Learning is expensive

Not only will I be in debt $84,000 when I finish my degree but my books for one semester cost over $700. WHY?! How is this fair?

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The Minotaur – Ted Hughes

The Minotaur

The mythical allusion of the title sets the poem, the multi-syllable description adds value and significance. The significant positioning of responsibility  through the dictation choice “smashed” and “demented”. the Pronund : my/ you are separate participants – emphasis on the argument and conflict. The Minotaur is a classical story, half man and half bull, in my own imagination when I think of Plath in her violent swings I think of a bull in a China Shop. But the Minotaur is actually Plaths father- only a little unflattering right? This Minotaur ate seven boys and seven girls. It is important to remember that the representation of Plath is not Plath.

 

In this poem the tone is specifically blame, as this one sided conversation is directed at specifically Plath. His criticism ironically becomes the basis for encouragement, with him as her mentor, a nother topic open for discussion by each of the poets “followers”. The first stanza is giving us some history.

The mahogany table top you smashed

Of my mother’s heirloom sideboard-
Mapped with the scars of my whole life.

Hughes addresses Plath directly, as she is the ‘you’ who destroyed his mothers sideboard, something we assume was somewhat important to him. “Scars of my whole life” symbolize indignation.

…That day
Demented by my being
Twenty minutes late for baby minding,

The second stanza, “That day” – a factual recount, is filled with emotion, of her rage, the use of the word “demented” is extremely strong. He belittles the source/ cause for this anger by pointing out a trivial thing “By my being twenty minutes late”, this can be seen as an example of her aggression from something so small, it is even as if her rage knows no bounds.  He is setting the audience up to understand from his side how hard it could be to deal with her. This also emphasizes her abnormal behavior – witnessed by their children.

‘Marvellous!’ I shouted, ‘Go on,
Smash it into kindling.
That’s the stuff you’re keeping out of your poems!’

The third stanza brings a new tone, one of encouragement, to a reader it sounds almost sarcastic when read aloud. He has set himself up as her mentor, encouraging the rage to flow through her poems, and if you have ever read Daddy then you know exactly what I am taking about. “The stuff” that Hughes believes Plath is keeping out of her poems alludes to her misrepresenting herself  in her poetry.

The fourth stanza in my opinion is where it starts to get interesting and catching, Hughes uses encouragement such as “And we’ll be away” as a good  natured apology, “considered and calmer,” The sarcasm and anger are response to her violence before he recovers.

The goblin snapped his fingers
So what had I given him?

The demonic image is placed in our mind, it can be seen as a change in Plath, her rage, mischief maker, nasty, evil or passion. The non-human influences of Plath in reality. The rhetorical question is him asking if he is responsible for the path she took, was he responsible for Arial? Was he the topic? Was it his contribution to her poetry what destroyed her? This rhetorical question can also be a scape goat, he unintentionally did this without knowing or understanding gave advice which worked against her mental health.
For Hughes it can be seen as a moment of clarity, illumination for an internal aspect in Plath, “deep in the cave of your ear” – his consolidation that it may have been him who woke the goblin inside her which caused her destruction.

The fifth stanza is the direct relation to the minataur, the “skein” to which he is refering is the thread used to get out of the labyrinth in the old tales, Hughes has a vast knowledge of myths in his other poems, so it is not surprising that he has used one to liken her to a tale like this. The second line of this stanza is in second person, he is isolating himself from the blame of the breakdown of his marriage to her.

Left your children echoing

To us this may just be related to a separation of parents or a divorce but he is making direct reference to her suicide in which she did something unusual, he made her children a snack, sealed them off from the rest of her house before she killed herself. They can be seen as a sacrifice, she is no longer alive in the labyrinth. This is guilt for Plath, her effect on others was to leave them isolated, vulnerable and frightened.

Hughes also uses the word left to symbolise the consequences of her death, not only on her children but on her mother also. The responsibility  she had left.

Left your mother a dead-end

Plaths father is a regular occurrence as a theme for things related to Plath, look at The Shot, Her father is represented by both very defiantly, sometimes as a god and other times as a devil. In this poem her father is the horror at the centre of the labyrinth of her life “Horned, Bellowing”, a reversal of the Christ figure though risen – in the original they are free, but in this, Hughes makes her confined forever- dead. The tone is lost and diminished, emptiness.

