Thursday, March 20, 2014

Immersion

Source
Home portrays a soldier returning home and trying to immerse himself back into the norm of society, a subtle task it may seem, but adding the time period and him being african-american only add to his struggles. Not only is the fact of racism and inequality prohibiting him from a normal existence, his emotional distress from fighting in a war, seeing his friends die and killing without thought, only add inner turmoil in addition to the outer turmoil the world is giving him. Frank's only bright spot in this world is his sister, whom now he must save from this dangerous and unequal world he's come to know firsthand.

Source
This novel addresses not only the impact racism and prejudice has on one's idea of home, but also addresses the many obstacles soldiers face when their tour of duty is over and they want to blend back into the norm of society. Time lost in service to one's country can allow things to change so drastically that one would not recognize the home they once knew before the left it in the rear view mirror. War changes people, that is a fact that cannot be argued, it binges the mind with all sorts of questions and warrants a re-evaluation of one's life, one's home. Frank lost his buddies, his homeboys, during the war and all he has left of the one bright spot in his life, his childhood, is his sister. His sister who now needs his help or she might die. So Frank does what any big brother would do, he comes to her rescue. Of course his emotional state, caused by his experiences in war, cause many inconveniences along the way but as long as he can get to her he still has a little hope to resurrect some aspect of the home he left in that rear view mirror years ago. Franks one chance at immersing himself back into society, his version of society, is to return home with his sister and live. Live a life that he thought he'd never see again, like those figures left in the rear-view mirror.

Tech Revolution?

One of the arguments that keeps coming up in class is "What are the good and bad consequences of all the social media we are currently using?" We apply this to each tech we go over, such as Twitter and Facebook and then discuss them, but I would like to apply them to another argument that has come up often amongst my friends and I and that is:With the social media we have today, there will never be another Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia because people will know quickly about atrocities committed. I would argue that if anything, social media has done nothing to prevent similar things from happening.
Social media has been great as far as being able to connect with eachother and other people around the world. At the same time, it has created a numbness to the human spirit. Since 9-11, we basically live in a 24-7 news society and social media has only added to it. Things that you wouldn't know about until you watched the evening news or read a newspaper are suddenly given to use in minutes. Five minutes after it happened, the Boston marathon bombing was already making the rounds on Facebook along with pictures of the maimed and broken. We have watched everyday for over a decade a long grueling war on terror. Because of Social media, we live in a celebrity worshiping society, were a single tweet can ruin a career, but we see the pictures of an American ambassador being dragged through Benghazi, and don't blink an eye because we are now so used to seeing violence its no longer shocking or disturbing to see.
 Now we sit and hear how North Korea is committing horrible atrocities, and even feed people to dogs, and as a society we merely shrug our shoulders. We watch as Russia annexes Crimea and prepares to invade Ukraine, just like Germany did to Austria and Czechoslovakia, and go "Oh well", as are politicians shake limp fists and shout hollow threats at Russia. We still watch as millions are murdered in Africa, and say "Glad I don't live there."
As we enter this new Era of Appeasement, Even as the world is more connected then ever, we are lock stepping right into the same mistakes as the past.
German troops enter Austria
Russian Troops enter Crimea


Lotus

In Toni Morrison's novel Home Frank Money has to save his sister, Ycidra, from a doctor who has been doing experiments on her uterus. Frank is a veteran suffering from what appears to be post traumatic stress syndrome. In the end he is successful in saving his sister and is able to overcome some of the trauma he lived through during the Korean War. Also he is able to be at peace in his hometown of Lotus.

Frank and Ycidra needed one another growing up. Their living conditions were not the greatest and their parents worked all day to provide even the smallest things for them. Their grandmother Lenore resented them to a point where she would berate and humiliate Ycidra and leave Frank to take care of her, even when he was only four and Ycidra was a baby.

Frank's home was with Ycidra in Lotus the whole entire time of the novel. While he wanted nothing more than to get away from Lotus, but that all changed upon returning with his very ill sister. What was the change?

As people get older then tend to grow and appreciation for the things they once disliked. Frank was able to see that Lotus was and is a place where people help one another. He brought Ycidra home and people immediately jumped to help her. They helped her without asking for money or for anything in return. They just needed time.

The point belongs that coming home to Lotus, Frank and Ycidra weren't helped by family, they were helped by the community. The only contact with family they had was when Frank asked his grandfather a question about horses and dogfights and even then there was no sense of a deeper relationship than that of friendly acquaintances.

Frank and Ycidra found healing and home in one another, through all the trials they went through they were still able to find peace. Much like the actual lotus flower that can thrive even in a dirty mucky swamp, good prevails over evil in Home and hopefully in life.



