Evaluating James’s Use of Charm in Daisy Miller

image from here

The word charming is used constantly throughout Henry James’s Daisy Miller. According to literary critic Adrian Poole, the world would be boring and sad without charm because there would be no possibility of romance. Poole is undoubtedly correct when he concludes, “At once magician and realist, James reminds us that charm is one of the world’s great gifts, even if it is the emblem of a complex fate, or even fatality” (132). Therefore, James realistically uses charm in his stories to provide complex representation of characters.


The Dual Purpose of Charm

In James’s story, charm serves dual purpose. Charm entices yet lulls one into a false sense of security. Charm may seem positive but is actually negative. Charm requires two individuals because there is the person who is charming and the other person who is to be charmed. Poole briefly admits that when readers study James’s writing, they must “submit to charm and beware” (132). He emphasizes on the negative influence of Daisy’s charm in his essay; yet, by focusing on Daisy Miller rather than on Frederick Winterbourne, Poole is lured into Winterbourne’s web of charm, falling for James’s narrative trap. Daisy is not the charmer. It is Winterbourne who is the scheming charmer who manipulates women.

Henry James (image from here)


Austen Influences James’s Writing

Henry James undoubtedly learned from Jane Austen that words serve multiple purposes, and people use words to their advantage. The word charming “may seem to be what Jane Austen calls a ‘nothing-meaning’ term, like ‘elegantly dressed, and very pleasing’” (Poole 116). For example, in Emma, Austen writes about Harriet absentmindedly using the word charming. This usage contrasts how Austen makes Emma cautious of charm, since “[i]t takes two, after all, to charm and be charmed” (117). Austen uses charm to contrast characterization in Emma, while James uses the word as a diversion in Daisy Miller.

Jane Austen (image from here)


Winterbourne Charms Daisy

Frederick Winterbourne uses the word charming repeatedly and derogatorily to describe the female protagonist named Daisy Miller. Poole argues, “[E]very time we call someone charming, we are trying to escape from the menace and promise of succumbing to charm, being truly charmed” (118). For Poole, Winterbourne uses the word repeatedly to try to avoid being seduced by Daisy’s charm; however, Winterbourne’s use of charm is a red herring.

Winterbourne constantly points his finger at Daisy by labeling her as charming. Therefore, he accuses Daisy as the seducer and distracts readers from his scheme to actually seduce her. When the readers are first introduced to Winterbourne, he is “looking about him, rather idly, at some of the graceful objects,” meaning women, because “in whatever fashion [Winterbourne] looked at things, they must have seemed to him charming” (James 4). From the very beginning, readers see that Winterbourne is already labeling women, whom he is checking out, as charming. This observation occurs even before Winterbourne meets Daisy. Winterbourne says Daisy is “a flirt—a pretty American flirt” (James 12), yet he repeatedly comments whether or not she blushes. Daisy flirts but is not looking for a sexual rendezvous, whereas Winterbourne is. For example, when Daisy and Winterbourne were going to the Castle of Chillon, he “could have believed he was going to elope with her” (James 26). The trip ends, and Winterbourne is disappointed that nothing sexual happens between the two of them. There is a difference between a charmer and a flirt: Winterbourne is the exploitive charmer, Daisy the innocent flirt.

Winterbourne & Daisy (image from here)


Winterbourne Charms His Aunt

Daisy is not the only character charmed by Winterbourne. The readers see how Winterbourne is socially smooth with his aunt, Mrs. Costello. Poole wonders how well humans are able to distinguish “between innocence and experience” and “between the cat-like social sense of ‘charm’ and the panther-like deep magical one. This is what bewilders Winterbourne about Daisy Miller” (122). The readers should not be bewildered about how Daisy interacts with Winterbourne; however, the reader should be aware about Winterbourne and his interactions with various female characters in the story.

The readers can see how Winterbourne uses charm to manipulate his aunt and to degrade Daisy. For example, Winterbourne and his aunt talk one Sunday afternoon after going to St. Peter’s in Rome. In sharp contrast to the religious setting, the aunt proceeds to gossip uncharitably about Daisy and Mr. Giovanelli, after seeing the pair together earlier that day. Winterbourne does not defend Daisy, the girl he supposedly cares about; instead, Winterbourne contributes to the gossip by asking questions (“Do you call it an intrigue . . . an affair that goes on with such peculiar publicity?” [James 50]). Winterbourne even offers comments (“They are certainly very intimate” [James 50]). Because Winterbourne contributes to the very unchristian-like gossip, this charmer becomes two-faced. One victim of Winterbourne’s façade is Daisy, but the other victim is his aunt. Neither the reader nor the female characters knows whom Winterbourne is being sincere to. In fact, Winterbourne is probably being disingenuous to both women, serving his own purposes whenever the situation is best for him.

image from here


Winterbourne Fails to Charm

Because Winterbourne tries to be charming to his lover and Daisy, Winterbourne’s charm towards both of them comes to a crashing end. When Mrs. Walker and Winterbourne are in the carriage together, Mrs. Walker orders Daisy to get in the carriage; despite what Mrs. Walker says, Daisy does not want to. To please Mrs. Walker, Winterbourne tells Daisy, “I think you should get into the carriage” (42), under the pretense of protecting Daisy’s reputation while also supporting his lover. However, if Winterbourne—rather than Giovanelli—had been walking with Daisy, Winterbourne would walk with her instead of telling her to do the polite thing of obeying Mrs. Walker. Once again, Winterbourne does not stand up for Daisy, revealing to the readers his hypocritical charm. His sole purpose is to appear charming—towards both his lover and the woman he desires. Because this scene ends with Daisy walking away and his lover being upset, we can see that supposed charm does not always succeed.

