Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Books’


The following is my act of productive procrastination in an attempt to get out of my head the content and ideas related to a paper that I have due in my class on Dante and His Divine Comedy

The General Prompt: What has happened to the character Dante by the time he encounters Fra Alberigo in Cocytus, Inferno 33b? Review his behavior through the descent. Has he learned to respond to the Damned appropriaely of has he ‘Lost it’? What is the purpose of his reactions and what do I make of how he changes. 

–> according to the professor, how I answer this question will no doubt reflect my theology as well as literary assessment of the Inferno.

 

My rambling Answer that will need to be shaped and expanded with proper analytic details before I hand in as a paper:

 

“When in Rome, do as the Romans Do.” This familiar adage came to my mind as I began going through the descriptions given to us by Dante the Poet of the different interactions he had on his journey through the highly structured levels of Hell. Be it his momentary loss of self as he swoons over the tragic (and condemning story) told by lovers or his outburst of anger and use of deception at the deeper levels of hell, his embodied actions—especially his final two encounters—left me asking questions that I’m not sure I will ever fully come up with answers for.

 

One of these questions deals with the choice of Dante the Poet to include in the pilgrim’s last encounter (but also in the whole of canto 33) a textual allusion to the Sermon on the Mount. According to a footnote provided in the Durling and Martinez translation of the Divine Comedy the “scornful play on the name” of the last soul the pilgrim meets (Alberigo) “is related to the word for ‘tree’ (albero) and draws on the Sermon on the Mount” from Matt. 7.16-20. My question for the presence of this usage of the name is why does he do it—espeically when we look at the other messages present within that chapter of Matthew. For example, the first segment of the chapter places an emphasis on it being the task of God and no other to Judge and then prescribe/carry out punishment. It is possible to answer this question through the “when in Rome” lens by saying that because Hell is an inversion of how a positive reality is supposed to be then of course Dante is supposed to judge because it is the opposite of what Christ said to do. However, I do not want to accept this because although Dante is in hell he cannot do what the condemned and keepers of Hell do because of his state as a living and embodied human being with his poetic soul still attached. Therefore, my confusion is because of this physical state shouldn’t the Pilgrim still need to abide by the Christian values preached in the seventh Chapter of Matthew and the sermon on the mount? Yes, he can be drawn toward and even seduced by sins but these visceral responses are bound to happen because he is still a flawed breathing man with soul and body joined together.

“When in Rome, do as the Romans Do.” This familiar adage came to my mind as I began going through the descriptions given to us by Dante the Poet of the different interactions he had on his journey through the highly structured levels of Hell. Be it his momentary loss of self as he swoons over the tragic (and condemning story) told by lovers or his outburst of anger and use of deception at the deeper levels of hell, his embodied actions—especially his final two encounters—left me asking questions that I’m not sure I will ever fully come up with answers for.

 

One of these questions deals with the choice of Dante the Poet to include in the pilgrim’s last encounter (but also in the whole of canto 33) a textual allusion to the Sermon on the Mount. According to a footnote provided in the Durling and Martinez translation of the Divine Comedy the “scornful play on the name” of the last soul the pilgrim meets (Alberigo) “is related to the word for ‘tree’ (albero) and draws on the Sermon on the Mount” from Matt. 7.16-20. My question for the presence of this usage of the name is why does he do it—espeically when we look at the other messages present within that chapter of Matthew. For example, the first segment of the chapter places an emphasis on it being the task of God and no other to Judge and then prescribe/carry out punishment. It is possible to answer this question through the “when in Rome” lens by saying that because Hell is an inversion of how a positive reality is supposed to be then of course Dante is supposed to judge because it is the opposite of what Christ said to do. However, I do not want to accept this because although Dante is in hell he cannot do what the condemned and keepers of Hell do because of his state as a living and embodied human being with his poetic soul still attached. Therefore, my confusion is because of this physical state shouldn’t the Pilgrim still need to abide by the Christian values preached in the seventh Chapter of Matthew and the sermon on the mount? Yes, he can be drawn toward and even seduced by sins but these visceral responses are bound to happen because he is still a flawed breathing man with soul and body joined together.

Read Full Post »


Only a few minutes ago, I finished the book Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke. The book itself was a very enjoyable read and definitely left me with quite a bit to think about. I guess the best way to present what this book is about with giving away too many details is to go ahead and quote the back cover of my copy.

