Flying Circles, Flying Colors

•July 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Flying Colours

Click HERE for the link to the full-sized version of the wallpaper.

Please take a look at my gallery and comment!

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On Oedipus Rex Through Frye

•July 8, 2009 • 4 Comments

Literary critic Northrop Frye stated in the “Third Essay: Archetypal Criticism,” of his book Anatomy of Criticism that tragic heroes are so much the highest points in their human landscape that they are the conductors of the power around them, much like trees in relation to grass during a lightning storm. Similar to this romantic mode of tragedy, specified in his first essay, “Historical Criticism: Theory of the Modes,” is his classification of high mimetic tragedy, in which a noble human hero’s, as opposed to the more romantic divine hero’s, death is presented. Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus Rex is an example of Frye’s high mimetic tragedy, as King Oedipus, the noble human vessel of divine wrath, brings suffering upon his citizens and those around him, adding to the deeply tragic vision of the work, and meeting his eventual demise in the succeeding Theban play Oedipus Coloneus.

Oedipus, king of Thebes was a ruler acclaimed for his compassion, candor, and swift judgment. He had won the respect of his citizens for being a benevolent leader privy to the needs of his people. In his first speech in Oedipus Rex, Oedipus expresses his consideration for the well being of Thebes’ citizens to an old priest. He exemplifies his dedication to his people by preemptively sending his brother-in-law Creon to nearby Delphi to ask for help, as Thebes had been struck by plague.

Though these actions and behaviors may seem fit for a king, in Oedipus’ sad situation, they are but impediments that paved the way for his bloody deposition. Sophocles depicts Oedipus as representing all that could be desired from a king. He twists these traits in a highly exaggerated manner, to the point of ludicrousness, heightening both the dramatic irony in the play, and the fall of Oedipus. For instance, when hearing Creon’s story of Laius’ murder, Oedipus swiftly promises to discover the murderer and punish him to the fullest extent of the law, going as far as stating that the punishment would be upheld no matter how close the villain was to himself. In this ironic convolution, Oedipus unwittingly sentences himself to the full punishment through his typical swift judgment, as he does not yet know that he himself is the murderer of Laius.

Further on, Oedipus discovers the information linking himself to the murder of Laius. When his wife Jocasta finds out, however, she implores him to stop digging for information, as she suspects where it may lead. Unheeding to her warnings, Oedipus ignores all of her warnings, continuing with an absurd and regally arrogant determination to seek the truth. Rather than face the truth that Oedipus would inevitably uncover, Jocasta takes her life by the noose to escape the shame.

Because Oedipus was at the pinnacle of the social pyramid, he was able to easily order further information about his past. Likewise, he had a sense of pride to protect the image of his birth, and a responsibility to practice truth and justice as a king. In addition, Oedipus fancies himself a god, almost dismissing the higher beings in his arrogance, fueling the divine lightening that would strike upon him. These factors born of nobility and power led him to discover his true past, and drive his wife and mother to tragically kill herself, further contributing to the ironic tragedy of the play.

Oedipus Rex begins with the citizens of Thebes with offerings to please the gods, deploring their king to take action to stop the plague devastating the land. Because of the suffering of his people, Oedipus is in a position where, as king, he has the responsibility to make things right. This responsibility to represent the well being of the citizens makes Oedipus accountable for the divine happenings to the land. Oedipus had inadvertently killed his father in the past, fulfilling the prophecy. However, Thebes had a plague as the killer of Laius was still in the country. Oedipus, being king, had a responsibility to find the killer and exile him to save the land from the plague that was caused because of his murder of Laius. The entire land was in a plague for the crime that Oedipus had committed. This forced him to uncover his past, furthering the tragedy and suffering he had to endure, as he had murdered Laius himself.

The suffering brought upon his people from the murder of his father led Oedipus to uncover the dirty secrets of his dark past, resulting in the death of his mother and wife, and his exile, dethronement, and loss of sight. Oedipus attracted the wrath of the gods despite his good intentions because of his high seat of power. The height of his power would serve only to catalyze and magnify the scope of the tragedy he would both suffer and inflict on those around him.

Frye states that tragedy in the high mimetic sense precipitates the fall of a leader, mingling the heroic with the ironic. This is intrinsic in the fall of Oedipus the King. A heroic mortal in his land, the rightly respected and revered leader falls from his own statements and promises to protect his country. His desire to help his citizens only fuels the tragedy and suffering that occurs not only to him, but also to those around him as well, maximizing the suffering and despair in the play, truly making Sophocles the master tragedian.

Hemingway v. Faulkner

•July 3, 2009 • 2 Comments

Hemingway and Faulkner are two very distinct writers, authors of American literature profound in our era. Their grammar and writing styles vary greatly through unique differences in sentence lengths and tone, differentiating their methods for spreading messages. However, their own distinct styles are brought together by their vivid, descriptive writing that has deeply affected modern literature.

Faulkner writes in an extremely descriptive manner, describing both the essential and nonessential. His choices in wording attempts to express in the most vivid detail possible, the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and senses that flow through his mind. Although his style of writing is extremely descriptive and presses a vivid image in the reader’s mind, Faulkner uses far too many words per sentence, making the reader quickly and easily tired of the composition. Soon enough, carrying the weight of reading the composition becomes a burden to the reader, as opposed to being a joy.