In the carriage (image from here)


Conclusion

James evacuates the word charming. As the readers discover how the word charming becomes hollow through the story, the readers also discover how hollow Winterbourne is, as well. Poole argues, “As James grows older his ‘charmers’, both male and female, become more formidable, harder to read, [and] more adroit at masking their intentions” (125). Even though Daisy Miller is a relatively early writing in James’s career, Poole appears to have missed the point that Winterbourne is quite formidable. Winterbourne, who charms Daisy, his aunt, and his lover, masks his intensions charmingly with these three women. In this story, the readers see Winterbourne’s hollow charm because of his interactions with women. As readers, we must be aware of other Winterbournes—in literature and in life.


Works Cited

  • James, Henry. Daisy Miller: A Study. The Portable Henry James. Ed. John Auchard. New York: Penguin Books, 2004. Print.
  • Poole, Adrian. “Henry James and Charm.” Essays in Criticism 61.2 (2011): 115–136. Academic Search Premier. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.
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happiness secret

image from here

“In the story The Little Prince, the fox was wiser than he knew when he said, “Now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, trans. Katherine Woods [1943], 70). The odyssey to happiness lies in the dimension of the heart. Such a journey is made on stepping-stones of selflessness, wisdom, contentment, and faith. The enemies of progress and fulfillment are such things as self-doubt, a poor self-image, self-pity, bitterness, and despair. By substituting simple faith and humility for these enemies, we can move rapidly in our search for happiness.”

~James E. Faust, “Our Search for Happiness”

read here

5 Things to Know about Virtual Assistants

1. Why hire a high-level virtual assistant

Business owners use virtual assistants not only to reduce workload but also to increase revenue. Business owners accomplish more by outsourcing “or delegat[ing] the non-revenue generating or moneymaking tasks to a Virtual Assistant or ‘VA.’”[1]

2. How much to pay a virtual assistant

How much a business owner pays a VA will vary. The cost can range as widely as $5.50 to $30. However, the difference in cost can depend on skill level, reliability, whether the project is for short term or long term, and where the virtual assistant lives.[2]

3. Where to find a virtual assistant

Here are 20 websites to find a VA:

  1. Twitter
  2. Assistant Match
  3. Office Details
  4. Craigslist
  5. VA Networking
  6. Resource Nation
  7. Virtual Assistants
  8. International Virtual Assistants Association
  9. Virtual Assistance U
  10. Tasks EveryDay
  11. Virtual Assistance Chamber of Commerce
  12. Team Double Click
  13. AssistU
  14. Staff Centrix
  15. Elance
  16. Find Virtual
  17. Get Friday
  18. Longer Days
  19. Hire My Mom
  20. Guru[3]

4. What qualities to look for in a virtual assistant

Smart business owners do not hire just anyone. Of course, business owners want to hire high-level VA, who will charge higher prices probably. The VA needs to have certain qualities, such as the following:

  1. “Their own office space and equipment”
  2. “A flexible schedule”
  3. “Multiple communication options”
  4. “Internet experience”
  5. “Excellent written and verbal communication skills”
  6. “Independent critical-thinking ability”
  7. “Native English speaking”
  8. “Someone who can suggest a better way of accomplishing a task”[4]

5. What to outsource to a virtual assistant

Here are 10 things to outsource to a VA:

  1. Bookkeeping
  2. Online research
  3. Database entries
  4. Data presentations
  5. Managing email
  6. Social tasks
  7. Travel research
  8. Scheduling
  9. Chasing business
  10. Industry knowledge[5]

 

Key terminology

  • Virtual assistant: “A virtual assistant(typically abbreviated to VA, also called a virtual office assistant) is generally self-employed and provides professional administrative, technical, or creative (social) assistance to clients remotely from a home office.”[6]
  • Outsource: “To send out (work, for example) to an outside provider or manufacturer in order to cut costs.”[7]

Questions

  1. Is hiring a virtual assistant right for me as a business owner?
  • You should hire a virtual assistant if you believe that it will save you time and money, especially when you look at the long-term outcomes.
  1. Why should I hire a high-level virtual assistant?
  • High-level virtual assistants may cost more. However, they will think independently, work faster, and communicate clearly when writing and speaking. As a result, you will be less stressed and worried.
  1. What is outsourcing? What are the benefits?
  • Outsourcing occurs when a business owner delegates assignments to a virtual assistant. If a business owner hires a high-quality assistant, not just the person who offers the lowest bid, the virtual assistant can help reduce business costs and stress on the company.

end notes:

[1] See http://www.myevpllc.com/top-10-reasons-to-hire-a-high-level-virtual-assistant/.

[2] See http://www.hireyourvirtualassistant.com/blog/deciding-how-much-to-pay-a-virtual-assistant-rate-hourly-wage-salary-fees/.

[3] See http://www.dumblittleman.com/2008/12/20-places-to-find-top-notch-virtual.html.

