Thursday, April 21, 2011

"The Company of Wolves," by Angela Carter


I had never read any literary pieces written by Angela Carter and I would have to say that after reading, “The Company of Wolves,” she has intrigued me enough to where I will be seeking out her literary works. Angela Carter was able to capture my attention by quickly absorbing me into this twisted plot about wolves, witches, hobgoblins and ghosts. Then I had this strange feeling in the pit of my stomach that something was lingering in the story, like waiting for the other shoe to drop. Interesting how she took samples from folklore in reference to wolves, in order to set the premise for the story. I felt as if I was being set up, but I read on. I had been forewarned that her genre of writing is fantasy, somewhat erotic, and quite a few of her stories are based off of literary classics such as, “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” with a twist.
First of all I would like to talk about her style of writing. I noticed right up that some of the words she wrote seemed dated. I’m unsure if it was because of the story itself or the time period it was set in? I noticed that several of her sentences seem to go on forever. She used commas and semi colons excessively. I was intrigued by her style of writing and how she maintained the flow using incredibly descriptive words, which kept the picture in my head liquid, flowing, vibrant and full of life.
As I read on with the story, I was contemplating about the girl coming of age. Angela Carter was extremely detailed about the girl’s purity and I believe she wanted the reader to understand the magnitude of the girl being a virgin. It seemed to me that Angela Carter used the girl’s innocence as a key element in order to make an impact at the end of her tale.
Interesting how the story came to a crescendo at the end. The marriage of a woman and beast, the wedding party outside howling, and serenading the bride, and groom while they were battling with the sexual tension. But the girl turned the tables in the end on the wolf. The girl seized control of the situation, enjoying her sexuality and the usage of it to seduce the wolf. Interesting how it ended. You would have expected the dominate wolf, the leader of the pack, the sadistic male, hungry for lust, would get the girl in the end, on his own terms. The girl became more than just meat for the wolf, she ended up aligning herself with the wolf in marriage on the winter solstice or Yule, which is the time for introspection, and planning for the future, interesting…..

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lance Twitchell, The Story Teller

A Tlingit story, told by Lance Twitchell

The storytelling took place at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Gruening Building, April 14, 2011. A group of us, four adults and three children were treated to a Tlingit song about the salmon returning to the river and the raven, known as the Trickster.
In the beginning Lance spoke in his native language Tlingit, welcoming everyone. He engaged the children right away by giving them a special bag to hold, a bone with beads that made noise and a woven hat with an ermine and raven feather attached to it. He explained to them that they had a part to sing in the song and how essential that you sing it loud and strong, for it is the song about the salmon returning to the river.
Next, Lance told us a story about the raven, Trickster. Lance transported us through the story by going back and forth in his native language and then English. As he spoke, he would use his arms and hands to make gestures about what the characters in the story were doing and his facial expressions showed surprise, sadness, amongst other emotions. In the end, the raven had helped make the world a better place for the people.
 He talked about his Aunt, his family and growing up around his elders. He explained about the designs on his regalia that he wore. He answered countless questions that we had about his culture, storytelling and questions about the story itself.
I can appreciate why storytelling is an oral art form. When you try to translate the story down on paper you end up losing some very distinctive parts of the story such as the facial expressions and physical gestures that you would see when the story was being told. Just like, you are not ever able to translate a conversation from one language to another. There are not words in another language that mean the same thing. The storyteller plays off of the audience as they spin the tale and you can see that the audience is an extremely important piece to the storyteller. The storyteller might do something to engage them more, like the usage of additional gestures as they divulge the story.
I consider our group to be privileged to have had the resource, Lance Twitchell to enlighten us with some of the finer points of storytelling and how this piece is so important to the Alaska Native Culture. I could see that he is passionate about preservation of the language of his people and how significant his culture is to him in his daily life.
Our research group in English F111 is posting a video link to our Wiki page, that way everyone will get the opportunity to watch and listen to Lance tell a Tlingit story and an extra link of questions/answers. Our group’s aspiration for our Wiki page on storytelling is that we hope we are laying the first stone of many more to come.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

First Friday

Every first Friday of each month, businesses through-out the town promote a showing of some kind of art-work. Well, in the month of May, the "First Friday," at S-Salon and Chartruese will be showing Art Bra's. This event is to promote Breast Cancer Awareness and to help raise money by auctioning off the Art Bra's. I will be donating two Art Bra's to auction off and I hope you will find the time to come see some totally creative pieces of art-work made out of bras. I would love to show you a picture of mine, but they will remain a secret until the First Friday in May. My pieces will be at S-Salon.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

"Family Values," by Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich’s essay on, “Family Values,” I thought was extremely well written. Her points were explored about family values, patriotism, and proven throughout the piece. This essay resonated with me, due to the fact I grew up with similar types of family values, during the 1960-70’s.
Our family consisted of my Father, the truck driver and union guy, through and through. My Mother was a stay at home mom, raising two children, and juggling the household budget. During this time the United States Presidents were John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon. Many upheavals during this period of time, war and impeachment were what we were exposed to.
My father was under the same impression as the authors father about, “phonies and decent people,” and that phonies, “could be found clustered especially thick in the vicinity of money and power” (Ehrenreich 284). My father would stress to us kids that we needed to get an education, make a honest living, and be proud of being an American, then everything else would fall into place.
I have to admit, I snickered quite a bit about the part of the authors Great Grandfather, John Howes, when he was an altar boy. The part when he was found out by the priest that he had urinated in the Holy Water at Easter time. I can see why the church had gotten so upset with him, but being condemned to eternal damnation was taking it way too far. The recollection brought back memories of  stories my father-in-law has told us about being an altar boy and all the things they use to do. So, this story of John Howe does not shock me in the least. I think these types of incidents happen more often then we think.
The why and why not way of thinking I would have to thank my mother for implanting this into my way of thinking. She instilled in us to ask questions and pursue the answers if we so desired. I think my father was not delighted about this, but never the less my mother was the one that was around us most of the time and her defiance was channeled through us. Because at this time, she was just a woman, which you were expected to stay at home and not ask questions.
I love the last sentence to this essay, “Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots” (Ehrenreich 287). Truly, this kind of passion for freedom comes from people that are not afraid to ask the hard questions, to investigate the truths’, to fight for what they believe is true. I would like to believe that I have become a freer thinker than what I was even ten years ago and that I have the strength to stand up for my beliefs and  be able to articulate them in such as manner that people will listen even if they are not the most popular ones.