Gross and Gory, just the way I like it

•March 29, 2011 • 2 Comments

Greetings my dearest sister, Julia!

I am delighted in your visitation of our rather dejected close friend. I hope that by your time spent will be none other than appease her low spirits. Upon hearing your parading her about, I would like to extend my anxieties and forewarnings. In all due respect, these soirée scenarios are not the sort of situation our sister ought to be subjected too. While she is in need of socialization, these are the same locations which have led to her current predicament.

I feel the greatest amounts of concern! With the loss of both the Reverend Boyer and the contemptuous Major Sanford, who knows where her desires for consolation will thus lead her? While the longing for male acceptance is indeed the object of the female desire, a reputation tarnished in forever tarnished. This I have previously explained to our sister; yet, it appears to go upon deaf ears. Nevertheless, she will learn for herself—and I just wish that she would but heed my wise advice.

Whilst she does proceed from a sadden case with the death of her late husband, she had an ample opportunity with the Reverend. I informed her to follow in my footsteps, to throw aside Major Sanford and marry as I have. Is this life not good enough? What is wrong with the ways of other fine women? According to our beloved sister, she fears her loss of independence. Yet, her poor choices have, rather ironically, resulted in her loss of freedom. What esteemed man will take a coquette to bed?

Most sorrowfully, I shalt share with you a nightmarish dream I had most recently. Never, of course, express this to another. I saw our sister with an infant. However, instead of this being a moment of joy, the scene was dreary, dark, and agonizing to perceive. Alone with her child, she sat rocking, humming a heartbreaking ballad. From the chair she sat, a large window permitted passerbyers to gaze in. With each passing man or woman, a chilling draft rushed into the room stinging the abandoned woman whom did nothing other then shielding her child from the nasty jeers and frigid iciness. I, passing by this window, looked upon the faces of the tormentors, their heartless comments piercing me. Pressing myself against the glass, I cried, “Eliza! Eliza! I’m here! I’m here!” She did not look up, merely held the child and looked at the boards in the floor. Then, a man opened the door to the room. A light glimmered with his countenance. The father, I assumed, my heart began to swell with optimism. Maybe she will be taken care of—carried away and given a real home! But instead, he takes from behind him—a knife! Clutching her babe, he pushes the small being to the floor, rolling out of his swaddling blankets. A scream from both mother and child to raise the dead erupts. Bending to collect the babe, the uncaring man thrusts the dagger into her backside. Rather then acting to stop the man, the tormentors remained motionless—allowing the man to repeatedly stab my childhood friend. Desperate, I looked around for something to break the glass. I had to stop this madman! Finding a smithy nearby, I grabbed an iron tool and raced back to the window. By that time, I saw the man was picking up the child and walking back through the door, shutting it on his way out. Hitting the panes of glass with the metal object, I was unable to break the glass. By that time, I was no use anyways. Through the prison panes, I saw the sister’s lifeless body lying for the world to see. Dropping my tool, I fell to my knees. The crowd recommenced their ridiculing laughter. Shocked and hysterical, I laid the remainder of my body to the cement ground. There I lay until I awoke.

I cannot insist enough of your protecting of our sister more! I pray, please keep her safe and encourage her correspondence with me. I shall promote her altering her ways before it is too late. These horrors are something I expect never to occur. Nonetheless, it is only for her benefit I implore!

Bless you and keep in your prayers your friend forever,

Lucy Sumner

Hottayy ;)

Dude, she's a babe! Swing




•March 27, 2011 • 1 Comment


Brown, Herbert Ross. The Sentimental Novel in America, 1789-1865. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. Print.

Davidson, Cathy. “Flirting with Destiny: Ambivalence and Form in the Early American Sentimental Novel.” Studies in American Fiction vol 10 (1982). 17-39. Print.

Davidson, Cathy N. Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Print.

Foster, Hannah W. The Coquette. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Print.

Loshe, Lillie Deming. The Early American Novel: 1789-1830. New York: Columbia University Press, 1907. Print.

McDowell, Tremaine McDowell. “Sensibility in the Eighteenth-Century American Novel.” Studies in Philology vol 24 (1927).

Petter, Henri. The Early American Novel. Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1971. Print.

Shuffleton, Frank, “Mrs. Foster’s Coquette and the Decline of Brotherly Watch.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture vol 16 (1986). Print.

Stern, Julia A. The Plight of Feeling. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993. Print.

Wenska, Walter P. “The Coquette and the American Dream of Freedom.” Early American Literature 12.3 (1977). 243-255. Print.


