Thursday, October 4, 2012

AP Analyses


Anonymous said...

Contrasting the innocence of a simple creature with its grisly demise in “The Flea” John Donne utilizes spiritual symbolism, sympathetic tone, and murderous hyperbole to portray how “cruel and sudden” the loss of love between partners can be.
The entirety of the poem appears to be an extended metaphor representing the relationship between two married partners. The flea, in itself, represents the love the two once shared. Love in itself is a bug that had “suck’d” the narrator first and then “sucks thee” (the spouse) combining their blood in an almost spiritual manner. The flea’s only is “guilty be, in that drop which he suck’d from thee”. This shows the narrators contempt for their spouse, as the only thing their life together has done is drain life from each other. The two have wasted years together as a flea has done more than the two would do together by simply biting the narrator. The eventual demise of the flea at the hands of the spouse represents the utter death of love between the two. The flea’s death “took life from thee”, representing all the years of false love between the two. The narrator feels as if their time had been wasted with their spouse.
Adding to the apparent rift in the relationship between the two lovers, the tone the narrator takes in describing the flea adds to the sense of broken heartedness. Throughout the poem’s body, the narrator expresses their feeling toward their significant other in that the flea is “more than married” to the person bitten. The intimacy of the narrator and their spouse is compared to the intimacy with being bitten by a flea. The flea has done “more than they (sic) would do” and the speaker’s tone conveys a sense of affection for the creature. The narrator sympathizes with the simple creature throughout the work’s whole, stating its innocence as such. The flea had committed no “sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead” just as the narrator had not done anything to provoke the spouse. A once passionate relationship has become as insignificant as a flea.
The crumble of this relationship is portrayed as the spouse’s fault as their actions are described with murderous hyperbolic statements. In their quest to vanquish the flea the spouse is “apt to kill” the narrator. This represents the wounds the spouse causes in ruining the two’s relationship with their coldness after so long together. The spouse has “purpled thy nail in the blood of innocence” by ending the life of an innocent creature. The flea contains the blood, or passion, of both the lovers and its blood being spilt is the same as the blood of one of the two following the same fate. The narrator has done nothing apparently wrong and the fall out is created by the spouse’s violent and soulless actions. The exaggerated description of the flea’s murder is a microcosm for the worse actions the spouse has made a habit of.
The decline form love into the darkness of heartache is a long drop into a pit lined with sharp pins into a seemingly endless abyss. The innocence of love is easily tainted by the demons of hatred. One’s love can become as insignificant as an innocent flea in the eyes of the cruel. Those who maliciously slaughter love are bound to face the pains that ensue. Love is a valuable resource that cannot be wasted in the hands of unworthy hosts.
Seth Killingbeck

Anonymous said...

Transitioning from greediness to the feeling of guilt in the autobiographical narrative, Gary Soto, utilizes personified characterization, rich imagery, and biblical allusions to convey the idea that sin is a bittersweet mistake and “sin was what you took and didn’t give back.”

Progressing throughout the narrative Gary Soto develops his character to be a typical young boy learning the hard way that guilt can outweigh greed. Through the eyes of a six year old, “the pie tin glared at me and rolled away when the wind picked up.” The guilt within Soto is personified through the pie tin. Stealing then eating the pie, feeling no remorse, is changed when he sees the aftermath of the sin he just committed through the “glare” of the pie tin. This shows the deep consciousness of the main character, the fact that he knows that he has done wrong. Gary Soto realizes too late that stealing the pie was a mistake no matter how sweet it tasted. Even before he stole the pie, the feeling of guilt was already within him, “… and the juice of guilt wetting my underarms.” It is as if Soto knew what he was doing all along, stealing the pie, questioning his mistake, enjoying the pie, realizing the sin, and finally regretting his actions.

The strong use of ornate imagery creates evidence of the story. The imagery used paints a vivid picture of Soto’s experience. Upon stealing the pie Soto extravagantly describes his encounter with eating and relishing in the pie, “The slop was sweet and gold colored in the afternoon sun.” The fact that acting as a thief has not been noticed by Soto is significant to recognize. Instead of guiltily eating the pie he waits until he is completely finished with the “wet finger dripping pieces” of pie to feel the guilt kick in. The imagery portrayed throughout this narrative creates a pathway of imagination and visuals to pop up in the reader’s mind. It distinguishes between the sanctity of walking away from sin and the relish one gets from committing it.

Biblical references flood this narrative and haunt the main character. He admits to being very religious and the allusions prove true. God and his angels seemed to always be with him, “Some days I recognized the shadows of angels flopping on the backyard grass…” This is why the guilt from the pie theft was so strong within Soto. His religious beliefs force him to look down on larceny. Although his beliefs are strong, his six year old mentality is stronger. Gary Soto lies underneath the house listening to the howling of the plumbing, he debated “Was it God? Was it Father, speaking from death, or Uncle with his last shiny dime?” Soto’s guilt outweighed the pleasure of eating the pie and God was haunting him for it.

The reality of theft reigns true in this narrative. Stealing from another person can cause guilt and the desire to redo one’s mistake. But children must learn and even though the idea that “the best things in life come stolen” one must weigh the bitter and the sweet outcome of the situation.

Amanda Ward

Moonwaves182 said...

