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Saturday, January 21st, 2017
12:25 pm - Are we in a dystopian society?

hunterxtc
I continue to be disappointed with the human species and I see no end in sight. We are not capable of being much more than we are in a physical sense... there is no X-man, no Superman, no Incredible Hulk in our physical future. We are, like it or not, a mass of flesh and blood, unable to keep ourselves focused on anything for an extended period of time because we always worry about what someone else has and why don't we have it. Our core is not that far away from this veneer of success and "good will" we exhibit- at our core we are nothing more than animals and that is the extend of our physical interaction. We don't like someone's politics or skin color or religion... we as animals can kill them and not be remorseful about it because in the end it's all about maximizing our survival. Animals do not experience guilt- they only want pleasure for themselves. And we are animals.

So lately I've been thinking about the progress of the dystopian film/novel genre and how it relates to the human condition. Humans are good at creating things to enhance their ease of life... we no longer have to pick cotton by hand, or bale hay or have horses to take us from point A to point B. Yes, we humans have created technologies that help us "progress" down the path of the human condition. But does this increase in technology simply give us more pleasure or does it help us become more human? And what is it to "become more human?"

I look at a film like Fritz Lang's Metropolis and I see man as slave to the machine... a world built upon the ideas of superior science, but the world cannot survive without a subclass of humans working like animals to keep the illusion alive. In the 20s, this was evident in the way human labor was used in the factories... inhuman conditions, low wages, wretched living conditions. Fast forward 25 years to George Orwell's 1984 and man is still living in wretched conditions but the gap between worker and elite is not only more evident, but it is seemingly embraced by the poor who are "content" to live in their own world and the elites come to their world only for things like prostitutes or real alcoholic beverages... a brief glimpse of an old world where people were perhaps valued as more than cogs in a machine but less valued for their human qualities in 1984. Fast forward another 25 years and the film The Planet of the Apes shows an upside down world where even the human elites have been ousted, man himself has been ousted as the ape has taken over. But as one looks at that film, the apes seem to have taken the characteristics of man, so is it really that much of a change? It only goes to show that man and ape are at the core animals who instinctively attack and kill in the name of some sort of god. While the film is amusing in the sense that men are herded like animals it really doesn't look at an alternative elite (apes) as being any better than humans were... in fact the apes have regressed to perhaps a Middle Ages way of existence.

Two more modern takes on humans being in hellish conditions are The Terminator films and The Matrix films. In The Terminator saga, man has been taken over by technology and desperately tries to survive in a bleak future where they are hunted down and eliminated because the machines are self aware and completely able to take care of themselves. Man is just a bad memory, a step in the evolutionary path toward machine dominance. But alas there is the hope that with the leadership of a nondescript human John Connor that the superior machines can be defeated (yeah right). And in The Matrix, man is reduced to the lowest of the low... just "energy" for the computer program known as The Matrix to survive. Human have their electrical energy sucked out of them as they reside in vast hatching rooms, all the while living in a fantasy world unless some enlightened rebel selects them to take a pill and see how the world really is.

They don't call these books and films science fiction for nothing. The ideas are from the minds of men and in all these examples, man is seen as a victim, never seen as the rot cause for the problems. But man IS THE ROOT CAUSE for these problems, just as he is in 2017 in the here and now. Instead of trying to create a world where everyone helps each other to succeed, we are now seeing a President who wants to isolate the United States, the voodoo of religion still being the root cause for the majority of global conflict and the subtle difference in people being reason enough to kill each other so that humans can be safe and content. But this is the human condition... we don't want to share... we want as much as we can get instead of trying to help others rise up and thus bringing everyone up in the process.

Humans are easily manipulated and humans with power over the means of production will use their power to stay in their comfortable dominance forever. The human condition is nothing more than an animalistic condition with some tech thrown in for good measure. This is why I really believe we are part of some sort of superior intelligence's experiment (or maybe extraterrestrial game show) because how we treat each other MAKES NO SENSE. We are not "human" - we have not earned the right to be called humans. We are simply animals who have no idea how to make the evolutionary jump to humanity. But is that truly a jump?