Oh those revolutionaries

•March 11, 2011 • 1 Comment

“No more, american in mournful strain

Of wrongs, and grievance unredress’d complain,

No longer shalt thou dread the iron chain,

Which wanton Tyranny with lawless hand

Had made, and with it meant t’enslave the land.

Should you, my lord, while you peruse my song,

WOnder from whence my love of Freedom sprung

Whence flow these wishes for the common good,

By feeling hearts alone best understood,

I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate

Was snatch’d from Afric’s fancy’d happy seat:

What pangs excruciating must molest,

What sorrows labour in my parent’s breast?

Steel’d was that sould and by no misery mov’d

That from a father seiz’d his babe belov’d:

Such, such my case. And can I then but pray

Other may never feel tyrannic sway. ”

–“To the Right Honorable William, Earl of Darthsmouth”


What I do not relate to this poem is the author’s connection to slavery. Dwelling in a post Civil Rights society, I have only ever seen the government stand up for on behalf of their citizens. Thus, I could not understand what it means to be Wheatley who is not only a black individual pre-Antebellum but also a female. Because of these joint minorities, she would normally have very little opportunity to advance herself. In comparison, I, an atypical “white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, have nearly never undergone any of the trials and discrimination Wheatley would have. While I sympathize with her, and commend her wonderful contributions, I have personally never even experienced any type of “slavery.”

What I find interesting about this passage, along with many other passages, is the obvious suppression she endures. Although very emotional in her writing, I feel as though her poetry she is either: A). extremely hopeful; or, B) compelled to be so. Writing about a hope for freedom long awaited, Wheatley inscribed, “Elate with hope her race no longer mourns…While in thine hand with pleasure we behold The silken reins, and Freedom’s charms unfold. Long lost to realms beneath the northern skies (Wheatley 39).According to this, Wheatley is basically projecting that now that there is hope for freedom everyone is going to just live “happily ever after” and that be the end of it. However, to me, this seems a bit unnatural. Coming from a woman that was torn away from her home and forced to become a slave; it all sounds too naive. By comparing the black enslavement to America’s lack of freedom from Britain, she is also performing either one of two things: A) relating the two genuinely; or, B) mocking America’s struggle. “No longer shalt thou dread the iron chain, Which wanton Tyranny with lawless hand Had made…” (Wheately 40). At the time in America, the colonists were not really as oppressed as people like to think. The colonies had their own ways to pass their own legislation. At this time, Blacks could never even think of having such ability. So, I tend to believe that she, through this passage, is pointing out that while it sucks to be reigned over, America did not have it as bad as they thought. They believed themselves to be so oppressed. Issuing articles about freedom and equality, the revolutionary leaders barely practiced what they preached. For, the blacks continued to be enslaved and would be for nearly 100 years (not to mention the discriminatory three-fifths compromise).


•February 28, 2011 • Leave a Comment

“I should have mention’d before, that in the Autumn of the preceding Year I had form’d most of my ingenious Acquaintances into a Club for mutual Improvement, which we called the Junto. We me on Friday Evening. the rules I drew up requir’d that every Member in his Turn should produce one or more Queries on any Point of Morals, Politics or Natural Philosophy, to me discuss’d by the Company, and once in three Months produce and read an Essay of his own Writing on any Subject he pleased.” (59, Penguin edition)
What I do not relate to in this particular passage is the desire to voluntarily join a club where I am forced to write essays for leisure. Maybe I feel this way because I am in school and I am compelled to write against my own free will. But, if I was on the outside world, writing would be the last thing on my mind. I mean, the process is already redundant to me. Reading and reflecting are simple and enjoyable enough that I will continue to do so post-graduation. However, Franklin wanted his companions to perform these tasks for practicing their skills. True, this is the 17th century and there are limited sources of entertainment; but, realistically, I would break that Rule every chance I got. Being from such a fast paced society, I don’t know if I could ever deal with a society like Franklin’s. I mean, come on, people have to wait for weeks on end for a letter? Look at the problems this caused! Miss Read was sitting at home waiting for Mr. Franklin to come back. And since he was away in England for so long, she went and married a new man. Sure, Miss Read and Franklin end up back together…but it’s the point. It almost irritates me just thinking about the slowness and dullness of the society. (Are we in a better place because of the instant gratification of our times? That’s up for debate). But, think about it. If I was to be dropped into Austen’s Pride and Prejudice novel, I would go out of my mind. All they ever did is sit around and talk all day long. This sort of behavior is the perfect environment for drama and gossip–not my fancy. In end, as I am hardly a prolific writer, I could not even fathom dwelling in a time period where writing essays was a form a leisure. There are many things I would much rather be doing.
“So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, Since it enables one to find or make a Reason for every thing one has a mind to do.” (35, Penguin edition)
What I find interesting about this passage is the hilarity and reality of the statement. Being the Enlightenment, great thinkers were focusing on reason and how man derives his ideas. Going back to John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding, we learned that man has no innate knowledge. But rather, man takes in his experiences and perceptions from his senses to form ideas and thoughts. Joining simple ideas together, we as humans are eventually, through reason, able to comprehend complex or even abstract ideas. This is a great and good concept. However, there is a dark loophole that individuals try to use. They try to use their reason to benefit themselves. Going back to the passage, I find it a humorous crack on man’s mentality. When people do something wrong, they try to rationalize their way into making the wrong thing right. They don’t want to me wrong. For a bad instance, I want to go out drinking this weekend. I owe it to myself. I have too much homework to do, so I’m just going to Sparknote the reading for tomorrow. I know what’s going on in the class. So, it will be okay just this once. I never get a chance to go out and let go. I deserve this. And I do just that (which I don’t believe me, I haven’t gone out in weeks because of keeping up with my 19 credits). But in the though process, I rationalize it to be okay, “Because I deserve it.” Although it is the wrong decision, I somehow make it okay–remain a socially retarded individual. In the above passage, Franklin is doing the same sort of rationalization. He resolved to go on a meatless diet. However, he would pick up eating fish. “I recollected that when the Fish were opened, I saw smaller Fish taken out of their Stomachs: Then thought I, if you ea one another, I don’t see why we mayn’t eat you.” He made it okay for himself.