Matthew Litchfield
AP English Lit
October 11, 2012
Choice Analysis Paper/ Blog Assignment


Shifting from a pensive reflection to an ambiguous prediction in “Otherwise”, Jane Kenyon employs deliberate diction, androgynous characterization and rural imagery to imply that - unlike the blissful ease of today - tomorrow might be otherwise.

Jane Kenyon uses diction to specify the world around her narrator as both hearty and susceptible to change. Her revelry in her “cereal, sweet milk, … and peach” compounds the image of old age given by her assertion that today, her legs were strong. She clearly defines her path “uphill”, which would be a challenge for someone as old as her narrator implies. By placing the phrase “it might be otherwise” between these statements, Kenyon suggests that the narrator’s strong legs may one day fail, and that they may not be able to enjoy the fresh food or the birch woods. Her diction suggests a possible fatality and mortality for the narrator, despite the splendor of the otherwise beautiful day.

A significant part of Kenyon’s diction revolves around her disuse of gender identifying words. She chooses to describe the person with whom the narrator lies down with in the afternoon as a “mate”, rather than a husband or wife. The neutrality of the narrator’s gender can be further solidified by the potential use of “mate” to describe the dog, which the narrator had previously been walking. The challenge the hill posed to the narrator may not just be a challenge to him or her, but a challenge to the dog as well, who’s future will one day be “otherwise” than the day described by Kenyon. Kenyon’s choice to tell her narrative poem may also be indicative of the narrator’s androgynous nature: if she were to tell the story from another point of view, Kenyon would be more pressed to describe the character than by telling it in first person. The conclusion of the poem, that “one day it will be otherwise”, is more ambiguous because represents neither a dominantly female nor male mode of thinking.

The imagery of “Otherwise” is filled with local color, but it also points to a more concrete setting than the other devise employed by Kenyon. The narrator describes her walk “through the birch woods”, a highly specific setting indicative of a manner of speaking specific to one area or region. Speaking of these woods conjures up the thought of foliage, which must be green and vibrant is the narrator is eating “flawless peaches”. However, the idea that tomorrow might be otherwise suggests that winter may be coming. In describing the narrator’s hike through the woods, Kenyon specifically spoke of the hills and the challenge they pose to the aging narrator. However, these hills may represent a greater challenge posed by the winter months. Further, by specifically speaking of the “silver candlesticks”, Kenyon suggests that the narrator is not of great means, and possibly from a rural location. Together, the hills, the birch woods, and the candlesticks compose an image of a rustic home about to experience a harsh change of season, an otherwise the narrator fears.

Jane Kenyon’s “Otherwise” is a deeply imagine poem, composed very deliberately to convey certain ideas about its narrator to the reader. Her impeccable diction sets up the challenges faced by the narrator in her rural home, and compounds those challenges with those of old age. The elements of Kenyon’s poem come together to prove the narrator’s prediction that “one day will be otherwise” is more than just a prediction, but a hazy inevitability.

Anonymous said...

Brent Condon

Shifting from excited storytelling to sudden arguments in Naked Lunch, Michael Hollinger uses juicy imagery, strong characterization, and meaningless conflict to give the reader an understanding of the relationship between Lucy and Vernon that is more than just being “scared of meat”.
Imagery of food in the play is used to add to the understanding of the two characters. The food that Vernon and Lucy eat can be separated by how easy they can be consumed. The corn is very easy to eat, but the meat is consumed with a more animalistic feel. When Lucy “returns to nibbling” (Naked Lunch) she is actually showing how she is happy with a peaceful life without Vernon. By telling her to eat the meat Vernon is actually telling her to live a more unhappy life with him. She responds to all of these offers with “I’d rather not” (Naked Lunch), but Vernon continues to viciously command her to eat the meat. The way he commands her is very similar to eating meat, he is attempting to make her obey him by tearing her confidence to pieces. The significance of the food really helps to give a symbolic view on the characterization of Lucy and Vernon.
Lucy and Vernon are characterized as almost opposites in the play. Vernon’s confident personality is dominant over the shy personality of Lucy. This gives him control over Lucy, and is unhappy when Lucy makes her own personal choices. When Lucy said she read an article that told her about the dangers of meat related diseases he responded with, “you can’t believe that stuff” (Naked Lunch). He continues to repute her argument with knowledgeable facts which does not seem to fit with his character. The only reason for him knowing about “Mad Cow”, “Listeria”, and “Carnophobia” is for the sole purpose of making Lucy feel like she was wrong for doing her own personal research. Lucy tries to change the subject, but in the end Vernon physically, a display of dominance that relates to their personalities, forces her to eat the meat. The odd peculiarities with Vernon’s knowledge with his controlling behavior start to add meaning behind this meaningless conflict.
The strange part about the conflict in the play is that on the surface it seems meaningless, but it is actually the main display of Vernon’s control over Lucy. On the surface it would seem that Vernon was simply upset that the meat that he put hard work into making was being thrown away; however, he is actually more upset that Lucy has started to change since the last time they were together. Vernon believed that he had full control over Lucy, and he never had to compete with these new forces that were now influencing Lucy. The meat was a lure to get Lucy to go back with him. He says “good, isn’t it” (Naked Lunch) after forcing her to go against her beliefs, and eat the meat. This is symbolic of Lucy going against her better judgment to be with Vernon. The conflict was exaggerated out of proportion by Vernon because he needed to assert his control over Lucy. This conflict serves as a challenge to Lucy’s belief in her own personal choices against the life Vernon has chosen for Lucy.
Although the reader did not see the old relationship between Vernon and Lucy, the imagery, characterization, and conflict all provided enough information to understand the way their personalities reacted with each other. Lucy is unable to comprehend the reasoning behind Vernon’s aggressive reaction because she just wanted to make decisions on her own. The author uses the food as a symbol to further elaborate on their relationship. The relationship between Lucy and Vernon is uncovered through the reading by the symbolism that revolves around their simply conflict.

