Sunday, April 30, 2006

Style Lesson 10

Style Lesson 10: The Ethics of Style

There is an ethic of style involved in writing. One way to establish bad ethics is through unintended obscurity. Those who write in ways that seem dense and convoluted rarely think they do, much less intend to. The ethics of writing are clearer when a writer knowingly uses language in self-interested ways. If the writer intended to deflect responsibility, then we can reasonably charge him with breaching the First Rule of Ethical Writing, for surely, he would not want that same kind of writing directed to him, systematically hiding who is doing what in a matter close to his interests. Writers owe readers an ethical duty to write precise and nuanced prose, but we ought not to assume that we owe us indefinite amount of their time to unpack it. If we choose to write in ways that we know will make readers struggle, it is allowed, but unethical, the authors suggest. Some people may wonder why they should struggle to learn to write clearly when bad writing seems so common and has no cost. What experienced readers know is that clear and graceful writers are so few that when we find them, we are desperately grateful for them. They do not go unrewarded.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

I went home with my roommate this weekend for moral support; she is putting her cat down. It is incredibly sad and when her dad started crying it really got to me. But more than making me reflect on the times I've had to put animals down, it made me reflect on the differences in sharing emotion.

My roommate wanted me to come home with her so if she cried someone would be there. I, on the other hand, would wait to cry until I'm completely alone. I wouldn't want anyone to come home with me. The situation also made me remember this poem:

IF I SHOULD GROW FRAIL

If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain does keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done
for this - the last battle -can't be won.

You will be sad I understand
But don't let grief then stay your hand.
For on this day, more than the rest
Your love and friendship must stand the test.

We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn't want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.

Take me to where my needs they'll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end.
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.

Don't grieve that it must now be you
Who has to decide this thing to do.
We've been so close - we two -these years,
Don't let your heart hold any tears.

(author unknown)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Reflection

Reflection:
The topic of eucharist is one that always interests me. However, I didn't really understand the title "Jesus as the Founder of a Cult". Even in reciting the Lord's prayer, some people consciously leave parts they aren't certain about out. Other than that I was interested in the chapter and could follow it as well as could be expected in this book. I disagreed with Eichorn's depiction that the Last Supper story was so influenced by the dogma and the cult that what really happened remains unclear. I don't think we really need to fully understand the accurate details. We know he broke the bread and blessed the wine and announced someone would betray him. The exact details of how Jesus went about this don't need to be clear. One thing that I found missing in this topic of the eucharist, despite the plentiful Pauline/Synoptic information, was the denominational part of the eucharist. While it might not have been a factor in that time, it would have been interesting to read on whether the denominational attributes of the eucharist existed during that time. For instance, only Catholics can take part in the eucharist at Mass, where the Methodists allow all denominations to take part.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Summary Paper

Summary:
This chapter depicts the last supper and the topic of the Christian eucharist. Apart from the Reformed Churches, the theological tradition always understood Jesus' words of inspiration in the sense of a real presence of Christ. However, Strauss found symbolic interpretation of Jesus' last supper with a historical foundation. Strauss's interpretation suggests it is not the death of Jesus but entry into the imminent kingdom of God which now becomes the central meaning of the eucharist. Eichorn suggests that the report of the Last Supper is so influenced by the 'dogma and the cult' of the community that the historical course of events remains unclear. The Pauline and the primitive Christian view that the body and blood of Christ were eaten in the supper is to be explained in terms of the history of religion: the supper is a variant of the universally widespread "theophagy", the primitive belief that one could appropriate the powers of a deity by eating and drinking. The Jewish analogies offer a separate explanation of the Lord's supper. For instance, most accept that Jesus' last meal was a Passover meal at which Jesus interpreted two parabolic actions by parabolic words: he interrupted the torn loaf of bred in terms of his death, and the juice of the grape in terms of his blood. Essentially, the fact is that the eucharist was celebrated in many forms in primitive Christianity and interpreted in different ways.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Peer Review

Peer Review for Meg Shamburger Lori Mears


Your first transition from narrative to research works but perhaps you could break it off and give the section a title like the articles Professor Malesh gave us (just a suggestion. The way you have still flows well). The reader clearly understands how Bryant feels but is left unclear about how you feel about it. Possibly add some more peronsal feelings or opinions to make it a more persuasive argument. You don't necessarily have to use first person, just ad some of your opinion more than Bryant's. For instance, in your seventh paragraph after the first sentence you could possibly add why this criticism is good or bad since we are allowed to insert some opinion.
I like the part when all the students ask for help, have a question, need Ms. Bryant to come over for a moment, etc. This made the reader understand that teachers truly are overworked, underpaid, and further more don't have time to really teach, they intead have to cram for the SOLS. This is only a handicap on the teachers. Again, at the end of the tenth paragraph, we understand how Bryant feels but the reader isn't sure how you feel as a writer as much. "The problem arises from not expecting greatness, but rather out of setting high standards and providing no support" – this quote in the eleventh paragraph is a very strong statement – it shows you opinion clearly and sums up the major problem of the No Child Left Behind act very nicely.
The personal touches – you sitting with Bryant surrounded by scraps of construction paper – nice imagery. That paragraph really seems to tie in narrative and research areas well. On the whole I think your paper is very well written and I don't think you are as off track as you said. I clearly understood your point and expect for a few transition elements, the flow is fluid. You mentioned some of your major problems was making it sound too "researchy" and except for a few places, I really didn't get that impression at all. I was impressed with the organization of the paper as well and think you are on the right track.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

journal article contin.

She had a safe, secure environment, she had food, she had a good education, but some days she would give anything to get away from her mother. "J, do your chores!" "J. don't talk back to me like that!" "J. hurry, you are going to be late again." Sometimes all she wanted was for her mother to hold her in her arms like she was three and tell her everything would be ok, that this pain wouldn't last forever.
Their displaced relationship had surpassed all normal levels of mother-daughter disputes. J. wanted to die some days just to get away. However, she realized even then her mother wasn't entirely to blame. Her mother was merely a catalyst to the depression.
Grace Montoro was J's primary tormenter. Today she felt like she was fifteen going on four. She had just gotten her learner's permit, but she wondered how someone who yearned for the safety of home could acquire the independence to drive. She felt like she was years away from the adult she was being forced to become in one day. Her tormentor sat two feet away. Grace Montoro. She had just moved into the soprano section in chorus. Grace's section. Grace had just announced loudly to the teacher that all of a sudden her section had gotten "far too crowded" and that "certain people should leave." The weeks and year of persecution broke the already fragile dam. J. trembled inside and couldn't stop it, which only made her feel foolish and ashamed of herself.J put her face in her arms and wept. The teacher noticed but pretended she didn't. She knew her teacher saw, but she wasn't one of the "popular" ones, so the teacher didn't care. A sudden craving for ridiculously childish things flashed through her like a heat wave; her mother, her favorite stuffed animal, the fairy tale book with jagged edges from overuse. She wanted to bake cookies for Halloween with her mother, laughing in pretend frustration as the cat's fragile tail always broke off after it came out of the oven.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Beginning of Journal Article

