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Karl Marx Blog Assignment

The theoretical perspective of Karl Marx’s idea has made him one of the most influential people in this world. He always believed the idea of making a change and having a ‘self-correcting’, yet ‘progressive’ attitude in how the world revolves politically, economically and socially. We all know that from Karl Marx’s political views, many governments did not like the fact that he was against their authority while feeling intimidated by his wisdom. In his writing of the Communist Manifesto, he believes that capitalism is one of the modes of production that would work but would undergo its process of both positive and negative effects.

                Karl Marx would prove his point with the article of “Super Pacs”  where wealthy people such as Harold Simmons shows an unfair balance of power and wealth being distributed in this world. The fact that Simmons is a wealthy individual, this gives him the clear authority and power to have things done his way because of the disparity in distributing the wealth. Simmons’ help of massive contributions in presidential races and campaigns describes the term what Marx call Bourgeoisie, where the wealthy have power over the Proletarians (the workers). Karl Marx would argue that this far gap of the wealthy and the workers is a great comparison to what he labeled as the Bourgeoisie and the Proletarians. This can be compared to the structure of the society in how capitalism will take control and present the disparity of the distribution of wealth.

                Adding on to Karl Marx’s theoretical perspective, the article of “Labor Group: Apple has comparatively decent record in China, but could do more” will lead Karl Marx having many great things to say. First, he never liked the Industrial Revolution to begin with. He knew that the working conditions and the long hours with a low pay leads to the exploitation of the workers. In this article, this situation is the prime example of  exploitation because the factories of China are producing  thousands of Apple products every day from Ipads, Macs and Iphones. In order to maximize their profits, they pay low wages and continue to add surplus value into their products. This article shows that the “poor working conditions, labor law violations and widespread environmental contamination” is compared to similarly to the sweatshops New York’s Chinatown (Kivisto 19). Although the working conditions are horrible, people are working in sweatshops to earn some income. Under these horrible conditions, Karl Marx would constitute these conditions and labor law violations to what he calls as the ‘alienation of the labour’. He is definitely against this type of business manufacturing but many people can see why the world revolves around this type of business. Although this is what people call Americans’ consumer culture, China as an economy is benefiting from this situation.

Urban Landscape video

Last blog/comment- “Walking” by Henry David Thoreau

In the passage “Walking” by Henry David Thoreau, wilderness and civilization is two main themes that are brought up to his attention. He speaks for wilderness and the old world as an effort on preservation of nature. It is important to take Henry Thoreau’s criticism of society seriously and not take it for granted. Human’s role in nature has been criticized for its lack of efforts in trying to preserve nature. Every aspect in human culture in this era revolves around the modernized use of technology due to the significant changes in this industrialized world.

Thoreau is coming from the perspective of supporting the old world; nature. After the Revolutionary war, America has become the new world where industrial changes had great affect in its futures’ building and planning. “I am a good horse to travel, but not from choice a roadster. The landscape-painter uses the figures of men to mark a road. He would not make that use of my figure” (Thoreau 265). This quote I found most interesting by Thoreau because it portray his views as a profound philosopher and a real naturalist. The quote explains that he is constantly escaping civilization. Although the landscape painter designed this path for society, Thoreau has his own views and opinions that differ from the mainstream. Heading into a world of modernization, it seems to be difficult to disagree because as a society, we are advancing and becoming more knowledgeable as a unit. Thoreau is trying to say that it is the best ideal for society. We are living in a world today where America does offer us to live differently and think differently but we as humans are becoming more dependent, relying on the new world’s lifestyle of not learning how to do things manually. Living in the old world allows us to experience the life of nature and appreciate the gratitude of nature’s blessings. The Amish are a great example of a community where they believe that their reluctance to adopt the new world’s lifestyle. It proves that they cherish nature’s blessing and believes that it is only right to preserve the world.

The Search for Marvin Gardens by John McPhee

This story unfolds with a narrator playing the game of Monopoly. While playing, he talks about the physical parts of Atlantic City. Certain places with cities and street names that may sound familiar in the the game of Monopoly is derived off from certain areas across America. After reading this story, I just noticed I was never curious about where the names came from while playing Monopoly. I never bothered asking anyone how these street names came to be. However, these street names do correlate to actual places in reality.