Joe Carlin said...

The transformation of the thought process of the narrator in A Summer Life, Gary Soto applies religious characterization, savory imagery and invoking diction to explain that “sin was what you took and never gave back.”
Maintaining the persona of his six year old self, Gary Soto was required, for better understanding; to expose readers to the person that he used to be. Beginning the piece with a blunt characterization stating that he “was holy in almost every bone,” Soto characterizes himself as a “church boy”. As we gain more and more knowledge of how Soto thought at the time, the better the understanding of the guilt behind stealing the pie is known. Discussing how he had learned that an apple, like in the pie he stole, had gotten Adam and Eve exiled into the desert, he was afraid of that happening to him. He would listen to God in the plumbing, the reader, after reading this, would put the connections together that Soto was very worried about his placement in the eyes of God and how stealing had possibly corrupted that image. Although the crime was still committed, he does not stop thinking about God. When his friend Cross-eyed Johnny had come over, much characterization came from this event. Johnny, representing the idea of being “clean and holy” passing judgment on Soto after he had committed his deed, expresses and plays upon the ideas of “judgment day” and the guilt that Soto was feeling for doing a wrong. There were also religious descriptions such as the squirrel being nailed to the tree, Jesus was nailed to a cross, and the interlinked connection of the two was also to inform the reader to understand the role of religion in this piece and Soto’s life. He knew that sin was something bad and after obsessing for a day about it, he had realized that it truly was “what you took and never gave back.”
While worrying about his placement in God’s eyes, Soto still committed this sin. The act of the stealing and then, following it, the consumption of the pie was a very eccentric scene. Many uses of savory adjectives were thrown throughout the scene bringing forth one’s senses, bringing them into the story, planting the hook to implant the theme. “Clawing a chunk…”, “… was sweet and gold-colored in the afternoon sun.” two examples, both playing on the senses of taste, sight and touch, the power of this imagery brings the reader into the story, turns them into Soto himself. Feeling the ‘wet finger-dripping pieces,” or “sticky fingers”, making mouths water, plants in the thoughts that stealing was in fact worth it. Materially yes, it was worth it for his taste buds, but mentally it was not. This deed tore at his subconscious; it made him ponder aspects of religion, aspects of society and made him ponder on what means what. This use of imagery paints pictures of what was occurring in Soto’s life at the time, placing readers in a much better place to comprehend the meaning being dragged across, thus preparing for the overall idea from the piece.

Joe Carlin said...

Using the imagery and religious characterization, Soto is able to exploit invoking diction to promote his overarching idea. Trying to bring the reader into the story, Soto uses phrases and words such as “…and breathed in its sweetness…,” to invoke the senses and the brain. His goal, to get the reader to be engrossed in his tale is succeed. With this success, Soto then leads into his description of sin. By using examples of a religious characterization, such as the tale of Eve taking a forbidden apple, Soto can exemplify how “sin is what you took and never gave back.” Due to both these scenarios that stolen good is ingested, there is no way of giving back the owner their property. With these invoking phrases, the plot is formed and twisted to fit Soto’s plans. While concluding his short piece, Soto is sure to become more blunt and concise to his motions and goals. He invokes thought when he discusses hearing God, his Father or his Uncle in the piping, something not commonly spoken of or even done in any religious manner. This pondering opens the mind of the reader to his final idea, the most significant one, his last phrase, “sin was what you took and never gave back.”
Exclaiming that “sin was what you took and never gave back,” Soto, the author of A Summer Life, uses religious characterization, savory imagery and invoking diction to promote the overarching idea. By promoting these devices in his piece, Soto is able to address a viewpoint of life. This viewpoint, forever changing his life, is to be given to you to ponder and decide what to take from it and due to his successful presentation, what should be taken is that, in fact, sin is what you take and will never give back.

Naomi said...

Naomi Stuffers
Period B
AP Analysis: Schizophrenia

Shifting from the description of a violent home to the loneliness of internal suffering in “Schizophrenia,” Jim Stevens integrates repetitive personification, morose tone, and an indirect extended metaphor to reveal the inner workings of a schizophrenic and how “it was the house that suffered most.”