J. fell into the trap of depression in ninth grade. If she was honest with herself, it really began two years before. Her manner was polite, her appearance as perfect as she could make it, and she struggled daily not to fall into the "dorky" group that was incessantly made fun of. Despite the outward appearance of perfection and calm, she was painfully shy and blushed if you merely called her name down the hallway. Her skin was so thin you could practically see her beating heart. At times she was afraid her insides would leak out and before she knew it her entire being would be on display for the world to see. Her gossamer skin was a pitiful barrier to the insults and sneers thrown her way. She would wear jackets even when she was hot to hide what she thought was rolls of fat, but in reality they are hardly existed at all. It was enough to break anyone.
At five-forty-five the alarm went off. Her tired body protested so she gave it ten more minutes of repose. At approximately five-fifty-five she got up, put in her contacts, meticulously donned her make up, curled her hair, brushed her teeth and headed downstairs. Breakfast consisted of carnation instant breakfast, or, if she had spare time, cereal. Next came brewing the coffee, grabbing her keys and heading out for the drive to school.. This was the beginning of her repetitive day. At times she felt like screaming from the sheer routine of it all. J. would come home in the afternoon, spend an hour on homework before going to work at the veterinary hospital. J cleaned up the dog's vomit after they got sick from surgery and did all the other dirty jobs no one wanted to do. If she got lucky, when she got home she wouldn't get yelled at. J dreaded coming home.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Style Lesson 9

Style Lesson 9: Elegance

To truly refine a piece of writing, you need to adopt a certain amount of elegance, the author suggests; a point I very strongly believe in. First, a writer needs to understand elegance to adopt it. One way to do this is to study balance and symmetry which make up balanced coordination. The most striking feature of elegant prose is balanced sentence structure. You most easily balance one part of a sentence against another by coordinating them with and, or, nor, but, and yet, but you can also balance noncoordinated phrases and clauses. An elegant sentence should end on strength. You can create that strength in four ways: 1) end with a strong word, typically a nominalization, or better, a pair of them. 2) End with a prepositional phrase introduce by of. 3) End with an echoing salience. 4) End with a chiasmus. Beyond this, it is also important to think about the length of your sentences only if they are all longer than thirty words or so or shorter than fifteen. Your sentences will vary naturally, the authors state, if you simply edit them in the ways you've seen here. But if the occasion allows, don't be reluctant to experiment. There is a risk in striving for elegance. One risk is that you fail spectacularly and never risk it again. The authors state to keep trying and to accept first failures before trying again.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Ch 6 151-160

Chapter 6: The Chronological Framework of the Life of Jesus

· The framework of the history of Jesus
o The duration of Jesus' activity is unknown; the possibilities extend from a few months to several years.
o The chronological presentation of some actions of Jesus is similarly subjected to the theological concerns of the evangelists in shaping their works, and is historical unreliable. One ex:
§ According the synoptics, Jesus begins his public activity after the imprisonment of John the Baptist. According toe John, however, the two worked side by side for some time.
· The year of Jesus' birth
o There is no certain indication of the precise year of his birth. Certainly Mt and Lk agree he was born in the lifetime of Herod the Great. According toe Josephus it was before the spring of 4 BCE.
o In Luke, the way in which the birth of Jesus under Herod is made parallel to the census of Quirinius causes from difficulties. Quirinius was governor of Syria only from 6 CE onwards. So the information that Jesus was born both under his rule and under Herod involves a gap of at least ten years.
o Two possibilities to this:
§ Luke deliberately and falsely harmonized two chronological details which were not compatible.
§ There was a Roman census in the Judea of Herod the Great in which Quirinius played a role.
o Result: it is impossible to discover the year in which Jesus was born, but the last years of the reign of Herod the Great are a possibility.
· Jesus' public activity
o According toe Lk Jesus was around 30 years old. This info is vague in two respects: it contains the indeterminate particular around and probably alludes to biblical figures like David, Joseph and Ezekiel who began their public career at the ideal age of thirty.
o Result: Jesus' first public appearance falls in the period b/w 26 and 29 CE.
· The death of Jesus
o The day of Jesus' death (week and month) – all four Gospels agree in saying that Jesus died on a Friday. However it is disputed whether this Friday was the day of rest of the Passover feast as John says, on the afternoon of which the Passover lambs were slaughtered before the Passover feast began with the onset of darkness, or whether the Friday of Jesus' death fell on the first day of the Passover feast, as the Synoptic report.
o According to the Synoptic account, Jesus died on the first day of the Passover feast. The last supper of Jesus and his disciples was a Passover meal, which was held in the night.
o The Gospels agree in attesting that Jesus' last meal look place in Jerusalem and therefore was held in the night.
o According to Johannine chronology, which many think is historically accurate, the Friday on which Jesus died was the day of rest of the Passover, so in this year the Passover fell on a Sabbath.
o In the Johannine account Jesus dies at the time when the Passover lambs are being slaughtered in the temple. Probably this is meant to show Jesus as the true Passover lamb.
o Result: the differences b/w John and the Synoptics cannot be reconciled, but the argument for the Johannine chronology are weightier.

o The year of Jesus' death – the chronological framework is marked out by Pilate's time in office: Jesus must have died b/w 26 and 36 CE, more accurately b/w 27 and 34 CE.
o Result: the year 30 CE seems most probably as the year in which Jesus died, but other years cannot be excluded.
· Summary:
o Jesus was born in 6/4 BCE, prob before the death of Herod I; his public appearance only lasted for a short time at the beg of Pontius Pilate's period in office (26-36 CE) and he probably executed at Passover 30 CE.

Friday, April 21, 2006

trying my hand at outlining again

Chapter 4: The Evaluation of the Sources: Historical Skepticism and the Study of Jesus

· Bauer – regarded the earliest Gospel as a literary work of art
· Kalthoff – understood Jesus as a product of the religions needs of a social movement
· Drews declared Jesus to be the concretization of a myth which already existed before Christianity.
· Outside theology sceptism wants to rob Christianity of its legitimization. Inside theology it is employed for purposes of legitimization.

