Response for July 23
In case you read ahead
7/21/2014 08:17:05 am
Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried instills within me a feeling of uneasiness, as I have a rather personal history with the text. During my student teaching practicum, I taught both eleventh and twelfth grade English. When it was time for me to decide which text and unit to focus on next for the eleventh grade, I asked the twelfth graders for their opinions. Many students suggested The Things They Carried so I obtained a copy and began reading, however, I never made it past chapter one. The text confused me. I found it to be repetitive and I didn’t understand the military jargon. Not to mention, it was war-related and to be quite frank, war stories bore me. Consequently, I chose a different text. When I saw The Things They Carried on the syllabus, (sorry!) I groaned. However, as I read, I realized it wasn’t as bad as I had remembered. Of course, this is probably due in large part to my recently acquired military knowledge. After my student teaching practicum ended, my best friend joined the army. Finally, at 24, I could understand “military talk”!
7/22/2014 10:16:26 am
At first, the excerpt from Chapter 2 of “Rhetorical Bodies” sent my mind in a whirlwind. It seemed very repetitive for me initially and I made a note in the margins on page 23 that this would be much easier to follow if they provided examples. Sure enough, this is exactly what happened and this made the excerpt particularly powerful for me (which I had not initially expected). However, the one area I disagree with is how memorials are continually referred to as “text” throughout. Memorials are not text; at least not how I view them. Through previous readings, we have made the distinction of “things” being rhetoric. I consider memorials not to be a “thing” but to be separate entirely. Memorials are rhetoric. I agree with the fact that rhetoric does not exist solely on symbolism. Yes they are there to represent something that has happened and pay tribute, in many cases, to lives lost, but they also represent something differently for each individual and invoke different emotions for everyone. With my recent trip to New York City, I was making connections continuously with this piece with the places that we had visiting including The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and a walk by of the 9/11 Memorial. With The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, each and every person was affected by the site in a different way. While the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty is connected to freedom and liberty, seeing this enormous statue and taking the audio tour provided so much insight and further knowledge of this being not just a statue, but much more. Each of the five memorials presented in this chapter stand for something different, but I do like how the author included areas of similarities such as “The activity of supplementing…the practice of decorating graves and other personal memory sites with flowers and intimate tokens” (40). Or even the irony over the Salem memorial where “The memorial advocates a spirit of tolerance explicitly, yet the large community of witchcraft practitioners currently residing in Salem maintains that their town is anything but tolerant; the absurd, made-for-tourists representations of witches, witchcraft, and the supernatural in Salem seems to bear them out” (44). Almost every year for the past 5 years I have gone into Salem near Halloween to see the town in its glorified highest moments of the year. The Salem Witch Trials was a horrific crime against humanity, and while they have memorials there, they also seem to celebrate the theme of witchcraft every year as a tourist attraction. How can you profit from past torture?
7/22/2014 01:08:07 pm
Emily VanLeuvan-Reflections on Readings for July 23, 2014
7/23/2014 01:00:53 am
Carole Blair, in “Contemporary U.S. Memorial Sites as Exemplars of Rhetoric’s Materiality” poses the question, “How Does the Text Act on Person(s)? She proposes an answer beginning with, “Perhaps the largest “miss” of symbolic heuristic for rhetoric is its understanding of rhetoric as appealing rather exclusively to the mind of the reader or listener.” She continues, “Rhetoric of all kinds acts on the whole person – body as well as mind-…” Enter Daisy Levy, “all human body movement is directed and coordinated by the activity of our nervous systems, in other words, our thinking.” The body and mind work together when “experiencing” rhetoric, as Blair posits, “There are particular physical actions the text demands of us: ways it inserts itself into our attention, and ways of encouraging or discouraging us to act or move, as well as think, in particular directions.” Constructivism, Progressivism, and Traditionalism aside, far too much curriculum, instruction and assessment design, despite the efforts of Wiggins and McTigh, continues to require students to sit down, and not “stand on one leg” to consume texts and “make meaning” of all. Material texts, invite touching, and as Blair states, “touching them is different from touching a book.”
7/23/2014 01:54:57 am
Ever since I read it for the first time in high school, I’ve loved Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried.” O’Brien’s juxtaposes items with material weight and the metaphorical, but just as real, weight of memories. Lieutenant Jimmy Cross’s letters are mentioned first because he feels the weight of these letters more acutely than the pack of supplies he carries with him. Along with his “compass” and “.45-caliber pistol,” Cross carried “the responsibility of the lives of his men.” When the guilt of Ted Lavender’s death becomes too heavy for Cross, he discards the letters and the daydreams of Martha.
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