By employing a subtle extended metaphor, Stevens compares the events of a suffering home to the mentality of a schizophrenic person. Throughout the poem, the house can be interpreted as the outer appearance of a schizophrenic, while the rooms and the actions within the house represent thoughts and feelings. Within the house, “angry feet [are] scuffing the carpets,” and “dishes [are] slammed onto the table,” this signifies the turmoil occurring within the mind. Later on in the poem, the house is “divided against itself” and begins to show signs of decay such as: “cracking paint, broken windows” and “roof tiles flying off, one by one.” This shift in the exterior of the house is a manifestation of the consequences of inner chaos. However, without the title, “Schizophrenia,” this poem could have a completely different meaning. By being able to connect the title of the poem to the extended metaphor, the audience is able to decipher the underlying meaning of the poem. This extended metaphor is accentuated by the use of elements of figurative language that can bring life to certain words or phrases.

Stevens consistently employs personification in order to parallel the mind of a schizophrenic to the imbalance of a broken home. At the beginning and at the end of the poem, he is able to set the scene and create a valuable contrast by stating, “It was the house that suffered most.” Within this house, rooms are able to declare “their loyalties,” while “the shouting voices” and “the half-apologies” stifle the air. These descriptions establish the house as a living thing and make it vulnerable to the confusion and hardships of “locked” doors and “established” borders. Relating the house to these characteristics makes it easier for the readers to draw a connection to the mindset of a psychologically disturbed person. With personification so tightly weaved into the poem, it not only creates connections, but also lends to the overall feeling of the piece.

This contrasting use of darkly worded descriptions with the “suffering” house creates a rather sorrowful tone. The use of words and phrases like “slamming doors,” “cracking paint,” “broken windows,” and “madhouse” illustrates the sadness, grief, and anxiety that the author wants his audience to feel. By carefully placing these choice phrases, Stevens is able to further amplify the sadness of the poem. These images and feelings that accompany the morose tone give the readers a chance to get a glimpse of the emotions and tense anxiety of a schizophrenic. Stevens allows his audience to truly feel what it is like to be plagued by a “house divided,” purely because of the way they are able to perceive his tone.

On the outside, “Schizophrenia” chronicles the affairs of a rather dysfunctional household. However, underneath the superficial, lies a completely different meaning that alludes to the emotions of this psychological disorder. Throughout the poem, Stevens incorporates these emotions into every word and stanza. Through this, he is able to portray the complex inner workings of a schizophrenic and the tumultuous realization that one’s mind can become a “madhouse.”

Colby Sears said...

Profiling the story of a boy whose naïve mindset is altered to one of a corrupt sinner in his autobiography, Gary Soto utilizes biblical allusions, comprehensive characterization, and daunting personification to portray a loss of virtue and the piercing realization “that the best things in life come stolen”.
The religious references to biblical texts integrated by Soto throughout his personal narrative have a significant effect on the narrator’s perception of the world. While he is committing a sin that he deems nearly unforgivable by stealing an apple pie from the local market, he is suddenly impacted by an excess of holy symbols reminding him of what he has done. While hurrying home, the boy sees “a squirrel nailed itself high on the trunk, where it forked into two large bark-scabbed limbs”, a description that only a boy raised in a home of devout faith could devise. He instinctively references Adam and Eve, “God”, and “Father”, claiming “an apple got Eve in deep trouble with snakes” while similarly smothering his taste buds in a pie of the same fruit; even though he knows what he has done is wrong, he cannot help himself but to indulge. The boy’s nosy neighbor, Cross-Eyed Johnny is a clear representation of Christ himself in both his symbolic nickname and vigilant persona; he watches the narrator gobble the pie before returning home to watch the scene from above, perched on his roof; he is higher than the narrator in both altitude and morals. Johnny looks down on the narrator for the sinful act he has performed, and the sharp dialogue exchanged between the pair perfectly distinguishes the personal differences between them.
Soto also employs characterization to fully illustrate the change in the boy’s state of mind. He begins the story with the claim that “I was holy in every bone”, justifying the actions he knows are immoral before his story even begins. The sole characters of the narrator and Cross-Eyed Johnny are wholly characterized more in the three lines spoken between them than in their individual actions. When Johnny asks his neighbor, ‘Can I have some?’ and is met with a curt ‘Get away’, the true qualities of both characters are brought forth. The narrator, a newly selfish sinner, refuses to share his cherished prize with someone he thinks does not deserve it. Cross-Eyed Johnny utters the words ‘Your hands are dirty’, revealing his own hasty judgment and the tangible and metaphorical mess plastered across the narrator’s hands and conscience. The lack of dialogue in Soto’s piece is what makes the inclusion of a few simple sentences so imperative; the two characters play off of one another and inadvertently characterize each other through the simple lines they share.

Colby Sears said...


As the narrator takes pleasure in eating his stolen pie, he begins to take notice of the commonplace objects around him that accentuate the truth of the sin behind his deep, dark secret. He hears “the plumbing that howled underneath the house”, a noise he believes could possibly be coming from God himself in the form of a personal, muffled message. He presses his ear to the cold pipe and listens to it “howl like the sea”, hoping to receive some kind of advice from God assuring him that his innocence is, in fact, not entirely lost. The precious container that once housed his valued possession “glared” at him as it rolls away in the wind. The boy feels as if everything around him – the neighbors, the trees, and the pie tin – has caught sight of his actions and knows exactly what he has done. Although he comes to the conclusion that the best things in life are stolen, these petty objects, in his mind, seem to threaten his chances of escaping the situation without fault.
Gary Soto’s autobiography integrates religious references, all-encompassing characterization, and wicked personification to fully convey a drastic change in the young mind of a boy sinner. As a child who once “recognized the shadows of angels flopping on the backyard grass” to one who feels like “sin was what you took and didn’t give back”, the narrator is a character who varies undeniably from the abiding adolescent he once was. Any sense of innocence he once possessed disappears entirely, and the simple act of stealing a pie incites an unforgivable, unholy sin in him that will always have a lasting impact on him.

