Before the semester started and we were introduced to the Fluid Reader and Text class, there were many things that I was not aware of. You may ask yourself what this class has been all about, and I emphasize the word about because of one of the lectures that we had talked about during class. We had reflected on this topic and on the notion of dreaming in relationship to the stories of the Alice books. We gathered information that stated that “a story is about something, we might either be giving an account of what happens in it or offering an interpretation of its meaning.” We also looked into the etymology of the word “about” that suggested that “to use this word in talking about a story is to think of the story as somehow circling around the events or meanings at its core. A story has a kind of narrative through-line that its incidents, in all their detail, cluster around and elaborate.” Continue reading “The Finale”
While reading through the story by Lewis Carroll, Through The Looking Glass, you seem to stop and ask yourself some questions about the unusual or unordinary events that happen with Alice and her meetings with the different “unrealistic”, so to say, characters or people throughout her adventure. One key aspect that Carol emphasizes in both of the readings we have read of his for class, is the notion of Identity.
Focusing on the passage where Alice comes in contact with Humpty Dumpty, in the chapter named “Humpty Dumpty”, she seems to really question who she is and certainly why she is who she is. In the beginning of the chapter she realized the identity of the egg shaped object that was before her, she says: “‘the egg only got larger and larger, and more and more human: when she had come within a few yards of it, she saw that it had eyes and a nose and mouth; and when she had come close to it, she saw clearly that it was HUMPTY DUMPTY himself. ‘It can’t be anybody else!’ she said to herself. ‘I’m as certain of it, as if his name were written all over his face.'” Predicting that Alice already had a good idea of what Humpty Dumpty looked like and concluding that Alice may have read and known the identity of him previous to there encounter, she was able to identify him quickly when seeing his face.
Alice questions why Humpty sits alone on this wall and why no one is there to accompany him. Humpty Dumpty expalins to her that it is because there is no one there with him and then continues to ask her “Did you think I didn’t know the answer to that?” Humpty Dumpty is trying to explain to Alice that he knows who he is and what he is put there to do, sit with his identity being portrayed.
By the middle of the chapter, Alice starts to question her own identity. When Humpty Dumpty explains that the reason why he has his name is because a name has to have meaning. Humpty Dumpty does not think that Alice’s identity is being portrayed very well and then Alice kind of loses that sense of knowing who she is. Because her name does not have a meaning to it she may think to herself “if my name does not have a meaning then really who am I?”
‘My name is Alice, but—’
‘It’s a stupid enough name!’ Humpty Dumpty interrupted impatiently. ‘What does it mean?’
‘Must a name mean something?’ Alice asked doubtfully.
‘Of course it must,’ Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh: ‘my name means the shape I am—and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost.
In the sense of Identity, it can really make you stop and think to yourself, “what was I put here to do and how is it I can make my identity known to others.” Carroll focuses on this term very well in both of his works we have seen, Through The Looking Glass, and Alice’s Adventure In Wonderland.
Going back all the way to the beginning of the semester, we had watched Hannah Gatsby’s Nanette that is featured on Netflix. Hannah Gatsby is an Australian comedian and has done shows many places around the world. Her performances are comic but also her Nanette performance had a little bit of a story.
While focusing on keeping her audience engages in her performance she tries to explain her difficulty of acceptance because of her sexuality. She talks about the hardships she had went through with her family and whether people in this world would still except her as the person she had become. If you may be interested in viewing Hannah Gadsby’s show I will put the link on the bottom of the blog.
Henry David Thoreau seems to also have this struggle. During his writings and the books of his that we read in class, you can predict that Thoreau has trouble accepting himself and seems to like being independent and not really care about anyones opinion or what they have to say. He decided that it would be better for him to live abroad from others at their pond named Walden. Reading the books from Thoreau you can identify by the words he uses that he is trying to find a sense of “serenity” from where his life had taken him. You can see that in Hannah Gadsby as well. She wants people to accept her and wants to find that sort of acceptance from others and a sort of “serenity”, not only with herself but also from her peers.
Identity plays a big part in both of these relationships. Hannah Gadsby’s identity may not have been what people were thinking of her and she is okay with the identity to go by and knows that no matter what her “identity” as an individual will never change, no matter what gender she prefers. Same goes for Thoreau. He knows that his identity will never change and people will always know him and the kind of person he is, no matter where he decides to reside.
Throughout the show from Hannah Gadsby, you can find yourself thinking “I can really feel for her, what she is going through with SEXUAL identity must be very difficult.” The books of Thoreau are a little different. Even though he is not struggling with a sense of sexual identity he is struggling with a sense of personal identity. He wants to find what suits him the best and what would make his life comfortable for himself and trying to find what Is best for him as an individual. Both struggle with a sense of identity but in different ways but it really makes you feel for the characters and compare it to your life as an individual as well.
In the first paragraph of Henry David Thoreau’s piece of Solitude, he explains how he is finally starting to accept himself in his new surroundings. He uses a lot of imaginative words to explain the scenery and grab the readers attention and have them focus and theorize what his life is like. Even though walden has felt this sort of “solitude”, you see him finally come together and start to feel good in his own skin. A good example of his imaginative words would be when he states “….The bullfrogs trump to usher in the night, and the note of the whippoorwill is borne on the rippling wind from over the water. Sympathy with the fluttering alder and poplar leaves almost takes away my breath; yet, like the lake, my serenity is rippled but not ruffled.” It also makes you take the time to imagine his life and the pond, and theorize what his life may be like and obstacles that he had and has overcome.
Throughout all of Thoreau’s pieces about Walden, he also explains how his life is and how he goes about his everyday life. He uses descriptive words to help you theorize his obstacles, and help better understand his situation. He tells us about all the visitors that come and go in his home, even when he is not present. In the second paragraph you can conclude that Walden is not very happy with his visitors. He explains “….One has peeled a willow wand, woven it into a ring, and dropped it on my table. I could always tell if visitors had called in my absence, either by the bended twigs or grass, or the print of their shoes, and generally of what sex or age or quality they were by some slight trace left.” Walden knows when his things and belongings have been tampered with and by the usage of language you can tell that he is not all the way surprised and ecstatic that these people have come into his home and disorganized his accouterments.
From end to end of Solitude, Thoreau justifies that Walden would rather be alone than converse with any of his visitors. Explains most likely why Walden lives in such a secluded area and away from all of his peers, family, and friends. Walden feels as though he may be superior to other people, especially the men when he states “…Sometimes, when I compare myself with other men, it seems as if I were more favored by the gods than they, beyond any deserts that I am conscious of; as if I had a warrant and surety at their hands which my fellows have not, and were especially guided and guarded…”
Through the whole of Thoreau’s pieces, you can tell that he is very focused on the idea of loneliness but by the end finds I sense of acceptance with the world and with himself. He knows and realizes that he doesn’t need anyone to confide in other than himself and feels content with his lonely life with only himself.