Citation for Wilson

December 9th, 2010

I used “chapter in a book” MLA citation for this. All pages are listed.

Wilson, Elizabeth. “Into the Labyrinth.” The Sphinx in the City: Urban Life, The Control of Disorder, and Women. Berkeley: University of California, 1992. 1-11. Print.

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The City of The Yellow Devil

November 1st, 2010

It is clear right from the start that, like Kriegel’s essay, this passage is going to be a strongly opinionated, negatively toned piece about the city. His thesis is that New York City and its inhabitants only exists to strive for the “yellow devil” being gold, or money. In fact, his point is that that fact is so disgusting that we should pity New Yorkers and their lust for gold.

Gorky states that the lust for money has made New Yorkers mindless. He says, “their thinking belongs to their boss, what is there to think about themselves” (7). New York City only exists to make a profit. Things that are supposed to make the city a great place like light, for instance, Gorky says, “here light, like everything else, is enslaved. it serves Gold. It is for Gold”

He takes the stance that New Yorkers simply want to be entertained in this money machine. His long reference to Coney Island and the “Hell” show proof of that. The fact that New Yorkers could be entertained with a spectacle such as then demeans New Yorkers. His voice is almost a mocking one. He mocks New Yorkers and their mindlessness clearly in the phrase “Pleasures await the people inside the buildings as well, but these are serious pleasures, they educate”. For the Hell spectacle to be classified as an education and serious pleasure is not very intelligent.

1. His stance is that he is above all of the greed in the pursuit of the city. He is informing his audience of the city and how he sees its poor and greedy working-class.
2. emphatic aristocrat
3. The support that Gorky uses can’t be considered “hard facts” but rather something resembling “creative non-fiction”. His examples are embellishments on events that very well could have happened somewhere in the city, but it is unlikely that he has actually seen all of these examples with his own two eyes.

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Age of Innocence

October 20th, 2010

In a review in the New York Times by Francie Prose, we are told that Age of Innocence had a lot of “eternal questions” that transcend time. The book that the film is based off of was writen in 1920 and is set in the 1870s. That fact does not seem to affect the power of the film’s message.

In the article, one of the lead actresses is quoted:

“What’s most universal and timeless about the novel and the film,” says Ms. Pfeiffer, “is what they have to say about the charades people play, the masks people wear for the sake of what’s socially acceptable. That’s still going strong. And when you see someone’s whole life guided by those standards, it touches a chord. You ask yourself: Will I wind up like Newland Archer? Could I make those sacrifices without becoming bitter?”

This review simply touches on the notion that this film covers the ideas of society and social acceptance. Of course all of those things still apply today in forms other than in the film.

The review also covers a little background information on the author’s life and which character she is most like. She was born and raised in a high society setting but strived to break free of those constraints.

Also, the review mentions why Martin Scorsese was the obvious yet not-so-obvious “perfect director” for the film. This movie, unlike his “bloody-minded, paranoid jitter” films, this one still has one element Scorsese is familiar with. Repressed passion is one of his specialties and I will be excited to see how he portrays this complex and intricate element of the novel in the film

Click here to read the NY Times article

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Groups for Film Reviews

October 19th, 2010

Professor Davison asked us to assign one movie per group for the reviews project. I split up the groups in class and announced it. I believe the review summary is due the day we watch the film so I have included due dates next to the groups. If you were absent, or forgot, here’s the list again.

Group 1 (Age of Innocence) Due 10/21

Peter, Sam, Carol, Janene

Group 2 (Gangs of New York) Due 10/28

Drew, Praveena, Susan, William

Group 3 (The Panic In Needle Park) Due 11/4

Elana, Lara, Michelle, Par

Group 4 (Man on Wire) Due 11/18

Elias, David, Marianna, Jeremy

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Essay Draft

October 7th, 2010

The motif “the self and the city” is very clearly evident on Gopnik’s “The People On The Bus”. His entire essay is a fact based, personal experience of himself navigating New York City. The passage is about his connection to the bus and the subway and to New York as a whole.

