Extra Credit Blog

A major theme in The Stone Gods is the want of humans for more.  Humans are a greedy species.  What we have is never enough, we want more.  Winterson made a point to show this in the book in several examples.  The women are genetically modified so they are perfect.  Once this happens, the men are no longer turned on by the women and have to turn to children in order to get off.  This perfection that women have come to is no longer perfect to them because they are not getting the desired effect out of their beauty.  One of the characters even changes herself to look like a pop star her husband found attractive.  This constant need for more than what they have, makes the humans unhappy.  The humans in this novel destroy the planets they are on.  Once this planet is destroyed, they move onto another and destroy that one.  The same goes for Easter Island.  The humans came and trashed the island and used most of the resources.

Winterson is trying to show the power greed has over humans.  Throughout this novel I think she is trying to say that we are pretty much screwed, and our need for more will eventually bring about our downfall.  Currently, it is well known that the way we treat our earth is going to kill off everything, but only a few changes have been made since this discovery.  How much longer in the future until we really start seeing changes?  Will it be too late?  Will too much damage be done?  Winterson really hits on these questions.  The humans in the book do not make a change soon enough, just like we are doing now.  Sure some people may make changes, but these changes need to happen with everyone and they need to happen everyday.  Everyone really does need to do there part, otherwise we are doomed.

Add a comment March 4, 2010
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Winterson, The Stone Gods

After reading Winterson’s The Stone Gods, I could not help noticing the Greenpeace undertones portrayed in the novel and connecting that with an article I read.  The article is titled ‘We need to provide a non-toxic environment that doesn’t harm our offspring’ and can be found here http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20100228/LIVING09/100226028/We-need-to-provide-a-non-toxic-environment-that-doesn-t-harm-our-offspring.  This article talks about how pesticides and toxins that enter are environment through human impact is not only negatively affecting our earth, but are health as well.  A fact that I found interesting was that “Globally, 5 billion pounds of pesticides are used annually, and 20 percent, or 1.2 billion pounds, are used right here in America.”  The fact that USA alone uses 20% of pesticides in the world astounded me especially when I found out what some of the effects of these pesticides were.  The article stated, “exposure to pesticides are linked with chronic illness, such as cancers, behavioral impairment, reproductive dysfunction, endocrine disruption, developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, skin conditions, and respiratory diseases such as asthma.”

I feel as though we probably account for a lot more of the pollution and toxins in our world just do to our throwaway society.  I also found some interesting facts about the garbage we through away, such as “Between Thanksgiving and the new year, environmentalists say, Americans typically throw away as much as 5 million extra tons of trash, thought to be mainly wrapping paper and shopping bags.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/13/AR2009031303451.html)  This made me think of how much stupid things we use and just throw away constantly (such as toothpicks, tissue paper, q-tips, etc).  Both the article and the novel got me questioning how much will be too much?  How far in the future are we going to wait until we start making some major changes?  I know the small changes help, but if not everyone is willing to make them, then the effect will be minimal.  These texts help bring out the importance of implementing environmental conscious actions into our everyday life is.

Add a comment February 28, 2010
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Dawn, Octavia Butler

Today in class, the book Dawn by Octavia Butler sparked a discussion about hierarchy.  Hierarchy can be both good and bad.  It is good because they leader or person at the top can tell those below her/him what to do and they will do it.  However, it can be bad because sometimes these people will not question or think about what the leader is asking and may not do something morally correct or wise.  This got me thinking about Hitler and World War II.  Due to his charisma and strength at public speaking he was able to gather people into joining his side.  People were convinced that what he was saying was true and they wanted the things he wanted.  Soon an entire army stood behind him and followed his orders.  If his people would question him, they would be punished.  Therefore, out of fear everyone did what he said and this led to one of the darkest and most horrible times in history.

Another example of hierarchy actually occurs here at the Ohio State University.  President Gordon Gee has used his position of leadership to make improvements to this University.  He has been able to create tuition freezes which have then caused other universities to follow suit.  This has helped during the rough economic times.  He has also encouraged the switch from quarters to semesters.  This has allowed transfers from other universities to become easier and has allowed the students be more competitive for internships.  President Gee has used his power in the hierarchy to make a great university an even better university.  In this example, he has not abused his power and has actually taken advice from others below him in order to make this a better place.  He often meets with students and staff in various organizations to help get information on things they would like to see improved.

1 comment February 22, 2010
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The Female Man by Joanna Russ

In the novel The Female Man by Joanna Russ there are four interesting worlds worth discussing.  In Joanna’s world, this world is similar to the 1970s.  This is an interesting time in the United States because this is just when women’s rights were just beginning.  It is intriguing to look back and see how far we have come in time since then.  While this is not technically earth in this novel, it is very similar to it.

