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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Beloved 4

"For twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings, this is the book that spurred them into dialogues on race and gender and other thorny issues that still haunt our national debate just as the ghost of Beloved haunts Morrison’s novel. As such, this book will continue to loom large over current day American fiction." (Reviewed by Ted Gioia) http://www.thenewcanon.com/beloved.html

I felt that this book was very southern and depicted the time period very well. I loved the use of southern and African language found throughout the text.

"You forgetting I knew her, "Paul D was saying. "Back in Kentucky. When she was a girl. I didn't just make her acquaintance a few months ago. I been knowing her a long time. And I can tell you for sure: this ain't her mouth. May look like it, but it ain't." (p. 217)

"Yonder," he said.

"You ain't got no business walking around these hills,miss." "Looka here who's talking. I got more business here 'n you got...." (p. 108)

I also like the nature references made throughout the book. You can find many references to the chokecherry tree and chamomile. Visually you can see the corn stalks moving at the 'union' of Sethe and Halle. Also, the use of corn in a sexual reference describe by Halle.

All in all I enjoyed this book by Morrison. I would love to read some more of her work. I have started to read more books set in the south, and I think the exposure to Morrison will add other great works to my book shelves.


Beloved 3

Sweet Home

Men of Sweet Home

Halle, Paul D., Paul A., Paul F. and Sixo these were the men of Sweet Home. These characters kept the land of Sweet Home. This is also where Sethe met the men. Sixo was a character that was willing to venture off the land to be with his Thirty-Mile Woman. Halle was a nice hardworking man that wins over Sethe. He also bought his mother Baby Suggs' freedom. These men represented a large number of male slaves in the South. It was interesting to see how Morrison developed each of their character.

Owners of Sweet Home
Mr. and Mrs. Garner better owners than Schoolteacher of Sweet Home. I would say for a slave the people of Sweet Home had a 'better life' while the Garners were running the plantation. I wonder how Morrison would have played the book out if she would have reversed the order of owners?

Sethe at Sweet Home

Sweet home was a place for Sethe that brought memories of rape and memories of union. Although Sethe's union to Halle was sex in a corn field witnessed by the other men of Sweet Home it still had a sweet memory for her. Unpleasant moments would occur at Sweet Home for Sethe like Halle witnessing Sethe's rape. This was a place that brought friends together, but also held a thorny spot in her chest. Many references where made by Sethe and Paul D. in the memories they had of Sweet Home and during their flashbacks. I know they must have been hard to relive, but it seemed that they were at peace with their past and looking towards their freedom.


Beloved 2


I feel that Sethe is the glue that holds this book together. She is a strong independent woman who wants the best for her children. Sethe is willing to go to extreme measure to make sure her children do not have the life she had. This is especially true for her girls. Knowing the life she has had at Sweet Home, Sethe does not want rape and abuse for her girls. She is a mother who is willing to kill her children so that they do not have to continue the life she has/had.

When I was beginning to read this book the teacher I work with mentioned she loved Morrison's work. I asked her to tell me some of her favorite parts of the book and she mentioned Sethe's love for her children. When Becca, the teacher I work with, was reading this book she was pregnant with her little girl. She said that the love that Sethe had for her children made her cry almost every time she picked up the book to continue reading. Becca also stated that the book made her realize the love a parent has for their child. Willing to take them out of the world so that they do not have to carry around the burden as she had to was a concept Sethe must have had to prepare for.

Sethe also mentions early in the book that "I got a tree on my back and a haint in my house, and nothing in between but the daughter I am holding in my arms. No more running-from nothing." (p21) *(Haint- Southern colloquialism def., ghost, apparition, lost soul) I feel that this statement to Paul D led to very high emotions in the book. Sethe has been living a hard life caring that weight around with her and even though there is a spirit in her house and nothing to her name she is tired of running from things in her life. Throughout the book Sethe is rooted in the past with Beloved. She dwells in the past affecting her family and her future. It is not until she realizes in the present and future that she can let go of the past.

Overall, Sethe was a strong woman who centered her world around her children. She was willing to take them out of this world to provide them a better 'life'. I am not a parent, but I know when I do become one I will want the very best for my children. I do not know if I could go to extremes the way Sethe did though.