[4] See http://www.myevpllc.com/top-10-reasons-to-hire-a-high-level-virtual-assistant/.

[5] http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225318

[6] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_assistant.

[7] See http://www.thefreedictionary.com/outsource.

10 Summer Reading Books You Should Add to Your List

BOOKS
Who doesn’t love curling up with a good book to read after a long, hot day? Maybe some of my loves will inspire your summer reading! Here are some of books that came to the top of my head (listed in no particular order of preference).

1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I read this my sophomore year of high school and fell in love. SOOOOOO much better than the movie (my apologies to all those hard-core, movie fans).

2. The Great Brain series by John Dennis FitzgeraldRealistic family relationships. Set in Utah. Funny & clever. I also cried sometimes. Read this for nostalgia of childhood summertimes.

 

3. P&PEmmaPersuasion by Jane Austen

I’m not a Jane-ite. But Emma, I think I have decided (at least for right now, at this very moment), is my favorite.

 

4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I read this classic my freshman year of high school. I remember being a little creeped out but also endearingly intrigued by all the mystical stuff going on. Also, angsty teenage me connected with Jane.

 

5. The Harry Potter Series by the one and only J.K.

In two words?
My childhood. 🙂 I remember being so excited during the summer for the next book to come out. *sigh*

 

6. Second Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta

When I was living in London, I read this book. Beautifully written and beautiful main character. Must. Read. I *cannot* stress this enough.

 

7. The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Yet again, another childhood classic.

 

8. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I also read Little Women my sophomore year of high school.
Or, at least, I finished the unabridged version. I remember reading a shortened version when I was in elementary school. When I was in fourth grade, I was Jo for Halloween. I’d like to pretend that I still am.

 

9. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

A-MAZ-ING.
If you would like to read my review, go to https://thebippityboppitybeautifulblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/code-name-verity/

 

10. Agatha Christie novels

I am, by no means, a prolific reader of Agatha. But it’s been fun reading some murder mysteries this summer. I really enjoyed the ABC Murders. How could you not love Poirot (whose name I think I can *finally* pronounce correctly)?
Currently, I am reading Murder at the Vicarage, and it’s so hilarious, sometimes I literally LOL. 🙂


Well, that’s all folks. I hope you enjoyed looking at some of my favorite books! 🙂

Have a beautiful day!!!   ❤

xoxo,

the bbb blogger

The Merchant of Venice (Act I, Scene i)

I started reading the Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare and finally decided that I could capture some of my feelings better in my own drawings. Here goes nothin’!

antonio, opening

The play opens with this great line with Antonio. Poor guy. Sounds like he’s been having it rough lately. Probably any reader who has come across this opening has related with the pitiable character, Antonio. Being down in the dumps is no fun at all.

I,i, part 1

Then Antonio’s friends, Salarino and Solanio, talk with him. But their advice doesn’t seem to be all that helpful. They seem to be pretty interchangeable characters.

I,i, a

I,i, part 2

Then more of Antonio’s “friends” show up—Bassanio and Gratiano.

I,i, enter grtiano and bassino

 

 

I,i, enter grtiano and bassino ii

After the first two guys peace out, Gratiano gives a really long lecture to Antonio about how he needs to take life less seriously.

I,i, gratiano solo lecture

After Gratiano heads off for dinner and says he’ll FINISH his lecture later, Bassanio starts complaining to Antonio (poor guy . . . seriously, he can’t get a break).

I,i, Briassiano solo lecture

 

Bassanio wants Antonio to bail him out AGAIN! He has a problem with money. Clearly.

 

I,i, Briassiano solo lecture


Summary of what I’ve noticed so far:

Yay

Antonio’s opening line. Classic.

Nay

Lame friends. Antonio, get better friends. Sounds like these guys you keep hanging out with are total drips. Maybe that’s the real reason you are feeling so moapy.

Gray

I’m really curious about this lady named Portia, but I don’t know if Bassanio really deserves this woman if she is as great as Bassanio makes her out to be. I really don’t know if Bassanio will get the girl in the end. Also, I don’t know if this play  is supposed to be a comedy or a tragedy.

Also, I don’t know how I feel about the characters so far.

Antonio: Main Character?

Salarino: Poser Friend #1

Salanio: Poser Friend #2

Gratiano: Fool / Likes to Give Lectures Guy / Poser Friend #3

Bassanio: Debtor / Trying to Get Some {$$$ & lady loving from someone called Portia} / Poser friend #4

 

Code Name Verity

The Beginning

My dear friend found a book called Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. When I asked her to describe it, she explained that doing so would be a bit difficult. A whole lot happens, including codes, spies, intrigue, friendship, strong female characters, and so on. The setting is World War II. I’m a little obsessed with 1940s and learning about what happened in history then. In my head, a little noise went DING! DING! DING! YOU HAVE A WINNER. I was sold.

What’s It About?

“When ‘Verity’ is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.  They’ll get the truth out of her.  But it won’t be what they expect. As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from a merciless and ruthless enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that reveals just how far true friends will go to save each other. The bondage of war will never be as strong as the bonds forged by the unforgettable friendship in this extraordinary tale of fortitude in the face of the ultimate evil” (http://www.elizabethwein.com/code-name-verity).