He gives several examples of “his” New York. His first experience on a bus is recalled early on in his essay. In this paragraph he says he came to New York “in the anxious (though, looking back, mostly unfrightened) summer of 1978”. In this one sentence we see connections to “his” New York. The sentence is a reflection on his own personal first summer in the city. He is telling the reader a story and in his story digresses to true feelings. It is revealed that he was feeling anxious, but his anxiousness was not true fear when examined again in the 2000’s. This anxiety could have been felt very differently by a person sitting next to him on the bus. Gopnik did not say “we were anxious”. This would have moved the essay to an entirely different place and would not have carried the motif of “the self and the city”

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Whitehead vs. Mumford

September 28th, 2010

At the end of the day the brooklyn bridge is the same structure but two authors can have distinctly different views about the structure. Mumford’s “Brooklyn Bridge” as well as Whitehead’s “Brooklyn Bridge” both address the idea of a major life change in two different voices. In Mumford’s passage, he himself has a catharsis when he crosses the bridge on a mid-March day. His passage includes amazing imagery of both his inner self and the picture laid before him. He references “a halo around the jagged mountain of skyscrapers” and “a dazzling mass against the indigo sky”. These images sound beautiful and exhilarating to the reader and suggest an optimistic voice for the future.

Whitehead’s “Brooklyn Bridge” is an almost antithesis to Mumford’s. Throughout Whitehead’s passage, he constantly references dark and gloomy images. His voice is pessimistic as ¬†he calls the skyline a “gleaming facade” as opposed to the “halo” that Mumford saw around it. Whitehead even references the possibility of an easy suicide ¬†attempt. “No one to stop you from tracing a beam to the edge and leaping into space and water. No one to stop you”. When the woman he is watching finally reaches the end of the bridge, she has no moment similar to Mumford’s. In her moment, she is told to “not doubt that you inspire with every breath, that every breath is a marvel of engineering,” but when she does reach the end, she does not get her moment.

In the end of Whitehead’s passage, when we all hope that the woman has her cathartic adventure, she does not. In class we have assessed that the word sarcastic should not lightly be used when describing voice, but I will use it here because I feel that Whitehead’s words are harsh and not up for interpretation. Whitehead’s voice is clearly sarcastic when he asks “What did you hope to achieve by this little adventure. Nothing has changed.” This voice does not leave the reader with new hope for the future. As Whitehead put it, the passage leaves us with that disappointed she gets each time she reaches the other side.”

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Crossing Brooklyn Ferry Connections Motif

September 22nd, 2010

A motif that flows through Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” is that of a connection to the other ferry riders past, present and future. Whitman often repeats the fact that he is one with the crowd in section 3, “Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt / Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd,” Five separate times he mentions how he looked as they looked, hurried as they hurried and so on. The imagery of Whitman being one with many is repeated in this stanza. The reader can almost see Whitman standing on the ferry with the other passengers.

In the 5th section, Whitman again explains his connection to past, present and future ferry riders, “I too lived, Brooklyn of ample hills was mine / I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan island, and bathed in the waters around it / I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me,” In this section Whitman explores that all the ferry riders are the same yet different.

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9/11

August 31st, 2010

It’s surprising to me how much I actually remember from 9/11 seeing as I was 9. How much do you really remember from when you were 9? I was sitting in my fourth grade class. It was only the second week of school so we were just about settled in. I had a mean teacher that year. I don’t remember exactly why she was mean, she just was.

It was early in the morning and another teacher burst into the room quite inappropriately seeing as we were all 9. She was not composed at all. She whispered something into my teacher’s ear who immediately fell into her chair. The class was silent for the longest time that I can remember being silent before the age of ten. The first to speak after the pause ask what was wrong and the teacher said to not worry about it. That was when we began to worry because of course you start to panic right when someone says “don’t panic”. Then the teacher stepped out of the room and another teacher took her place. She told us simply that our teacher would not be coming back today.

A few hours went by and parents started coming in to get their kids from school. I remember feeling jealous that they got to leave school early and I didn’t. Then when I got home, my mother was waiting for my brother and I at the bus stop. That’s when I knew something was really wrong, that we couldn’t walk four houses down by ourselves.

When we got home she sat my brother and I in front of the television and explained it all as the news anchor did. I remember seeing the towers go down and not fully understanding what that meant when I was so little. I don’t remember how I felt about it all. I remember all of these little details about my teacher and my classmates and my mother waiting for me at the bus stop, but I just can’t remember any specific feelings.

It turns out that my teacher’s husband worked in one of the towers. It took me a few months to learn that he had made it out in time. I’m surprised about how much I remember, but after writing it all out, I’m more surprised at how much I forgot.

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