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Where I’m From

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I am from the dreamer’s dream,

from creativity and wholesome spirit.

I am from the fairies that dance on sugarplums,

(Sweet, airy, tasting like innocence.)

I am from the sands of time, Father’s Hourglass

whose all-knowing grains hold wisdom I long for.

I’m from legend and ancient myth,

from Achilles to the woe of Macbeth.

I’m from written manuscripts and blank Word,

from the first page to the last.

I’m from the many stories I’ve read over the years,

and the adventures they have taken me on.

I’m from broken spines and weathered pages,

worn from use by many hands.

From the masks of tragedy and comedy

the windows to my very soul.

Littering the various shelves of my room

overflowing the cases,

many friends springing forth

inspiring this new generation.

I am from an author’s genius-

skills sharpened by the greats-

spinning tales on my wheel.

Category:  Poetry     

The Portrait of Mr. W.H.

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Part 1: There weren’t many characters, because though a story was being told this novel was more of a convincing essay told from the first person. The story takes place from the perspective of an anonymous narrator who explores the theory of a student who committed suicide, the opinion being about who Shakespeare’s Sonnets were really written to. The narrator seems to be an educated man who gets rather obsessed with the theory, and seems kind in character as he works to make sure that the student’s suicide wasn’t in vain. The student, Cyril Graham, was a brilliant actor who adored Shakespeare’s work and put together a theory about the identity of Mr. W. H. He was a little vain due to him effeminate beauty, but quite intelligent as he put together a brilliant theory which he told his friend Erksine about. Cyril was a brilliant man, but when his best friend would not believe his theory without proof and called him a liar, he committed suicide, completed devastated. The last character I will describe is Erksine. Erksine at first believed the theory, but when Cyril forged art as proof on Mr. W. H.’s existence, he lost that faith and after telling the narrator about the theory he can’t believe that the narrator actually believes it. He is a man of logic obsessed with getting proof.

As far as whom I relate to goes, I would have to say it would be the narrator, simply because of how obsessed he gets in the idea once he believes in it. When I decide on a new ‘profession,’ I put my heart and soul behind it, learning everything I can. When I was searching for Atlantis, I didn’t stop for anything, and I actually still have a working theory on him. This “obsession” makes him very accessible to me; because I understand that and after hearing the theory most likely I would be in his same position.

Part 2: The theme of the novel is basically to believe in what you will, and that proof means nothing really as long as you have that belief. I find this absolutely true, basically in how I used to hunt for Atlantis. I may have found some “proof” that it existed, but without actual archaeological evidence, it’s hard to present papers to the archaeological world. Still, that didn’t stop my belief that Atlantis once existed, nor did it halt my desire to find it. Like Cyril and his Mr. W.H., I don’t need conclusive proof to know that Atlantis once existed.

Part 3: It challenged my thinking with the idea of Mr. W.H. being a young boy actor instead of the more accepted theory of the Sonnets being written to Lord William Hubert of Pembroke. Once you hear the theory though and then how the passages are worded, I started to truly believe that the Sonnets really were written to William Hughes. It makes so much sense when you examine the words more closely along with the dates. You my laugh, but I actually still kind of believe the theory even though the book is considered fiction. Wilde is VERY convincing.

Part 4:

A- “’He began by pointing out that the young man to whom Shakespeare addressed these strangely passionate poems must have been somebody who was really a vital factor in the development of his dramatic art, and that this could not be said of either Lord Pembroke or Lord Southampton. Indeed, whoever he was, he could not have been anybody of high birth, as was shown very clearlt by Sonnet 25, in which Shakespeare contrasts himself with men who are ‘great princes’ favourites’; says quite frankly:

Let those who are in favor with their stars

Of public honour and proud titles boast,

Whilst I, whom fortune of such triumph bars,

Unlooked for joy in that I honour most;

And ends the sonnet by congratulating himself on the mean state of himself he so adored:

Then happy I, that love am beloved

Where I may not remove or be removed.

B- There aren’t any really literary devices being used here besides allusion to Shakespeare’s work, but this allusion to Wilde’s own is done in such a way that you can’t help but find it to be truth. In fact, reading the sonnet’s while Wilde explains them makes it hard to believe that any theory other than his own could be true, thus strengthening his novel. The way he tells the story is also very convincing, because since the narrator has no name, you sort of take his place and make the conclusions more sound like he does, your own forced “first” perspective helping to further concrete the theory in your mind.

