Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Readings for 10/8

The readings of The Cask of Amontillado, by Edgar Allan Poe, and My Last Duchess, by Robert Browning both deal with ideas of retribution, while the readings of American English, by Barbara Hamby, and America, by Tony Hoagland, deal with the American life. In Poe’s story, the speaker seems to have the intent of getting revenge on an enemy, Fortunato- “But when he ventured upon result, I vowed revenge.” In relation to this story, the narrator in My Last Duchess deals with deceit as well. The narrator obviously knows much more than he lets us know. The Duke realizes that his first wife was not the greatest woman; she often flirted with others and seemed highly unfaithful- “She thanked men, - good! But thanked somehow- I know not how- as if she ranked.” Towards the end of the poem, the reader may conclude that the Duke murdered his late wife, and looks forward to marrying again.
In America and Ode to American English, we read about themes of America. In Hamby’s poem, we read about all the things that America had to offer for the writer and everything she misses dearly about living there. She explains these things in a comic tone as though she is generally making fun of American culture, yet loves it all the same. For example, she misses the “Spanglish” or the “smart-talking, gum-snapping hard-girl attitude.” In Hoagland’s poem seemed to be much more serious and quite negative. The writer discusses the ideas of media and the corporate world. We read about how students and educators are stuck in this world of negative perceptions, and people are not happy with who they are because of them. This is something that I believe a lot of people can relate to in today’s society, especially teenagers as myself.

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