Jeannine’s world is a world were the Great Depression never ended.  This was a hard time and I even asked my grandmother’s account of it to get a picture of it.  She told me that they would have potatoes every night for dinner because they grew them in their yard and this helped to save money.  Her family would make them in different ways so that it wouldn’t get too boring (such as stews, or baked).  On special occasions they would get meat but they couldn’t afford to get a lot of it, so they would each share an extremely small portion of it.  She said that everyone in her family had a job, even her younger sister who was 10.  They would go to school and then work the rest of the night.  This would be a hard world to live in, trying to scrounge up enough money to live by.

In Janet’s world all the men died from a plague and only women are left and they must procreate with themselves.  Russ decided to make a remarkable statement about this world when she made it so technologically advanced.  Technology in our current society is usually associated with men, so to show a world with only females to be so technologically advanced showed the reader how powerful these women are.

In Jael’s world the men and women are at a constant war with each other.  The women trade children for resources and the men get cosmetic surgery in order to satisfy their sexual desires.  In this world children are not looked at as more than objects considering they are traded for goods.  Women get by in this world by having children so they can trade them.  The women do have a power over the men because the men change themselves physically to fill the void they have from no women.

Each of these worlds are completely different, how do you think they all form together to make a statement in this book?

Add a comment February 13, 2010
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“What I Didn’t See” Karen Joy Fowler

It is so cute!

In the short story “What I Didn’t See” by Karen Joy Fowler racism and anthropocentrism work hand in hand.  The narrator describes the gorillas as being extremely close to humans, so close that when she looks at them she sees humans.  As the narrator described the male gorilla, “Something so human it made me feel like an old woman with no clothes on.  I might have shot him just for that, but I knew it wasn’t right-to kill him merely because he was more human than I anticipated” (351).  With this description, the reader is assuming that these animals are just like people and they are to be seen as people.  This is why Eddie was affected so negatively after he massacred so many of the gorillas.  He told the narrator, “It felt like murder…Just exactly like murder” (353).  Eddie felt bad because he new that he would not get in trouble for hunting the gorillas because they were just animals.  He even killed them to protect the African people who would have been easy targets to blame Beverly’s absent on.  By killing the gorillas and saving the Africans, Eddie had assumed that he was doing the right thing by protecting people.  What he was not counting on was the strong connection these gorillas have with people.  By making these gorillas so much like people, Fowler is making them a race of their own.  This is why Eddie was so devastated by what he had done.  He felt that he was killing a beautiful creature so close to humans.  Fowler uses this connection to show that racism can be closely linked to anthropocentrism.  She is showing that humans treat these animals that are so close to us like we own them and they are lower to us.  By making these gorillas seem so much like humans, this then becomes racist.

4 comments February 6, 2010
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Butler, The Evening and the Morning and the Night

What is Butler’s view of “disability” and difference in her story?

In Butler’s short story “The Evening and the Morning and the Night” her view of ‘disability’ and difference is that those who are different or have a disability are looked down upon by those who don’t, however with the help from others, they can lead ‘healthy’ lives.  In this story Lynn, the main character, talks about how people without DGD distance themselves from people with DGD.  They even make them wear an emblem that shows they have DGD like the scarlet letter.  The people without DGD want nothing to do with those with the disease because they are aware of what their disease will enviably do to its victims.

However, when Alan and Lynn go to visit Dilg they are shown a way people with DGD can be helped.  Lynn and Beatrice’s scent is able to help those with DGD avoid doing harm to themselves.  These people are giving a chance and are able to do something great with their chance.  For example, one man even made a padlock that was voice and handprint activated.  These people do not lead normal lives because they are living in their own little worlds, but they are prevented from doing what the disease wants them to do and they are able to do something great with their focus.  This is used to show that people with disabilities can not lead ‘normal’ lives but they can lead fulfilling ones.  If given the chance they can do something great and they deserve the chance.  Unlike other DGD hospitals, Dilg gives these people a chance.  Butler is trying to show that just because someone is different from the norm it does not mean that he/she does not possess potential to become something great.  Instead of distancing ourselves from those who are different we should work with them in order to make the world a better place.