C- I loved this story as it is one of the best ones I have ever read. Wilde’s style is brilliant in its conversational and yet eloquent style. Everything I have read by this author has been fascinating, and his take on the sonnets in this novel is pure genius. I never would have thought of something like this. To put it in simple terms, I love this novel, I adore this author, and I enjoy all his work very much. I’ll probably read this book several more times this week.

Category:  Essays     

The Sleeper by Edgar Allan Poe

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At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapour, dewy, dim,
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And, softly dripping, drop by drop,
Upon the quiet mountain top,
Steal drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley.
The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin moulders into rest;
Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take,
And would not, for the world, awake.
All beauty sleeps! – and lo! where lies
Irene, with her Destinies!

Oh, lady bright! can it be right-
The window open to the night?
The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
Laughingly through the lattice drop -
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
Flit through thy chamber in and out,
And wave the curtain canopy
So fitfully – so fearfully -
Above the closed and fringéd lid
‘Neath which thy slumb’ring soul lies hid,
That, o’er the floor and down the wall,
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear?
Why and what art thou dreaming here?
Sure thou art come o’er far-off seas
A wonder to these garden trees!
Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress!
Strange, above all, thy length of tress,
And this all solemn silentness!

The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
Which is enduring, so be deep!
Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
This chamber changed for one more holy,
This bed for one more melancholy,
I pray to God that she may lie
Forever with unopened eye,
While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!

My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
As it is lasting, so be deep!
Soft may the worms about her creep!
Far in the forest, dim and old,
For her may some tall vault unfold -
Some vault that oft hath flung its black
And wingéd panels fluttering back,
Triumphant, o’er the crested palls,
Of her grand family funerals -
Some sepulchre, remote, alone,
Against whose portal she hath thrown,
In childhood, many an idle stone -
Some tomb from out whose sounding door
She ne’er shall force an echo more,
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!
It was the dead who groaned within.

Personally, I’m a very bad poet so I have a deep appreciation for those who can write words in such a format while still expressing deep ideas. Poetry, for me, doesn’t have to rhyme nor have a format. All it needs to do is evoke some kind of emotion or tell an interesting story. (I guess you could say I’m easy to please when it comes to poetry). Anyway, Poe is one of my favorite poets because his work is most always dark and mysterious. This poem fits my “definition” of a good poem because it evokes various emotions, warmth at the beginning when talking of dreams and then a chill at the end when you realize she isn’t sleeping but dead. There’s also a kind of ominous story being told with the irony of her position that I really like. This is one of my favorite poems by Poe.

Category:  Poetry     

The Layman’s Psychoanalysis of Holden Caulfield

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Having sold millions of copies worldwide, J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye has become a classic coming of age story, following the experiences of a young man by the name of Holden Caulfield. This character has endeared himself to thousands, his emotional turmoil connecting him to the teenagers of each generation. Even though many have taken the time to analyze him to see which problems he may have had psychologically, few have examined the sources, the reasons as to why he had the disorders that he may have had. His life, as described by Salinger, was ripe with conflict and emotional tumult that served as a catalyst for every action he made. In fact, Holden Caulfield’s mental state of slight paranoia and obsession can be linked back to his relationship with his parents, Allie’s death, and his shifting of schools.

Parents often have the greatest influence on their children and can often inspire a multitude of psychological disorders ranging anywhere from the Oedipus Rex to the inferiority complex. In Holden’s case, his parents more than likely fueled his obsession with phoniness by the way they acted around him when he was a younger child. “As early as 15 months of age a child can understand false beliefs and how actions can follow them” (Johnston 68). This leads one to believe that Holden may have very well gotten his first taste of phoniness simply by watching his parents’ behavior and slowly learning the motives behind it, understanding the underlying truth in what they did along with any falsity that may have occurred. For example, Holden often mentions in the novel that he hates words like “grand” and such, mostly because the person who says the word never really means it in its context, but as a sort of cover. The first and only time one of Holden’s parents appears in the story; his mother speaks of a party she attended to Phoebe. “‘Marvelous,’ my mother said, but you could tell she didn’t mean it. She doesn’t enjoy herself very much when she goes out” (Salinger 177). This is a root into the verboseness of Holden’s call on phoniness as it displays quite clearly a foundation for his dislike of so called “phony” words. Even though his mother said she enjoyed the party, he knows that she did not and Holden cannot understand why she doesn’t say what she means. This irritation broods in his mind and affects his thinking pattern, thus encouraging his behavior as he follows the path that he thinks to be the less phony of them all, a path that leads away from his parents.