· The 'silence' of non-Christian sources – the contemporary non-Christian sources are silent about Jesus even where one would expect a note about him.
· The 'mythical' Christ of the letters of Paul – depict Christ as an almost mythical being.
· The unhistorical Johannine picture of Christ – irresolvable contradictions (chronology, belief in pre-existence)
· Miracle stories – narrative traditions contains stories which may have been transferred to Jesus without having any concrete basis in his life.

· Counter arguments:
o Ancient sources are silent about many people whose historicity cannot be doubted.
o The mentions of Jesus in ancient historians allay doubt about his historicity.
· Jesus traditions have a historically plausible influence when they can be explained as the influence of the life of Jesus – partly because independent sources correspond.
· We may be confident that just as people are not perfect enough to hand on the pure truth, so they are not perfect enough to distort it totally.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Summary

Chapter 12 Lori Mears
365-372


Summary:
Jesus has a commandment about cleanness that to some may appear strict. The inner logic of the logion is that nothing outside man can defile it – the things that defile him come from inside. One of the questions raised is did Jesus think only of a limited situation? For example, the washing of hands, which was not a universal practice in Judaism. Rather, it could be considered on their travels the disciples may accept any food that is offered them, regardless of whether it is clean or unclean. Jesus also has a Sabbath commandment. For example, Sabbath should be a day of rest, but what of the people that need to eat so pluck ears of corn? Or those that need to be healed on the Sabbath? The conflicts over the Sabbath in the Jesus tradition are about how the Sabbath is to be kept. The conflict over the Sabbath in primitive Christianity put in question was the Sabbath was to be kept at all. One view is that Jesus' healing on Sabbath took place only through words and words were allowed on the Sabbath. The way in which Jesus dealt with the commandments about purity, the Sabbath and parents therefore show that that Jesus represents a very liberal view of the Torah within Judaism, but in no way a criticism of the Torah opposed to Judaism. In the question of cleanness he puts forward a general maxim which is in tension with the presuppositions of the Torah. In the Sabbath question he puts forward a general indicative maxim which corresponds with the Torah, using it to justify clear transgression of the letter of the Torah. In both cases he shows a free attitude to the Torah, both to its spirit (cleanness) and its letter (Sabbath question). Essentially, Jesus' ethic, which intensifies and relaxes the Torah, is a programmed aimed at the restoration of Israel; it seeks to preserve the identity of Israel in relation to the Gentile environment.

Reflection:
I think the fact that there are so many contested points on Jesus' commandments of cleanness and Sabbath reveal that perhaps there is no definitive answer at all. Perhaps his commandment about cleanness is not literal (for his disciples took unclean food on travels). I think this commandment could be interpreted that Jesus' followers should keep a metaphorical cleanness about themselves, remaining pure in spirit. As to the Sabbath day question, I believe that if someone needed healing, Jesus would do it. The term "keep the Sabbath day holy" may not be violated by Jesus' healings. Perhaps the very healings help keep the Sabbath day holy. Both the scenarios could be seen in various points of light and its important to accept them all, though perhaps we may not agree with certain views. Opening our minds to various points of view only broadens our horizon.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography Lori Mears



Ainsworth, Patricia. Understanding Depression. Mississippi: University Press of
Mississippi, 2000.

In this book, Patricia Ainsworth described the intricacies of depression and how it works. She explained the psychological, biological, and physical aspects of mental disorders such as depression. She explains the causes of depression, which she splits into two major categories: psychological and neurobiological. She describes various types of treatment, how researchers search for a cure, and controversies that surround the medication topic.


Anonymous. Personal interview. 1 Mar. 2006.

This very personal interview a Randolph-Macon student was willing to give to me helped provide a more personal narrative of someone that has gone through depression and survived. It added a spark to my paper that allowed readers to understand the individuals around them suffer from depression, it is not just celebrities or well-known people.


Connor, Kathryn and Davidson, Jonathan. Herbs for the Mind. New York: The
Guildford Press, 2000.

This book gave very detailed information on herbs that can help treat depression, such as St. John's wort. It was very unbiased which I liked very much. It directed the reader's attention to the fact that herbal treatments are extremely helpful but do not always help. They reiterate that people should not depend on antidepressants but should likewise not forget about them, either.


Coyne, James C. Essential Papers on Depression. Ed. New York: New York University
Press, 1985.

James Coyne provides a collection of journal entries and essays on the topic of depression. Some of the articles provide a background on the history of depression from Freud and other well-known researchers. The discussion on learned helplessness and depression as well as self-control is a key to understanding the fundamentals of depression. There exist behavioral and cognitive approaches to helping solve the puzzles of depression.


Davidson, Jonathan et al. Herbs for the Mind. New York: Guilford Press, 2000.

This book discusses depression and its effect on stress, memory loss, and insomnia. The authors reveal what science tells us about nature's remedies for depression. They talk about St. John's Wort and how it has been used to treat low cases of depression in the past. Kava, Ginkgo and Valerian are also other natural herbs that can treat sleep disorders, stress, memory, and depression. The book reveals other treatment options to the normal medical treatments.


"Ditch the Pills (Antidepressants). New Scientist 187.2509 (2005): p4

This article suggests that people prescribed antidepressants are always going to think they can't deal with problems themselves. One researcher suggests that since we are prescribing more antidepressants, but there's no evidence they make people less depressed. Suicide rates have no stopped entirely and people are not increasingly getting back to work, this article suggests. Most experts, however, disagree. They state that evidence still favors antidepressants for more serve forms.


Ebadi, Manuchair. Pharmacodynamic Basis of Herbal Medicine. Florida: CRC Press
LLC, 2002

Ebadi writes of the importance on herbal medicine in this collection of various herbal treatments to mental illnesses such as depression. He backs up his arguments with traditional, religious beliefs, for example a quote from Ecclesiastes: "The Lord has created medicines out of the earth and he that is wise will not abhor them." He gives examples of alternative therapies to antidepressants, such as vitamins and diet, antioxidants, various vitamins and plants that can help treat depression. He lists certain foods that are excellent in helping depression, such as rhubarb, saffron, tomatoes and oats.


Frankenberger, William R. et al. "Effects of information on college students' perceptions
of antidepressant medication." Journal of American College Health 53.1 (2004):
35-6.

This article really opened up my eyes to how college students perceive antidepressants and the topic of depression. Essentially, the point I got out of it was that students on college campuses don't truly understand depression or those that take antidepressants. Likewise, some students immediately suggest antidepressants to a friend that is down, without understanding that there are other treatment methods available, such as therapy or herbal remedies.


Healy, David. Let Them Eat Prozac: The Unhealthy Relationship Between The
Pharmaceutical Industry and Depression. New York: New York University
Press, 2004.