Throughout time, places have changed significantly with a blink of an eye. Spending a sufficient amount of time within an area results in familiarity in places and knowing where one place locates. “The sidewalks of St. Charles Place have been cracked to shards by through-growing weeds. There are no buildings. Mansions, hotels once stood here” (McPhee 9) This quote is specifically describing a drastic change within time. McPhee mentions this to show that certain places no longer exist. It displays a meaning behind its history to the area.  In the story, narrator discusses how the founder of Monopoly, Charles B. Darrow went to different areas of Atlantic City. He went to different areas to see the history of how the names came to be, what it is known for, and the specific descriptions of the places that once existed.

In the story, the narrator analyzes the once well-recognized city called Atlantic City located in New Jersey. For now, he is in the search for Marvin Gardens and asked everyone if they knew where it was located. The narrator even went through the Boardwalk, Atlantic, Ventor, Illinois, and Indiana and still could not find Marvin Gardens when he realized he needed Marvin Gardens. I find this significant because the narrator is relying on Marvin Gardens.  Marvin Gardens can help him beat his powerful opponents despite his opponent owning many hotels on Virginia State and St. Charles. Marvin Gardens is a “citadel and sanctuary of the middle class” because people rely on places like this (20). The setting is more private and consists of solid buildings. This area is known for its nice houses and for its unique setting. In the end of the story, the narrator felt embarrassed and ashamed that most people that lived in Atlantic City does not know how to find Marvin Gardens. The narrator explained to himself that he enjoys where he lives and finds out that most people would die to live in areas such as Marvin Gardens.

Marvin Gardens can be compared to my neighborhood of the Upper West Side. I find this area very similar to the Upper West Side because of its private homes and its peaceful private streets. It is the citadel and sanctuary of the middle class because the middle class want to move into areas like these where it is convenient to get around. Similar to Marvin Gardens, the Upper West Side is based on its surroundings. It may not be the city’s main attraction but security is provided and it is a one of the safest areas in Manhattan.

Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin

The excerpt called Sonny’s Blues written by James Baldwin portrays the constant struggles faced by any teenager living in Harlem. The narrator in the story revealed his younger brother having difficulty in trying to escape a drug-addicting life because he was struggling as a teenager using and selling heroin. When the narrator had flashbacks of the time when before his mother died, he recalls when his mother told him to look out for his brother just like how his mother looked out for his father. “I think I may have written Sonny the very day that little Grace was buried. I was sitting in the living room in the dark, by myself, and I suddenly thought of Sonny. My trouble made his real” (Baldwin 65). This turned out to be significant because the narrator’s daughter named Grace died at a young age due to polio. As a result, the narrator was contained in his own darkness, similar to Sonny’s darkness of drug addiction. It has made him accept reality, realized that life is too short to hold grudges and should be more accepting and caring toward others such as his younger brother Sonny.

Constant struggles were emphasized when the narrator mentioned about his students in class. As a math teacher teaching his students about Algebra, he realized that any of his teenagers could be in the position to become like Sonny. “Yet it had happened and here I was, talking about algebra to a lot of boys who might, every one of them for all I knew, be popping off needles every time they went to the head. Maybe it did more for them than algebra did” (Baldwin 52). This quote shows the narrator’s perspective of the students attending middle to high school can be easily persuaded to fall into the accessible road of drugs as one of the constant struggles faced by a teenager. I agree with the narrator that teenagers are prone to street influences. Attending school educates the young minds but does not keep the children away from street influences.

In Sonny’s perspective, we learn that Sonny escapes Harlem in hopes to escape the drug influence. We can tell that Sonny is not a bad person at all. He is trying to escape the influence of drug addiction and he uses music as a way to escape reality. Although he was cutting school and did not tell his brother, he showed that music was the only thing that maintained his comfort level around his brother’s wife’s family home. Isabel tried his best to look out for Sonny’s best interest but he did not have any interest in school. His music was his life and it gave him a goal to strive for. It caught my attention when the narrator actually had a chance to see his brother perform live and play in front of other people, being the star he wants to be. It showed a sense of love between the brothers when the narrator ordered some drinks to the band stand and Sonny sipped his drink after turning his head toward the narrator showing his acceptance of appreciation.