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Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
12:43 am - Hello!

weirderette
Hello, fellow English lovers! My name's Erica and I just joined this community after a two-year long hiatus from LJ (I can be quite forgetful) so I thought I'd pop in.

I'm currently attending my third year of school at a liberal arts college in New England as a English major with a concentration in Creative Writing; I plan on graduating with my Bachelor's in '15 and am currently undecided as to whether or not I want to add a History minor. My two favorite hobbies are, of course, reading and writing.

I am very open to conversation and any questions someone might have for me! I hope you all have a wonderful summer! 

current mood: awake

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Thursday, August 16th, 2012
12:50 am - *happy face*

coldlikedeath

Ladies and gents, I thought I’d let you know that re my „oh my god thesis aaarrrggghhh” entry, it was helpful and thank you if you commented. My idea has been accepted, and now that it has, I’ll write it here.

Taken from the email I sent a day or two ago, written as is:

[...]  poetry in heavy metal lyrics, plenty of it about. Specifically I would use Iron Maiden's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (poem and song itself), as the song was written around the poem. I would begin with this and widen it out to not only other songs and bands in the heavy metal genre (Nightwish, Sirenia, et al), but also other poetry and poets (Chaucer, for example).

Andrew said he’d take it on; he’s a Coleridge specialist, and a musician to boot, so I hope he can see what I would mean to do with this or how I came up with it, if you see what I mean. (Didn't expect a response this quick.) I probably won’t be this happy six weeks into writing and researching the thing but for now, I feel I could explode with happiness.

I don't think it sounds too out there. we’ll see! Tell me what y'all think. 



current mood: happy

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Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
2:19 pm - Switching majors

redhandedjilll
Hello all, new member. Dehlia, 24, current sophomore.

So I'm wondering if I'm just completely nuts for doing this or maybe on the right track. I guess I'm looking for people who are or were in the same situation as I am and could offer some feedback?

I'm 99% sure I want to switch from journalism to English. Essentially, writing is always what I've wanted to do. However, I decided awhile ago that maybe journalism was the more "logical" approach to finding a career.

Yet, I find that it's actually eating my soul. I hate it. I hate reporting, I hate interviewing people, I hate the legalities, and I spend all semester wishing I had the free time to read and write more. It all accumulated into a full-scale meltdown just prior to this Fall semester starting, because I would pretty much rather die than sit through another one of these classes.

This is not even counting how I've never felt I was in the right place within these classes, and never really jived with the people there.

I dropped the J-classes I was planning to take in favor of some English Lit. courses to feel it out and get an idea before I take the plunge into officially changing.

So is it totally silly of me to make this transition? I'm aware of the consequences. I know I'll have to take more classes and probably graduate later than originally thought, I know that it's not some magical portal into writing stardom. In fact, I'm quite content with the idea of living as a copywriter and maybe self-publishing on the side, or going on to teach later in life.

Has anyone here made the successful (or at least felt better about life since) transition from one major into English?

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Sunday, August 5th, 2012
12:06 am

coldlikedeath
I have a thesis idea. It's a bit out of left field. How do I write the proposal so that it sounds good- regarding detail and stuff? I'm terrified of writing it because if it's shot down, I have nothing else.

Any ideas? Ta, all.

(6 comments | comment on this)

Friday, June 8th, 2012
8:12 pm - the REAL method of a thesis...

cousin_of_black
While doing a paper on my research so far, there was a part that involved stating the method of our research. Well, for all the blather I wrote there here is the real, daily, method:

* get up
* coffee
* procrastinate: play on internet
* coffee
* read
* procrastinate: solitaire (have to get my win percentage up!)
* coffee
* read
* write a bit
* have a nap
* coffee
* write a bit more
* go for a walk to clear my head
* get distracted by something pretty on tv
* go to bed

(6 comments | comment on this)

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
3:37 pm - Great short stories or poems
a_xolotl Hello, I'd like to share a few short stories (or maybe poems) with a friend trying to practice her English, do any of you have some ideas as to what I can recommend? Preferably well-known stories, or stories with some cultural/historical significance to them, as well as she's interested in great works of literature and writers.