A man awaits his end, dreading and hoping all,

•February 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Quite frankly, that’s exactly how I feel about research papers. I’m more of the free spirit kinda gal. I like short essays where I need not drag my thoughts on and on. Furthermore, to have me formulate something uber-structured will ultimately be the death of me. If I don’t harm myself in the process.

No, I don’t need psychological help….(For now).  🙂

But for this class, I seems as though I have no other alternative then to face the music. Thus, I have conjured up two potential topics for a research paper. Maybe, I could get some feedback.

First, I have been quite interested in the one topic mentioned, the rise of the novel. Since after reading Locke, I have realized how the novel had been shunned as allusions and not being straightforward. That, according to Locke, we should be out and learning on our own via our senses and experiences. Thus, I may want to investigate how the novel became popular regardless towards the conclusion of the 17th century.

And secondly, I noticed that Hawthorne had been removed from the class syllabus. Having read The Scarlet Letter years ago, I was thinking of trying to find Enlightenment qualities within the text although the plot focuses around a Puritan society. I can also draw on Benjamin Franklin’s essay read in class to draw a secondary parallel.

Yea…that’s about it for now. Hopefully, these ideas can possibly lead me where no man has gone before? Nah, unlikely, but it’s what I’m interested in.

Oh my head! Blast you, John Locke

•February 1, 2011 • Leave a Comment
A genius reasoning

For the Bible tells me so

Nothing can frustrate one more then a babbling brook of bullshit. Fortunately, in Locke’s infamous essay entitled, “The Essay Concerning Human Understanding,” the text if chock full of this “enlightened” maunder.

In the premier chapter of Book II, Locke presents his ideology that our knowledge derives from our empirical senses and not from any a priori understanding. The infamous “tabula rasa” expression derives from this.

Fair game.

For the NEXT 20 CHAPTERS, Locke’s argument becomes a elongated argument endeavoring to “prove” something. What is really sounds like is that Locke enjoys hearing himself talk. Alot.

Finally in the 21st chapter, readers finally get to the meat ‘n potatoes again. (It took a great deal of reading and re-reading to get past all of it). Finally, in the 21st chapter, readers see how individuals have the liberty to do with their lives as they please. We have free will to do right or wrong.

Written at a time when the Calvinist faith was dominating society, Locke’s work was mind blowing.  We were to learn for ourselves and by example–perceptions and reflections. There was no such thing as original sin. We did not inherit the problems of prior generations. If we sinned, we deserve the punishment for OUR actions.

The core essentials are genius. However, his reasoning to back this up was more long winded and only weakened his rationale.

Firstly, the essay is obviously an attack on religion. Constructed as a more scientific approach to where our ideas come from and why, Locke certainly has a way of using religion to back it up? (Huh?). As mentioned in lecture, the Great Awakenment used the Enlightenment as much as the Enlightenment used the church. In order to convince people to believe something novel, why not use what they already know, right? Locke is always saying that they need “proof, proof, proof, proof, proof.” But, they point back to God? Which is like that one thing you can’t prove?