Awards

  • UK Literary Association Award Winner
  • Edgar Award Winner
  • Printz Honor Book
  • Boston Globe/Horn Book Award Honor Book
  • Shortlisted for the 2013 CILIP Carnegie Award
  • Golden Kite Award Honor Book
  • Shortlisted for the Scottish Children’s Book Award
  • Catalyst Book Award Winner (East Lanarkshire County Council, Scotland)

Favorite Quotes

There are some pretty amazing quotes in the book. I couldn’t pick just one. These gems listed below include what I found when I googled for quotes from Code Name Verity:

My favoritestiest quote of all

This astonishing tale of friendship and truth will take wing and soar into your heart. ~quoted by Laurie Halse Anderson, New York Times best-selling author

Yay

I don’t even know where to start. There are so many great things about this book, and I don’t want to give away too much. The writing is great. As shown from the quotes above, she has some stellar lines. The author’s allusions and references from history and literature are fun, too (Shakespeare, Peter Pan, French literature, German literature, etc.). Characterization is top notch and would past the Bechdel Test (for more information, see http://www.feministfrequency.com/2009/12/the-bechdel-test-for-women-in-movies/). Let’s just say . . . So. Much. Sass.  🙂 The two main characters have a great relationship that will melt your heart. And I don’t want to give anything else away other than that. You’ll just have to read it to find out. Sometimes it’s hard to find interesting female characters in YA. TANGENT: This book really shouldn’t be labeled as YA because it’s great for adults and older teens, and there are also mature themes (e.g., concentration camps, torture, some language, etc.).

Nay

YOU WILL CRY. Or maybe not . . . if you are a soulless, pathetic, heartless little creature from the black lagoon. And the whole “crying” part doesn’t even have to be a “nay.” But you will have feelings (unless you are  . . . well, what I mentioned above.) But don’t NOT read it if you think that it’s like a super duper depressing book. There is so much humor and witty dialogue. So think of it more as a combination of laughter and tears. Bring some tissues, yet be prepared to stifle your laughter if you happen to be at work, and you need to be quiet, and you read something funny and have to bite your tongue off. Speaking of work, I am allowed to read or to work on projects when I have downtime. My book, which was borrowed from the library, has the cover of two female hands bond together with rope/twine/cords (?). Some of my coworkers asked if I were reading a BDSM novel, and I quickly responded that I was not. So I feel like the cover of this book does not represent the book very accurately. Of course, this cover art has absolutely nothing to do with the content and quality of the writing (and the author probably had no real say in the cover anyways). I guess there are other covers (as shown above in the first picture of all the different books covers).

A few of the topics/ideas covered in Code Name Verity. Originally from bibliophilemystery.blogspot.com

Gray

Also, several of the characters have “real names” and then “code names” or several different code names. It’s not impossible to remember, but it’s important to keep in mind who is who and who is doing what when. Maybe it’s just me; it’s probably just me. But I don’t know a whole lot about planes or types of planes or military jargon. Sometimes I would wonder what they were talking about. So . . . I made list of some of the planes listed and military references made throughout the book. 🙂 Enjoy. It’s pretty cool.

RAF Special Duties Cap Badge

 

Citroen Rosalie

The Bristol Beaufort torpedo bomber used by RAF Coastal Command.

Two Spitfire FVB in flight

This is the Do-217 aircraft manufactured by Dornier for the German Luftwaffe in WWII.

RAF Lysander WWII

De Havilland DH-80A Puss Moth aircraft

Conclusion

Basically, read this book. It will change your life. I hope you have a beautiful day. xoxo, the bbb blogger

The Author

Expressive Theory

Expressive theory, which exploded from the 1700s into the 1800s, “stressed the relationship between the work of the art and the artist, particularly the special faculties of mind and soul that the artist brings to the act of creation” (Richter 2). Perhaps social change impacted the shift from rhetorical criticism to expressive criticism. The explosion of the printing press and the reading of the masses contributed to this shift to expressive theory. Less-educated people who now had access to literature unknown to this class before made the matter of taste of the upmost importance to theorists.

As a result, theorists considered the importance of taste; while theorists “examined the inner experience of readers, [theorists] found that the faculties behind good taste, the capacities that made ideal readers—delicate imagination, good sense, wide experience—were the same as those that made the best poets” (Richter 7). The creative faculties, therefore, of the poet could be studied, understood, and theorized about in expressive theories. Kant, Coleridge, and Shelley all fall under the label of poet-centered theory, while both modern theorists, Bloom and Foucault, put the author in question. Yet all these theorists consider, whether implicitly or explicitly, the importance of the author, thus defining the author in various ways and changing our idea of literature in the process.

Kant, Coleridge, and Shelley all focus on the cult of the artist. There was a big shift from the “out there” (the world) to the “in here” (the mind). When talking about poetry, there was less worry about how accurately art represents the world and more focus on how a particular poem reveals the way the mind perceives beauty and the way that imagination inspires genius. Kant emphasizes the work itself—that beauty is a unique kind of judgment, which does not necessarily serve the ends of truth or goodness. Beauty, for Kant, is a value, and work has value, whether or not for a moral purpose or a truthful purpose. Beauty itself is good enough. Kant focuses on what goes on in the mind of the writer. Kant takes an epistemic turn by moving into the mind to understand literature; for example, Kant argues, “Genius is the inborn predisposition of the mind . . . through which nature gives the rule to art” (Leitch 445).