Death can have quite a tumultuous affect on youth, especially when it happens at a young age and the person that the child loses is quite important to their life. The death of Allie, Holden’s brother, greatly influenced his change in behavior not only because of their bond of blood, but also the bond of friendship that the two shared. Allie was his major source of comfort and still is, as seen in the novel with all of Holden’s appeals to his brother to help him, like in the crossing of the street scenes. His brother was a very important part of his life and even the symbol of death concerning his brother bothered Holden, as shown by the following: “I know it’s only his body and all that’s in the cemetery, and his soul’s in Heaven and all that crap, but I couldn’t stand it anyway. I just wish he wasn’t there” (Salinger 156). When a person is faced with their mortality and forced to think about death, it has the ability to affect them dramatically, and this can be seen most clearly in his faking of his death with the “bullet” and the idea that he will someday disappear. This leads one to believe that he may have the beginnings of paranoia or even a fear of disappearing; much like his brother did from his world after his death. This fear festers in Holden’s mind, constantly in his thoughts, and most probably led to the anxiety attack he had towards the end of the novel for, “With anxiety, there isn’t usually anything actually happening right then and there to trigger the feeling. The feeling is coming from the anticipation of future danger or something bad could happen— there is no danger happening right now” (Bellenir, 143). It is most likely that Allie’s death constantly plagued Holden’s thoughts, and it was this factor that led to most of his emotional distress.

Perhaps one of the most influential forces on Holden’s psychological state though was his constant shifting through schools and the fact that he never really knew quite where he would end up next. Studies have shown that instability in a child’s life with greatly affect their mentality, which is why children with divorced parents are usually worse off psychologically than children who still live with both of their biological parents. Though Holden doesn’t actually admit it, he feels slight emotional trauma whenever he leaves for a new place, as seen when he left Pendleton at the beginning of the novel. “When I was all set to go, when I had my bags and all, I stood for a while next to the stairs and took a last look down the goddamn corridor. I was sort of crying” (Salinger 52). Both Johnston and Bellenir agree that the lack of a “safety” net for a child can greatly increase their proclivity to having a psychological disorder, and it is more than likely that his bouncing from school to school probably tended the seeds of his mental distress. With anxiety already present from Allie’s death and the obsession with phoniness that Holden had growing, his situation at the schools only served to enhance the symptoms. Left unchecked like they were, it is no wonder Holden suffered the anxiety attack he did. It was only surprising that it didn’t happen sooner.

Modern times often plays the tricks of victimhood, people seeking to blame their actions on others instead of taking responsibility for whom and what they are for themselves. However, in Holden’s case, he truly is a victim of the people in his life and circumstance. The events which he faced created a large amount of psychological turmoil that he couldn’t help but succumb to. Thus, his mental distress was caused by the major factors in his life; his parents, his brother’s death, and the instability he faced in his school life.


Work Cited

Bellenir, Karen. Mental Health Information for Teens. Detroit: Omnigraphics, 2006.

Johnston, Joni E. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Psychology. New York: Alpha, 2006

Salinger, J.D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1951.

The Purdue Owl. 26 Aug. 2008. The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue University. 4 May 2009.

<http://owl.english.purdue.edu.>

Category:  The Catcher in the Rye     

Catcher, Chapter 26

1. He’s going back to school, good for him. Maybe he’ll apply himself.

2. Ha! He’s seeing a psychoanalyst! Maybe he’ll finally get some help!

3. So… it’s over, AND I’VE YET TO GET A TRUE FREAKING PLOT!!! WHY DID I READ THIS?! *rages*

4. Okay, so the book has some merit, I will give it that. Good ideas found inside, and it’s an excellent example of stream of consciouness writing. However, I don’t like the book, and I think it’s something a pretentious twelve year old would hold up and proclaim a masterpiece. It’s alright, but I won’t read it again. Not even if my life depended on it.

