Unique but Common

Have you ever looked back on time and wonder where it could have possibly gone? As Christmas and New Years I find myself staring at the Christmas lights pondering where time has gone. So much has happened over the past year, and I have no idea how to explain it all. I am sure years down the road I will be able to look back at this time in my life and in depth explain what every important moment is truly about, but at this point in time I can’t completely wrap my head around it.

As I look back on this semester in English 203 Fluid Readers and Texts, I realize that there is one common idea that I repeatedly took away from discussions, blog posts, and the readings that we did for this class. That idea is the theory of everything having a unique identity. Continue reading “Unique but Common”

Foster’s Take on Original Literature

Is there such thing as original literature? This question was toyed with during Thursday’s class and when I left the class I found myself thinking back to a book I read in my AP Literature class in high school, How To Read Literature Like A Professor by Thomas C Foster.

At the time I hated this book and thought it was the most boring thing ever written. When other class members said they liked the book I brushed it off as that they were just simply stupid. Who would like a book that had no point, but to make comments about other works of literature and common themes? Being of how I was a junior transitioning into a different high school, I began questioning asking if this was what this high school was like. I contemplated dropping out of AP Literature feeling like if they liked that type of books I should never hang out with them, because those books are just awful.

Well, I didn’t drop the class and looking back on the book it really was not bad. It honestly is such a helpful book with interpreting other works of literature There are simple things like the concept of a quest in a story, the importance of sharing food and it even discusses the concept of original literature. Honestly, based on several discussions in classes I should read it again and would recommend that others in this class read it to.

I wanted to share some of this books input on original literature. First of all no literature is completely unique. They all share some figure, archetype, or image. Stories grow out of other stories. If I was to tell a story then you were to wonder what happens next you could tell a story about something that could happen next. The authors are borrowing ideas from each other.

Perhaps the reason they seem to be borrowing from each other is there is actually only one story- human experience the book says. I feel this would make sense because most people agree that humans have a common ancestor. So we all must have somewhat similar experiences in a sense.

How To Read Literature Like a Professor also suggests that authors are truly skilled people, because in order to write they must try to clear their mind of all other literature to not focus on writing something completely different. If they clear their mind then although the stories might be similar they will not be as worried about being completely original.

This book is extremely interesting, and I feel I may have done it injustice in this conversation. highly recommend reading it for yourself to get your own interpretation of the things discussed about this and others.In conclusion, I agree with How To Read Literature Like A Professor no book is completely original, but when writing one must not worry about being brand new. They must instead focus on conveying the message they wish to relay to their audience. Even if that lesson has been told before because of the shared trait of simply being a human and our inherent values.

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Flowers Interpreted

One of the things I kept focusing on when reading Mrs. Dalloway was flowers. The first mention of flowers is in the first sentence. “Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself” (3). As we discussed in class this sentence is open to interpretation, but from the very beginning I started noticing mentions of flowers. In fact there are thirty-three mentions of flowers in the book! That is a lot!

There are several characters that flowers Clarissa Dalloway, Moll Pratt, Aunt Helena,  Richard Dalloway, and I mean there is a character named Daisy. So flowers are mentioned a lot in the book, and relate to several characters. I want to focus on flowers meaning for Richard and Clarissa Dalloway.

Traditionally flowers are a traditional symbol of love and femininity. Richard goes and buys Clarissa roses when he wants to say he loves her. To him flowers are his way of showing love. Yet for Clarissa flowers also represent the joy and beauty in everyday life. Clarissa loves looking out the window and seeing the flowers. She takes pleasure seeing all of nature. “Looking at the flowers, at the trees with the smoke winding… (3)”, she just enjoys seeing nature.

So when Richard gives Clarissa the roses, although he is too nervous to say that he loves her he feels that she understands that the roses symbol his love for her. Clarissa thinks that, “he stood for a moment as if he were about to say something; and she wondered what? Why? They were roses. (181)”. I do not think Clarissa understands that for him the roses symbol that he loves her, because to her they also represent beauty.

Clarissa hosting a party misinterprets Richard’s love gesture as a kind gesture to help beautify her party. Richard does not say he loves her so therefore Clarissa does not know, because she views flowers as more than just a symbol for love.

I find it so interesting when different people have different meanings for things. It happens all the time. People misinterpret what other people mean when they say things all the time, so therefore it only makes sense that Clarissa can not understand what Richard means by the flowers. Language both spoken and implied can be so difficult to understand because of how easily interpretations vary. This is part of the reason it is so interesting to me to try and understand.

Omniscient Narrator

As you know in English class we are reading Mrs. Dalloway. When we were discussing it in class we talked about how Mrs. Dalloway has a unique point of view where we get the perspective of multiple different characters in one book. Being completely honest, I got very confused at multiple points throughout the book because of this unique point of view.

Upon further consideration though, I decided to write a blog post on point of view. Each author chooses their point of view for a reason, and I wanted to research more about third person omniscient narrators (this is the point of view that Mrs. Dalloway has).

I found an interesting article on the three main points of view. The three main points of view are first person singular, third person limited, and third person omniscient. This article gives a great description of all three points of view, but for this blog post I am just going to focus on the third person omniscient point of view.