For example, she loves Edgar Allen Poe, but the vocabulary makes it a little difficult to understand without diving into a dictionary every other minute ("The Cask of Amontillado"). Something like "Hills Like White Elephants" by Ernest Hemingway is a little better, as it's just a few pages long, is written with very basic descriptions and dialogue, but it still has a deeper meaning and cultural importance. Any short story suggestions you can give though, high or low register, well-known or unknown, are more than welcome and very appreciated.

Personally, I recommend "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl. As well as "La Parure" (The Necklace) and "Allouma" by Guy de Maupassant (especially if you're trying to learn French). Thanks in advance!

(1 comment | comment on this)

Friday, February 24th, 2012
10:47 am - Antony and Cleopatra Essay Help?

xicarus_complex
Hi all,
I've spent the last two weeks on an essay about Enobarbus (from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra), but I can't seem to reconcile my ideas into a coherent whole and I'm superfrustrated, so I'd really appreciate any advice/thoughts from the community! My thesis has gone through several iterations and I'm not satisfied with any, but I've narrowed it down to two so far. Essentially, I think the parallels between Antony and Enobarbus speak to the relationship between love and death/destruction, but I'm not sure what these parallels say, or what the relationship between love and death is.

Essay OutlineCollapse )

If anyone has any insight at all, I'd really appreciate it because at the moment, I feel like I'm fumbling in the dark. Thanks for your time and I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Edited to fix borked HTML.

(3 comments | comment on this)

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
6:59 pm - The Scarlet Letter and Walden

butterflywings3
Hi, all,
I don't like to admit this as a former English major and current English MA student, but I've never read Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, and I've only read bits and pieces of Thoreau's Walden. That said, can anyone recommend websites that explain these two works in enough detail that I'll know what I'm talking about if I need to say anything about these two works in upcoming classes?

We write a post each week to the prof and other students and then talk about the posts in class, but since the post will be about two books I've never studied in depth, I'm not sure that will go over well. I don't want to seem completely incompetent, but I'm a little worried about grasping the material. Not sure I want to look at Wikipedia for this, so I wanted to check here as I continue look for other sources of information.

Thanks!

current mood: rushed

(5 comments | comment on this)

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
8:45 pm - T -17 hours, MAN THE TORPEDOES, AHAHAHA, oh god.

coldlikedeath

Ladies, gentlemen, people who probably have PhDs and therefore know more than me, I come again.

Can someone please explain, in as simple language as is possible:

“This paltry age’s gaudy livery, I love it not.” and aestheticism. What is Oscar Wilde saying here, why? What is he rejecting? Royalty’s finery? (Couldn't be that. excuse the stupidness, my brain is fried with fear.) There was a feeling of tiredness, a need for change, but why? (I'm hoping that I'm asked to explain my feelings on the “there’s no such thing as an immoral book...” quote, that’s a fantastic one, and everyone knows the famous “wallpaper” quote, but that won’t appear.)

Here’s one I boggle at: “What is the meaning of ‘reflection’ and ‘shadow’ in Plato’s thought?  How does the mirror function in representing vanity and sin in medieval visual representations?” I just... WTF, what has Plato to do with this?

What movements are found under modernism and name names. What. I wasn't there for these classes but these questions may come up... hopefully my professor will be kind to me! (probably not but one can dream, eh?)

How do you understand Woolf’s principles of literary psychology in view of the statement “life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of the consciousness to the end,” I would be tempted to say that all life is a stage when confronted with this one- and who said that, I don't remember. I have no idea what that quote even means never mind what she was referring to in it.

Has anyone read Orlando? I have no idea how it was different to Mrs Dalloway or To the Lighthouse... authorial goal? Someone kindly enlighten me?

I'm not sunk yet. Nearly there, though, there are questions on either Finnegan's Wake or Ulysses (both Joyce) and I've never read either, but I know what Ulysses is about.