Add a comment January 30, 2010
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Marge Piercy, Woman on the Edge of Time

In the story Woman on the Edge of Time, by March Piercy gender is nearly eliminated in the world.  They never use terms like him/her/himself/herself but rather per or perself.  For example Peircing wrote, “Ah person is coming…person is calling”. (128)  This leads for ambiguously gendered people.  The children are made in labs and raised in artificial wombs.  If someone dies, “co-mothers” are chosen to parent the children.  The masculine terms “father/dad” are completely eliminated in this society and the term “mother” can go to anyone in this society.  Connie asks Luciente about this and Luciente just responds that they don’t define you by male or female but by what you do best. (207)

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This story introduces an interesting question: what would the world be like without gender?  There would be less discrimination when it came your sex.  There would no longer be any debate about which sex gets paid more, or which sex is expected to stay home and cook dinner.  There are things that are associated in our society with what sex you are (ie. pink/blue, legos/dolls, pants/dress) and these things would no longer be assigned to a certain sex.  Even today, some people would judge if a little boy wearing a pink dress was playing with dolls.  But, in this world that Peircing has created this discrimination would not exist.  This would not be frowned upon or thought as weird.

However, in a way having no gender/sexes is like loosing your identity.  Some people associate their sex with a lot they do in their life.  For example, I like being a girly girl and people know me as that.  When people give me gifts they know to pick it out in pink because that is my favorite color.  So this book raises more questions associated with gender/sex.  What would the world really be like without it?  Would people act differently or identify themselves differently?  Would people be happier?

2 comments January 26, 2010
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Heat Death of Universe, Zoline

Form and language in “The Heat Death of the Universe” written by Zoline helps to express the shift from order to disorder in Sarah Boyle’s life.  The form that is used to write is constantly shifting.  The narrator is talking about one thing then switches to something completely different which stresses the disorder within Sarah’s life.  For example some paragraphs are titled and some are not, and some words are defined while others are not. To elaborate on this, on pages 130-131 the narrator switches from talking about Sarah’s background to cereal boxes to the birthday of one of her children.  If one were to read Sarah as the narrator it would show her disorderly thoughts which affect her life.  She finds her life to be so hopeless she even wrote “Help, Help, Help, Help, Help” over her stove.  Sarah strives to find some sort of stability in her life.

Sarah tries to find this stability by organizing parts of her life to the point that it becomes obsessive.  As Zoline wrote, “Sometimes she numbers or letters the things in a room, writing the assigned character on each object.  There are 819 separate movable objects in the living-room”. (133)  Here, Zoline is using this description to show the reader that Sarah takes control over the things she can, and this becomes obsessive.  If once again the narrator is assumed to be Sarah, the reader can see that she uses rich descriptions of things which leave a picture in the reader’s mind.  This helps to show the attention that Sarah uses in her life.  The narrator says, “The coldness and sweetness of the thick brown liquid make her throat ache and her teeth sting briefly, sweet juice of my youth, her eyes glass with carbonation”. (134)  This thick description shows the reader that Sarah pays much attention to her life which could show her desire to have more control over it.  By paying more attention she is able to remember things clearly the way they happened.

1 comment January 16, 2010

A. E. Jones “Created He Them”

In the short story “Created He Them” by Alice Jones, the husband’s view of his life is optimistic while his wife’s outlook on life is pessimistic. The husband feels that even though he had problems at work that day, he knows they won’t fire him. He tells his wife, “I’m good and they know it. I do twice as much work as anybody else.” (73) He also thinks the state his children are in is fine. He tells his wife, “And the Center’s good to them. They give them more than we could.” (74) In both these examples, the wife he turns the bad situation that he and his family are in and looks at it as a good situation. If he were telling the story their situation would seem better.
The husband would talk more about how at work he is one of the hardest workers and one of the best workers they have. He would also include how he stabilizes their future by investing in stock. This is shown a little in his wife’s version of the story when he tells her, “I said I’ll buy stock! Somebody in this house has to think of the future. We can’t all hide our heads in the sand and hope for the best.” (74) The only pessimism found in his story would be when he talks about his wife. As the primary bread earner of the house, he feels that he deserves the best from his wife and that she rarely prevails. He tells his wife, “Then why’d you cook bacon? You know I can’t eat bacon without eggs…If I weren’t such an easy-going man! And the prunes are hard-you didn’t cook them long enough-and the coffee’s cold, and the toast is burnt, and where’s the apple jelly?” (69) This is just one example of how his wife can not do anything the way he wants it. This just shows a glimpse of how society was during the sixties.
In society the men were the primary bread earners who expected their wives to be stay at home mothers who cook and clean. The man’s perspective was very different from the wives because they very rarely thought about all the things the wives did for the family and their husband. Society was harsh on the woman of this time because it put so many restrictions on them and the husband’s provided such extreme expectations. Many of the men at this time had a more optimistic view of life during this time than the women.

Add a comment January 9, 2010

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