Always Run Home

No matter what happens, we always run home. It doesn't matter what happened in our home town or even what happened in our childhood house, we always run home.

In Toni Morrison's Home, we meet Frank and Cee Money. Frank has always been the protector of his little sister Cee as they lived in a town called Lotus. They grew up with an abusive grandmother and parents who worked 16 hours a day, leaving Frank and Cee to rely upon each other. Cee always tagged along with Frank and his friends, and Frank always protected Cee.

Because of the poor quality of life in Lotus, Frank needed to leave home. He signed up to join the military and left Cee to rely upon herself. After Frank left, Cee found a boyfriend, got married, and headed for the big city to escape Lotus. However, once she arrived in Atlanta, her husband stole her car and left her to, once again, take care of herself. Her grandmother was furious with her for car being stolen and made it impossible for Cee to return to Lotus, even when her father died. Cee made money any way she could. With her neighbor's help, she was able to get a job in a diner. However, she was not making enough money to live on. Upon hearing her neighbor's news, Cee discovered a job working for a doctor.

After Frank is discharged from the military, he suffers from PTSD and memory loss. After being discharged, he finds himself handcuffed to a hospital bed, unsure of how he got there. He tries to settle down with a girlfriend, but she kicks him out. He finds himself drinking whenever he feels upset or anxious. He sees the color of the world draining, and for a short time, is left with a black and white world.

He receives a note that says that his sister is dying. He tracks her down and finds her almost dead in her employers house. Even after all of the bad experiences in Lotus, he doesn't have to think where to turn to for help. He picks his sister up and runs straight for home. Even after living in a crowded house with little food, he runs home. Even after living with his abusive grandmother, he runs home. Even after seeing someone buried alive, he runs home.

Home is the place we always run to.
Home is the place we find healing.
Home is the place we find shelter.
Home is the place we find solutions.
Home is the place that doesn't ask questions, but instead, accepts us without needing an explanation.

Always Run Home

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

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                                                 New School Technology



     As one being from the old school as some will call it, I am finding all the modern every day

technology both interesting and confusing.  When I decided to return to college, it was a bit

overwhelming being that most students were the same age as my own children.  I did not own a

computer or laptop let alone really know how to use one. I laugh now but I needed help in turning

one on.   E-mail ?   what is that ?  I found it pretty easy once I knew what I was doing. 

  I quickly found out that every professor assumed all students  had access to or owned some

kind of computer.  Classrooms and procedures were very different from when I attended

Lakeland Community College in 1999.  At the beginning of last semester, my daughter

helped me purchase a laptop, but she had to set it up also.  I became more familiar with

sending and receiving e-mails and using Google to look up information which became very

convenient not having to walk to the library for help.

   Around Christmas time, my son decided that I should get a Facebook account, oh my....

I had seen one but was not sure what it was all about.  I am still working on learning all

aspects and occasionally have to ask for help.  I have found family and friends that I

otherwise would not know where they were.  I only use it to chat and have not posted

anything myself.

   Now I come to the English class learning more ways to communicate using Twitter and Blogs.

I was not even sure what they were but it sounded like something I should know to keep up

with the times.  These two measures are also interesting and I can see how one would use them.

It has been hard to comprehend all of this at once, but the more I try to use them, it becomes

easier The world is at your finger tips I heard it said somewhere. That is definitely true. One

can find information, people, and what is going on in our crazy world.

  When it came to the Prezi presentation, however, I was totally lost trying to figure out

videos and putting pictures up.  I think this will take a long time for me., but in the mean time,

I will play around with the Twitter . I am not sure I will use the Blog  but we will see when I

am more familiar with all of the modern day ever advancing technology. Thanks for the class,

and all who are helping me,  and yes, of course, my kids.

  



Thursday, March 13, 2014

You don't have anything if you don't have the stories



            One of the joys that accompanies being a writer is healing catharsis. I have been blessed to have been born into a family of Italy's magical healing tradition known as Stregheria. We don't hover over cauldrons making dead baby paste. We teach, heal and write. The best healings coming from the stories about the ancestors. When you know your past, your pride in that past helps you forge a future.