ETA: this was for an exam. I have a retake. I don't see what Plato has to do with a thing here. I was asking for general, simple pointers, not asking for homework help... specific answers are needed here and I thought "well, perhaps this lot might be able to help a bit, someone's bound to know more than you". I think I was wrong about FW, I think it was actually Portrait, which I will read. 



current mood: shattered

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Saturday, January 28th, 2012
11:45 pm

coldlikedeath
Exam. On the 3rd. Oh god. I failed once, I need to pass, this is hopeless. History of Brit Lit, it'll focus on Old English but there's way too much to take in and remember. It'll be fine, right?

(9 comments | comment on this)

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
4:24 am - A question

sechilles
My friends and I are having a major fight over the usage of punctuation in relation to quotation marks and I would really appreciate if any of you guys could tell me if there is any possible circumstance where it would be OK to use full stop (.) on either side of a quotation mark.

Like this:  .".

I apologize but you guys are our last hope. PLEASE ANSWER ME BEFORE I GO ON A KILLING SPREE!!!

(5 comments | comment on this)

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011
7:39 pm - The Hidden Hand by E.D.E.N. Southworth

butterflywings3
Hi, all,

I'm creating a curriculum unit around Southworth's The Hidden Hand; it's a 19th century novel that was first published in The New York Ledger (1859) in serialized format. Do any of you know where I can find an image of the serialized story (cover page, a chapter, anything?) I've done numerous Google and library searches looking for information about The New York Ledger and this book, but I'm coming up short. My next step is to go to a library that has this on microfilm, but I thought I'd try here first.

Thank you for any help!

x-posted, sorry if you've seen this twice.

(1 comment | comment on this)

Sunday, May 1st, 2011
11:26 am - Paper help

krazykat_neko
Hi! I'm an English major and I'm currently taking a Studies in Shakespeare class. I have a major paper due tomorrow that I've badly procrastinated on and I need a little help fine tuning my thesis. My paper is comparing/contrasting Ophelia (Hamlet), Lady Anne (Richard III) and Isabella (Measure for Measure) and my thesis is that all of these characters were manipulated in some form by the male characters in the plays. It feels kind of broad to me but I'm kind of scratching my head and trying to think of a way to focus my paper on. This is supposed to be a 6-7 page paper btw.

I know I'm coming off as a bad English major here but I still have trouble coherently forming my thoughts on academic essays. I feel like I'm all over the place when start writing this stuff.

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Sunday, March 27th, 2011
9:46 am - Kind of Nervous to Ask This

gunsofporn
Hello fellow English Majors!

I want to ask some questions, but I'm worried I'll come off as rude and I hope that doesn't happen. I'm towards the end of my degree, so I'm hoping no one says "Well just change your major".

Since high school, I have found that my love for reading outside of the classroom has diminished because of the amount of reading I had to do in class. Now as a college student, when I talk with my fellow English majors, I feel as though I'm seriously behind on "good" literature. I put good in quotation marks because I'm not sure what qualifies as good literature anymore. I've always felt that as long as you were reading, it can't be bad. My eyes have opened up since.

So my questions to you are:

1. How do I rekindle my love of reading? Will it come back to me when I graduate? Will I shout from the rooftops "Finally! I can read again"?

2. What should I read? I don't know what is "good" literature and what is "bad" literature. Who are the authors that are in right now? I don't really have a favorite genre, so I'm hoping to read works from all different kinds of genres. Even comics.

3. Do you sometimes feel judged based upon what you've read?

Again, I hope I do not tick off anyone with these questions, as that was definitely not my intent. Thank you for reading this.

current mood: curious

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Saturday, March 5th, 2011
8:51 pm - English Words

narcissus1
Hello everyone, I've been following this community for a while, but this is the first I'm posting here. The thing is, I need some help. I hope its okay for me to ask here.

Do any of you know where I can find some info/stats on English words? I mean something like number of words, number of nouns and verbs, number of compound words, loan words...stuff like that. Preferably, I need the breakdown for Modern English along with Old and/or Middle English.

Some background, just in case: I'm doing an assignment for an introductory morphology class, and my group is looking at the changes that the English language has undergone (and is undergoing) to try and 'predict' how English will look like in the future.