And your own corpse in it

A final chilling image – as if Plath wanted to join him in her own lonely end but no reunion was made.

The rhythm of the final line – the single syllables produces an empathic and conclusive feel. Choice is the crucial point in the poem, Hughes directs blame, she owns her actions  “your mariage” – he is freeing himself from responsibility as if it was doomed from the beginning rather than the liberating tale.

The mahogany table-top you smashed 
Had been the broad plank top
Of my mother’s heirloom sideboard-
Mapped with the scars of my whole life.

That came under the hammer.
That high stool you swung that day
Demented by my being
Twenty minutes late for baby-minding.

‘Marvellous!’ I shouted, ‘Go on,
Smash it into kindling.
That’s the stuff you’re keeping out of your poems!’
And later, considered and calmer,

‘Get that shoulder under your stanzas
And we’ll be away.’ Deep in the cave of your ear
The goblin snapped his fingers.
So what had I given him?

The bloody end of the skein
That unravelled your marriage,
Left your children echoing
Like tunnels in a labyrinth.

Left your mother a dead-end,
Brought you to the horned, bellowing
Grave of your risen father
And your own corpse in it.

Fulbright Scholars – Ted Hughes

Ted Hughes, in my opinion, one of the best poets to have graced us. Today we will be having a sneak peek at 6 of his poems. Almost all of his later poems are about Sylvia Plath, his first wife and the conflicting perspective of her and the situations. While text is only a representation of a persons thoughts, emotions and feelings, it can hardly not be bias. Their relationship together was caotic and intense, which lead her to write Ariel and him to write Birthday Letters. Some say he held her back, others say his writing was better or that without one the other couldn’t write. There is a lot of conflict between the two poets fans about their relationship, seven months after they separated, she killed herself – I am unsure how anyone could not help but feel guilty in the same situation. A tragic event, when Plath committed suicide: he lived in the public eye and yet never publicly spoke about it. The whole of his Birthday Letters collection is very painful, even as a reader.

 

The first poem we will be looking at is Fulbright Scholars. To set out the setting, Plath is the Fulbright scholar and I believe that this poem is directed as if he is addressing her.

To me it is about memory, the nature of a hazy and fleeting memory. Before he met her, a long time ago, he is looking back – he is consolidating what happened.

Where was it, in the Strand?

This abrupt opening is unsure and not certain. The sentences are incomplete, fractures nature of a memory being pieced back together – he builds on it as he goes.

The mood of the poem is gentle, musing, with no bitterness. It can be described to show the casual aspect of their relationship.

The third line has caught my eye: was it fate or destiny: this particular line really always captures my attention.

For some reason I noticed it.

 

The pattern throughout the poem reinforces the haziness of a memory, like trying to catch smoke. The actual word choice is very intriguing as it was picked deliberately I feel.

Not what it hid.

A danger, a point of turning in the relationship it was the ominous end of innocent aspect of details., the hiding of the real and authentic self, the public projections vs the private projections. Ominous.

And your grin.
Your exaggerated American
Grin

Later he specifically makes a reference to her nationality as a cultural difference, age and experience of war – he remembers the fear and rationing of war close to home, while she was far away in America, away from the war and too young to remember. The big divide of WW2. The falsity of her grin.

The particular choice of words in the following sentences is unusual, and the choice of using “Frightners” could relate to the issues that would come up, it may also be reference that she was psychologically disturbed. The unknown threat.

Then I Forgot

The contrast against his almost clarity, foreshadowing what would happen, dichotomy – he draws attention to how much her recalls of himself, then of their first encounter. He forgets her and remembered his role in the situation.

First fresh peach I had ever tasted.

Certain and clarity, he remembers eating a peach and the photograph (second line)more than he can recall of her. The “fresh peach” can be seen as the innocent  ignorance – like a fresh new relationship and all the promise it holds. Positions the reader for the complexity of the relationship and what is to come. He can be seen as absolving himself by confirming to himself that he was unaware.  It is a one sided dialog, but he is addressing her and also us – ‘the memory is shady I am innocent’.  The peach could also be used to symbolise plath, a young girl, virgin. Also the fresh peach – a luxury – coming out of war stricken country and the rationing that went with it, it is not unusual that this was his first fresh peach.

 At twenty-five I was dumbfounded afresh

Youth and naivety – foreshadowing that he was not prepared for what followed, this statement is detailed, his memory is clear for this fact.

