Sunday, March 25, 2012

Woman's Rebellion

        "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "The Revolt of Mother" have many similarities, but none so profound as the broken female gender roles by our female protagonists. In the beginning both our unnamed narrator and Sarah are conforming to what their husband's say. The orders are given to the women, but the rebel against what is expected of them. For instance in the case of "The Yellow Wallpaper," our narrator writes without the permission of her husband, forced to do it in secret because he does not approve. Although Sarah's rebellion is much more extreme, she still goes against what her husband says and gains the house that she was promised years before.

          Another similarity that I found between the two is the domestication and lake of freedom that they are allowed to have. Sarah is making a meal after they eat a meal it is as if she is trapped a prisoner to the kitchen.  She must make her husband his meal because that is what a wife does; however, he has not lived up to being a husband. He did not provide the home for her that she felt she deserved, or he promised her when they first got married. In the case of our unnamed narrator, she is a prisoner to the home. She is not allowed to visit with friends or family because that would reflect poorly on John's reputation, him a doctor with a crazy wife. The two women from these stories are taking back what is their's, whether it is taking back the home they were promised or taking back the freedom they desperately wanted.

Monday, March 12, 2012


"I lean and loafe at my ease . . . . observing a spear of summer grass."- Walt Whitman
           This is a representation of pure freedom in Whitman's world. He is not confined to the world of duty, but rather the world of pleasure. The word loaf means to be relaxed, calm, lazy, not thinking; if one is loafing, they are not bound to obligation, but free to express themselves in anyway they want. I think it is important to pay attention to the fact that Whitman has such an affinity to nature and that we see freedom being expressed in its most pure forms. Modernity is represented negatively because it is associated with duty, when one performs their duties they are not free. To loaf in the grass examining grass you are free to let your mind wander into places it may not have been able to do in the hustle o the world of modernity.

"[...] its scathing denunciations of slaveholders--its faithful exposures of slavery--and its powerful attacks upon the upholders of the institution--"- Frederick Douglass
          Douglass has been in a free state for four months; however, he has not quite obtained full freedom from slavery. It is only by making his own living away from the white man, depending upon himself is he truly free.  There is a difference between a slave in form and a slave in fact. To be a slave in form one is trapped as a physical slave where slave in fact refers to the mentality of being a slave. He begins to use reading and writing,
 skills the white man never wanted him to obtain, to express himself, to earn a living. The irony of this cannot be lost on the reader, that the one thing that the white man feared he would gain and use against him, he does. 
Even though Douglass has been physically free, it is not till he is dependent on himself; exercising the skills of reading writing that he becomes a free man in form and fact

"I heard a fly buzz-- when I died --"- Emily Dickinson
        Emily Dickinson's sense of freedom is twisted and trapped compared to that of Douglass or Whitman. Instead of taking action like Douglass does she write her poems of her wish to embrace death.  She uses the freedom of writing, that Douglass strives for, to try and  escape life where he uses it to make life better and bring awareness to his cause. Dickinson seems trapped by life and instead of the sense of freedom there is an enclosing sense of closter phobia. In reference to Whitman Dickinson is more domestic, she is a woman that is writing in a time where it was not as accepted as it is today. This in itself is liberating; however, it is still a domestic and enclosed feeling. The act of Dickinson's writing is free, but the content of her writing is the exact opposite, it is constraining.

One Word

        A fly is an insect that is not very interesting in normal circumstances, but in regards to poem 465 it is the most intense word. The whole poem is hinting at the in between that Dickinson feels, she is neither alive nor dead; she is stuck between two worlds and the fly is the only thing that is holding her to the living world. This word itself has two different meanings it can mean to soar in the air to feel free, and it can also be a bug. This is a parallel to the in between, one is sweet gentle and whimsical like heaven and the other is gross and diseased like the morbidity of death. The "fly"is a morbid symbol of death, when we think of something dead there is usually the idea of a fly buzzing around the corpse. That is why it is so interesting that she chooses this symbol one that can live and exists in the world of living; yet the fly represents the world of the dead and dying. The fly is in between the light and Dickinson separating her from passing on to the soft, peaceful world of death; however, it still represents the dark morbidity because once she is gone the fly will land on her. She sees the world like the reader sees the fly full of darkness, where dying is the light.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Poem 465