This book by David Healy gave an honest and truthful examination at the correlation between antidepressants (Prozac) and the rising number of individuals suffering from depression. It also gives a more political aspect to the topic of depression, for instance are drug companies just itching to make money. Essentially, do antidepressants really do anything or are they just a placebo effect on our minds that enable them to make money?


Kasakitis, Amie. Personal interview. 22 Feb. 2006.

This interview was very helpful in bring in professors on this campus and their perceptions of antidepressants. It was more relevant to my paper to study how professors feel on college campuses rather than celebrities such as Tom Cruise.


McGinn, Daniel et al. "Taking Depression On; Mental health." Newsweek Aug. 2004:
59.

McGinn and other authors introduced that nowadays parents don’t just have to worry about stress, homesickness and partying, but they also have to worry about the apparent rise in mental illnesses on college campuses. More than 1,100 college students commit suicide each year, according to estimates by mental-health groups. This article also reiterated the horrible case of the MIT sophomore that set herself on fire because she had tried to seek treatment and felt no one was helping her.


Peterson, Karen S. "Depression among college students rising." USA Today 21 May.
2002: A1.

This relevant newspaper article accurately described the fact that depression is rising on college campuses. The author used research and psychologists to back up her point, including relevant quotes such as "mental illness is absolutely going off the charts on college campuses", which basically the very point I hope to examine in my paper. She included statistics such as 14% of 701 students at a college in the Boston area showed depressive symptoms.


Raeburn, Paul. "The Pill Paradox: Are Antidepressants killing teens, or saving their
lives?" Psychology Today 78 (2004): 72-73.

This article in Psychology Today was very helpful in giving in depth research on how antidepressants can sometimes increase suicidal thoughts. Although it seems a little biased to me, it still gave examples of real life stories. It also addressed the placebo effect and how even in adults, antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Lexapro aren't magic bullets.


Salmans, Sandra. Depression: Questions You Have, Answers You Need. Pennsylvania:
People's Medical Society, 1995.

Sandra Salman's book is great for revealing the fallacies that surround depression, including many stigmas and controversies. She describes that there are different forms of depression and that there are certain risk groups for depression. Salman also state that depression is increased in women, thus revealing the gender differences with depression. She discusses antidepressants, electroconvulsive therapy, and light therapy.


Solomon, Andrew. The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression. New York: Scribner,
2001.

This book contains not only definitions of depression, but what is involved in breakdowns and suicide. Andrew Solomon also discusses the history of depression and how poverty and politics come into play into this mental illness. The evolution of depression has increased dramatically in the last century at an alarming rate, but Solomon suggests there is hope in the future with new treatments and new ways of thinking.


Wolpert, Lewis. Malignant Sadness: The Anatomy of Depression. New York: The Free
Press, 1999.

Wolpert defines depression in clinical terms. He also delves into the realm of mania and bi-polar disorders. Individuals that suffer from bi-polar disorders often suffer from depression as well, revealing that there is a link between the two. He also reveals that suicide is the ultimate end to depressive acts. He describes psychotherapy and how he thinks treatment will vary in the future.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Outline

Ch 1 pp 1-11

The Quest of Historical Jesus

· First came the criticism of the sources. The question here was whether everything in the Gospel accounts was historical or authentic.
· To source criticism was added historical relativism. Even if we had a historically reliable picture of Jesus, the problem would remain that this figure was deeply embedded in history and was less singular and absolute than people believed.
· Hermeneutical otherness: even if we had historically reliable reports and in them encountered and irreplaceable person – this Jesus, who was as close to many people in childhood as a good friend, removed himself into his past world which demons were driven out.
· Where an existential decision is urgently called for, Jesus becomes the preacher of a call to decision who summons individuals from their forgetfulness of life. Where people advocate a humanism which emancipates itself from supervision by the church, Jesus becomes the one who challenges religious institutions.

Five Phases of the quest of the historical Jesus
· First Phase: The critical impulse towards the question of the historical Jesus
o Reimarus views the life of Jesus from a purely historical perspective.
o Reimarus finds cause to separate completely what the apostles say in their own writings from that which Jesus himself actually said and taught.
o Strauss' main achievement is to have applied to the Gospels the concept of myth which has already current in the OT scholarship of his time.
o Strauss sees myth and says that traditions contradict each other, or motives widespread in the history of religion are transferred to Jesus.
o Strauss was the first to recognize that the Gospel of John is historically less trustworthy than the Synoptics. Put forward the view that Matthew and Luke are the earliest Gospels, and that Mark is an excerpt from both of them . Therefore by clarifying the relationship b/w the sources through the two-source theory, liberal theology could hope to cope with the 'shock' caused by Strauss.
· Second Phase: the optimism of the liberal quest of the historical Jesus
o The methodological basis of the liberal study of Jesus is the literary-critical exploration of the earliest sources about Jesus. Mark, a source which hitherto had been overshadowed, and Q, a source first reconstructed by scholars, were not regarded as the earliest, largely reliable sources for the historical Jesus. An emancipation from the traditional church picture of Jesus seemed possible on his basis.
· Third phase: the collapse of the quest of the historical Jesus
o Three scholarly insights led to the collapse of the quest of the historical Jesus.
o Schweitzer's book showed that the images of the lives of Jesus were projections. He demonstrated that each of the liberal pictures of Jesus displayed the personality structure which, in the eyes of its author, was the ethical ideal most worth striving for.
o Wrede argued that the Gospel of Mark is an expression of community dogma. This destroyed the confidence that it was possible to distinguish between the history of Jesus and the image of Christ after Easter.
o Bultmann – Dialectical theology – it was not what Jesus had said and done which was thought to be decisive but what God had said and done in the cross and resurrection.
o Research into the history of religions made it clear that theologically Jesus belongs to Judaism and that Christianity begins only with Easter. From this Bultmann drew the conclusion that the teaching of Jesus is of no significance for a Christian theology.
· Fourth phase: the 'new quest' of the historical Jesus
o Because the conflict with the Jewish Law was no longer located at the center of Jesus' life, other possibilities of interpreting Jesus' violent death historically were considered. Was he perhaps a political rebel against the Romans? The three classical accounts of Jesus in Jewish research from the beginning of this century represent Jesus was a ethicists, prophet and rebel.
§ Jesus as ethicists – some would call him an extreme nationalist but with a 'new concept of God' which detached God from his bond to people and history.
§ Jesus as prophet – the old prophets did not yet have to grapple with the Law as a finished, completed entity. But in the time of Jesus this was limited to the Jerusalem temple.
§ Jesus was a rebel – Jesus had wanted to found a worldly kingdom – in the first half of his life Jesus had presented a non-violent teaching, but then seized and occupied the temple violently and finally came to grief in conflict with the Romans.
· Fifth phase: the 'third quest' of the historical Jesus
o A sociological interest replaced the theological interest, and the concern to find Jesus a place in Judaism replaced the demarcation of Jesus from Judaism; an openness to non-canonical (sometimes 'heretical') sources also replaced the preference for canonical sources.
o There is a dispute over whether non-canonical sources are to be preferred to canonical sources.
o Meantime the Jesus research within the 'third quest' has split into two different trends. The most important differentiation is that on the one hand there is a return to a 'non-eschatological picture of Jesus' in which Jesus becomes the advocate of a paradoxical existential wisdom influenced by Cynicism. On the other hand, as in previous research, Jesus is interpreted in the framework of his eschatology and placed at the center of Judaism, for the restoration of which he hoped.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Journal Proposal