Tuan’s Time in Experiential Space & Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Post Seven 

     The chapter called “Time in Experiential Space” of Tuan’s “Space and Place” explains how people relate time with space. In everything humans do, they use their ideas of “movement, effort, freedom, goal and accessibility” as a way to define their life experiences of daily living (Tuan 118). The story of Ernest Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” represents Tuan’s use of space, “as the sphere of freedom from physical constraint and time as duration” providing this concept of understanding how space and time intertwines with each other (118). It takes time to serve a purpose or develop to a goal within a space. People often procrastinate and do not use their time productively, but when one knows that when they are running out of time, one tends to use their time effectively. The main character in “The Snows of Hilimanjaro” was a great example of how one learns a lot about himself as time ticks down.

     The main character named Harry proved Tuan’s use of time within space. Harry’s perspective of time signifies to be very symbolic in this story. Throughout the story, he had little faith in their situation being stuck on a safari in Africa because he thought he was going to die. His confrontation to death made him reflect on his life. He keeps talking about her relationship with Helen, his wife, questioning and confused about his love to her. As they are stranded with loose/free time, Helen showed that she cares for him and only wanted to comfort him. Harry on the other hand, seemed to be bothered by her presence and wanted to be alone away from her. The significance of this event proved that since Harry is thinking that he is going to die, as “time winds down”, he is reflecting on his life experiences and to sum it up, he regrets being with Helen.

     Throughout the story, there are flashbacks of Harry’s life moments or scenes that are important in the past. It proved to be critical because while reflecting on his past experiences, he thought that as a writer, he was a failed artist. He showed that he has another reason of regret.  As a writer, he knew he should have written his life experiences down on paper. His frustration in thinking about his past led to his anger and attitude aimed directly toward to his wife. As they are waiting for a plane to arrive for their rescue, it gave a sense of hope as her wife tried to cheer him up from his frustrations.

     Time in experiential space is significant in everybody’s lives. Very much like Harry, the manifesting or subjective reality seemed to affect Harry mentally. Harry, knowing the fact that there might be no future, he still looks back and feels that what ‘lies in the realm of expectancy and of desire’ (Tuan 120) he felt he did not reach up to his full potential. He reflected on his life, making him realize that he regret being with a wealthy woman that he took for granted as a way out for an easy living life. He’d rather be that writer he always wanted to be and to love someone he actually loved, not to be with someone who is financially set for life and lose all the things he ever wanted to be. People tend to take life for granted, but when they know they might not live anymore, that is when one thinks critically and effectively.

The Fall of the House of Usher

Post Six    

     Many of us who are exposed to a typical story written by Edgar Allen Poe know his style of writing. A short story that portrays his style of writing is “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe. Known for his dark and horror-type writing, this story started off with an unnamed narrator who went to the home of his childhood friend named Roderick Usher. The unnamed narrator decided to visit Roderick because he found out his friend was sick from a letter that he sent. As soon as he arrived, he noticed the scenery of the house of Usher. “I looked upon the scene before me –upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain –upon the bleak walls –upon the vacant eye-like windows –upon a few rank sedges–and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees” This description stated by Poe says a lot about his writing. His writing is very descriptive and well detailed, in a way that many of us, as readers admire. The scenery is influential to the readers because we sense the mood and tone of the story as a soon to be, horrific and a tragic story waiting to happen.  

     As the narrator went inside, he noticed the pale and apparent signs of sickness from Roderick. He decided to stay with Roderick and keep him company. The narrator showed that he really cared about Roderick and his sister, Madeline. He comforted Roderick while he was playing his guitar, and it represented the hopes of curing Roderick back to health. When Roderick’s sister died, the narrator even buried the sister and provided emotional support for Roderick. Roderick then after a rough night woke the narrator up, told him he was hearing sounds, and that his sister was buried alive. Madeline eventually attacked and killed Roderick. The narrator ran away due to fear, as the house of Usher slowly deteriorated, crumbling to the ground. This House of Usher turned to be very significant symbol throughout the whole story.