Thanks in advance :)

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Monday, February 21st, 2011
12:23 am - Praxis II

cathubodva
Any educators or future educators here who have recently taken the Praxis II in English Content Knowledge? Did you use a study guide? Which one, and do you feel it prepared you for what was on the exam?

I've been out of college for almost four years now, and am taking the exam next month. The study guides are overwhelming me, and I'm not sure how difficult this is going to be. I did well in college but didn't take any real "grammar" classes (besides History of the English Language and Latin, which count in my mind!) and I'm not sure how much of a negative impact that's going to have on me.

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Monday, December 13th, 2010
5:47 am

xicarus_complex
Hi!  I'm new to the community, so, if this type of post is frowned on, please let me know and I'll delete it.  I have an essay due Tuesday for my Renaissance Lit class, but I can't seem to articulate a strong, clear thesis and I didn't have time to see my prof during her office hours this week.  I've decided to write about Queen Elizabeth I's use of possessive adjectives in her "Speech to the Troops at Tillbury" (1588) and I'd appreciate feedback on my tentative thesis statement: "The repeated use of possessive adjectives in Queen Elizabeth I's "Speech to the Troops at Tillbury" shows that she is as reliant on her people as on God for legitimacy".  I don't feel like that's an accurate representation of the argument I want to make, nor am I even sure if the argument I'd like to make is sufficiently textual or if it's more historical, but she establishes her right to rule by identifying with the English people and by identifying as divine.  Don't hesitate to tell me that that's utter nonsense and/or I'm beyond help.  I did want to tackle an argument about all the "mys" in that text, but it's not a subject with which I'm entirely comfortable (obviously) and I can definitely switch to a topic I'm better acquainted with if I have to.  Ideally, I want to take on a challenge and I don't want to disappoint my professor because she knows I planned to tackle this one, but I'd much rather write a quality essay on a "safe" topic I know well than write a cruddy essay for no reason.

Gah, I ramble when I'm tired.  Thanks in advance for all your help and I hope you have a wonderful day!

current mood: tired

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Monday, December 6th, 2010
5:03 pm - Emergency help needed: What is "Proustian paralysis"?

funkyturtle
I'm writing a paper (due tomorrow) on humanity/loss of humanity/retention of humanity in "Ghosts Have Warm Hands," the memoirs of a Canadian soldier in WWI.  I'm examining this using a psych theory book on the conceptualization of persons via narrative self-construction.  At one point it says:

"A person emerges when such an individual does the psychological work required to organize this experience in an ongoing, self-reflexive
narrative.  It is obviously impossible that this narrative should contain each and every event befalling the human being in full detail--such a goal would result in a Proustian paralysis in which the recognizable general features for a coherent story would be lost in the richness of information."

I have no idea what a Proustian paralysis is.  Wikipedia is not helping.  I really need to understand it because the selection of which details to include (and the very idea of richness of information vs plain story) is very important for my analysis of this book.  I'm arguing that the author's choice to include encounters on the battlefield with his dead brother's ghost are part of what defines and retains his humanity in the horror of the trenches.  I really need to know if the Proustian paralysis comment is providing evidence for or against my idea.  Either way I can make it work, I just need to know if I'm agreeing with this person or arguing with them on this point.

Does anyone on here have the ability to briefly explain or send me to a link where I could go to get a good sense of "Proustian paralysis" ?  I have zero knowledge of Proust other than that he's French and famous.

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Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
8:05 pm - Realism

regn_espere
In American Realism is it fair to say that a single character can be representative of a collective group? So a female character representative of a "typical female" during that time period? Or a African American character representative of "all slaves" during the 17th Century?

I've asked my professor, but he keeps swimming around the answer. Is that part of realism, that a character can represent a whole?
One of the notes he gave us that all of my fellow classmate-friends are confused about as well is "Characters appear in their real complexity of temperament and motive; they are in explicable relation to nature, to each other, to their social class, to their own past."
So I feel like that is saying No to my question and then Yes.
Thoughts?

current mood: curious

(15 comments | comment on this)

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