Sunday, October 26, 2008

Emily Chiavelli
Ap Lit
Mr. Gallagher
13 October 2008
Poetry Festival Review
If you went to the Massachusetts Poetry Festival expecting to hear poor renditions of beat passages, you were only partially right. The three day long festival kicked off Friday night in the Lowell High School auditorium.
Friday night’s performance began with local poetry enthusiasts reciting passages of their choosing. With pieces ranging from Emerson to Frost, readers carefully selected their favorite poems to share with the audience. Although the generally elderly locals tended to stumble through poems, their love for the genre shown through. Inevitably, one reader performed a passage from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, which was disappointing for a few reasons. Not only was the reading forced and came off as rushed, but the man picked what is probably the most well known passage of the book (“The only people for me are the mad ones…”). Especially considering the festival’s location-Lowell, Kerouac’s hometown-the selection was an incredibly unoriginal and even clich├ęd one.
Rhina Espaillat was the first “featured” poet to speak. A native of the Dominican Republic, she clearly drew most of her inspiration from her experiences as an immigrant to the United States. Espaillet added a nice touch by reciting some of her work in Spanish as well as English. Although her poems were elegant and well constructed, the constant theme of cultural chasms quickly became tiresome. Espaillat seemed at ease on stage, however, and interacted well with the audience, which was very well received.
Regie Gibson came on second and all but stole the show. Despite his claim that “the only thing harder than writing [poetry] is getting people to sit still long enough to listen,” Gibson easily captured the audience’s attention with his soulful recitations of his original poetry. Using his booming voice to his advantage, Gibson incorporated highly thought out pacing and pauses to create a lively performance. Effectively mixing satire and profanity throughout his work, Gibson provoked laughter in nearly every member of the audience. His poems are inspired by a plethora of scenarios, from his family to his childhood to political and cultural situations, leading to a varied catalogue of work.
Nick Flynn’s persona in his book Another Bullshit Night in Suck City is wildly dissimilar from his on stage persona; an intense storyteller on paper, Flynn came off as bored throughout his monotone performance. Despite his apparent lack of enthusiasm, Flynn’s poems were interesting and creative; he chose unique points of view to convey his ideas with, such as through the eyes of bees and beekeepers. Some of his poems are gloomy and mysterious, fitting nicely with his detached personality. Flynn also admitted to borrowing liberally from musical artists and incorporating their lyrics one of his poem.
Although there were a few slight disappointments, all in all the event was well worth the $5 entrance fee.
Emily Chiavelli
AP Lit
Mr. Gallagher
12 October 2008
Metacognition: Memoir Project
Initially, I was sure I would complete either the book cover or the soundtrack for this paper; I was thankful we finally had creative alternatives to writing essays or explications.
In my art class I’ve been focusing on emulating the work of David Hockney and Jeremy Wolff by creating photo-collages. I decided that the same process might work for this assignment; only instead of using my own photographs, I would cut small pieces out of magazines to form a full (if slightly distorted) image for the new book cover.
My first attempt at this looked fabulous until I ruined it. I got stumped when it came to creating the sky, and I completely destroyed the thing in trying to fix my mistakes. On the second attempt, I faired slightly better in creating a background, although I stupidly tried to glue the background onto the mountain instead of creating the mountain on the background, which made the project look slightly lumpy and more poorly constructed.
My vision for the cover was to symbolically demonstrate the increasingly dangerous areas of Mount Everest. I started with green pieces of paper near the bottom of the mountain, to represent grass. As I created the higher areas of the mountain, I progressed upward from rocky to snowy to icy; finally, near the top of the mountain, is the vertical, technically challenging “death zone,” which I demonstrated with an image of a smooth rock. I added a lighting bolt near the top to demonstrate the oncoming of the storm that killed many of the climbers on the expedition.
Emily Chiavelli
AP Lit
Mr. Gallagher
21 September 2008
Characterization in “Red Carpet”