I heard a Fly buzz -- when I died --  
Morbid, describing her own death. Sets the tone for the remainder of the poem. What is she actually feeling? She is explaining the last thing that she heard when she died.
The Stillness in the Room  
The sadness? This is a expressing how lonely Dickinson feels in life? Seems like she cannot depend anyone. Continues the tone of the previous line. Nothing is moving
Was like the Stillness in the Air --  
Depressing brings out the stagnancy of the line. Nothing is moving like the previous line. Should we look at this as an expression of how she feels?
Between the Heaves of Storm --  
Beautiful description. Describes the in between that the author feels? The language is more colorful than the previous line; however, it is still expressing the in between that the above lines have been expressing.
The Eyes around -- had wrung them dry --  
Again colorful language, but this time there is an expression of grief and we move away from how the author feels to how people around her felt.
And Breaths were gathering firm
Gasps of breath? Who is breathing her or the people around her? Is she alone? Breaths are becoming shallow so these could be hers.
For that last Onset -- when the King
The King refers to God and how he is swooping down from heaven to take her back, but this is very different from the rest of the poem. There is a shift here.
Be witnessed -- in the Room --
She is deciding to give up her life and enter into the after life. Morbid like all the lines before it but somehow disturbing because the reader feels like they are intruding on a personal moment or going with the author.
She is seeing God, she is wanting to go with him
God and Heaven are worshipped in this poem while death is present it is the presence of God and Heaven that stand out.
I willed my Keepsakes -- Signed away
Signed will? Gave her life away? Is this suicide? Does she give up?
What portion of me be
She is questioning? SHe is giving herself away. she has signed her life away. Works with the rest of the poem because each line gets increasingly more disturbing.
Assignable -- and then it was
Excepting what is. Fits with the moor theme of the poem because it seems like she wants to die, so she has accepted what is.
There interposed a Fly --
Again this sort of in between feeling, like the fly is separating her from life and death like the fly is the only thing holding her to this world.
With Blue -- uncertain stumbling Buzz --
She is associating a color with the fly? Not black an gloomy death like color, but a buzzy blue? This does not fit with the rest of the poem.
Between the light -- and me --
separation from light. She lives in the dark? She will only be happy in death?
And then the Windows failed -- and then
The Window that separates her from life and death. This line does not fit because it seems like she is fighting against death rather than embracing it in the other lines.
I could not see to see --
She dies and leaves the in between, leaves the fly, her will and enters heaven with God. Ends like it started creepy, morbid and uncomfortable for the reader.

List of concepts that stuck out:
-Did she like to imagine her own death and who would miss her?
-Extremely morbid tone
-A sort parallelism between hear and the after life.
-God and Heaven are worshipped in this poem while death is present it is the presence of God and Heaven that stand out.
-Fly separates her from life and in turn death. It represents the in between.
- Lives in the dark and only sees light in death.
-She dies and leaves the in between, leaves the fly, her will and enters heaven with God.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Freedom and Its Many Definitions

   Walt Whitman's sense of freedom is a completely different entity than what Frederick Douglass believes freedom is. Whitman is trying to convey to his reader that modernity has taken away all the freedom of nature. For example when the woman is watching the bathers through the window she is unable to join them because modernity has gotten in her way. Literally the window of the house separates her from the rest of the world. Whitman is trying to express to the reader that there shouldn't be any separation between anyone or anything, by exhibiting separation a person loses the freedom to connect with everyone and everything. Whitman believes that we are all connected, if we are to lose connection to one entity we lose connection to everything; thus, we lose the freedom of nature or modernity or connection with humanity itself. In Whitman's eyes we should have the freedom of not being constrained by society we should be free to run naked and loaf in the grass.
   Frederick Douglass's freedom is a completely different entity than that of Walt Whitman's because he is in search of personal freedom not spiritual freedom. Douglass is a slave and is forced to do the white man's bidding, what he is after is the right to choose for himself. He is physically incapable of being his own person for instance when he has to give his hard earned money over to his master and gets only 25 cents returned, there is only suppression in that act. Douglass believes that to be free you must be your own person you cannot be confined by body or mind. A slave is not truly free till he is making his own choices and dependent upon oneself rather than others.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I am Alexandra Miller, but Lexi is my other alias. I am an English for Education major with an emphasis in Literature. I am  hopefully graduating in the fall and will then get my credential to hopefully teach middle school. I am a die hard Oakland Raiders and San Jose Sharks fan, not a fan of baseball or basketball. Here is a link to the Sharks homepage if you want a schedules for the games: .