Kayla said...

Intertwining the meanings on the surface with the ones within the poem “Otherwise”, Jane Kenyon seamlessly incorporates obvious repetition, ambiguous diction, and a metamorphic metaphor, to stress the importance of life because “It will be otherwise”.

Jane Kenyon repeats the phrase “It may have been otherwise” several times throughout the piece. She goes beyond that simple repetition to repeating structure within the phrase, as in, portraying “It might” at the end of three of the lines and starting the following line with the rest of the quote. Kenyon allows the reader to focus on what is deeply important. She refocuses the audience from the simplistic structure of the poem to the un-structurability of something as simple as life itself. Jane has basically created a formula for an average life, is always changing. The changes in life are constant and Kenyon highlights that with her repetitive use of “otherwise”.

On the surface, Jane repeats the use of a particular phrase to grab the attention of the audience and redirect it to her choice of specific words. Kenyon explores this deeper meaning by purposefully leaving gender ambiguous. She does not use husband or wife; she artfully words her piece with “mate” instead. The author may be female but she does not distinguish the sex of the speaker with her word choice. Kenyon’s use of “uphill” and “silver candlesticks” exposes an even deeper meaning within her work.

Kenyon meticulously creates three visual layers in “Otherwise”. The outermost layer is the literal meaning and displays a person who lives and doesn’t recall exactly how their day went. Peel back that layer and Kenyon has structured the unstructured, life. She has given life a format and any day could fit this puzzle with the phrase “It might have been otherwise”. With another layer gone, Jane Kenyon intelligently shows a panoramic view of life and death beyond a single day, but of all days. The “strong legs” of a young human take them out of bed and go “uphill” quickly with the speed of “dog” years and rests at the peak, “noon”. They eat near “silver candlesticks”, a symbol of many anniversaries, and ends up again in a bed. The bed forms a bond uniting youth with age and life with death.

Jane ends with repeating “It will be otherwise” and signifies the inevitable possibility of death lurking behind every part of life. Life may not make it out of bed in the morning and the day and life of this mere mortal is now “Otherwise”.

Anonymous said...

Christine Lattouf Date: 10-11-12 Class: B.

Analysis: Otherwise

Shifting from morning to noon during an ordinary day in the poem Otherwise, Jane Kenyon employs powerful repetition, ambiguous characterization, and subtle enjambment to convey the idea “It might have been otherwise.”
Whether it is a novel or poem, every author has a reason for using a word or a line more than once. In the poem Otherwise there is a hidden meaning that Jane Kenyon is trying stress. The line “It might have been otherwise” indicates that the day Jane Kenyon is describing could have been different. The author is sending a message through the poem, which is the perfect day that is illustrated in the poem, will never come again. She is implying that today will never to be same as tomorrow so enjoy it while it lasts. With the epiphany occurring in the last line, “It will be otherwise,” tells us that truly life will be changing for this individual. In addition, repetition recommends the reader to pay attention to the repeated phrase because it has a significant meaning behind the literally denotation. Repetition solidifies the main idea to the reader, and helps them remember why each detail was described. “Milk, ripe, flawless peach. It might have been otherwise,” which alludes to the idea that all the little details in life that people take for granted could have been different.
With many considerable and open-ended meanings, the author utilizes ambiguous characterization, which allows the reader to interpret the text anyway they like. The reader can connect with they poem if they picture themselves as the people in the poem. In the poem Otherwise, the author does not specify the physical appearance or the gender of the person narrating nor their spouse’s. Ambiguity allows the poet to describe concepts and features, and express their thoughts in several different ways. The poem to makes the reader to think about the universal idea, instead of having the universal idea in plan sight, which allocates the reader to think at a whole new level.
Stepping back from hidden meanings and new levels of thinking, an author also focuses on the physical structure of the poem. In the poem Otherwise, the author incorporates subtle enjambment, which assistances the reader in reading the poem at a suitable pace. This device allows the reader to pause for a brief moment to understand and absorb what the reader his just read. It allows the reader to savor the moment and think about what they have just read. It is a parallel between the reader appreciating what they have just read, thinking about that moment, and the narrator savoring each minute their life. In each pause, the author can emphasis their main objective to writing this story. Jane Kenyon pauses after “It might have been” and then goes on to the next line to say “Otherwise”. This emphasis the universal idea of the poem; the day could have been different, but it was perfect with every little detail.
One must appreciate the basic day-to-day life style they possess. The narrator describes their perfect day, and tries to enjoy every moment they have left before it is gone. The narrator’s perfect day will change because every day is unique in it’s own way, and no two days can ever play out the same way, even if one tries. The narrator realizes that changes are going to occur in the future, and so they try to enjoy every moment of the day because “It will be otherwise.”

LCerullo said...