Kant

Kant believes the poet is important because the poet creates beauty.For Kant, “the genius (the creative artist) highlights freedom above all else,” and “[t]he genius has a natural gift, a talent, which enables the production of exemplary and original beautiful works in the absence of any preexisting formula or rule for that production” (Leitch 410). Kant focuses on a theory of knowledge by trying to understand the sources and limits of human knowledge. Kant is not content that knowledge is completely subjective, believing that we humans are wired for thinking (i.e., cause and effect, similarities and differences, etc.).

In the Critique of Judgment, Kant analyzes three categories (truth, goodness, and beauty), but Kant does not focus on the nature of truth, goodness, and beauty but rather our mind’s way of apprehending truth, how the mind perceives morals, and how the mind perceives beauty. In the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant believes that aesthetics, judgment, and poetry turn out to be really the keystone of our knowledge. Judgment, which includes our imagination and aesthetic sense, is the mediator between pure reason and practical reason, that is it mediates between knowledge and action by being both reason and sensory.

Aesthetics bring the will and truth together—but in a practical way. Kant’s point is that poetry fills in the gap or mediates between truth and goodness. Kant goes beyond art and literature into bigger questions, arguing that all things being equal, acting is the law for everyone

If we believe in absolute truth, then we are Kantians. But what is absolute truth? An absolute truth is true whether or not we agree, and it is true independent of anything we do, think, or say. Kant raises the questions of beauty. Are there universal judgments or relative judgments of beauty? Something beautiful may feel like a subjective universal. Beauty is complicated because it is partly in the mind and partly in the things themselves. The judgment of taste or beauty is not logical but aesthetic.

The judgment of beauty occurs in the mind, yet it feels universal. Beauty serves a purposive purposelessness—something seems like it has a purpose but does not think that it serves no purpose at all other than to be beautiful. Kant’s thoughts lead to the aesthetics movement or the art for art’s sake era of writers like Oscar Wilde. Kant’s thoughts also lead to the idea that art is its own reward, or you do not need to pay for art; this leads to artists, the creative geniuses, who starve in attics—alienated, unappreciated, and alone. While Kant believes “[t]he experience of beauty tells us that the mind and world fit,” yet Kant also argues that “[t]he sublime, in contrast, shows us a misfit between mind and world” (Letich 409).

When we sense the sublime, our imagination strives to progress, and our imagination tries to grasp infinity, but our reason tries to embrace and enclose in a system that we can control. The sublime is infinity versus totality. Yet we cannot comprehend the vastness of its space. Despite this inadequacy within us, we still have the concept of infinity even if there is no experience with infinity. The sublime happens in our head—mind, soul, spirit. The sublime is an effect of our thinking and perception, not an attribute of the world out there. Even the ability to think proves that the mind has a power surpassing any standard sense. As Kant says, “Thus sublimity is not contained in anything in nature, but only in our mind” (Leitch 440). As a result, the sublime is the clearest evidence that Kant is moving into the mind (of the author as genius).

Perhaps Kant’s real purpose of art or literature is for pleasure. Language and form contribute to the reader’s pleasure of something. Maybe when reading a play, the reader will stop to consider a particular passage that seems to freeze in its tracks; this passage may not forward the plot, but the reader doesn’t care because of the beauty that pleases. It may be out of context but the reader pays attention and listens. These passages can be so great but have nothing to do with the play; therefore, the passages of beauty have no purpose (nothing political, dogmatic, plot-wise, etc.) other than to be pleasing. Some people argue that a poet is just trying to make money, but passages like these, full of beauty, suggest that writing is a good thing that brings about goodness, truth, and beauty.

Coleridge

Coleridge focuses on the creation of something beautiful out there, emphasizing the active mind of the artist, like Kant. Coleridge believes in primary imagination, secondary imagination, and fancy. While primary imagination is the mind’s ability to perceive, secondary imagination coexists with the will or what we draw on to create memories from our reality (the creative/artistic). In other words, the poet’s own mind is primary imagination, while the poetic genius is the secondary imagination.

Therefore, we go into the mind not just the form on the page. Imagination effects literature. Past literature, following strict rules like iambic pentameter and heroic couplets, could be following primary imagination, while the Romantic poets followed perhaps more of a secondary imagination, following what his or her mind tells him or her to do (or following the will of what the poet’s genius or the poet’s mind tells him or her to do).

On the other hand, fancy is basically a combination of preexisting things fused together; you do not animate them or bring them to life but reorganize them in space and time. Consequently, fancy is not as creative as imagination: “Coleridge’s theory of the primary and secondary imagination honors the creative capacity of persons while remaining steadfast to the primacy of God; even more, Coleridge implies that each re-creative act that a poet performs is an act of worship” (Leitch 582).

How we perceive the world makes realities, even if it is plural realities. As we become aware of multiple perceptions and possibilities, we choose the life we live in. We choose a world of eternal possibilities, and other realities can always impinge the integrated whole, big picture. Someone can change his or her view, switching to remake reality. Imagination also becomes a choice. And the author has a super imagination connected with genius. When defining the author, Coleridge asks, “What is poetry? is so nearly the same question with, what is a poet? that the answer to the one is involved in the solution of the other” (Leitch 590).