In Lavanya Sankaran’s short story “Red Carpet,” the author intends to convey a message about the cultural chasms between socioeconomic classes in Indian society; she touches upon the idea that underlying basic values of kindness and humanity exist even across castes. In order to do this, Sankaran fully develops two distinct characters through vivid descriptions and selective omniscience and places these two people in stark contrast with one another. One is Ms. Choudhary, the wealthy woman with modern ideals, and the other is Rangappa, the poorer man with more traditional values.
Immediately at the start of the story, Sankaran gives the reader clues into Rangappa’s background. In the first paragraph, the author reveals that Rangappa comes from “the village of Tarikere, near the hills of Chikmagalur;”(1) the word “village” has the connotation of being a remote, third world area, and “near the hills” only adds to the idea that Rangappa lives in a very rural place. The author goes on to describe another striking quality of Rangappa’s-his unquestioningly subordinate nature. He allows his name to be changed at the whim of his employer without even the slightest hint of grievance; in essence, he allows his identity to be manipulated by his superior. It is later revealed on page 1 that he his working to support his entire family and to marry his sister off. These are clearly both very traditional goals, and it proves that Rangappa does not strive for material possessions, the mark of the modern world. When Rangappa is initially shocked at Ms. Choudhary’s style of dress, (2) as he is for the remainder of the story, it is because a good portion of her skin is exposed; this upsets Rangappa because it is traditional in Indian culture for woman to be more covered up- in modern day America, for instance, it is not at all uncommon to see a woman’s bare arms and legs. Because the reader is able to see into his thoughts, it is clear that Rangappa is a very nervous man. He becomes “feverishly, anxiously concerned” (7) about his employers behavior, although it really shouldn’t concern him that much, as her actions barely affect him.
Initially, Ms. Choudhary is portrayed as the story’s antagonist. She appears to be an unfeeling, controlling boss when she changes Rangappa’s name and it’s revealed that she changed the names of all her other drivers to Raju. Ms. Choudhary also appears to be an elitist, when on page 4 she criticizes the car Rangappa picks. Her sarcasm in the same scene-with frequent exclamations like “Oh God!”- make her seem excessively rude and unconcerned with Rangappa’s feelings. Her drinking, smoking, and other bad habits promote the reader to become increasingly sympathetic toward Rangappa’s feeling that Ms. Choudhary is “immoral.”(6)
However, it is soon revealed that although Ms. Choudhary chooses to live her life as she does, she is aware of how unorthodox it is; she knows when to accept traditional values. For example, toward the end of the story when she visits Rangappa’s family, “she looked every inch the memsahib.” (9). This fact demonstrates her underlying respect for traditional values, and more specifically the wishes of Rangappa. It also comes forth later in the story that Ms. Choudhary is not nearly as corrupt as she initially seemed. Ms. Choudhary provided her workers with “good meals,” high wages, and “didn’t shout” (5) at them. Near the end of the story, Rangappa grows to accept Ms. Choudhary’s behavior; although he still deems her actions immoral, he begins to “like and respect May-dum.” (6) There is symbolism in that these facts are veiled; the author is creating a metaphor for the natural integrity and element of acceptance that is found in all mankind by allowing these two sharply contrasted individuals to have respect for one another. Despite missteps, the author argues, there is an essential good in human nature. The blatant juxtaposition between the two main characters in “Red Carpet” is a clear commentary on how India’s traditional culture and values are preserved only among the lower castes; more privileged Indian citizens have succumbed to a more American way of life.
Emily Chiavelli
AP Lit
Mr. Gallagher
8 October 2008
I chose to turn a Faulkner story into a stylistically Hemingway piece mostly because I vastly prefer Hemingway as a writer. I liked “A Rose for Emily” very much however, and I thought it would be interesting and challenging to convert because it doesn’t seem as typically “Faulkner” as some of his other pieces are.
When I did this I first aimed to cut out a lot of what I deemed to be unnecessary information and detail that Faulkner included. In doing this it allowed I was able to make the story structurally much more simplistic and use fewer complex sentences than were in the original version; I also shifted the focus of the story more toward dialogue rather than internal monologue. This, I believe, is how I conveyed Hemingway’s writing style.
I did change my story pretty significantly in accordance with the suggestions I received during the work-shopping process. One of the main flaws my group found in my piece was that the two sections of the story I attempted to recreate didn’t flow with one another. I realized when they said this that I needed to change the entire chronology of the story in order to make it more derivative of Hemingway’s writing style. Instead of using the framed perspective as Faulkner did, I reversed the order and wrote the story sequentially.
I think I could have used to put a little more effort into this assignment, truthfully. At first I was really excited about the paper, but when I sat down to write it I was having trouble coming up with ideas and all but gave up. I think while I pretty much captured Hemingway’s writing style and fulfilled the requirements for the paper, I took it especially literally and therefore it didn’t turn out to be terribly interesting.
Emily Chiavelli
AP Lit
Mr. Gallagher
5 October 2008
A Rose for William Faulkner