Reflecting upon a specific moment of childhood through the lens of his adult self in his autobiographical narrative, Gary Soto recreates his childhood experience via biblical allusion, lustful imagery, and grand realization to delve into the workings of his guilty six-year-old self and his profound learning of “sin”.
Emanating throughout the entire passage are multiple examples of biblical allusion. Diving in, a near motif of the passage is the “shadows of angels” which Soto consistently refers too. This metaphor in context likely alludes to Soto’s awareness of God’s law (possibly his moral compass), or how he knew instinctively that he was expected to do the right thing; for if he knew he must, then the pie would never have been stolen. Additionally, Soto recalls hearing “God howling in the plumbing”, another metaphor conveying his inner morality and conscious. “A squirrel” is seen by Soto, nailed to a tree; clearly to serve as a Christ figure passing judgment upon his crime. Following the theft of the pie, Soto also references Eve and the apple to conjure a crisper image of the awareness and guilt that followed the sin, his childish misstep.
Contrasting his childish manner, Soto interestingly utilizes lustful imagery to animate his consumption of the pie. “The slop was sweet and gold-colored” a vivid description. But it is Soto’s diction which reimagines it as a lustful experience, examples include: “the slop”, “I laid more pieces on my tongue”, and “wet finger-dripping pieces”. This serves a couple purposes, not only does it paint an intimately detailed picture of himself consuming the pie, it serves to demonstrate that he was partaking in an act of taboo, of sin in the form of theft and his feast. Soto analogizes the act to a sexual one to communicate the severity of the crime to display his full awareness of the wrongness of theft (likely the only known crime to a child besides possibly murder) paralleling his ravenous desires.
Acting upon those desires, Soto expresses how he came to a few unfortunate realizations of the world around him. Though utilized as an excuse, Soto writes how “boredom made me sin”. This re-iteration of the age old cliché “Idle hands are the Devil’s Workshop” presents a dichotomy between Soto’s childish innocence and a dismaying universal truth, how everyone even children are capable of sin. Another realization Soto experiences is expressed in the line: “The best things in life come stolen”. Once again that dichotomy is further broadened upon as Soto discovers another odd but true fact of the life adding to his already overbearing guilt while also preying upon the fascination children share with objects that are not their own. Each realization compounds together in the last line: “I knew sin was what you took and didn’t give back”.
Each and every detail, allusion, and realization come together in the last line, his true discovery of sin. It is the enlightening conclusion which Soto’s experiences, desires, and emotions amount to. Soto recreates his past with the literary passion of his matured self to fully understand and realize what he could not as a child, to understand the guilt which held on to him through the years, to demonstrate that the “howling of God” did not go unheard.

Anonymous said...

Shifting from the stability of the present to the unknown future in “Otherwise”, Jane Kenyon employs subtle characterization, simple diction, and an extended metaphor to share gratitude for the little things in life, because one day “it will be otherwise”.

Through the gradual characterization of an old person, Kenyon sets up an appreciative point of view. The character arouses in the morning standing on “two strong legs” that cement her to the reality that the best things in life are tangible, and deserve the recognition a youth will not give. The person then continues with their traditional ways “to the birch wood”, not “the woods”, on a long trek “uphill” against gravity and the forces of nature like age that deplete the body of its energy reserves, requiring it to retire early “at noon” for a nap. Yet the characterization is so modest that the gender is left uncertain, as it can be either “mate”, male or female, to express how there are no limitations on who or how small a thing can be acknowledged. Through the embodiment of an old mind Kenyon reveals through their reflexive consideration the positivity in the world.

The fortunate diction captures the fleeting goodness of life. Their legs are “strong”, not stricken by arthritis, the milk is “sweet”, not curdled, and tastes good just like the “flawless peach”, which is not tart, but to perfection. The character goes to work, not upset like others who only go for the money; they work for the “love” of it and being loved by it. This love then sets the table with “silver”, which is customarily saved for special occasions, but to them to be alive every day is a celebration itself. They recognize the finer qualities of things, giving them the grace they deserve for supplementing their life with such richness. And through these celebrations, comes the pattern of life.

A metaphor encompasses the poem giving life and death to the beginning and end in its structure. The character was born when they “got out of bed”, ready to see the world and live in it as they rise, eat walk, and work as part of a “plan”. This activity is stifled by the nap in the middle, as the character slows down, now making time for their spouse as they eat “together” with “candlesticks” in a romantic mood. To only fall back into bed where they will observe the “paintings on the walls”, the world from beneath the sheets where they will die. This circle of life within these two stanzas reflects the brevity of it, and that no time shall go wasted.

Everyone lives and everyone dies, few enjoy the moments in between, the simplicity of reality. Possessions will always be here, even when the world ends, while all ghosts will remain in a separate realm, unable to reverse time and touch the things they once had. This world should be lived to the fullest with the best things and mentality relished and less regretted.

Ashley Carlson

Anonymous said...