The author has a super imagination, and when connected with literature, the author’s imagination enhances the literature, making it more pleasurable for the reader. Coleridge questions the coherence or unity of the text; therefore, the organic whole becomes the basis of good literature for Coleridge. A reader can analyze a play if it is anachronistic. The play may seem like a mess, but the reader can look for underlying unity. Through incongruity, the text makes itself aware and becomes an organic work of art. The reader has to work to pull the context of the play together through analysis and synthesis, intellectually separating the distinguishable parts but then restoring the parts to unity.

The first purpose of poetry is the beauty and pleasure we get from it and then connect it with the whole and its parts. As the reader reconciles apparent opposites or paradoxes, there becomes an active cooperation between the text and the reader, suggesting that the text is something organic and alive.

Shelley

Shelley, like Coleridge, also emphasizes the nature of art, or the imagination, while looking at the principles of the mind. While Kant focuses on the mind and how poetry is the go-between of goodness and pleasure, and Coleridge discusses how poetry is in the mind of the author in regards to imagination, Shelley believes that the poet is the unacknowledged legislator to the world (of morals and of mankind) (Leitch 613).

Because the poet is inspired, poetry has the power to inspire others and improve the world. The poet can become like a poet-prophet. Shelley is outraged that poets starve in attics unappreciated. For Shelley, “[p]oetry acts in another diviner manner” through the mind’s “a thousand unapprehend combinations of thought. Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar” (596). Language is not just cognitive; language communicates entire ranges of what it means to be human, including emotions and our highest ideas, our morality, and our spirituality.

Poetry gives delight and is an instrument of moral improvement; thus, poetry becomes more efficacious than moral philosophy. Poetry is the driving force of culture and the history of human experience and thought. Through the creation of poetry, “a poet participates in the divine nature” (600), since “[p]oetry is indeed something divine” (609). Poetry has divine sources with divine effects, but the poets are inspired: it is not just poetry, but it is the poets themselves who are inspired and then translate benefits for all. For Shelley, “[p]oetry is the record of the best and happiest moment of the happiest and best minds” (610) of the poet, since “[a] Poet, as he is the author to others of the highest wisdom, pleasure, virtue, and glory, so he ought personally to be the happiest, the best, the wisest, and the most illustrious of men” (611).

Poets enhance beauty, reconcile contradictions, and recreate the world. By shifting to the poet, Shelley emphasized the ultimate conditions of poetry that exist in the mind and in the imagination, which is more than just the ability to clone images of realities and is more than reason (imagination is cognitive and emotional, moral and religious, and richer, therefore, than mere reason alone). This all comes down to the poet. Kant shifted into the mind, Coleridge shifted into the mind through analyzing imagination, and Shelley shifted into the mind through analyzing morals.

Foucault & Bloom

Foucault and Bloom are both interested in the history of the poet. Bloom believes the poet struggles with his or her precursors, thus experiencing an anxiety of influence, yet Bloom even admits that his precursors are Nietzsche and Freud. As Bloom explains, “[p]oetic history . . . is held to be indistinguishable from poetic influence, since strong poets make that history by misreading one another, so as to clear imaginative spaces for themselves” (Leitch 1651).

This perspective of the author is useful for the way we read literature—that is to read every text as a response to all the previous literature or to see how many traces of earlier literature that are there so that you can see a struggle between the text and a previous text for precedence. The reader can then work out the strategy of the battle, explaining how this text changed from the earlier text.

In contrast, Foucault focuses on how discourse changes and evolves while defining the author-function. For Barthes, the birth of the reader comes from the death of the author, making it possible for different readers and a multiplicity of readings; yet, for Foucault, the author-function provides an array of possibilities constrained by the author, reduced down to singularity, suggesting an ideological construct, not a natural construct. Foucault summarizes the functions of the author as the following:

[T]he author-function is [first] tied to the legal and institutional systems that circumscribe, determine, and articulate the realm of discourses; [second,] it does not operate in a uniform manner in all discourses, at all times, and in any given culture; [third,] it is not defined by the spontaneous attribution of a text to its creator, but through a series of precise and complex procedures; [finally,] it does not refer . . . to an actual individual insofar as it simultaneously gives rise to a variety of egos and to a series of subjective positions that individuals of any class may come to occupy. (Leitch 1485)

This author-function occurs within the discursive system, thus revealing mechanics of discourse in the absence of the author. It is not an individual over a text or group of texts but rather a function that the author serves to established systems: “The concept author . . . is an organizing device, permitting us to group certain texts together” (Leitch 1470).

Foucault “questions and examines the concept of authorship and, in insights that were taken up by the New Historicism, argued that analysis of literary texts could not be restricted to these texts themselves or to their author’s psychology and background; rather, the larger contexts and cultural conventions in which texts were produced needed to be considered” (Habib 151). This influences how we look at literature. When we read, we look for boundaries or how power of reading reflects what this discourse controls or tries to transgress.

The reader is not interested in the author or who he or she is. Rather, the reader is interested in how things articulate within the discursive system (i.e., is the text resisting the system, or is the text following established norms?). As a result, reading becomes more practical by how you group texts; it is no longer the genius of the author. The author has multiple functions, thus expanding the reader experience through various discourses into something more accessible, global, or multicultural.

