Archives - September 2010

1 2

Sep. 29

David Foster Wallace

10

Tortured Artist

         I read a short story with my students titled "Incarnations of Burned Children."  It was written by David Foster Wallace.  I am intrigued by his writing style.  Wallace somehow managed to take a two-page, one-paragraph short story and cram in more literary devices and techniques than you can shake a stick at:  polysyndeton, personification, similes, metaphors, alliteration, synesthesia, paradoxes, allusions, foreshadowing, symbolism, and on and on and on.  Yet, somehow, the story is not overwrought or overdone.  It is a haunting, ambiguous piece about the death of a child.  Even the death itself is ambiguous.  These are the final lines:

 

"... the child had learned to leave himself and watch the whole rest unfold from a point overhead, and whatever was lost never thenceforth mattered, and the child's body expanded and walked about and drew pay and lived its life ...

Sep. 24

Poseidon the Enforcer

1

The Olympian Gods

        When thinking about Homer's The Odyssey, everyone always wants to feel sorry for Odysseus, wandering so many years trying to find his way home.  Penelope, crying for her lost husband.  The six crewman whisked off the ship by Scylla.  The hapless Greeks eaten by the Cyclops Polyphemus.  But what about the poor Phaeacians?  No one ever mentions them.

        The Phaeacians are the last people to help Odysseus reach the rocky shores of Ithaca.  They carry him home in one of their famed ships that is steered by thought alone.  King Alcinous says to Odysseus:

 

Tell me also your country, nation, and city, that our ships may shape their purpose accordingly and take you there.  For the Phaeacians have no pilots; their vessels have no rudders as those of other nations have, but the ships themselves understand what it ...

Sep. 24

Poseidon the Enforcer

2

        When thinking about Homer's The Odyssey, everyone always wants to feel sorry for Odysseus, wandering so many years trying to find his way home.  Penelope, crying for her lost husband.  The six crewman whisked off the ship by Scylla.  The hapless Greeks eaten by the Cyclops Polyphemus.  But what about the poor Phaeacians?  No one ever mentions them.

        The Phaeacians are the last people to help Odysseus reach the rocky shores of Ithaca.  They carry him home in one of their famed ships that is steered by thought alone.  King Alcinous says to Odysseus:

 

Tell me also your country, nation, and city, that our ships may shape their purpose accordingly and take you there.  For the Phaeacians have no pilots; their vessels have no rudders as those of other nations have, but the ships themselves understand what it ...

Sep. 20

The Odyssey

115

Was Homer a Woman?

 

        I read once that a handful of literary critics believe Homer, the famous rhapsode or "stitcher of song," might have been a woman.  We don't have much information about him.  Born on Chios, blind, traveling storyteller.  So why the gender confusion?  The Odyssey contains some pretty strong female characters -- unusual for ancient Greek times when women were not even considered citizens.  Some say only a woman would write so highly about other women.  For instance ...

        Arete - the "white-armed" queen of Alcinous, ruler of Phaecia.  She is the first cousin of her husband, the daughter of Rhexenor who was a son of the god Poseidon.  In Robert Fagles's translation:

 

... a daughter named Arete.  Alcinous made the girl his wife and honors her as no woman is honored on this earth, of all the wives ... Such is ...

1 2
Listening to the whispering pines

Hello. My name is Donna Cozart Pauley. Welcome to The Whispering Pines, a literary blog dedicated to my love of the written word. It is an eclectic collage of my life -- from my poems to my stories to my family to my pets to my causes to my photographs to my recipes to my love of teaching to my favorite literature. Please feel free to comment. Words are only important if they are heard or read. Just like those soundless trees falling in the forest.

Email Me

captcha