Jennifer Golden
AP English B
Analysis Essay (pg 1)
Transitioning from an understanding that life could be different to a commanding assertion that it definitely will soon, in Otherwise, Jane Kenyon incorporates clever enjambment, artful diction and strong symbolism to convey the theme of the importance of being grateful for and embracing simple, easily overlooked cornerstones of everyday life; as one day she is certain that, “it will be otherwise”.
To really call attention to the small things which have huge impacts on everyday life, Jane Kenyon incorporates a large amount of enjambment. Many times she breaks up her lines between the noun and its preceding adjective, which truly is the key to unlocking the meaning of the poem. When describing food, breaking up her lines between “sweet” and “milk”, and between “flawless” and peach” places a pause between the adjective and the noun, allowing for the adjective to truly sink into the readers’ mind. What is important is that the milk is sweet, since another day it may not be, or there may be no milk, and the line break between those two words emphasizes that so it is not ignored that milk is not just milk, but delectable milk. In the second stanza, it is crucial to realize that the candlesticks are silver, since the silver may symbolize the speaker’s attempt to make sure that there is something nice at the end of the day, since it may be their last, thus one line ends with “silver” and the next begins with “candlesticks”. The phrase “it might have been otherwise” is written four times in the poem, three of the four times it appears as, “it might/ have been otherwise”. This splitting in the middle of the phrase highlights the idea that maybe tomorrow will be different, maybe it will not occur at all; and allows for the unbroken last line to truly solidify the point that it will not always be that way. No longer stressing that “might” but instead the “otherwise”, and someday, “it will be otherwise”.
Jane Kenyon chose simple diction for her speaker: simple, yet powerful. In the last lone of the poem she chooses to no longer say “might” but to replace it with “will” This small change truly envelopes the universal theme of the poem. That “might” allows room for doubt that maybe it will change but maybe it will not. Then, that “will” shocks the reader with the truth. Even if life is simple and boring now, it is going well, as one day this will not be the case. Again, the diction is not very sophisticated and formal, but instead is more like the average person’s conversational tone. This shows how the speaker could be anyone: me, you, your next door neighbor. Life, and death, are not selective. When Jane Kenyon describes her speaker’s bedroom, she does not elaborate on any frills or added comfort or personality. The fact that it has walls and a bed is enough because some people sleep each night without either. Kenyon also employs certain words that may have connotations other than the everyday use. The speaker takes the dog “uphill” to the “birch wood”. Perhaps it is a long, hard walk instead of a literal climb in altitude, yet the speaker is willing to embark on the long walk because maybe one day she will not have a dog, or legs. The fact that she says “birch wood” instead of just “tree” shows that this is a specific tree the speaker spends a lot of time at, or maybe she is describing the setting to how it could be anywhere or anyone. Later Jane Kenyon writes that the speaker “lays down with” her “mate”. The word mate avoids committing to any gender for either person, again showing it is anyone. It also may show that they have a deeper, lifelong connection to each other and appreciate each other’s company. One day one of them may be gone. Thus, through simple word selections, Jane Kenyon illustrates the idea that life will change one day for anyone and everyone.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer Golden (pg 2)
Throughout Otherwise there is subtle, but forceful symbolism. The entire poem is describing the course of one day, but at the same time it describes the course of life. “I got out of bed on two strong legs” may perhaps be birth, and youth due to the strong legs. This is the start of life. Then comes life’s need for food, followed by a first companion: the dog. Next, the speaker is working a job, meeting a mate, rewarded for hard work with the silver candlesticks. At the end they return to bed symbolizing death. This is essentially the baseline for anyone’s course of life, and in the end the speaker is back where he or she started, only with imminent death, unsure of where he or she is headed. Perhaps the delectable milk and fruit symbolize food handed to one as a child, or as pleasures overlooked until they go wrong. Perhaps, silver candlesticks are retirement, or maybe they symbolize a wealth that is not monetary; a wealth that is richness in thought, understanding that the end of the day deserves a special treat since they may not see the end of a pleasing day every again. The “otherwise” could be a less plentiful day, or could be anything in the realm of possibilities following death. Jane Kenyon’s symbolism shows readers that at some point everyone’s life will change, and everyone will someday know the otherwise.
Jane Kenyon’s poem Otherwise is not lengthy, and is not largely complex in its structure. This is because that complexity, that true meaning is hidden with the speech of everyday life. Jane Kenyon is calling for one to be more appreciative of life’s gifts because they are known to be fleeting. There is also some duality that encompasses not only the idea that life will soon change, but also that one day it will be over. Jane Kenyon utilizes diction, enjambment, and symbolism to really shed led upon both of these scenarios. Scenarios of which will one day apply to all of us, as the speaker states “one day I know it will be otherwise”.

Anonymous said...

(Part 1)