The Last Generation of Mankind on Earth. Without warning, giant silver ships from deep space appear in the skies above every major city on Earth. They are manned by the Overlords…mysterious creatures from an alien race who soon take over control of the world. Within fifty years, these brilliant masters have all but eliminated ignorance, disease, poverty and fear. Then suddenly this golden age ends… and the end of Mankind Begins!

Before I read the book, this introduction seemed rather hoaxy but now it does not feel that way to me in the least. The story depicts the end of mankind as we know them in a very thought provoking and almost sad way.

When I finished reading the book, I was left with a sensation of emptiness that sympathized with the last remaining man as he described the end of his world. I was also filled with questions on the value of life, family, and other things I can not seem to place into written words.

What is the value of life? We individually exist for such a short span on time on our Earth. Yet, that fact doesn’t really seem to bother many because we know that “we” as a race will continue to live on. What happens to our identity and assurance of living on past death as a part of a larger entity or species when our species could become extinct in the blink of an eye?

Two different approaches draw out of these contemplations: either mankind can do all we individually can to live our lives to the fullest, or we give up and allow ourselves to waste away precious time.

Read Full Post »


There is always so much I look forward to accomplishing over my summer breaks from school. But, I never quite seem to accomplish them because it takes me a while to obtain the motivation to get up and do things after the stress/crunch of finals. A perfect example of this phenomenon and pattern is this summer. I have been out of classes for a month already and yet I have hardly accomplished anything I wanted to, other than sleeping and relaxing my brain and fingers (after over 40 pages worth of academic writing over a period of 6 days. Hurray for Finals). Now I only have one week until I ship off to go work at a sleep-away summer camp as a cabin counselor. Not really much time to complete everything I would like to. Anyways, here is my list of things I would like to try and do before my summer ends (and whether or not I’ve accomplished any part of each item):

1. Spend time with two of the main friends in my life right now (my boyfriend and my little/best friend from Kappa Kappa Psi) who both live half-an-hour away in another town.  ((I have been able to do quite alot in this area. I spent most of this past week with my boyfriend at my place and the week before up in their town.))

2. Spend time with family

3. Read lots of books that have been sitting in my room waiting to be loved since I started college (two years ago)

4. Do much more writing. I want to get back into the swing of writing prose and, with the encouragement of my boyfriend, maybe even start a book.

5. Get back in shape.

6. Earn spending money for when I get back to school

7. Relax and slow down for once. When I’m at school all I do is go, go, go. It is nice to just laze about and know I have absolutely no where I need to go.

Read Full Post »


My day has been rather full today. It began with an abrubt but friendly wake-up call from my mother. She opened my bedroom door at 8:00am and woke  me up so that I could accompany her on errands to Walmart, Ocean State Job Lot, and Big Y. It was nice to go shopping with her an we managed to get all of the errands done in only two hours. While we were out shopping, a number of complete strangers said hello to us and wished us a good day/weekend and we wished them the same in return. If only everyone treated eachother in such an open and warm way. I feel deeply that well-wishes can and should always be spread around and are beneficial for all.  After we got back I helped her start preparations for lunch.

While she continued with making lunch I was assigned the task of re-painting the fence and gate that connect our back yard to the front yard. This task would take a while but I definitely preferred it over having to do any other sort of yard work. I enjoy the gardens and landscaping my family has done to the yard of our home but I am definitely not a gardener of any kind. As Michael (and my family) may say/tease, I am quite a wimp. While painting the fence I was able to make use of my ipod touch that I had been neglecting. I love listening to music while I work and I am glad that I am getting use out of my rather expensive but well-worth it reward (I bought the ipod back when I graduated from High School).

After Lunch, a meal always made amazing by my mother, I finished painting the fence and grabbed one of the books I have been trying to finish (no thanks to the demands of school). This particular book is one that I had started during winter break before my spring semester at College. The book is titled Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant. It was a beautiful and thrilling book to read and it kept my attention up through the very last page. I plan on writing more about this book in my other blog: Wanderer’s Cornder.