But, Locke doesn’t even argue that strongly to convince. For two-fold. One, he uses the most outlandish examples then he can’t back it up with what he has already said! “He, I say, who considers this, will, perhaps, find reason to imagine, that a fetus in the mother’s womb, differs not much from the state of a vegetable; but passes the greatest part of its time without perception of thought, doing very little, but sleep in a place.” According to Locke’s rationale, if they have no perception, they have no soul? “To ask, at what time a man has first any ideas…I know it is an opinion , that the soul always thinks…and that actual thinking is as inseparable from the soul, as actual extension is from the body; which if true, to inquire after the beginning of a man’s ideas, is the same, as to inquire after the beginning of his soul.” Fail. And secondly, Locke is circular in his argument. For the love of Pete, I can’t find the passage. But, somewhere it states that Locke obviously believes there is no innate knowledge. Then, briefly he states that there is. And then, takes it back again. Why?

“Hunger calls for the teat.” Surely, coming from a scientific point of view, Locke should have been able to recognize a basic “instinct.” Without having to be told, or learn, naturally, we will go for the teat. When babies are born, they instantly start routing around for the mother’s nipple. It’s like we know somehow. Here is a link to what scientists believe are the natural instincts humans still display.

Last an not least, Rene Descartes would have a field day on Locke. Don’t you not know your not supposed to trust your senses on things? Locke sees the senses as being all powerful and the way to knowledge. But, once your senses fail. They should never be the source of ultimate faith right? Why trust in something that fails from time to time?

Maybe Descartes if just a tad bit paranoid and thinks too much. Or maybe, Locke doesn’t look into it enough.

As a stepping stone of moving away from the church and making observations of human’s thinking “without religion,” Locke’s essay is a gem. But as obviously pointed out, there are many holes to his debate. Maybe, he should keep it to the point next time. Save himself the college stunad’s critical analysis.

Thanks for reading! Hope I reinforced that I think this article was a royal pain in the ass!


•January 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

For this week in January, my seminar was imparted the task of reading short, satirical essays by Ben Franklin. Of them, the one that stood out to me the most was “A Witch Trial at Mount Holly.”

Whilst reading the text, I could not help but think of this scene…

If you don't know this movie; I can't help you there.

Oh, such a classic.

But really, the article commences that two people accused of witchcraft are being placed on trial. Humorously, according to Franklin, “It seems the Accused had been charged with making their Neighbours Sheep dance in an uncommon Manner, and with causing Hogs to speak, and sing Psalms, &c. to the great Terror and Amazement of the Kings good peaceable Subjects…that if the Accused were weighed in Scales against the Bible, the Bible would prove too heavy for them.” Heh. Good one. Thus, when the consultation was held, they placed the accused on the scale. And, low and behold, “to the great Surprize of the Spectators, Flesh and Bones came down plump, and outweighed that great good Book by abundance.”

So then, since the theocratic ruling class has to win (as always), they made an additional “experiment.” So, they threw the accused individuals bodies into the river. (Of course like Monty Python…coincidental?). Binding them, they were again astonished to find out that their bodies were able to float. Scientifically, a person’s lungs are never depleted of oxygen. Their bodies were going to naturally float. (Unless there is fluid in them, then your toast). However, this naive bunch of persecutors just follow along with what they are told. Being completely unsatisfied with their lack of “findings,” they only reschedule their torturing of innocent victims for another day.

As Benjamin Franklin has done so many times in previous writings, he is pointing out the hypocritical theocratic government. Operated by the clergy, this government has been especially known to not promote the sciences. By keeping the poor ignorant class ignorant, they would have to rely on them for everything…including their own common knowledge. Anyone who went against them, and looked to the sciences was going against the church and susceptible for persecution.

Firstly, when they are performing the weight experiment, the human body outweighs the “great good Book.” Newton’s basic principle of gravity. This is a concept individuals cannot escape–not even the church. With learning material becoming cheaper and more widespread, the masses were becoming less depended on the church for information. Franklin is pointing out how religion has kept the masses in the dark for so long; it is time for them to come out and reject religion and find out for themselves, “experiment.”

Secondly, Franklin symbolizes how science always triumphs. Of all the laws to break, you can’t break the laws of physics. It’s in the end when the accused do not drown just because their hands out bound it avidly points out that you can’t put science down. Even after that experiment, they think that making them do it naked later will make a difference. (Satiric bash on the common populace?…I think so!).

And lastly, is it ironic that they are performing experiment in the first place? The church, who is trying to steer the crowds away from the sciences, is actually trying to prove they are right by using a scientific method? Hey, it was what was popular at the time. Why not fight fire with fire, right?

This just all goes to show, just how dualistic the church and the Enlightenment were opposing forces that somehow provided a ying for their yang. But, I have all the rest of the semester to explain more of this topic.

Thanks for reading my muttered jumble!