The specific topic/controversy I want to study for my Journal Article is the topic of antidepressants and their helpfulness. More importantly, I want to give a descriptive encounter of a person who is suffering from depression and how those antidepressants helped this individual recover. I hope to give an accurate picture of how debilitating depression can be and how antidepressants help, despite criticisms of the drug. Some specific elements of my controversy I hope to cover are the various controversies surrounding antidepressants and why those controversies are full of loopholes. For instance, celebrities criticize users of antidepressants, when in fact some of them are males criticizing post-partum depression. I hope to reveal why those individuals are inadequate judges of antidepressants.
I hope to convince my readers that antidepressants are justified and that criticisms directed at them are unwarranted. I hope to be persuasive without being forceful and putting too much information on my readers at once. My goal is to revamp my research paper into a more persuasive tone and mixing in the narrative to show the emotion of a person suffering from depression.
The journal I am targeting as a possible source of publication is the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. This Journal is targeted at individuals, researchers and professors and other interested people who are intrigued by the effects of clinical and medical affects on psychological problems. The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology publishes original contributions on the following topics: (a) the development, validity, and use of techniques of diagnosis and treatment of disordered behavior; (b) studies of a variety of populations that have clinical interest; (c) studies that have a cross-cultural or demographic focus and are of interest for treating behavior disorders; (d) studies of personality and of its assessment and development; (e) studies of gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation; (f) studies of psychosocial aspects of health behaviors; and (g) methodologically sound case studies pertinent to the preceding topics. It also studies various treatment methods of depression and why some are better alternatives to others. Because this Journal investigates the various treatments of psychological problems like depression, I believe it would be a great journal in which to publish an article like mine.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Style Lesson 8

Style Lesson 8: Shape

Understanding the shape of sentences is one of the most valuable lessons a writer needs to learn. There is a certain degree if clarity in complexity. If you can write clear and concise sentences you can assemble them into coherence passages. Some sentences can seem to take forever to get to the point. One way to fix this problem is to revise long openings. Sentences should not take too long to get to its main verb. One major rule is to get to the subject quickly. Another rule is to get to the verb and object quickly. Revise long subjects into short ones. Readers read most easily when you quickly get them to the subject of your main clause and past that subject to its verb and object. It is important to avoid long introductory phrases and clauses, long subjects, and interruptions between subjects and verbs, and between verbs and objects. You can revise long sentences in three ways. 1: Cut, by reducing some of the relative clauses to phrases by deleting who/that/which etc. You can also change clauses to modifying phrases, such as summative modifiers. Essentially, when you have to write a long sentence, don't just add one phrase or clause after another. A writer should avoid tacking one relative clause onto another onto another. They can do this by extending the line of a sentence with presumptive, summative, and free modifiers. When you create a free modifier, however, be sure its implied subject matches the explicit subject of the verb closest to it. Coordination lets a writer extend the line of a sentence more gracefully than just by tacking on one element to another. When you can coordinate, try to order the elements so that they go from shorter to longer, from simpler to more complex, the author suggests. Even well-constructed long sentences can give readers a problem if they can't connect the second part of coordination to its starting point or if they are unsure about what a phrase actually modifies.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Report on an animal (I chose mice)

What amazes me even more than mice's instincts, however, is their ability to survive and reproduce just about anywhere. They become sexually mature at approximately 65 days (Nowak 772), but only live up to a year in the wild. Domesticated mice kept as pets commonly live to a year to two years. It is the fact that these creatures have such innate instincts to survive and their obvious individual differences that fascinate me so much. In the wild, their behaviors are even more captivating. To best understand this, it might be wise to go through a day in the paw prints of a mouse.
The sky sets behind the gray hills, and the clouds promise to bring more snow during the night. A pink nose peeps out of the dry twigs and leaves sleepily, quivering its bristling whiskers every which way. Mice, naturally nocturnal creatures, are most active during the night (http://www.rspb.org.uk/gardens/guide/atoz/h/housemouse.asp). Mice in winter usually spend the daylight hours sleeping, searching for food and bedding during the day. The house mouse, Mus musculus, is one of the most familiar of the mice species, its great survival depending mainly on its ability to find food almost anywhere and to reproduce at immense rates (Whitaker 664). Its nests are built of any available materials, such as clothing, leaves, grass, and paper is available. They often burrow underground, between roots, or in hollow trees. The mouse’s bed often resides in a woodpecker’s whole or even a birdhouse. Their burrow systems usually are bedded with grass and leaves and some burrow contains cashes of food (Nowak 772).

Friday, April 14, 2006

creative writing exercise

Intelligence Test
-Alberta Turner


Intelligence


I wait until nightfall
So that I may catch shooting stars on my tongue
For the butterflies to feast on later.

When morning comes I will wash my hair
And rub it with dry oatmeal.
I can teach a hen to answer the phone
And sell lottery tickets
And make soup,
But I cannot make it tell the truth.

I can crack eggs
To bake my bread,
But I cannot fake it.

I ask myself questions in the mirror
In the morning after my shower,
When it's fogged up and I can write love letters in it.

I ask myself if I can powder my nose with an ax
Or carry small silver bells safely in a quart berry basket.

I try to eat plastic grapes,
The kind you can squish with your fingertips,
And they pop back up.

I breathe miasma.
I breathe fire.

And I ask myself
If I shrank to the size of a pea,
Would I hide under a leaf?
Go back to sleep?
Would I wash my feet?