     In class, we have discussed that the House of Usher has been represented as a Haunted House. A haunted house where the Usher family lived all along has haunted the whole entire family members. The house where it did not let in light and has kept the family of Usher isolated from the rest of the world. It is important to see how the Usher family’s relationship to the house is clearly connected. The dark House of Usher can be correspondent to the family’s personality. The family seems hopeless and feared change; which led them to live the same lifestyle in an isolated haunted house, unraveling the path to their deaths.

The Lottery

    Blog 5- The Lottery

                In Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery”, a tradition was introduced when all the people in the small town village gathered and participate in which seems to be a popular event. At first, the tradition known as the “lottery” seemed to be like any lottery. Like most readers assumed, it was an event where people take a risk in hope to gain something from it. But as the story unveiled itself, the black box was introduced as the fate of the people in the village. It symbolizes the fear of change without going against authority or even challenging why it has even been this way. This so called tradition that has been continuously going on seems to be affecting people internally. The youth was the epitome of the whole village who did not understand what was going on, what purpose was served, and if it was morally right to pile up stones to hurt the selected individual picked in the Lottery.

                Billy and Davy Hutchinson showed significant representation of the people in the village. Tessie Hutchinson, who was the wife of Billy, was the one holding the paper with a black dot, signifying she was the selected one in the Lottery. The fact that Billy threw stones at his own wife represented the people in this village. It demonstrated they were naïve, reckless, and showed no remorse to their own people in their own village. Billy and Davy show that they are corrupted by society and have no particular emotions toward their own family member. As innocent as Davy is, he represent the youth that clearly was brainwashed by this society.

                Stories like these create a curious mindset. At first, when I read this short story, it really did not make much sense. I reread it and understanding the chaos in a particular village such as this one made me realize how corrupt people can be at times. In one of my classes, I have read an article called “The Mountain People” by Colin M. Turnbull that shows the exactly correlation in terms of how individuals interact with one another. Turnbull was one a Anthropologist explained the tribe called IK and their standard of living. The people in the village were scrutinized heavily by Turnbull and raised many questions. Were these people savages, or that is their way of living? Can we blame the IK for living this way, to care only for themselves and to purposely not rescue an individual who is dying just to save a pint of water? Very much like this short story, The Lottery, we have to understand the perspective of the youth. But although they were raised this way, the question is did they have a choice?

Blind Man’s Ability to Envision and Create- March 09th, 2011

     In the short story of Cathedral by Raymond Carver, the relationship of a wife’s husband and a blind man named Robert says a lot about someone who overlooks another because of a disability or what seems to be a disadvantage. The husband did hear a lot about the blind man before because of his wife, but never have he met him or anyone who was blind before. His wife and the blind man had a lot of history with work and due to the blind man’s wife’s death; she wanted him to sleep over at their house for company. His first time interacting with a blind man has made Robert very observant. He was curious, wondering how he did things and if it is even possible for someone without vision to be able to do things the way he does it.

     The blind man was able to ‘wow’ Robert despite not having vision. The blind man’s disability of not being able to see tricked the husband because he assumed that he was not able to do much or lacked skills to do anything. One example that proved Robert skeptical and made him change his thoughts about the blind man was the TV. Based on experience, the blind man was acknowledged with the difference of a color set television and a ‘black and-white thing’ (98). The blind man was not hesitant and quickly responded that he knew the TV the husband had was a color set. The experience of a blind man proved to be much more interesting and intriguing to learn from. In chapter six of “Spatial Ability, Knowledge and Place” of Space and Place, Tuan mentions “the mind learns to grapple with spatial relations long after the body has mastered them in experience” (Tuan 67). This quote very much relates to the blind man. The blind man use to have two different TVs at home, and knows the difference based on experience.