When Miss Emily began to see Homer Barron, the construction worker from the North, it was clear to all of the people of Jefferson that he would not marry her.
“Poor Emily,” some of the ladies gossiped.
“Even her family won’t come to her.”
“It is sort of disgraceful, what she is doing.”
“It doesn’t set a good example for the young girls.”
When Miss Emily bought arsenic from the drug store, the ladies gossiped again.
“She is going to kill herself.”
“Maybe that would be for the best.”
But Miss Emily did not kill herself, and although no one had seen Homer Barron in a while, Miss Emily ordered men’s clothing and a men’s toiletry set.
“Maybe they’ll be married.”
“He must have left town to give her time to prepare for the wedding.”
Several years later, the whole town of Jefferson went to the funeral when Miss Emily Grierson died. The men went out of reverence. The women went in order to get a glimpse at the inside of Miss Emily’s house, which no one had seen for as long as they’d seen Homer Barron.
Her house was white and very large, and set on what used to be the most prestigious street in Jefferson. The street was now simply cluttered with dumpsters and gas pumps, save Miss Emily’s house in the middle of it.
Everyone had always taken care of Miss Emily. In fact, the town had even waived her taxes since 1894, when her father passed away. Because Miss Emily would not have accepted this, the townsmen told Miss Emily that it was a form of repaying a loan her father had made several years before. When the townsmen were replaced by younger counterparts, they demanded she pay her own taxes. They paid a visit to her house when she refused to do so.
The house was dusty and cavernous. Miss Emily appeared looking far older than anyone remembered her. The weight she had gained on her skeletal frame had the effect of making her look bloated.
“I have no taxes in Jefferson.” Miss Emily told them.
“But why shouldn’t you?”
“We have found no evidence in city record that leads us to believe your taxes should be waived.”
“Perhaps you should look again.”
“We have several times, Miss Grierson.”
“You did receive our letter about paying your taxes?”
“Yes.” Miss Emily looked at the men.
“You can ask Colonel Satoris if you doubt me.”
“But Colonel Satoris has been dead nearly ten years and we have no way of proving…”
“Tobe, show these men out.”
Emily Chiavelli
AP Lit
Mr. Gallagher
24 September 2008
Setting in “IND AFF”
In her short story “IND AFF,” Fay Weldon intends to send a message to her readers about the benefits of making logical decisions over passionate ones, and living life to minimize regrets. In order to do this, Weldon weaves a story of an affair between a student and her professor set on a rainy day in Sarajevo, Bosnia. In doing so, she enables her narrator to draw parallels between her own life and the historic assassination of Franz Ferdinand that took place in the city of Sarajevo; these parallels lead to a crucial epiphany for the narrator, which is essential to conveying the theme of the story.
As the narrator says in the beginning of the story, the rain sets a dark and somewhat depressing mood-the narrator concedes immediately “This is a sad story. It has to be. It rained in Sarajevo.” (201) But aside from the bleak atmosphere it sets for the story, rain is also generally considered to be a universal symbol of new beginnings. Near the end of the story, when the narrator chooses to leave Peter, she is making a life-altering decision that will lead to a new beginning for her.
The most crucial element of the setting in this story is the physical surroundings of the characters-their presence in Sarajevo. Throughout the story, the narrator weaves between her conversation with Peter in present day, and the day when, in the same city, Princip assassinated Franz Ferdinand. As the story progresses, the resemblances between the crossroads the narrator is at in her life and the grave choice Princip had to make become increasingly clear. The narrator says that she loved Peter “with an inordinate affection.”(203) She goes on to explain that Princip did what he did out of an “inordinate affection of his country;” (206) in this sense, they are both acting out of passion and love rather than out of rationality. The narrator makes it clear that, in Princip’s case, there were positive and negative effects of his actions, and the negative effects of his rash decision may outweigh the positive ones. The fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire was overall a positive change, but this did, after all, cause huge losses around the world-the death of 30 (or 40) million people. The author draws another parallel between her situation and Princip’s when she says that “If Princip hadn’t shot the archduke…neither World War I nor II [might have] ever happened. We’ll just never know.” (206) This is a reference to her decision to hasten the collapse of Peter’s marriage, which may or may not have crumbled without her intervention. Because the characters are placed in the city with so much historical context, the narrator is able to logically discuss these similarities; by choosing to compare her situation to Princip’s, she exaggerates her actions and brings them to a scale that all readers can recognize.
Also, the fact that the characters are in a restaurant when the narrator makes her enormous decision to leave Peter is extremely significant. When the narrator leaves the restaurant, it is in order to leave Peter, but when Princip left the restaurant he was in it was to assassinate the archduke-here is where their stories deviate. Because the narrator believes that Princip’s “second chance was missing in the first place,” (205) she intends not to make the same mistakes he made, and instead leaves the situation she’s in rather than delving further into it. It is at this point in the story that the author finally conveys her theme; she used Princip’s story to teach her narrator a lesson about the negative effects of irrational decisions, and because the narrator utilizes this newfound information to better her own life, the reader is convinced of the same. Although the narrator admits that she regrets her affair with Peter, the regrets were not felt to the full extent they would have been if she had not cut off her relationship with him when she did.
In this story, the setting and the theme are completely intertwined; without the characters’ surroundings being set up as they were, the entire comparison between the narrator and Princip would be nonexistent-or at the very least, extremely illogical-which would ultimately lead to an ineffective story.

