Archive for November, 2010

Nov 20 2010

Edward Hopper’s famous Nighthawks (1942).

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Look at the painting closely and you shall see more than just three customers in a diner late night. This is clearly a depiction of early urban life. The patrons are resting easily and the weather seems to be pleasant. The only light in the entire establishment of the entire street lit. There is no sign or rain or snow but rather it must be fall. The woman is wearing a short sleeve red dress and the men are dresses in suits. Like the title suggests “Nighthawks” they have stayed up late into the wee hours of the night. This painting is in it of itself a sense of pride and hope for Americans. Though everything is gloomy and dark around it the little diner stands in as a ray of hope. The three customers also seem to be in their own little world not interacting with one another. The couple doesn’t talk to each other and neither does the man who prefers to be alone. The worker seems to be in his mid 30’s is busy also staring off into the distant empty street. The buildings with some windows open have no light except what is reflected from the curved glass of the diner. The worker seems to be trapped in his work and thoughts; the triangular shape he is confined to work in. The lone man seems not to be bothered by the couple in front of him.

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Nov 13 2010

The Green Light

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Thought to be one of the most important symbols in the book; the green light symbolizes Gatsby’s dreams and hopes for the future. The green light is shown on Daisy’s East Egg dock and barely visible from Gatsby’s West egg lawn but it still manages to it haunt him.  In chapter 1 We are made aware of the green light when Gatsby talks of it linking it to Daisy and how he hopes to reach her.  Later on in chapter 9 Nick says this is what it must have looked to immigrants when they first arrived to America;  all they could see was a green light in the distance. Nick first sees Gatsby with his arms reaching out towards the green light.  Gatsby hopes to win Daisy love and the green light represents his attempts to reach her. When Daisy and Gatsby reunite there is a mist that covers the green light.  The green light flickers as Gatsby’s longing to be with Daisy.  It is so close and yet so far from him. This small piece of technology ; a light holds all of Gatsby’s aspirations . His willingness to forget everything and everyone around him just to get Daisy. He ignores his houseful of people and his wealth thinking that he will find at last what he has been waiting for. Technology has its limitations and picks and chooses who can be an “user” of it. Daisy belongs to a different class and technology will always work in her favor. Jay is a man made social elite and technology will only taunt him but never let him succeed.

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Nov 07 2010

“we shall die” – The Jungle

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“That was two months ago. Then he wanted me to come – to that house. He wanted me to stay there. He said all of us – that we would not have to work. He made me come there – in the evenings. I told you – you thought I was at the factory. Then – one night it snowed, and I couldn’t get back. And last night – the cars were stopped. It was such a little thing – to ruin us all. I tried to walk, but I couldn’t. I didn’t want you to know. It would have – it would have been all right. We could have gone on – just the same – you need never have known about it. He was getting tired of me – he would have let me alone soon. I am going to have a baby – I am getting ugly. He told me that – twice, he told me, last night. He kicked me – last night – too. And now you will kill him – you – you will kill him – and we shall die.”  (chapter 15)

It’s clear that The Jungle is full of some of the most disturbing quotes of any book I have ever read. It tells the tale of a struggling immigrant family and the way the system dehumanizes each member. To me the part that got to me the most was when Ona confesses to Jurgis that she was being raped by her boss Connor. The way that the novel sets up her confession, I felt chills. Though lacking in descriptive words Sinclair manages to instill in his readers sympathy for his characters. I knew at that moment Jurgis was going to lose it, because as a red blooded male he couldn’t stand around while another man abused his wife. Poor Ona didn’t utter a word just because Connor threatened to sack everyone’s jobs. She didn’t have any rights and so he took advantage of her. None of the family members were fully aware of the things that Ona was going through in the past two months. I think this quotes brings to light how hard their life is and the extent to what they must suffer just to stay alive. Ona says that Jurgis will kill Connor , and later he beats him to a bloody pulp ending up in Jail. She also mentions that “we shall die” , this is just the beginning of their problems.

–          The family is evicted from their home

–          Ona dies giving birth

–          Baby born prematurely dies

–          Jurgis addicted to alcohol

–          Antanas drown in the street

–          Jurgis wanders the streets

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