And before I go to bed at night,
Before I lay back amongst the pillow of thoughts,
I wonder how I would handle a tail.
I might thread it through a slit in my pants,
But I think I mightPretend it wasn't mine

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Parables of Jesus

Summary:
There are three types of parable beginnings. The narrative beginning begins immediately without an introductory formula. Comparative beginning is an introduction that corresponds to rabbinic introductions to parables which appear in two variants. Lastly there is a dialogue beginning in which the hearers are addressed directly and invited to express an opinion. Bultmann defined the narrative structure of the parables by means of a comparison with the structures of popular poetry in the context of five things. The brevity of the narrative, which states that only the necessary person appears. The law of scenic duality, which states only two people appear at the same time in speech or action. Unilinear narrative, which suggests the focus is never on two processes taking place at the same time. The Law of Repetition is seen in the prodigal son parable, whose confession of sins is reported twice. And lastly, the narrative breaks off after the point: the conclusion of the narrative is absent. The conclusion of the parable is also referred to as the application. After the conclusion of the narrative proper in the parable there follows either a short application, often introduced with a longer exegesis. There are two types, the epimythion (or moral), in which these epimythia are often secondary and variable, and the full allegorizations, which appear in the New Testament only in the images of seed, growth, and harvest, which are interpreted with reference to the Christian community. The rabbinic parables are also usually concluded with an explicit application (nimshal). The parables of Jesus are a form of wisdom. The parable form emerged from the meeting of two cultures. Precisely as a result of this, a characteristic of the forms of language used by Jesus become significant.

Reflection:
Parables have always interested me. They are similar to a narrative story but they have Jesus' wisdom attached to them and most importantly they are not stories in my eyes. Rather, they are pieces of history written down. I also like the precise formula that is often seen in different parables. For instance, there is always some sort of introduction or beginning, through they vary in form. There is always a complex story that can be debated many ways centuries later and this is a sign of true literature in my eyes. Finally, there is a message to take away at the end of the story. The path of a parable is like life; there is birth, the life itself, and finally death with a message that can be taken away. One part of the chapter that really intrigued me was the fact that the parable form emerged from the meeting of two cultures. The debates that exist between the Jesus parables and the rabbinic form can thus be solved. One culture need not win; they both contribute to the final form of the parable, instilling their own special features into a timeless formula.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Revised Paper on Benjamin Franklin's Views on Religion

Benjamin Franklin was not a man preoccupied with the intricacies of religion. He leaned toward the economic side of life. Franklin understood that religion and faith were integral parts of a good business in the fact that tolerance leads to increased revenue. However, he admits that while he had been "religiously educated" he did not follow the strict moral set of laws. While relinquishing the pious churchgoer role to the more willing participants of society, Franklin managed to incorporate religious ideals into his theories on business and economics. Franklin believed that religious tolerance led to good business ethics. Religion was an aspect of life that led to good morals in Franklin's mind, but devout religious beliefs to him were not vital. Franklin's impassive attitude toward religion can be seen when he willingly gave up the holy Sabbath day to his studies, did not attend his minister's sermons because they "disgusted him", and makes no apologies for his actions.
The very fact that Benjamin Franklin wrote an autobiography to gratify his vanity is blasphemous in its style. As a Christian society, we owe our success to God, so vanity is not a quality that should be exalted. Franklin's belief in religion was founded on a thesis of deism, which states that there is a God but He does not interfere in society's lives. He sets the clock and lets it run, but does not intervene. Perhaps it is because of Franklin's belief of God's non-interference that let him behave in un-Christian ways without a guilty conscience. If God merely set the world and let it run on his own, then it would be up to the individual to direct their life, not God. Therefore an individual like Benjamin Franklin could direct his life in any way he wanted. While respecting moral laws is wise, Franklin has no reservation in quitting a valued Christian tradition such as keeping the Sabbath day holy. Instead, he devoted the day to studies that would eventually enable him to excel in the business aspect of his life.
Franklin counteracts his lack of attendance in the church with what a devout Christian would consider an almost ineffective argument. He states that while he seldom attended regular worship he "regularly paid [his] annual Subscription for the Support of the only Presbyterian Minister…in Philadelphia" (590). By stating that he regularly paid tithes, Franklin assumes a clear moral standing. He once again reinforces his belief that money, economics, and religion go hand in hand. By paying dues for the only minister in Philadelphia, he clearly achieved a moral standing and absolved any religious debts he incurred by not attending worship services. Benjamin Franklin states that his minister advised "Whatever Things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report, if there be any virtue, or any praise, think on these Things" (591), but Franklin believed that "thinking on these Things" was ineffectual versus acting. Perhaps one reason he was not a devote Christian was for this reason. Franklin preferred acting, as seen in his paying his annual fees, rather than reflecting on the meaning of biblical text. His minister also spoke of five key points; keeping the Sabbath day holy, reading the Holy Scripture, attending worship, partaking of the sacrament, and paying a due respect to ministers" (591). Benjamin Franklin agreed these all sounded like a good set of rules to follow, but "as they were not the kind of good Things that [he] expected from that Text, [he] despaired of ever meeting with them from any other, was disgusted, and attended…Preaching no more" (591). This quick movement to give up on attending sermons suggests little reflection of true religious ideals in Franklin's behavior, cementing the belief that he put his faith in business or other areas, not religion.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

poetry exercise

Prompt: Write a poem listing things.

The Baker


There was a measuring cup (three quarters),
A mixing bowl and spoon.
All the ingredients were there,
Sitting in their complacent attitude,
While she waited for the baker to come.

She set out the sugar and vinegar,
Because life has that little taste
Of bitterness with the sweetness.

She meticulously arranged the cookware,
And laid out the obligatory cookbook,
Though such a genius as he
Would never need one.

She wanted the baker
To fill her empty soul with dough –
Fill the sticky, vacant spots in her existence.

At half past twelve he arrived
And got to work
With the flour and eggs and beater,
And left the cookbook abandoned on its shelf.
He pounded the dough into neat mounds,
But it did not rise.