     In another occasion, the blind man proved the husband wrong again about how far his abilities can take him. His ability to not see only made the blind man’s other senses much stronger. The husband was asked to draw a cathedral with him and it was an inspiring experience. The blind man made him realize two things. One thing is when the husband closed his eye, he felt like “nothing else in” his “life up to now” (Carver 102). He was amazed, not because of his effort, but internally and mentally he felt that it was a whole different new experience for him. The second thing was that such as the husband, us as readers can much relate. It made the readers such as I think that that blind people are not blind. We are the ones who are blinded by our ignorance. We assume that we are much ‘skilled’ than those who cannot see. It only makes them stronger as individuals. Referring to another example is when he had dinner. His experience of being able to master his plate of food, having spatial ability and using his space shows a lot in a person who is blind. It shows determination and wisdom. His ability to eat, knowing where the pieces of meats are and being able to use his space showed a blind man who is not blind. He is just different.

Final Draft- The Trapping Walls

     In the short story called “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the narrator seems to be an unhappy woman living in a temporary house, trapped with barriers that would limit her abilities to be free. Being a trapped woman with a nervous depression disorder, she is heavily scrutinized and looked down upon by her loved ones. Throughout the story, the narrator shows that psychologically, she is repeatedly bothered with every little thing that surrounds her. In her view, the negative aspect such as the feeling of being trapped by every inch of wallpaper around her signifies the importance of adjusting to the lack of physical space. In Yi-Fu Tuan’s Space and Place, Tuan’s explanation of experiential perspective and connotation of distance perfectly represents the narrator’s experience and lack of space in The Yellow Wallpaper. The ideas of distance, experiential perspective, space and place are supported by both texts to demonstrate how significant these aspects influence the character’s mind and her actions. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the concept of space and place proved to be influential to the narrator’s drastic change in development of character; which led to perseverance of finding her own identity and freeing herself within the trapping wallpapers.   

     The narrator’s perseverance and drive of motivation was based on the narrator’s own experiential perspective. The term experiential perspective means derived off of a person’s experience, emotions and underwent burden based on the person’s experience and feelings. Then a person’s mind is set with the intention to create a reality or a destination where he/she awaits to live for. Similarly, the narrator in the Yellow Wallpaper underwent a mental sense of agony. The narrator was told that she was ‘forbidden’ to do anything relating to ‘work’ (Gilman 437). This mental stress gave her a low self-esteem to begin with, where she would think a lot and have to spend time resting in her room alone. She knew that with her disorder, she would have to live with rules and be looked at differently by others. This would only add on to the negative and anxious feeling that she already felt about her new environment and her own personal space.

     Throughout the passage in the Yellow Wallpaper, space is valued implicitly in the story. According to Tuan, “Freedom implies space; it means having the power and enough room in which to act” which the narrator in the Yellow Wallpaper lacks (Tuan 52). She is not given the space to be able to ‘act’. She does not have the freedom, power, and most importantly, not given a chance to prove herself that she is able to do things despite having a nervous depression. The relation of Tuan’s explanation of space connects to the narrator’s situation being stuck in her room. It gives a clear understanding of the narrator lacking space and how it challenges the narrator’s ability to function within the space. 

     Distance is displayed as a factor in relevance to space. It is explained that within the room, distance was a ‘degree of accessibility’ (Tuan 46). The narrator lacks that sense of accessibility, where she is not able to obtain or attain anything outside of her boundary. Within the boundary she is given, the narrator has to consciously deal with the wallpaper that would deliberately test her mentally. In a way, lack of distance judge her view of John. She felt that he would always pamper her and make decisions for her without her opinion. For what seems to be the best interest for her, she is obligated to listen to him because he is her husband and a very educated physician. John told the narrator that she is only allowed to be in this particular room in which she was assigned to when he is not there. She is restrained from going anywhere or doing anything. The narrator feels that in a sense, the lack of freedom and space made her feel powerless and having no rights to her own life.