Third person omniscient point of view has an all-knowing narrator. “You have the storytelling powers of a god. You’re able to go anywhere and dip into anyone’s consciousness.” When you think about novels that these narrators are found in they tend to have a large cast of characters. I think that having a lot of characters makes it useful for a third person omniscient narrator. If you have an all knowing narrator you are able to know what is going on inside other people’s thoughts for the entire novel instead of focusing on one character.

I am surprised that this article says this is one of the most common types of point of view because I cannot recall reading a novel with this point of view until I read Mrs. Dalloway. I have read books that switch narrators, but this is such an interesting concept of knowing everything about all people all the time. Hearing it described as godlike in the article I found made me think about how godlike it is. I believe in a god that know everything about everyone just like an author ought to know everything about his work. This omniscient point of view is confusing to me because it is something I am unused to, and not something as a human I am able to do. I am not able to know everything about everyone, but when we consider the narrator as a godlike figure it makes since for the narrator to know everything about everyone.

Reading Mrs. Dalloway made me very curious about this third person omniscient point of view. An outsider that looks in and knows everything would have to be some sort of a god figure, and this is fascinating to think about. I hope to someday read more books with this point of view to learn more about this omniscient view.

Losing your Identity

In anthropology we were discussing how when people move to a different country they  eventually assimilate into the country. This process may take several generations but it will happen as time goes on. As we were talking in class, my anthropology professor commented on something that I found interesting. He said, “When people assimilate they lose a part of their identity”.

In light of this idea of losing your identity it made me think back to our English class and how we talked about what is our identity. I started questioning what defines our identity. Is our identity more than just how we feel?

I have pondered this question since Monday trying to figure out how to put my answer in words, and this is what I have come up with through thinking about my anthropology discussion and our English discussion.

Yes, our identity is more than just how we feel. Our identity is composed of at least these three things: who we are, where we come from, and our future goals. Allow me to illustrate these things with my example.

Who we are: My name is Alexandra Welker. I am eighteen years old. I am a college freshman at SUNY Geneseo majoring in elementary and special education. I graduated high school from Lima Christian School, and I have five younger brothers.

This is in fact the quickest way to define me.  If we were playing an icebreaker game this would be how I would introduce myself. Yes, it is who I am, but it doesn’t explain more than the basic things about me. I am simply stating facts. If I were to introduce myself to you this way you know of me, but I would not say you know me.

Where we come from: I live in Greece, New York, and attend Webster Bible Church. I was very involved in that church right up until I went to college. I constantly volunteered in the kids church (even when it wasn’t a Sunday), and I lead a small group of high school girls Bible study. I went to Webster Christian School until it closed. Then in my junior year I transferred to Lima Christian School where I graduated from. I played piano and sang when I was younger. I really enjoy acting and have been an actor in three school plays as well as a bunch of elementary school skits.

When I say where I come from I don’t just mean the basic “Oh I lived in Greece”. Though that is a part it goes further than that. When I am telling someone where I come from I tell them about some likes I have and important things that have shaped me. This is a part of my identity that is more complicated than my name. It is a part that will change throughout my life as I continue to grow older and have things change in my life.

My future goals: I am going to be an elementary teacher. I have wanted to be a teacher since I was young and can’t wait for that to happen. Due to the fact that I took several AP and dual enrollment courses I hope to possibly graduate college a semester early. I hope to work at Camp Bay View again this summer. As I am here at college I want to become actively involved in a church here and hope to remain involved in a church all my life.

Some people might not consider future goals as part of their identity, but I do if I didn’t have future goals where would my life be. I am not just a name, I am a unique individual with my own identity. My future goals help show that I am unique and not the same as everyone else

When you assimilate into a culture, as I learned about in anthropology you become just like everyone else. Although a part of you will always be different because of your history. You lose a part of your identity by following another people groups customs instead of your own, yet you gain a different part of your identity.  When you look at where you come from to where you are you gain more future goals because you have seen the challenges that came from entering a new country. That my friends could be worth why your identity is changing.

Can a Child Know Their Identity?

Singer. Piano Player. Princess. Ice Skater. Basketball Star. Missionary. Elementary Teacher. These are all jobs that throughout my life I have at some point wanted to have. Growing up, I have questioned what I want to do with my life several times, and looking back I realize some things were not ideal (especially when you are a mediocre piano player, ice skater and terrible at basketball). This quest for what I want to do with my life was a part of me growing up and discovering my identity. The passage I chose for my blog post  is from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  It raises the question of whether a child can know his or her identity.


To give you some context for the passage I chose, Alice has just been awoken from her dream of Wonderland by her older sister. Realizing Wonderland was all a dream, she recounts her remarkable experience to her sister, and then Alice runs off. This leaves Alice’s sister thinking of the magic of Wonderland, and the wonder of dreams. The difference between Alice’s and her sister’s ideas of Wonderland was Alice’s sister knew that none of it was real when she was told the adventure.


The passage says: “Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood: and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago: and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days.”