The reader analyzes the text in different ways by seeing literature in a network, being influenced in a thousand different directions. Literature is immersed, not transcendent. As a result, the idea of the author is diminished if the reader reduces the author to a series of cultural influences.

Wrapping It Up

In conclusion, for Bloom and Foucault, there is less emphasis on the enlightened, genius poet, which contrasts greatly to Kant, Coleridge, and Shelly. There is less emphasis on genius and more emphasis on influence for Bloom and Foucault; poetry, therefore, could be seen as more accessible and more able to influence culture, in some ways, than what the Romantics suggested of an exceedingly brilliant poet speaking down to mere mortals.

Our understanding of what the author is changes what literature should do. Early theorists perhaps would argue that the author-genius is inspired and consequently bestows morals (like with Shelley) and absolute truth (like with Kant) through poetry and literature.

For the modern theorists, by struggling with wanting to be different or how the author is influenced, this makes literature become less influenced and less on a pedestal, and success of literature is not based then on whether the poet can change the world. The early theorists all talked about how the poet influences through the poet’s genius, while the later theorists focused on how the poet is influenced. Although the earlier theorists emphasized that the reader should be inspired (maybe through the sublime or beauty) as well as brought up higher (Shelley), the later theorists would focus more on the individualistic nature of the modern experience.

Works Cited

  • Bloom, Harold. “The Anxiety of Influence.” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010. Print.
  • Shelley, Percy Bysshe. Biographia Literaria. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010. Print.
  • Kant, Immanuel. Critique of the Power of Judgment. 2nd ed. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010. Print.
  • Habib, M. A. R. Modern Literary Criticism and Theory: A History. Victoria: Blackwell Publishing, 2008. Print.
  • Richter, David H. The Critical Tradition: Classic Texts and Contemporary Trends. 3rd ed. New York: St. Martin’s, 2007. Print.
  • Shelley, Percy Bysshe. A Defence of Poetry, or Remarks Suggested by an Essay Entitled “The Four Ages of Poetry”. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. 2nd ed. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010. Print.

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 24

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 24

The yay/nay/gray thoughts of the day:

YAY:

Mr. Antolini is Holden’s old English teacher. He has some great lines.

He says, “This fall I think you’re riding for – it’s a special kind of all, a horrible kind. The man falling isn’t permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling. The whole arrangement’s designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn’t supply them with. Or they thought their own environment couldn’t supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave I t up before they ever really even got started” (187).

This description of F A L L I N G seems to fit Holden to a T!

NAY:

Holden gets up in the middle of the night suddenly and leaves. See next section…

GRAY:

When Holden falls asleep, he wakes up to his teacher “sitting on the floor right next to the couch, in the dark and all, and he was sort of petting me or patting me on the goddam head” (192). Holden says, “I know more damn perverts, at school and all, than anybody you ever met. And they’re always being pervert when I’m around” (192).

Was Mr. Antolini making a homosexual move on Holden?

It’s hard to tell.

In the next chapter, Holden admits, “But what did worry me was that part about how I’d woke up and found him patting me on the head and all. I mean I wondered if just maybe I was wrong about thinking he was making a flitty [homosexual] pass at me” (194-5).

This is not a great situation. It’s hard to tell with Holden. Maybe Holden was just overacting, but maybe his teacher was being inappropriate and attempting sexual relationships with a student.

But what Holden says is most disturbing. It appears that perhaps Holden has experienced sexual abuse sometime in his past. Perhaps from other students or maybe a teacher “

More (silly) Questions:

Mr. Antolini writes down this quote for Holden: “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one” (188).

Wilhelm Stekel, a physician and psychologist, said this, and he was an early follower of Sigmund Freud.

Why does Mr. Antolini choose this quote? Why does he write it down? Personally, it seems that Holden doesn’t fall under the immature man or the mature man – Holden is like a hanging, “I-don’t-know-what” category of a man. Of course, Holden isn’t exactly a man yet. He is still a teenager.

Also, does Holden have a cause yet?

Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York City: Bantam Book, 1951. Print

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapters 22-23

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapters 22-23

Here are the yay/nay/gray thoughts of the day:

YAY:

Although it’s kinda creepy that Holden sits in his sister’s room watching her sleeping, Holden seems to connect with Phoebe, who enables him to open up more. Holden describes Phoebe like a school teacher (167), and Phoebe tells him not to swear so much (168) and says that Holden doesn’t like anything (169). Holden explains that he likes Allie.

Holden says, “I know he’s dead. Don’t you think I know that? I can still like him, though, can’t I? Just because somebody’s dead, you don’t just stop liking them, for God’s sake – especially if they were about a thousand times nicer than the people you know that’re alive and all” (171).

NAY:

At the close of chapter 23, while Holden was sneaking out with his parents still in, Holden explains, “For one thing, I didn’t give much of a damn any more if they caught me. I really didn’t. If figured if they caught me, they caught me. I almost wished they did, in a way” (180).

Most of this book is such a push and pull. The reader seems to make some progress into understanding Holden when he will open up and share something. Then he says things like this. He doesn’t care if he gets caught. But he really does want to get caught. Most of the book doesn’t feel like progress at all, though.

GRAY:

In chapter 22, we learn when Holden was showering one time at school, a boy named James Castle committed suicide by jumping out the window: “I was in the shower and all, and even I could hear him land outside. But I just thought something fell out the window, a radio or a desk or something, not a boy or anything” (170). Holden describes the gruesome scene and how the James was wearing Holden’s turtle neck sweater that he had lent to him previously.