Category:  The Catcher in the Rye     

Catcher, Chapter 25

1. I don’t know, maybe it was just a misunderstanding with Antolini. Like a fatherly pat or something, you know? And Holden just freaked out…

2. He thinks he has cancer now? What’s that disorder where whenever you read about an illness you think you have it? Gah, it’s on the tip of my tongue…

3. Nice of the waiter not to charge him for the uneaten doughnuts. Must be Christmas spirit kicking in.

4. I like walking through toy departments because the toys are usually so cool, and it’s cute to watch kids freak out over them.

5. Now he wanta to be… a deaf-mute… Where does he come up with this crap?!

6. Aw, Phoebe wants to go with him. How sweet… Curse you Holden! You’re corrupting your little sister, you jerk!

7. “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” is an incredibly beautiful song, one I want played at my wedding, if I ever get married. I’ve got a copy of that song as sung by The Platters on my computer. I’m going to have to listen to it now.

8. Now he’s not going to go away? Arhflgh;shkfds;hajk;hjf!!!!!!!!!

Category:  The Catcher in the Rye     

Catcher, Chapter 24

1. Swanky. No one uses the word swanky anymore. I like that word.

2. So, Antolini is a young guy who married an old rich lady. I wonder if they’re really in love. Not that I mean to judge! I’ve just, ah, “heard” this “story” before…

3. Digression! Why didn’t Holden tell us about that class sooner? I would have been shouting it during the WHOLE BLOODY BOOK!

4. Antolini offered a minor cigarettes? Geez, and he’s close to being an alcoholic too. No wonder Holden likes him so much.

5. Cue the long lecture. Not that I mind, Holden needs to hear it, it’s just, Holden records things no one could care less about, but at the interesting parts he cuts it short. Can’t he throw us a bone?

6. Gasp! Is Antolini a flit or flick or whatever they said a gay guy was? That is so weird, touching some guy’s forehead while he’s sleeping. What the heck?

Category:  The Catcher in the Rye     

Catcher, Chapter 23

1. Antolioni sounds like a nice guy, a teacher I would probably like. My favorite teachers are always ones with weird quirks or habits. They’re much more interesting.

2. And now they’re dancing… You know, it wouldbe kind of sweet if they hadn’t gone through all the drama earlier.

3. What’s wrong with the word lousy? Is it just because she’s putting something down?

4. Aw, she gave him her Christmas money. She’s such a kind soul.

5. Now he gave her his hat. It’s a Kodak moment!

Category:  The Catcher in the Rye     

Catcher, Chapter 22

1. Holden has some really ridiculous notions. He’s going to work on a ranch and he can’t even ride a horse. I’m gonna be a translator even though I don’t know Spanish.

2. He is so full of himself and his phoniness crap, it really pisses me off. I dislike hypocrites with a passion, and everything Holden spouts is hypocritical.

3. I feel kind of bad for that old guy with the wheeze who went to see his initials on the bathroom stall door. It’s kind of sad, but just because it makes you think if that’s the only kind of mark a person can leave behind, some initials on a bathroom stall door.

4. Oh, poor James. He was backed into a corner and did the only thing the poor kid could think of. And those jerks weren’t even prosecuted for manslaughter! Augh!

5. Now he’s gonig to call someone else again. Oh joy. What adventure will this lead to?

Category:  The Catcher in the Rye     

Catcher, Chapter 21

1. Another lie. You know, maybe I’d like Holden better if he wasn’t such a liar.

2. D.B.’s room seems like the kind of room I would be comfortable in. I think it’s cute how Phoebe stays in there while her brother is away.

3. She changes her middle name a lot, huh? I used to do that before I decided that mine was pretty and unique how it is. My middle name is Lytte, pronounced “Light.”

4. He’s reading her notebook? That’s a serious invasion of privacy, though I guess it’s what siblings do. I’ve never done it before though.

5. Phoebe obviously cares deeply about her brother. He should try to be a better person for her sake.

Category:  The Catcher in the Rye