Monday, September 15, 2008

"A Rose for Emily" Point of View Paper

Emily Chiavelli
AP Lit
Mr. Gallagher
14 September 2008
Use of Point of View in “A Rose for Emily”

In his short story, “A Rose for Emily,” William Faulkner intends to convey a message to his audience about the unwillingness in human nature to accept change and more specifically the secretive tendencies of aristocrats in the South during the early 20th century. In order to do this, Faulkner sets up a story in which he isolates and old aristocratic woman, Miss Emily, from her fellow townspeople and proceeds to juxtapose her lifestyle with theirs. In doing this he demonstrates her stubborn refusal to change along with the town, but also Among several literary devices the author employs to achieve this contrast, Faulkner sets up his narrator as a seemingly reliable, impartial and knowledgeable member of the community in which Miss Emily lives by using a first person plural, partially omniscient point of view. The narrator is present for all of the scenes that take place in the story, but does not play any role in the events, and speaks for the town as a whole.

Faulkner immediately sets up his narrator as a member of the community in the first line of the story, saying that when Miss Emily died “our whole town went to her funeral.” Although it’s never directly explained, it appears as though the narrator is an older member of the town. This is demonstrated in statements like “the next generation, with its more modern ideas;” because the narrator does not say “with our more modern ideas” he makes it clear that he is not one of the younger members of the community. Never referring to himself as “I,” the narrator builds up an army behind his ideas, along the same strain of thought that there is strength in numbers; his opinions seem true, as they are the widely accepted as fact.

The use of an older member of the community as a narrator allows Faulkner to employ flashbacks to explain Miss Emily’s life, as his narrator was there to witness them himself and can be trusted to explain them correctly. The background information is crucial not only to the plot but to understanding how the townspeople perceived Miss Emily and how this perception evolved over time; the residents of Jefferson went from idolizing her to feeling “really sorry for her” to being happy for her. A few of the only times, however, that the narrator uses “they” instead of “we” is when talking about how the community gossiped about Miss Emily; for the most part, the narrator seems neutral or even slightly sympathetic toward her, and never passes judgment on her life or her mistakes. Also, because he is older, like Miss Emily, and is not totally unwilling to accept social changes, Faulkner contrasts Miss Emily directly with the narrator.

The author immediately begins to isolate Miss Emily from the rest of the town upon describing her house; she is clearly wealthier than many of the current residents of Jefferson, and appears to be the only member of town who has not yet conformed to a more modern living arrangement. The imagery the narrator uses to describe how the they viewed Miss Emily’s home evokes images of old, almost Gothic decor in the reader-phrases like “dank,” “heavy, leather-covered furniture,” and “gilt tarnished easel.” The depiction of her home is clearly symbolic of her “old world” mindset. The narrator then takes her public image one step further by explain how Miss Emily is a “hereditary obligation upon the town;” not only is Miss Emily put on a symbolic pedestal by the townspeople, but it becomes clear that she is gingerly dealt with and never bothered, further isolating her from the community because of her family’s wealth and social status.

Because Faulkner chooses to limit his narrator’s omniscience, he is able to tell the story as a mystery; this is both logical, as the story is told post-mortem and therefore could not be told from the main character’s point of view, but it also adds drama and suspense to the story. The reader is never enlightened to Miss Emily’s thoughts or feelings, and therefore is subject to believing anything the narrator says. Only at the end are Miss Emily’s secrets revealed, all at once, adding gravity and evoking feelings of shock in the reader, dramatizing and exaggerating her secretive tendencies.

Much of Faulkner’s writing deals with the social customs and habits of Southern aristocracy; in “A Rose for Emily,” Faulkner uses Miss Emily as a symbol of Southern aristocrats as a whole. Miss Emily is clearly completely isolated from the town because of her habits and lifestyle choices. By using his narrator to represent the rest of the town, Faulkner easily isolates Miss Emily from everyone else; in doing this, Faulkner demonstrates the chasms in lifestyles of working people and aristocrats. Only once Miss Emily dies do her traditions die with her, symbolic of any generation and the changes that must take place for the newer generation. Because Miss Emily has so many skeletons in her closet (metaphorically) it demonstrates Faulkner’s contempt for the secretive, above-the-law attitude of arrogant upper-class citizens.