Perspectives will never equal truth. This is just a representation  – he does try to be objective but it is hard. The way this poem is constructed, it is personal – skews truth > put together in a conscious way. Many of his other poems are direct responses to her poems, as his own personal version.

When reading this poem, read to the punctuation – not the lines – this is the use of enjambment. This is unusual for Hughes since he was usually a free verse – rhyme was not as important to him.
There are many rhetorical questions – which would have been answered has she not committed suicide.

The hot sun, hot pavement – peach : all sensory imagery. Intense, violent – love. They consumed each other.
The impression of Sylvia Plath from this poem is:

  • Innocent
  • Fresh, young and new
  • She appears double sided – anxiety, fear and trauma as well as ‘frightners’ a link to psychological illness
  • The complications are warned for what was to come.

 

The beginning of the end.

Where was it, in the Strand? A display
Of news items , in photographs.
For some reason I noticed it.
A picture of that year’s intake
Of Fulbright Scholars. Just arriving –
Or arrived.  Or some of them.
Were you among them?  I studied it.
Not too minutely, wondering
Which of them I might meet.
I remember that thought.  Not
Your face.  No doubt I scanned particularly
The girls.  Maybe I noticed you.
Maybe I weighed you up, feeling unlikely.
Noted your long hair, loose waves –
Your Veronica Lake bang.  Not what it hid.
It would appear blond. And your grin.
Your exaggerated American
Grin for the cameras, the judges, the strangers, the frighteners.
Then I forgot.  Yet I remember
The picture : the Fulbright Scholars.
With their luggage?  It seems unlikely.
Could they have come as a team? That’s as I remember.
From a stall near Charing Cross Station.
It was the first fresh peach I had ever tasted.
I could hardly believe how delicious.
At twenty-five I was dumbfounded afresh
By my ignorance of the simplest things.

Book Club

I feel like I am lacking the drive to finish books because I feel a huge loss each time I finish one.

To people who don’t enjoy reading books it may give the impression of being shallow and narrow minded.

But in fact books are a gateway to broaden ones perspective .

 

So I am going to aim to finish reading a book every two week as we all have life and commitments getting in the world. Then I hope that I will be able to write a post on it and get feedback from anyone else who chooses to read it with me.

I forgot I loved to read. I hope that it never happens to you.

 

Originally the stating book I wanted was Mansfield Park, I know its an old book which many people had to read for school and not pleasure. BUT I want to read it, it has been sitting on my shelf since I read emma and pride and prejudice for A levels so it needs to be read.
…. But I can’t seem to find it and my libraries copy is lost so it is now along to :

Will be Pride and Prejudice and Zombies… All these books your library should have.

NOW! Give me some feedback so we can move away from the Jane Austen and look at some new books or you will be forced to endure the 47 books in a pile in my room waiting to be read.

That moment

That moment as you hit the frigid flooring, the glassy illusion.

The shards hit, burning as if red Hot.

As you plunge,the burning droplets wrap themselves around you, Stealing your breath as it crushes against your chest.
An invader, it moves silently soaking your thoughts, making them all forgotten. Like a brain freeze.

Too bad you slipped on the ice.

Books

Books are how I measure who I was. I remember what stage or phase I want though as I read each book. At 14 I only read manga books, 136 manga books sit on my shelf and I can’t bring myself to get rid of them. It was a stage when I felt most alone in reality so I let myself be engulfed by the joy of imagination. Soon that led back to fantasy and adventure. I have never been a fan of books that lack adventure or magic. Of course there was a few years where I lost myself and hid from the joy books could give me. At the time I felt I didn’t deserve it. But everyone deserves the ability to get lost in a good book. To free themselves of the confines of who others think they are and let themselves run wild. To be a lion tamer when you live in a big city or to be able to love who you want in a society where you don’t have a choice.

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Fools Gold Trilogy Book Review and Details

Alright to these books fall under Fantasy and Adventure in my books.
The Fools Gold Books are amazing. I really can not describe how lost I became in them. The first book had be captured by the first chapter.
The Series follows Katla Aransen, a Fiery Red Head From Rockfall.
Rockfall, A island (exactly how it sounds – it has rocks, sheer cliffs that look out to sea) of the Northern Isles, ruled by King Ravn. The people of Rockfall are basically a fishing and farming community, with Katla working in the smithy forging swords. Her Father, Aran Aranson, the Master of Rockfall and her mother, Bera Rolfsen at his side.