He left, with the measuring cup
The mixing bowl and the spoon
Littering the granite counter tops
(He was never a patient man).
He left the sugar and vinegar and eggs,
And the flour splattered like a cloudy blanket on the walls,
And he left the oven on four-seventy-five degrees.
He left her sitting there, by the kitchen table,
With empty, sticky holes
Where her soul used to be.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Secret Agent

Draft 1 of The Secret Agent paper

On the road to fulfill our utmost wishes, we often encounter "the law of unintended consequences." As we try to satisfy our desires, we often create new problems while trying to solve old ones. This law can also be referred to as Murphy's Law, destiny, or simply fate. This portrayal of fickle fate and the law of unintended is seen in movies and novels and is sympathized with so much because society as a whole encounters it nearly every day. This theme of unintended consequences is also seen throughout Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent. It is portrayed in Mr. Verloc's actions, in Stevie's naïveté, and even Winnie's would-be-virtuous exploits. The theme of unintended consequences is especially seen in times of turbulence; more importantly in times of revolution. The area of unsettlement and insurrection provide fertile grounds for new problems to arise despite an individual's very attempts to solve them.
British actor and Anthony Daniels wrote, "The law of unintended consequences is stronger than the most absolute power." This statement could not be more elaborated on in its truth. The fact that the character's actions to solve problems create more problems exemplify the very essence of unintended consequences, a fact that is stronger than any absolute power. Mr. Verloc tried to solve the problem his superiors set for him: to upset English complacency and make them aware of the terrorism affected their society. His actions to solve this problem eventually lead to his death. Stevie tried to gain the acceptance of Mr. Verloc, an attribute Winnie incessantly encouraged, but through the law of unintended consequences, he died as well. Winnie, likewise, married for the security it would provide to Stevie.
The plans of the bombers themselves underwent a journey of unintended consequences. They desire a "brief" act of terrorism that will eventually instill a defensive stance in the English society. Their actions to enlist the services of Mr. Verloc lead to his very death and the eventual fall of their own plans.
Winnie's actions begin in motives of love but the result is death. She did not marry Mr. Verloc to please him. She did not marry Mr. Verloc to please herself. She married him to secure the protection of her younger brother Stevie. Winnie desires Stevie to admire and respect Mr. Verloc so that Mr. Verloc will overlook Stevie's annoyances with leniency.
Conrad draws on this phenomenon in The Secret Agent to demonstrate how capricious life's directions can be. Through his novel the reader understands how our actions to solve a problem or fulfill our wishes can lead to inadvertent results, the most extreme being death. His continuous theme of how fulfilling wishes can lead to undesired results has the implication that Conrad's readers should understand that fate has some control and that life is never what it seems. His novel depicts the good intentions we set out for ourselves and ends with disastrous results that none of us predicts. He exhibits the potential for good results through his theme in the novel, a potential that often leads to an array of unintended consequences. This theme Conrad reiterates through the novel contains significant implications about revolutionary and progressive hopes for world transformation. This aspect of the novel is evidently seen in the storyline of the bombers.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Style Lesson 7

Concision is a very important aspect of writing. There are five principles of conisions. 1: Delete words that mean little or nothing. 2: Delete word that repeat the meaning of other words. 3: Delete words implied by other words. 4: Replace a phrase with a word. 5: Change negatives to affirmatives. Deleting meaningless words such as "really" or "generally" just take up empty space. Deleting doubled words or deleting words that readers can infer also serve as the same meaning. Replacing a phrase with a word can also help make your work more concise. As a writing, to make your writing more approachable and understandable, it is important to use some metadiscourse in everything you write, espeically metadiscourage that guides readers through your text, words such as first, second, therefore, on the other hand, etc. You also need some metadiscourse that hedges your certainty, words such as perhaps, seems, could, etc. The risk is that some writers can use too many of these words, essentially cluttering up the work. Concision helps make a writer's work easier to understand. Cluttering up a piece of work with extra words makes both the work and the writer less readable.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Movie Review

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Written by Bob Baker, Steve Box & Mark Burton, based on characters created by Nick Park
Directed by Steve Box & Nick Park
Starring the Voices of Peter Sallis, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes, Peter Kay, Nicholas Smith
My Advice: Don't miss it.
Our heroes Wallace (Sallis) and Gromit have had many adventures in their time. They've gone to the moon, thwarted a criminal penguin, and broken up a sheep rustling ring. This time around they've created Anti-Pesto, a humane pest control service. A giant vegetable contest (a community tradition) is upcoming, and unless the rabbits can be kept under control, then all the massive veggies will get gnawed away to nothing. Wallace and Gromit are especially interested in a new client, the Lady Tottington (Carter), because keeping her prize veggies safe will be really great for business. Not to mention the fact that she's quite the looker (by claymation and Wallace's standards). However, there's a new player on the scene...a terrifying, hulking creature that exists only to throw veggies down its giant gullet: the Were-Rabbit.
Aardman simply doesn't screw around when it comes to quality. The three original W&G shorts are comedy gold. Chicken Run was a wonderful sendup of the camp escape flick. And now the original duo is back with a feature film. And it's a doozy. First things first: people who create claymation impress the hell out of me. I just can't imagine anyone having the patience to create art like that. Or anything stop motion for that matter. To work with sets and "actors" the size of large action figures and create full on narratives and adventures. It's personal...you can sometimes spot a fingerprint from the animators on the figures, which is a nice change from CGI mayhem.
The voice acting is superb, with Peter Sallis reprising his role as Wallace, and Carter and Fiennes sounding like they're having a blast. But the standout of the film is...the silent and long-suffering pooch, Gromit, who could teach ninety percent of the actors working today something. He can say more in a glance than most actors can using their entire range of tools. Just amazing work. And their sendup of classic horror and monster films is perfect, complete with lightning flashes, dramatic lighting, a terrific score by Rupert Gregson-Williams, and strategic placement of a pipe organ. And the best part is that, instead of something like Shrek is that there's a nice balance between humor for kids and humor that adults will enjoy.
Probably the best animated film of the year, it certainly shows that we want this franchise, now that's it gone to the big screen, to stay there. And we want a tremendous DVD release when this does hit.


my analysis of movie and review:
I was very happy to hear the movie had won best Animated Feature at the Oscars. It was a win I felt was truly deserved. Not only is the sheer work put into the movie admirable (it took 5 years to make) but the humor and quick wit is catching. Some people may think because its an animated film only young children will like it, but I've talked to some people on campus who enjoy the movie too.
It is quirky British humor that I suppose some might not like, but I think if you try to understand the finer nuances of Wallace and Gromit it's a movie anyone will love. They add humor in their "Anti-Pesto Business". The review's statement "Aardman simply doesn't screw around when it comes to quality. The three original W&G shorts are comedy gold" is very true. The fact that the movie took five years to make shows the hard work put into making the scenes of both the movie and the shorts perfect. I agree with the statement that it appeals to both kids and adults. There are some scenes where the adults will be amused and others the kids will. All in all I thought it was a superb, well-done movie.

Friday, April 07, 2006

REVISION of narrative story

She still remembered the day her depression and self-deprecation had reached rock bottom. She was an alcoholic swimming in the bottom of a blue-hazed martini glass. She couldn't remember what the fight was about, but she did remember the aftermath. She crept down the stairs, carefully avoiding the fourth creaky step, sitting gently on the worn blue carpet. She was always good at stealth.
"I just don't understand her," she heard her mother whisper to her father. She could always tell when people were talking about her. She could sense it like a blood-hound on the hunt. Her lifetime of paranoia came in hand that day as she sat on the blue-carpeted stairs. Or destroyed her.
"I just hate her. I hate her."

