dies during child birth (he also has the tail of the pig,) when death told Amarata that she would die when she finished her shroud, and there are obviously other examples that I am leaving out but I just wanted to cite a few. Something that goes hand in hand with my previous point is the age of Ursula because she simply refused to die, I'm not sure how old she is or if it mentions it in the book but I feel like she was much older than she should have been, especially given the time period in which she lived. I'm not quite sure how I am supposed to sum up my blog post or if this is even worthy of being called that, but I have to start somewhere.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Errr first blog post?

I found it very interesting that in Macondo, the traditional Western views on science and magic are often switched. Westerners typically think of gypsies as fanciful and unrealistic, yet in Macondo, the gypsies bring along scientific advances that the natives have never heard of, adding to the concrete knowledge and reason that Westerners value so much. Ironically, the ice, parchments in different languages, and alchemy sets, brought by the advocates of magic and superstition, all contribute to Jose Arcadio Buendia's thirst for knowledge and scientific advancement. It seems like Marquez discredits the stereotype to adjust us to his own little world where nothing is quite what we expected.