Detailing the afternoon when an innocent boy becomes a sinner, in his autobiography Gary Soto integrates multi-faceted characterization, invading dialogue, and heavy religious allusion to convey a loss of innocence as well as the realization that “the best things in life come stolen.”
Though this narrative is relatively short, the characterization offered here extends several layers into the individuals at play and reveals their innermost sides and values, often showcasing a symbolic duality. The young Soto character “in [his] sixth year, in [his] tiny body” demonstrates an imagination of the world which suggests great thought and careful consideration of his surroundings and their relation life as a whole. His vision of “shadows of angels” is childlike as well as mature and far sighted, giving the individual an air of innocence and naivety that lies on the brink of wisdom and experience. Cross-Eyed Johnny is a character present in the story for the purpose of facilitating introspection of the author. This child appears as an oddball neighbor with whom Soto refuses to share, but is eventually recognized as the vehicle for the judgment he has to face. As Johnny succeeds in getting to author to admit “I felt bad,” he achieves his purpose of bringing the issues of sin and guilt to the forefront of Soto’s waning conscience. The small exchanges between characters and the readers in this piece offer deep insights into the relationships as well as the turbulent and changing mind of the author.
With the vast majority of the piece being comprised of internal dialogue, the few utterances between the boys here are particularly penetrating and serve as points of confrontation. Cross-Eyed Johnny’s question of “‘Can I have some?’” is posed innocently enough, yet it forces both himself and the author to acknowledge that something of interest and desire is occurring. This line places value on Soto’s possession of his stolen good and introduces an element of lust to the already sinful situation. In reproachful response to Johnny’s question as well as the bubble of guilt which it caused in him, Soto demands that both Johnny and the guilt he inspires “‘Get away’” and leave him to “greedily push big chunks of pie” into his mouth. This command attempts to squelch not only the unwelcome hovering of a peer, but also the sinking realization of wrong in a moment of indulgence. Having been rudely cast off, Johnny leaves the author with the notion that “‘Your hands are dirty’,” subtly, yet effectively condemning him for his actions and his joy for having done them. This whispered accusation, along with the others, marks the exchanges not only of children one summer afternoon, but of humans who together descend to a darker depth of thought and action.


Bryanna Dague

Anonymous said...


(Part 2)

Along young Soto’s dark path into a world of sin and corruption are shining biblical allusions which illuminate the true meaning of the actions and thoughts of a child as he falls from innocence. The coincidence of Jonny’s crossed eyes is symbolic because this perceived flaw is the one trait that makes him capable of passing the judgment that he does of the author. The position of his eyes juxtaposed with the word “cross” give him literary merit as an individual capable of seeing in a more pure or truthful way. Johnny’s decision “to climb his roof and sit and watch” the author devour his pie furthers the sensation that he is above Soto’s sins. However, the lusting to share the dessert is apparent and results in a “fall”, such as the biblical fall from grace, which “hurt him” too. Witness to the events of the day, and also a comfort to Soto after his deed is done, is the cold water, both in his glass and under his house. To him the water is a representation of the voice of God. The realization that “water soon filled [him] up more than the pie” drives home the deepest sense of guilt to the boy, reaffirming that the theft and gluttony he had demonstrated that day were not fulfilling acts, but hollow ones which provided only short term pleasure. The voice of God all but shrieks this to the boy as he lies guiltily under his house and contemplates his choices.
The journey of a six year old Soto from a young free spirit with fantastical imaginations about the world to a slightly tainted thief with a taste for the coveted is abrupt and strikes the young man, along with the reader, with its severity and implications. Over the course of an hour the child is transformed into someone who understands the pleasure of sin and appreciates it for its meaning. The depth of his own mind and those around him help to magnify the implications of his deeds, as do the verbal communications in which he engages. He learns that while we are likely to sin for our own pleasure, it is often the eyes or words of another who bring us to the realization of our actions and force upon us the acceptance of what we have become. While part of his mind remains loyal to and considerate of God, his hands and mouth continue to revel in his gluttony, reflecting the uncontrollable desire which manifests in each person uniquely and has the ability to overpower us and cause us to act in sinful ways. In an experience integral to growing up, a good child by most standards forfeits his pure childhood innocence as he falls victim to the powers which can influence or control even good people. As he experiences the permanency of an action he finds out that “sin was what you took and didn’t give back”.

Bryanna Dague

Lucas Lavallee said...

I read a report on Schizophrenia, a poem by Stevens. The report helped me focus on what is actually important to write about in the essay instead of giving a ton of useless and meaningless words that take up time and space that will only lower your grade if anything. I also have a better comprehension of how to use "sexy quotes".

Lucas Lavallee

Anonymous said...

There were a lot of adjectives and it was very descriptive. It was a rich essay. -Paul Karcis

Matt Morel said...

From The Flea, I have learned that love can sometimes be cruel. That two loves can intertwine and then separate due to death itself. Love can drive people apart, leaving only the other spouse to blame for what has happened.

tristan hynes said...

I had reead the analysis on schizophrenia,I have found that the author of the report was quite thorogh when pelling back the lyers to the poem, trying hard to find the most important details and meanings of it.

Brad Driscoll said...

after reading Amanda ward's essay I learned that this is a story about a boy that steals a pie but ends up feeling guilty about it without her directly explasining that in her essay. Also she used the quotes in a good way by having them part of her own sentance insted of just saying the quote and explaining that in a boring wayshe organized the paragraphs very neatly.

Anonymous said...

After reading Joe Carlin's analysis, I realized that in my own analysis I could use better diction, maybe some more sophistocated words. In his analysis Joe was also very in depth when explaining the evidence that he provided, which helped convey the message of the analysis; I could be more descriptive and in depth to convey the message of my analysis as well. Hannah N.

Anonymous said...

I read the AP analyses on "The Flea" by John Donne. In this analyses, Seth Killingbeck used descriptive language which made the analyses interesting to read. She also used quotes directly from "The Flea", which proved that he has read and understood the poem.