Holden explains, “The funny part is, I hardly even know James Castle, if you want to know the truth. He was one of these very quiet guys” (171).

This moment in the book is terribly sad and gruesome. However, it is poignant, as well, by giving the reader a deeper connection with Holden’s inner psychology.

More (silly) Questions:

What is a Yogi guy (175) that Holden mentions in chapter 23?

In “A Reader’s Companion to J. D. Salinger’s the Catcher in the Rye” by Peter G. Beidler, it explains that “A Yogi is a person who practices Yoga, a method of breathing, movement, and meditation” (188).

We learn that Robert Burns wrote the poem “Comin’ Thro’ the Rye” (173). Here is some interesting information about this poem: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comin’_Thro’_the_Rye

Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York City: Bantam Book, 1951. Print

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapters 16 – 21

The Catcher in the Rye, Chapters 16 – 21

Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope that the holiday season is as happy as ever.

In contrast to your bright holiday cheer, here are the yay/nay/gray thoughts of today…

YAY:

While walking around New York City, Holden comes across a poor family that had a 6-year-old boy in chapter 16: “The kid was swell… He was making out like he was walking a very straight line, the way kids do, and the whole time he kept singing and humming. I got up closer so I could hear what he was singing. He was singing that song, ‘If a body catch a body coming through the rye.’ He had a pretty little voice, too. He was just singing for the hell of it, you could tell” (115).

Even though cars are zooming by, the parents don’t pay too much attention on their child, who continues to sing his little heart out. Holden thinks, “It made me feel better. It made me feel not so depressed any more” (115).

I don’t know for sure why this gets Holden out of the depressed-dug-in-hole he has made for himself. But maybe he recognizes childhood innocence. Perhaps he likes the idea that the parents are close by to step in if need be, but the child is able to have a sense of freedom and liberation. Maybe Holden sees a little of himself in the kid. Perhaps Holden connects with the song (*hint*: the title seems to be somehow connected with this song…).

Or maybe Holden is merely having a bi-polar mood swing, but it could be something more than just that.

NAY:

The beginning of chapter 17 is just so sad. While waiting for his date with Sally, Holden is sitting around, chilling, and watching the other girls waiting for their dates to show up. Holden explains, “In a way, it was sort of depressing, too, because you kept wondering what the hell would happen to all of them. When they got out of school and college, I mean. You figured most of them would probably marry dopey guys” (123).

Some of the crimes these dopey guys would commit included talking about their cars, being childish or sore, playing stupid games, and being mean. Holden also criticized “Guys that never read books. Guys that are very boring” (123).

First, the girls Holden are watching don’t necessarily have to marry. They could get careers or travel or do countless other things than just marrying “dopey guys.”

Second, it seems like Holden is kinda jumping the gun.

Third, are there really not that many great guys out in the world?

Fourth, I find it interesting that Holden thinks “Not-Reading” and right after that “Very-Boring” are both considered negative characteristics to have in a potential husband.

Fifth, although Holden does read, he does seem to act childish and/or sore for most of this entire novel, and he can be quite mean. Holden doesn’t even appear to be living up to the standard he sets. Holden, by his own definition, is a “dopey guy.”

(Sorry… I seem to be just numbering random thoughts that jump into my brain after reading this page.)

GRAY:

In chapter 21, Holden F-I -N-A-L-L-Y goes home!!! But this isn’t the best reunion ever.

His parents are off at some party, but Holden doesn’t really want to see them. He sits and watches his sister, Phoebe, sleep for a little while, which seems creepy, and then wakes her up to talk with her.

Phoebe seems genuinely excited and thrilled to see her older brother. Holden gives her the record he worked so hard to find but then broke into pieces when he dropped in on the ground after getting super drunk, but Phoebe loves the thought anyways: “She took them right out of my hand and then she put them in the drawer of the night table. She kills me” (164).

But Phoebe knows that something is up. She keeps asking him why he is home early. She knows that he was kicked out of another school. She puts a pillow over her head, and “She wouldn’t come out, though. You can’t even reason with her sometimes” (166). Holden already has enough communication problems with his parents and other brother. It’s too bad that the one sibling that seems to get along with him now refuses to look or talk to him.

This scene has so many mixed emotions. I hope that Holden can work out his problems with his family and actually talk with them.

Some More {silly} Questions:

Why is Holden so obsessed with talking to Luce in Chapter 19? Is Holden just lonely? Holden claims that Luce liked to talk about sex a lot, but when Holden kept bringing it up with Luce while having a drink with the guy, Luce did not seem interested and says things like, “Same old Caulfield. When are you going to grow up?” (144) and attempts to change the subject. Holden seems to think that Luce has had some homosexual relationships and seems fixated on that subject.

I’d forgotten to include the MLA Citation for the last few posts, but it was listed on the bottom of my first post about The Catcher in the Rye.  🙂

Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York City: Bantam Book, 1951. Print

*P.S.: I can’t figure out how to work italics on here. Sorry!

** P. S. S.: I do NOT own this photo. I give my thanks to Google images. 😉

I do like the shorts, though.  Or maybe the skirt. Don’t really know…  🙂