The Society of Erya, while it does have a great divide between genders, it is much more relaxed than the Istrian society. The world, Elda is divided into Eyra (Norther Isles) and Istria (The Southern Empire)

Eryan Women of Rockfall: “…Women listen to no man and are not told what to do or controlled by the males in their families. As children they are educated alongside boys in schools, they can often choose their own husband and renounce them if the marriage went awry.. They run the farms when their husbands were away and held sway over their own households, even when the husbands came home;.. they could earn their own money, and inherit estates; some women traveled and fought and had no man at all, but lived by their wits and their skills…” While Women of this society are still not equal to men it is very similar to a westerner view in my opinion.

Istrian Women: Men write the rules and basically send people to the fires (Burning people alive, a very medieval thing ) who don’t observe the rules. The religion followed in Istria is very “restrictive”, rules enforced by punishment and pain. Women “help men perform worship”, they are considered sacred and important.. well my understanding is they are “sacred” for their bodies. Women are locked away and covered up by Sabtka, kept like toys used for pleasure, The religion rules the society, and women are something to be owned and have no freedom. Remind you of another culture in today world?

 

God Of The North: Sur –  God of the Wind and the Sea, of “rock and wild places and creatures of the deep”

God Of The South: Falla – Goddess  worshiped through sex basically because it is “The goddesses will”

 

 

North: Pale Hair or Auburn Haired, with blue or grey eyes with light skin weathered by the elements.
The dress is usually more encouraging movement.

South: Dark skinned and Dark Haired,
The dress is usually expensive or brightly colored fabrics (sometimes outlandish), women are painted u like a doll, their hands, if their family is well off or a houris (Courtesan/ Whore) to someone rich, then their hands may have henna designs on them with painted nails.

Characters You Should Know


 Rockfall

Aran: Master of Rockfall, A Captain of his ship,

Bera: Mistress of Rockfall, Runs her home strictly, tries to equip Katla with the skills to be married and is fighting a never ending battle with her daughter.

Halli: Eldest child of Bera and Aran, loves Jenna with a passion. Favors Katla over Fent

Fent: Twin of Katla, Has Fiery Red hair, and also a personality to match, just like Katla.

Katla: Twin of Fent, skilled at making swords, Feisty fighter, determined to be her own woman and not marry

Jenna: Daughter of a Shipmaker, Katla’s best friend, long blond hair.

Erno Hamson: Cousin to Halli, Fent and Kartla, A strong man in love with Katla ( remember back then it was ok to marry blood relatives) Adopted by Aran and Bera and lived with them from a young age

 

 

Unknown

Virelai: Strange, Tall, Pale man who practices magic. He looks after Rose Eldi, travels with nomads

Rose Eldi: A pale Woman who can capture men’s hearts and minds

Nomad

Alisha: A footloose (Nomad), who is daughter of the great scryer, Alisha

 

 

South

Tycho Issian: Religious Fanatic and cruel crazed man who is driven by lust.

Selen Issian: Daughter of Tycho, is a lovely girl who is used to the high life and has no intention to marry Tanto Vingo even though it is intended to clear her fathers debts

Tanto Vingo: Handsome exterior but corrupt and cruel, vile man. He wants Selen Issian at any cost

Saro Vingo: Brother to the cruel Tanto, a kind soul who loves animals and has only compassion for those around  him. Tanto and Saro’s relationship is strained, Tanto the eldest and “golden child” has become twisted and the torment he likes to put on Saro becomes more and more as the story progresses.

 

 

 

The books by Jude Fisher ( Alias name) were eye opening, looking at a mirror image of our own world, the only difference is, magic was a big thing then ( worth burning for)

To Compare the two cultures without needing to even state it obviously shows just how well these books are written.
First book starts off with Allfair, A annual event which all traders will attend, it is a great chance for the two cultures to exchange goods, the only problem is the long and forever ongoing hatred between the two. The temporary hold on war is nearly shaken by Katla’s adventurous streak after climbing Sur’s Castle, a Rock that rises of the Moonfell Plain, the only problem with her rock climbing exploits here is that the Southerners, see it as Falla’s Rock, a sacred place where no scantily clad woman should be allowed to climb, that starts off the adventure of a lifetime, literally a lifetime, with Katla’s friends and family killing and being killed as the tale unfolds.