Beloved 1

Below is an audio interview with Morrison. She speaks about Beloved, being a writer and her family.

Notes from the book Beloved As I read the book these are some of the notes I jotted down.

Toni Morrison received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. Beloved won the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. (taken from the back cover of Beloved)
As part of her Nobel acceptance speech, she said, "Language as power, language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names."

Sweet Home
Stamp Paid
Unique to culture and time period. The referred to names remind me of some of the name choices made in Sea Oak. Both stories used unique names for important aspects to the underlying concept.

One state holds freedom while the other represents suffering.

No chapters- 3 sections
smooth, steady

Mother/daughter relationship

Reading of the book in Middle School and High School- While doing research I found several websites, blogs and even YouTube videos of HS and MS students studying Beloved I do not know if I would read this book in either school settings. I feel that college students are more geared towards this book. I would have to sit and plan for the instruction of this book to bring it to a level of HS or MS students.

Please watch the video interview of Morrison here: http://www.pbs.org/kcet/tavissmiley/archive/200811/20081119.html#
It is 2:45 and she is speaking about "her creative process and what drives her to write." It is really good to see how her art is created.


* Wright

So, this post is on "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow."

I thought this short story was a timeline in the life of Wright. I like the realistic language used in the story. The choice of words and use of quotations made the story very real for me. I could visualize setting in the South. From a young age he was taught to hate the white man, but as the story progresses he then ask the white man for help in checking out books. I see this a a progression for both races coming together to help each other. Even though the time period was not as a race coming together, it was nice to see that there were people willing to over come stereo type.

For example, it was almost impossible to get a book to read. It was assumed that after a Negro had imbibed what scanty schooling the state furnished he had no further need for books. I was always borrowing books from men on the job. One day I mustered enough courage to ask one of the men to let me get books from the library in his name. Surprisingly, he consented. I cannot help but think that he consented because he was a Roman Catholic and felt a vague sympathy for Negroes, being himself an object of hatred. Armed with a library card, I obtained books in the following manner: I would write a note to the librarian, saying: "Please let this nigger boy have the following books." I would then sign it with the white man's name.

I found 2 websites that have information on Jim Crow and lesson plans.

Jim Crow Gateway

(About website) Explore teacher and student evaluated Web sites on a wide variety of topics pertaining to Jim Crow history and literature. The sites on this gateway have been recommended for their quality and resource value to teachers and students.
* This site also has external links related to authors we have discussed this semester.
Literature Resources
Ralph Ellison
Ernest Gaines
Langston Hughes
Zora Neale Hurston
Harper Lee
Toni Morrison
Alice Walker
August Wilson
Richard Wright

I hope these help you in your teaching adventure!

Friday, February 26, 2010

I found this video that aired 1/12/2010 about Philip Levine. It is really good! Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shorts this week (Saunders & Boyle)

Sea Oak

WoW! What an interesting story. I have to say that I don't think I have read anything with as much harsh language as I have today. I have to agree with Heidi this story was nasty! There was a lot going on in it between the characters lives, the language and the aunt coming back to life I think I got lost in the message of the story. I do have to say that the story captivated me. I had to keep reading to see what was going to happen next. I don't know if that is the author's intention, but it happened. The characters and the setting also confused me.

I know that the story dealt with poverty, death, education and life. Near the end the aunt wanted for her family to have better that she had.


This story was great. I have never lost a child, but heaven forbid it is were to happen I know that it would be like a Chicxulub on my universe. I like the comparison to losing a child to the asteroids coming to Earth.

My point? You’d better get down on your knees and pray to your gods, because each year this big spinning globe we ride intersects the orbits of some twenty million asteroids, at least a thousand of which are more than half a mile in diameter.
But my daughter. She’s out there in the dark and the rain, walking home. Maureen and I bought her a car, a Honda Civic, the safest thing on four wheels, but the car was used—pre-owned, in dealerspeak—and as it happens it’s in the shop with transmission problems and, because she just had to see her friends and gossip and giggle and balance slick multicolored clumps of raw fish and pickled ginger on conjoined chopsticks at the mall, Kimberly picked her up and Kimberly will bring her home.

You pray for everything to be alright. You provide the safest materials, yet you have no control of what happens. We must believe in our God to provide our family a safe stay here and be tankful for the time we have with them.