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Strangers, by Toni Morrison, was published in 1998. Morrison was an American novelist, editor and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for Beloved and the Nobel Prize in 1993.
9.11.01: The Skyscraper and the Airplane is an essay by Adam Goodheart, which was published in 2002. Goodheart is an American historian and essayist. Born in Philadelphia, Goodheart received an A-B average in American history at Harvard University in 1992. He was a founding editor of Civilization magazine and is a member of the editorial board of the American Scholar. In 2006, Washington College named Goodheart the new director of the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.
The first factor that connects the four stories is their concept
about a person’s humanity. Strangers talks about how as humans
we’re so use to judging someone by their appearance that we automatically
judge even people we don’t know. The media distorted our perception of how
someone is “supposed” to look like and what how they are expected to act.
In 9.11.01, Goodheart describes how we are ignorant to put so much trust into
airplanes and ships. Despite how sturdy and how greatly they are engineered, these transportation devices are still have their own defects. Just because they may be all
strong and all mighty doesn’t mean that they can’t fail at one point or another. Stranger
in the Village and Superman and Me both deal with the same concept as Strangers,
judging a book by its cover. In Stranger, the author felt intimidated by how the villagers were acting as if he was a distant creature on another planet because it was the first time they had ever seen a black man. While in Superman and Me, Alexie was discriminated by his peers for being Native American. They expected him to be dumb like the rest of the other Native Americans. The second factor that connects the stories is that authors Adam Goodheart and Sherman Alexie, both currently reside in Washington. Superman and Strangers were both published in 1998. The third factor is all four essays are very descriptive both literal and figurative. Each story paints a beautiful picture in my head, I can feel how betrayed
Morrison felt in Strangers, the engineering behind airplanes in 9.11.01, how
alienated Baldwin felt in the village and how determined Alexie was to prove
his peers wrong.
Linda - I felt that the author deserved what she felt because although she was being friendly, we were taught not to talk to strangers.
Anthony - I felt like the author was being nice to the woman that was fishing, and the woman took her kindness for weakness. In the end, I felt like the author realized the fishing woman was just a part of herself that she was covering up, and that all people are really the same, but they just show different sides of themselves to seem different.
Steven - I felt that the story was very interesting. It was also rather truthful when talking about how whatever we see on the outside of a person isn't always the same as what is actually on the inside.
Jose - I feel sad that Toni was lied to by the stranger, and the overall engagement of the two showed me you can't judge a book by its cover.
Abdul - The irony is that the main character was a stranger to herself and her life. The author tried to say that strangers are a different version of us.
9.11.01 reading falls into the "Cultural Analysis" section of the book, which I do agree with because it shows you where skyscrapers and airplanes were originated from, and why they were created. The story also falls under the "Cause and Effect" category, mainly for the same reasons, but also adding what the outcomes were for building bigger skyscrapers and planes, which would cause other builders to try to push the limits, and build taller buildings, and bigger airplanes. It also describes what effect these objects would have on people in their day to day life.
Linda - To be honest, I felt that the story was boring but I thought it was interesting how the author compared the two tragedies of the Titanic and 9/11.
Anthony - I felt that the reading described how skyscrapers and airplanes are alike in the fact that they both are man-made objects. The author describes their origin, similarities, and why skyscrapers and airplanes were created in the first place
Steven - I felt that the story was almost shocking at first. When you think of 9/11, it's a very sacred topic. He isn't bashing what happened at all (more like he is taking a cynical approach on it), more so the fact that we put so much faith in man-made objects that are labeled as indestructible when we know that anything can be destroyed or broken.
Jose - I liked the unique tone that the author uses along with the idea of the skyscraper and airplane: "Fragile containers for even more fragile flesh and blood."
Abdul - The irony is the uniqueness of the essay because when we are about to read a paper about 9/11, we expect to read a bunch of ideas and facts but in the essay he discussed it in a different way.
Stranger in the Village was published in 1953. Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and critic. Baldwin's essays explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies. Most notably in mid-twentieth-century America, and their inevitable if unnameable tensions with personal identity, assumptions, and uncertainties, yearning, and questing.
Stranger in the Village falls under "Cultural Analysis" in the book, which i think is spot on. It's also a description because the way he describes the other villagers, his feelings towards them, and their feelings towards him. He describes ho he as an African American man, in a village where the people seem completely oblivious to other races, has to get the villagers to accept him by getting to know his personality.
Linda - I sympathize with the author for what he was going through but I felt that he was very brave to settle down in a village in the middle of nowhere.
Anthony - I felt that at first it seemed to me that the reading was about a man being new in this small village, and feeling like a stranger. After reading on, I found that it was more about the history of African Americans, and where he came from, and how the author feels that he is a stranger only because nobody has taken the time to get to know him yet.
Steven - I felt that the author was in a very odd situation, and it was very interesting to read about how he felt like an alien, how the people in the village had not really seen an African American, or an American for that matter. It was cool also to see how his relationship with the people developed too; they shifted from trying to figure out what he was to who he was as a person.
Jose - I didn't like how James Baldwin was harshly judged, and I agreed with his statement "as time passes in the world, so does peoples perspectives about others."