This passage is the last sentence in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, yet it shows a view of Alice’s “identity shattering journey”  that is completely different from the rest of the book. When Alice tells her sister the dream, Alice thinks it is confounding, confusing and yet something incredible. Alice’s sister’s response is completely different though. Alice’s sister finds Alice’s dream as a strange tale from a simple child’s perspective. In this one sentence, Alice’s whole quest to discover her identity is completely undermined. Her sister imagines Alice growing up and just mystifying others with stories from her childhood. This diminishes Alice’s search for identity by making it sound like her thoughts were just simply crazy random thoughts that have no real meaning. At some point you have to grow up and then you will figure out your identity.


The question of can a child figure out their identity, has a suggested answer in this passage. No. The child cannot come to full  terms with their identity because they are still growing up to be the person they are meant to be and until they grow up they can not know what their identity truly is, and even then in my personal experience it can constantly change. As your life progresses you are constantly discovering more about you. So therefore Carol suggests in this sentence, you cannot understand your identity fully as a child. 

Although the last sentence of a book  is often overlooked if you spend time looking at it you can walk away with a different perspective from the book. This is why I chose this passage. It is important to take the time to read every part of the book including the last sentence.

When Their “They Say…” Becomes Your “I Say”

Often in English when I think of the concept “they say… I say…” I think of a debate. There are two opposing sides, and although words might be similar the sides never seem to agree fully. I went to the event “All College Hour Speaker Series:  David Herd and Anna Pincus, Refugee Tales, “Art, Activism and Ending Detention”” for my anthropology class and listening to David and Anna speak lead me to think about a different type of “they say… I say…” that I often overlook.

David and Anna are a part of the charity known as Refugee Tales. They go and visit refugees in the United Kingdom. While they are visiting the refugees tell them their own story. Although the stories are often relayed to other listeners as an anonymous tale, these stories humble the listener and the refugee feels grateful and relieved that someone took the time to listen to their story.

The charity Refugee Tales does more than just listen to the refugee stories. They share them. They host walks like other charities; however, unlike other charities they don’t walk to take a stand or show support, they walk in solitude. The stories of these refugees are shared by the charity workers, yet they don’t do it in a way that tries to promote the charities voice or how amazing they are. They share these stories in a way that makes the listener hear the refugee’s voice. The goal of Refugee Tales  in “they say… I say…” terms is that the they say matches the I say exactly so what is said is simply the refugee’s story and not the charity’s story. They walk and share stories based on the idea set forth in Canterbury Tales.

So often I find myself wanting to argue when I think of the idea of “they say… I say…” yet this charity focuses on letting the “I say” of the speaker match as closely as possible the “I say” of the refugee. This idea made me think greatly about how sometimes your “they say…” and your “I say…” CAN agree. Sometimes your “I say…” simply expands on what “they say…”. It is by no means an argument

Although when we share another person’s story we don’t always think of it as what “I say” is sharing the story “they say”, that is precisely what we are doing. Whether we do it as part of a charity or just in conversation. When we share another person’s story we are making our “I say” what “they say”. This is important remember as we consider how many authors and speakers can have the same views. Our “I say” can match what “they say”.

Pride Found in Freedom

I’m going to be completely honest. There were several times when reading Walden that I was completely lost. I did not understand what was happening, then I would come to class and everyone would have gotten so much out of the reading. So when it came time to write this post I really struggled. I decided to look through my notes once more and find a time that I switched from reading to theorizing and how that affected my reading for the rest of the time. As I read through my notes there was one common trend that I kept jotting down. That trend was Thoreau’s pride in his freedom.

The passage that I felt pushed me to theorizing the most was in “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” paragraphs eight through twelve. Paragraph eight it describes Thoreau building his own cabin. He feels it is his creation. He is very proud of it and feels it is worthy of a god to spend the night in. When I read this passage, I thought about the Christian God and his creation of the world. God took pride in his creation. I know not everyone agrees with this, but the view that Thoreau is expressing is one of pride just like God shows in the creation story. It is something of his own that Thoreau feels is perfect, just like God said the world was perfect.

In paragraph nine Thoreau discusses his previous home. He explains that his previous home was “suggestive somewhat as a picture in outlines”. This gives the imagery of an artist still working on his masterpiece. Comparing this to his house in the woods where he says how it was fit for a god shows that he feels his new home is perfect and complete. Finally, in paragraph twelve Thoreau talks about the pasture being enough for his imagination. He enjoys his freedom in the woods immensely. Due to this sense of freedom he feels that “There are none happy in the world but beings who enjoy freely a vast horizon”.

Thoreau’s pride in his home made me theorize about how we should take pride in the things we do. If we do not feel pride then we will easily become discouraged and question the worth of anything we do. If we simply show some pride in things we accomplished then we will be happier and feel our life have more purpose. When we do things on our own we feel free. We are not a trapped bird, but a free bird flying even if we never leave our little home.

Although my blog post may not be like others I take pride in it. I learned that we should be proud of the things we do on our own and the freedom it brings. Living at college is a transition, and to be honest some days I feel homesick and wonder why I am here. Then I think about where I was before college in my life and where I am now . Looking at this I realize how proud I am of the choices that I have made in my new found freedom.