     The ample amount of time being alone and the lack of space in her bedroom impelled the narrator to observe the littlest thing surrounding her. She noticed this “sprawling, flamboyant pattern” wallpaper that bothered her every time she looks at it (Gilman 438). This wallpaper continuously distracted her. She found herself being distantly too close to the wallpaper. She made the distinction that on the outside pattern of the wallpaper, ‘the dim shapes get clearer every day” (Gilman 441). Although she is being paranoid about the wallpaper, at one point, she feels lucky that John wants her to be in the room. We can sense a change of character of the narrator because she views the space in a positive and different way. She realizes that she should keep this secret to herself only. Even without the physical space and distance, the narrator creatively thought there is nothing she can do about the wallpaper but to creatively envisions the dramatic effects of the wallpaper. She envisions “a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. I don’t like it a bit. I wonder- I begin to think- I wish John would take me away from here!” (Gilman 441). This quote is significant because after spending numerous moments thinking about the wallpaper, the narrator realized that with her remaining days there in her bedroom, it seems that she turned the negative situation into a positive one. The wallpaper that would always come into her mind as a unpleasant view, turned into a curious adventure in finding who the creeping woman behind the wall is.  

     With the last day left, the narrator noticed that at the night time, the woman shook the wallpaper again. “In the very bright spots she keeps still, and in the very shady spots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard” (Gilman 444). This vividly clear image describes the narrator herself. In the daytime, she ‘keeps still’ and does not show anger and any type of vicious movements during the day. On the other side, the ‘shady spots’ is where the woman trapped inside the wallpaper reacts by shaking the bars hard. The trapped woman epitomizes herself. At night time, the narrator is always talking about the yellow wallpaper and how it bothers her. She feels as if the wallpapers around her are trapping her; in relation to the actual woman holding and shaking the bars. 

     The narrator needed to help the trapped woman behind the wallpapers because she felt that if she should set her free, she would be freeing herself behind the yellow wallpapers. The narrator felt a sense of being contained because she feels trapped within the space given to her. Based on this experience, it has led the narrator to take a risk that would allow her to be confident with her decisions. She wanted to prove that she should not be limited to her abilities. Tuan mentions how the experience of a person’s life can lead to a different path “which a person knows and constructs a reality” in how they want their life to be (Tuan 8). The narrator wants to be able to explore, go beyond her limits and show that the distance of happiness comes from how far her abilities allow her to go, not from what she is restricted. 

     Although distance and space has its own pros and cons, the narrator wanted to distant herself away from the others as far as possible because all she wants is time for herself to be alone. Having the type of space or distance away from others including her husband, she would have the opportunity to be alone. She is able to prove that she can think for herself and show that there is nothing wrong with her mentally and physically. This is where literal space gives the protagonist a sense of spaciousness. By discovering the hidden women inside the wallpaper, she made the distinctive connection that the trapped women inside the wallpaper was her. She found herself trapped, gasping for air as she would later on rip off all the wallpaper, without telling anybody what she is doing.

     Throughout different events, there are different signs that show gradual change of the narrator’s character. The narrator in the Yellow Wallpaper becomes optimistic. Knowing that John prevent her in doing certain things because of her severe nervous depression, she feels that she has the ability to prove John wrong despite the fact that he disagrees. For example, she knows that she appreciates John’s help and that he had control over her for her own benefit, but she knew she needed to live differently. She feels unhappy and enclosed by the ones she loves. She retaliates by exploring the walls of her room and using his own words against him “He says no one but myself can help me out of it, that I must use my will and self-control” (Gilman 441). The narrator in a way started to rebel against her own husband, by keeping her thoughts to herself and not trusting others easily. She knew there was something up with the yellow wallpapers and she planned to find out by herself. This would show that with “congenial work, with excitement and change”, it would do her good and free herself from the trapped walls. (Gilman 437)  

     Upon the space and situation she is given, the narrator evolves throughout her experience. At first, she did not like the presence of the yellow wallpaper, but she adjusted to it. She was quite fond of it and decided to explore the matter a little deeper. She showed development in how she interacts with herself and others physically and mentally. Although the narrator wanted to distant herself away from others, she found a way to express herself, in a way that she is able to relieve her stress and things inside her mind. Even with the lack of space, she is able to prove that she has a mind of her own and have the ability to free herself with all the yellow wallpaper surrounding her.

                                                                           Works Cited

Kennedy, X. J., and Dana Gioia. An Introduction to Fiction. 11th ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2007. Print.

Tuan, Yi-fu. Space and Place: the Perspective of Experience. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1977. Print.

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