Abdul - It was ironic because the people did not change the way that they see him even when he lived with them for a while, but he went over it when he said the he is American.
Superman and Me falls into the "Education" section of the book. While this is geared towards his education, I feel like this is "Description" because he describes everything in great detail, making you feel like your are reading his comic with him, using phrases like "Superman is breaking down the door" really shows you what he is looking at when he reads. I also feel like it's a "Narrative" because he is trying to tell his own personal story about his life and also illustrates who he is today.
Ideological & Philosophical
Strangers - Toni Morrison
Strangers fell into the category "Portraits of People and Places" which to me is also "description." The author goes into great detail describing the woman that was fishing, from the clothes she was wearing, to the fishing pole she used. She is also very descriptive of her emotions. The story also seems like a narrative because she's telling the story of this event in the first person point of view.
Estrange - "Why would we want to know a stranger when it is easier to estrange another?" She is saying that it is easier to no longer be close with someone than to take the time to meet someone new.
Chagrin - In the narrative, Morrison tries to understand the intensity of her chagrin, and why she is missing a woman she only spoke to for fifteen minutes.
Morrison's Strangers taught us to not judge a book by its cover but also in a more negative light; don't let a book's cover disguise bad pages.
In Strangers, it was amazing to see how much trust the author put into someone they just met. The way society is today, it's crazy how many kidnapping cases there are.
Don't Judge a Book by its Cover
By: Rita Bourland
Don't judge a book by its cover lest you miss chapter three
Where all things deep and mysterious appear,
It's clear by chapters seven through eleven that clarity will come later,
You must refrain from judging too soon,
You thought you knew; it's true, that cover misled your view
Yet the final pages reveal the notions you formed
Before reading page one were woefully wrong,
You judged too soon before you knew the truth behind the cover.
9.11.01: The Skyscraper and the Airplane - Adam Goodheart
Cupola - A cupola is a small dome on a drum on top of a larger dome that was the uppermost part of a building.
Dirigible - Capable of being steered, guided or directed.
Monolith - "Instead of one story building overlooking fields of flowers, he built gargantuan monoliths overlooking a windswept plaza."
How we have the idea that we are safe when in actuality, anything can happen at any time
In 9.11.01, it was astonishing to see the author touch on 9/11 in a different light, which is known to be a sacred subject.
Titanic - 1997
Directed & Written by: James Cameron
Stranger in the Village - James Baldwin
Epithet - Baldwin is looked at as an "epithet black man." his physical characteristics in the eyes of the villagers cause Baldwin to feel pain. He states "Some thought my hair was the color of tar, that it had the texture of wire, or the texture of cotton. If i sat in the sun for more than five minutes some daring creature was certain to come along and gingerly put his fingers on my hair..."
Baldwin realizes that he shouldn't feel intimidated by the villagers' reaction towards him since they were only curious as they had never seen a black man before.
In Stranger in the Village, it was shocking to see how this small village in Switzerland had never seen a black man in their life before.
City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
Superman and Me - Sherman Alexie
Superman and Me was published in 1998. Alexie, who was born October 7, 1966, is a poet, writer, and filmmaker. Much of his writing draws on his experiences as a Native American growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington.
Linda - This was for some reason my favorite story. I admired how determined the author was to prove his classmates wrong and was happy when he was able to reach his goal.
Anthony - I felt that this reading is about an Indian boy growing up on a reservation, trying to break the mold, and become something great, without the support from his heritage. He took the time to teach himself how to read and write, and it seemed that he didn't fit in well because of it.
Steven - I felt that it's a great story about a boy who learned to read from something with a negative literary stigma, a comic book. I can see why it helped him learn too; kids associate things when they are learning. For example, when he saw superman bursting through a door, he assumed that's what the words said in the chat bubble, and that's how he said it even if he was right or wrong. It helped him pick up on the concept of reading a lot quicker also.
Jose - I enjoyed the literal descriptive language used and I liked how Sherman Alexie felt that his accelerated reading helped his chances of survival.
Abdul - It was ironic because the author saw himself different than other Native Americans and he worked hard to prove that.
Prodigy - I feel like prodigy well describes the author because he was not just an accelerated reader, he also taught himself to read. Sherman states "The words themselves were foreign, but I still remember the exact moment when I first understood, with a sudden clarity..."
Alexie believed that the Superman comic taught him how to read. He was determined to prove his peers wrong that not all Native Americans were stupid and pushed himself to read anything he could get his hands on. Eventually, Alexie became a successful writer; he even came back to the reservation to teach the kids there! The story also had a political sense to it. In the story, Alexie stated "A smart Indian is a dangerous person, widely feared and ridiculed by Indians and non-Indians alike." This stigma was placed by his culture and society.
In Superman and Me, what was shocking was when the author said "As Indian children, we were expected to fail in the non-Indian world. Those who failed were ceremonially accepted by other Indians, and appropriately pitied by non-Indians." I can't believe that being smart and succeeding is frowned upon, and that essentially being a failure would earn praise.
I Don't Want to Be - Gavin DeGraw