            Leslie Marmon Silko understands the healing power of stories. In Ceremony, she utilizes a technique akin to listening to a conversation filled room. The novel, taken as a whole, resembles the percussive rhythm of a bar filled with customers' voices. As we cannot make sense of everyone's brokenness and subsequent need to tell their own story simultaneously, we hear one broken shard speak at a time. It is the collection of all these broken shards and their search for catharsis that, when forged together, turn the novel into a stained glass window.
            Silko deftly utilizes a form of medicine that both the Italian Streghe and the Native Americans share, the teachings of animism. If not for bear, mountain lion and grasshopper, Tayo may not ever feel quiet in his stomach. The Sun and Spiderwoman become for him, the caring, compassionate parents he never had


            Betonie’s assistant symbolizes Bear medicine. Bear magic is: “the place where all solutions and answers live in harmony with the questions that fill our realities. If we choose to believe that there are many questions to life, we must also believe that the answers to these questions reside within us” (Werneke 57). Tayo begins by struggling with where he fits. He is caught between the white blood that tells him to shrug off superstition and the Native blood that tells him to repudiate all that the white man represents. But he is a blend of these two worlds. He cannot fully recover unless he finds self-acceptance and that self-acceptance must be rooted in a marriage between the two worlds that made him. Bear tells him this. Bear medicine is the Ursa Major that resides in all of our chakras. It is only when we are in harmony with ourselves that our minds, bodies and spirits can flourish in true alignment. It is only then that the Great Bear stands tall.
 

            When Tayo realizes that his guts are no longer churning, it is while he is so busy reclaiming Josiah’s lost cattle that he has no time to think about how stressed out he is. In his reclamation of the cattle, he takes back his power and acts on behalf of his family, rectifying a wrong. It is in this moment that he meets Mountain Lion:

 

Mountain Lion can be a very difficult power totem to have, because it places you in a position to be a target for the problems of others. You could be blamed for things going wrong, or for always taking charge when others cannot. You could become the perfect justification for the insecurities of others.

Mountain Lion medicine involves lessons on the use of power in leadership. It is the ability to lead without insisting that others follow. It is the understanding that all beings are potential leaders in their own ways. (Werneke 105)
 

Tayo has always been a point of contention in his Auntie’s house. She has made him a scapegoat for all that ails the Indian Nation from that moment he took him in. But he never threw it back in her face, not even at the end. In taking back the cattle, he becomes the man of his house, as is evidenced in Auntie’s inability to look him in the eye. The Mountain Lion itself assists Tayo in achieving his goal and is then subsequently assisted by Mother Nature in thanks.

After Tayo leaves Betonie’s ritual, he seems to have settled within himself his ambivalence about his lineage. When Harley and Leroy ask him what he is looking for as he hangs his head out of the truck he answers: “grasshoppers” (Silko 145). He knows he must learn to walk where his shoes have never been. A new path, a clean slate, is all that will wipe his bones and belly clean of Japan. Grasshopper medicine, “includes jumping across space and time, jumping without knowing where you will land, leaping over obstacles” (Woolcott). Tayo must redefine himself. He has worn the labels of mother’s mistake, Auntie’s burden and American soldier/pawn. Grasshopper takes him on a new journey, one on which he travels toward himself.
 
 
Tayo heals through the animism of his heritage and the stories of his people. He overcomes the Ck’o’yo Kaup’a’ta of P.T.S.D. with the aid of the songs and poems of his people. Spiderwoman teaches the Sun how to overcome the Gambler. In this way, the story instructs Tayo how to overcome himself. The stories are the parents he never had. The medicine is the love he’s always deserved. Silko is right. You don’t have anything if you don’t have the stories, for without the power of narrative, readers could achieve no catharsis, and neither could we writers.

Monday, March 10, 2014

new world

I found a new world.  I now know how to blog and tweet.  I never knew how much of the world has changed.  I can keep up with my friends and family with this knew technology.  It is all good fun.  The tweets are a little hard because you only have 140 characters to use per tweet.  But I mean this stuff is kool.  I know that I can follow certain people on the twitter.  I can find out about up coming events, shows and concerts.  The blog is the same thing.  I can put information on the posting and get the news out even quicker.  I had some reservations at first but then as I started doing it more it was so much fun.  I think from now on I am going to do this more.  It saves me on minutes on my phone.  I can keep up with more people this way also.  This is such a relief to know this stuff.  I have to thank Beth for turning me on to this new stuff.  Now I am going to have something to do when school is out for the summer.  This can help me find new friends that can help me with the things I like to do.  Prezi is on the other hand is a little complicated.  It does not give you all the instructions to work it.  I know it can be done but someone must show you how to maneuver around in it.  I could not get the video part to work, but I did get the font , size and color change necessary.  That is my not so good project.  But I am going to try to use it more for future classes.  This is a whole new world for me.  Now I have a way to keep up with the times.  I am going to continue to work on these new media exchanges for my own personal use.  However, my prezi presentation was so mediocre.  Everyone else had a way better presentation than I did.  I was so scared to talk in front of the class.  But it was so nice to know this stuff.  I am going to save the notes for this class to continue working on the new media stuff.