She went to bed and woke up praying for escape for five years. She never told her mother she heard the whispered words that a mother hated her daughter.

Two years later she sat in the Doctor's office, staring at the sterile white walls. It was so silent; all she could hear was the steady hum of the AC and the throb of her heart in her ears. She wiped her sweaty hands on the legs of her blue jeans. Was this what it was like? Telling someone what you thought? What you felt? Was this how it felt to share a secret you've held for five years? She was never good at sharing things. She preferred keeping them locked away in an oak chest and tossing it into the depths of Atlantis.
She didn't feel better right away. The expression that a pill fixed the problem offended her and is still a stigma she fights against. But it did help. After a time it curbed the anxiety. It curbed the overwhelming sadness oppressing her, settling upon her chest each night until she thought it would crush her.
She believed her antidepressants saved her. She still does. There are still days when she feels like she is having tea with her three favorite stuffed animals. There are still moments when she feels four and wants to be held. And there are still times when she wants to be five wearing her pink dress with the ice cream stain on the hem. But the feeling fades and she can't find the words to express her indignant fury at the psychology professor who condemned those for seeking the "cliché, overused antidepressant method". She wanted to scream at the professor, "Would you have me repeat my five years for you? Would you have me replay my pain until it is seared forever in your brain the way it is in mine?"

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Parables are Cool

Parables first became evident historically in Judaism in large quantities with Jesus. The perception of parables from a Christian perspective has long been distorted by prejudices against Judaism. However, recent research has shown that Jesus and the rabbi drew on the same store of familiar fields of basic narrative structures. A. Julicher adopted a didactic and informative understanding of the parables as figurative depictions of universal truths. Essentially, this school of thought interpreted the parables as summaries of theological mysteries. Parables are also thought to be a time-conditioned prophetic message. Jesus' preaching therefore represents stories that depict timeless truths. Fuchs, Jungel, Weder, and others introduce a new school of thought. They view parables in terms of the word-event and speech. Parables are understood as a dynamic speech-event in which Jesus claims the love of God for those who commit fault and sin. Essentially, this school of thought interprets parables as a way for Jesus to open God's reality to the people. Schottroff, another prominent theorist on parables, views the parables of Jesus in three major respects: the imagery derived from the parables, the message embedded in the parables themselves, and the practice of the Jesus movement. It is also possible to contextualize parables. However, this presents two major problems. One, the reconstruction of the context remains hypothetical. Second, the more firmly parables are anchored in historical context, the more difficult it is to derive significance from them beyond that specific situation.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

adding some variety to my blog with a poem.



I travel to the land of peace.
It is not here,
Not with the trash men and the factory workers,
Not with the tea bags and orange peels
That litter the top of scarred wooden tables.
It is not here,
Not in the city where they come in the night,
Down alley ways.
It is not here,
In the country
With closets full of charlatans,
Even though
I am one of those.
It is not here,
Not in the kingdom of lies,
Where women not worshipped
Betray you.
It is not here.
For I do not dwell
In the marrow of things.
It is not here,
With the dwarves that traipse around in costumes,
In a make-believe kingdom.
It is there, with signs of graffiti
That welcome with their puffy red lines,
On gray concrete walls,
And offer harsh springs and soft winters.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

part of narrative story

She was fifteen but she felt like she was four. She had just gotten her learner's permit, but she wondered how she could ever grow into the skill. She felt like she was years away from the adult she was being forced to become in one day.
Her tormentor sat two feet away. Grace Montoro. She had just moved into the soprano section in chorus. Grace's section. Grace had just announced loudly to the teacher that all the sudden her section had gotten "far too crowded" and that "certain people should leave." The weeks and year of persecution broke the already fragile damn. She trembled inside and couldn't stop it. That only made her feel foolish and ashamed of herself.
She put her face in her arms and wept. The teacher noticed but pretended not to. She knew her teacher saw, but she wasn't one of the "popular" ones, so the teacher didn't care. She wanted ridiculously childish things; her mother, her favorite stuffed animal, the fairy tale book with jagged edges from overuse. She wanted to bake cookies for Halloween with her mother, laughing in pretend frustration as the cat's fragile tail always broke off. She wanted to be five and go to church in her favorite pink dress with the ice cream stain on the hem.
She wanted these things that spoke of comfort and safety. She couldn't have her favorite stuffed animal: she had lost it at a trip to Busch Gardens. She had asked her mother if she could take him with them to the park, lost it, and now he was gone. And she couldn't run to her mother's arms as she once did. She was fifteen, it wasn't allowed. More than that, she and her mother never talked except in harsh, biting tongues. Perhaps that's where her troubles began. Even her father condemned her for speaking back to her mother. She wondered why no one could give her that kind of loyalty. She couldn't seem to stop translating the ache that settled on her chest into acidic words.
She still remembered the day her depression and self-deprecation had reached rock bottom. She was an alcoholic swimming in the bottom of a blue-hazed martini glass. She couldn't remember what the fight was about, but she did remember the aftermath. She crept down the stairs, carefully avoiding the fourth creaky step, sitting gently on the worn blue carpet. She was always good at stealth.
"I just don't understand her," she heard her mother whisper to her father. She could always tell when people were talking about her. She could sense it like a blood-hound on the hunt. Her lifetime of paranoia came in hand that day as she sat on the blue-carpeted stairs. Or destroyed her.
"I just hate her. I hate her."

Monday, April 03, 2006

Style Lesson 6

Style Lesson 6

This chapter dealt with emphasis, a part of writing I personally think is very valuable. What words or images you emphasize can make the whole sentence or the whole story. Understanding how sentences end is very important. The author states that if you consistently write sentences whose subject/topics name a few central characters and then join them to strong verbs, you'll likely get the rest of the sentence right, and in the process create a passage that seems both cohesive and coherent. We prefer sentences that begin simply then moves toward complexity. Essentially, readers want to read sentences in which the writer uses the end of their sentences to help them manage long, complex phrases and new information with unfamiliar terms. How you stress particular parts of the sentence also help create the whole picture. A writer can manipulate a sentence to emphasize particular words that they want their readers to hear stressed and thereby note as particularly significant. In revision steps it is also important to trim the end, shift peripheral ideas to the left, shift new information to the right, and avoid passive voice. A writer can help their readers identify those concepts in two ways: repeat them as topics of sentences, usually as subjects, and repeat them as themes elsewhere in a passave in nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Readers are more likely to notice those themes if you state them as the end of the sentence that introduces a passage, in its stress position.