Hemingway, in contrast, writes in a far clearer and more concise manner, alternating between long and descriptive sentences, to short, brief, and powerful ones that show the reader the facts. This effect produces a variance to Hemingway’s composition, creating a much more hospitable environment for the reader to delve in. This is in stark contrast to Faulkner’s protracted sentence structure. However, Hemingway still achieves the high level of detail that Faulkner does, albeit in his own unique fashion. Rather than cramming each and every sentence with as much description as possible, Hemingway splits the facts and settings up into many smaller sentences that introduce the subject, which is later described by the longer sentences. This produces a much higher degree of variety, letting the reader be easily attracted to the composition, unlike Faulkner.

Another aspect of writing in which Faulkner and Hemingway differ is in the focus of the descriptions. Faulkner tends to focus a lot on the backgrounds of his settings. Rather than focusing on the subject himself, Faulkner spends most of his composition setting the stage and the settings, describing the background, setting, and tone to the utmost detail, even at the cost of character development and interaction. In contrast, Hemingway focuses a lot on character development and interaction, whilst setting the background in the beginning.

In addition, Faulkner’s style makes it extremely hard to retain a specific tone, for instance contrasting one object’s description as morbidly dark, while another just after as vividly bright. In reading certain passages, I occasionally even forgot what was occurring halfway through the first sentence (in a particular passage, over one hundred words long). In an introductory passage, he also does not explain who the character Quentin is, jumping straight to describing Miss Coldfield’s office, and explaining why it is dark. He describes wisteria vines, and the shade of Miss Coldfield’s black. In fact, the main characters, Miss Coldfield, and Quentin themselves are never described while doing their activities. The entire section is merely a description of the characters.

In all, both Faulkner and Hemingway have distinct styles of writing, neither of which is better than the other due to their unique natures. They both are extremely descriptive in their diction, but tell the story in their own unique ways.

On the Life of a Canine

•July 2, 2009 • 3 Comments

From the recommendation of a friend, I decided to write a little piece about our canine companions. A little 20 minute speed-write. My dear readers, I give you On the Life of a Canine.

Every morning I wake to a fresh start. It’s usually the same. I take a quick peek with one eye, sniffing about at my surroundings. Slowly, I open up the other, gradually raising my head to take a look around.

Everything is gray. I hear my family talk all the time about the fancy, vivid colors in life: the deep red of apples, the cool blue of the sky, the bursting yellow of sunflowers. I can’t see any of that. All I see are the shades of gray, from the dark, inky depths of black night, to the bright white of the ever-high sun.

But it doesn’t matter. I still see more.

What my family misses out on, I relish in. In the fields, I see every small wisp of grass fluttering ever so slightly in the wind. I see the insects winding through the flowers, chasing each other as they dance in the wind. I notice every detail, the subtle movements of Mother Earth as she breathes life into every living thing, every living thing expelling energy outwards, exclaiming proof of its lively existence.

I don’t need colors to see.

Slowly stretching my body, I take a deep yawn, feeling refreshed as oxygen flows into my lungs, and life surges into my body, waking it from its slumber. Right paw first, I crawl out of my soft gray blanket, tucked in a cozy corner beneath the staircase.

Padding softly into the kitchen, I raise my head slightly to take a deep breath of the wonderful concoctions my family creates in the morning. Sundays, the divine scent of warm pancakes with luscious, gooey maple syrup, to Saturdays, the succulent, crisp snaps of bacon. I don’t partake with the usual family meal, as I have my own victuals in a bowl to the side.

Oh the joy of the meal!

I can never figure out how they managed to fit such scrumptious taste into the little pellets of happiness. The divine flavors worthy of only the finest palate! In addition to the miniature delicacies, if I walk around the table enough, my family always donates a portion of their hearty food, the perfect compliment to my own tasty food.

After the morning meal, my regular routine begins to vary. While the rest of the family goes ahead doing their own things, trekking in and out of the house, stomping up and down the stairs, I normally saunter back to my corner by the staircase, indulging myself in a post-meal respite. While dozing, I hear the ruckus that invades the house during the day, as the world around awakens from its slumber

During the day, I dabble in this and that, mainly relaxing, taking care of my fur, or advancing in my strict daily stretching regimen. At any rate, I keep myself occupied until the afternoon when most of my family is usually back.Then, it’s a repetition of the morning, albeit with the sun setting instead of rising.

Life is good as a dog. I enjoy all the little things in life, from the lazy stretching in my blanket, to the satisfying of my wanting palate. The way I see it, every moment should be looked forward to, every moment appreciated. In that way I say life truly is beautiful.

The Cold War

•June 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I know I haven’t posted anything up in a while. Life has been busy. However, for some strange reason, I ended up composing a poem on the Cold War during French class the other day… Here’s a transcript of my literary brain matter splayed on the whiteboard:

Lack of order,
fear in life.
Communist rule,
caused nothing but strife.

Spy satellites,
covert planes,
took photos of
Russia’s supply trains.

McCarthy’s raids
filled people with scare.
The paranoia often became
too much to bear.

Weapons development
grew much too fast.
Mutually Assured Destruction
made sure the world could last.

Finally in the end,
the Berlin Wall fell.
It was communism’s last breath,
it rang its last bell.

L’Amour et le Mensonge

•June 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

L’Amour et le Mensonge, or The Love and the Lies, is a short film in the style of Film Noir. It is in French, and was shot in 4 hours, with an additional 4 hours of editing between 7pm and 3am. The script was written right before shooting.

L’Amour et le Mensonge represents both the fleeting character of love, and the consuming character of jealousy. Love and hate, truth and lies are cycles of relationships that often take a turn for the worse.

Rebirth

•May 9, 2009 • 3 Comments