There is something beautiful and fulfiling about the finishing of a good book. I felt an extreme satisfaction in being able to finally close the covers of the book with the dust jacket back in its right place instead of one end wedged into the page I left off at. I feel both light hearted and excited about the possibilities of what I could choose to read next. I also feel a contentedness about having read an extremely well-written tale with some loose ends that tickle at the fringes of my imagination.

Read Full Post »


Well, my first semester of Sophomore year is over and my grades are in. I am happy with how things turned out. My final gpa was a 3.705 out of 4. It definitely isn’t as high as last year but that is in the past now. Now I am simply relieved to be done with classes for the next few weeks and then on January 18th start over with new classes and mostly new professors.

Now that I am free of my essays and reading assignments whatever am I going to do with myself? Relax, sleep, and spend time with my family are on my to do list. But, I also have more essays to write and reading to do. The writing is for scholarship applications so that I can actually pay for college and the reading is free reading of my choice or assigned books I don’t want to deal with during next semester.

My reading list I’ve drawn up in my head for my month away from classes and a crazy schedule is:

  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson
  • Hard Times by Charles Dickens
  • Mobey-Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Girl who Played With Fire by Stieg Larson
  • The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest by Stieg Larson
  • Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
  • Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Quite a lengthy list, right? Hopefully I finish as much as possible before classes start back up again. I’m working on reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo right now and then I plan on delving into Hard Times.

Another goal I have for break is to get myself back into the habit of writing much more thoughtful and regular posts rather than the speckling of procrastination rambles that I have been posting. We will see what happens with that.

Read Full Post »


I finished reading The Friday Night Knitting Club today. It was a completely wonderful book and exactly light but amazingly heartwarming reading I needed. I posted about it on my other blog: Wanderer’s Corner.

I needed it because for the past few days I have felt sortof in a rut. I was having trouble getting myself motivated to start on my essays and missed all my friends from school terribly. Now, after reading that book and taking some time to really relax and be thankful for the life I have and the friends/family both here at home and everywhere else I feel ready to get going.

Another side affect from reading that book is the itch to do something with some yarn. I don’t know how to knit so I won’t be pursuing exactly what the women of the book loved but I do know how to crochet. Over the past couple years I have been working on and off on a random blanked I had started and will be working on it again. I forgot how nice it is to sit listening to some music or a book on tape while just keeping my hands occupied with a hook and yarn.

Read Full Post »


When I went to book barn a few days back a close friend of mine pointed out to me that they had a copy of  Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. I immediately knew I needed to buy it and read it. Why? Well, I watched the movie version of it in my English class near the end of Senior year and it really struck a cord with me.

If you go to Dan Millman’s website you will find more information on the book and his other works.

Anyway, I decided at about 8:30 today that I wanted to really sit down and start reading. About ten minutes in I began to find lines spoken by the character Socrates that really drew my attention. They are each a bit of truth about life and are stated so simply that they feel like an unveiled realization.

1. “We’re all fools together… Its’s just that a few people know it; others don’t.” p. 20

This statement is so true. Some people do seem to understand more than others that mistakes happen and it is just a part of being human to be a fool and act foolishly.

2. “The world’s a puzzle; no need to make sense out of it.” p.20

I like this line. Now that I am sitting here pondering it, the idea behind it reminds me of the well known Lion King phrase “Hakuna Matata”. Socrates is telling Dan and I feel me as the reader that the world and life itself may not make sense to me right now but, not to worry. The world will turn in its own way and I can not stop or change that. Instead, I should accept the fact that some things are just meant to be a puzzle and to leave it be.

3. “How do you know that you haven’t been asleep your whole life? How do you know you’re not asleep right now?” p.21

These two questions just stood out from the rest of the text. They made me halt in my reading because of their powerful and thought-provoking ability. How do I know whether I am really awake or asleep? Do I make the world I live in or does it make me?

4. “The world out there… is a school, Dan. Life is the only real teacher. It offers many experiences, and if experience alone brought wisdom and fulfilment, then elderly people would all be happy, enlightened masters. But lessons of experience are hidden… you’ve experienced much but learned little.” p. 25

I had a feeling of deja-vu when I read this quote in the book. I am sure that earlier today I had come across an article online (which I can not find now) that discusses the same exact idea.

Well, that is it for now. I am sure as I continue reading I will find the urge to record more meaningful lines and thoughts. Till then, good night universe.

Read Full Post »