Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Author Valerie Laken uses several instances of onomatopoeia to express emotion, in the case of Colt, and to create a sense of distance between Colt and Jack. When frustrated with a lawyer who suspects Colt may have willingly sacrificed his thumbs to the machine, the injured man shouts “Gaaah!” and then “Zeeeeeeeeeshandagahhh!” These nonsense sounds are the closest Colt ever comes to expressing his true feelings. This device is effectively used by Laken to articulate the frustration, desperation, fear and horror that Colt cannot put into words. In Jack’s world, onomatopoeia is used to create a wall of protective sound between him and his father, and between him and his own feelings about what happened. Laken writes pages of “PAT pater pater pater Pat pater pater pater Pat” in an effort to help Jack disappear into the protective rythms of his drumsticks. But even this repetitive beat on his thigh is not enough to distract or drown out the silent noise of the house.
The separate worlds of Colt and Jack are connected by shared sentences that run across both columns of the page. These instances provide readers with a visual cue that the two worlds are colliding. Colt yells “Take it! Take the goddamn money and the little drummer boy and drive yourselves straight to paradise, set yourselves up! I’m fine right here.” This line is shared by both columns, indicating that it is heard by Jack. At this point in the story, it has been established that Jack is in a separate part of the house, so it becomes clear just how loud Colt would have to yell in order to be heard by Jack. Similarly, the inclusion of “Duh. Guh. Duh Guh Duh Guh Duh Guh Duh Guh” in Colt’s column indicates that he can hear Jack playing the drums. The fact that this line begins with periods and then seems to escalate to faster and faster drum beats, allows the reader to interpret Colt’s reaction to Jack’s playing – he doesn’t like it.
In her story Separate Kingdoms, author Valerie Laken effectively creates two separate worlds within one house through her use of onomatopoeia and shared lines. The reader is able to step into this world while listening to the same soundtrack as the characters. The infrequency with which the two worlds collide, indicated by connected lines on the page, clearly marks the separation between father and son.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
• The relationship between the formal, visual aspects of topography and the production of meaning in a printed text is a main concern as a book artist
• Visual Images: shapes, size, and placement of letters on the pages contribute to the message being sent.
• These messages can’t be spoken in language, rather through visual choices
• Visual characteristics of typefaces and the effect of the arrangement of words on a page
• Language has an approximate relation to experience and that the account of an experience may be constructed along several different linguistic lines.
5 Visual aspects of Laken
• The first Visual Aspect I noticed is the title of the piece “SEPARATE KINGDOMS”. The title is in all capitals. To me this says that the title is important to the story.
• Under the title there is a dotted line, this line separates the title from the author. I interpret that this could also have something to do with the title, seeing as it separates the title from the author.
• The authors name is also in all capital letters, but it is in a smaller font than the main title.
• The piece is arranged in a almost news paper arrangement with a gap running down the middle, separating the writing into two columns.
• On page 6 the author connects the two columns
• Also on page 6 one of the columns consists of two words Guh and Duh
• These words start out with the first letters capital with a period then the author removes the period, and finally into all lower case letter with no period.
• On page 7 the whole right column is the beat from the last page.
• On page 8 we see the rhythm patter come to an end about half way through the right column ending the way it began.
I believe that Lakens point was to show the reader how one tragic event can pull a family apart, and once that disconnect has happened it is even harder to pull it back together. The author wants the reader to feel the resent of the father, the confusion of the mother, and the separation Jack had from the family during this crisis. I also feel that the author wants us to know the importance of communication and how hard it can be within a family going through troubled times. After reading this I feel Lankens purpose is that family is important, but can be torn apart without communication.
For her visual choices Laken chooses to use a two perspective approach hence the two columns; from the prospective of the father and the son. Where it gets interesting is that both columns are happening at the same time. She also chooses to cross a few sentences over into the opposing column to let the reader know that the even that occurring is interrupting the other.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
In the story “Shame and Forgetting in the Information Age” by Charles Baxter he leads the reader through why he believes that the over saturation of information we get today has a huge effect on our memory. The epigraph of this story, “we have transformed information into a form of garbage” by Neil Postman, lets us know right away how technology has changed who we are and how we are shaped by the Information age. When we are constantly bombarded with information we lose a lot of our own memories and this sometimes can result in shame. Baxter has chosen to break his piece into five parts to get his point across.
In the story “Shame and Forgetting in the Information Age” by Charles Baxter leads the reader through why he believes that the over saturation of information we get today has a huge effect on our memory and how technology has taken the place of our own memories. “There is more information all the time. No one can absorb all the information. No one wants to. The day ends, not with physical exhaustion, but with data-fatigue or data-nausea.”(Baxter Pg.146) When we are constantly bombarded with information we lose a lot of our own memories and this sometimes can result in shame.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
In part one, Baxter takes a more personal approach and tells us a story about his brother. His brother Tom passed away at the age of fifty-nine from a heart attack. His brother’s life, to say the least, was in shambles. Besides his health problems his financial situation was a mess, but even though the chips were stacked against him he was cheerful and upbeat. “Every week over the phone I’d ask him how he was, and he’d say, “Not too bad for an old man!” Tom was an outcast of the information age.”(Baxter Pg.141)
Tom had trouble in school because he had a problem learning printed information. This was before they coined the term “learning disability.” Reading and writing gave him troubles and before he knew it he was thrown into the computer age. “He had a computer and claimed he didn’t know how to use it. For years, long after I had begged him to stop, he would introduce himself exuberantly as “the dumb brother.”I was stricken by the phrase, made heart-sick by it, and by his efforts to turn this source of shame into an identifying badge.”(Baxter Pg. 141) This is a great example of how the Saturation of technology can cause people to feel left out, and even feeling of stupidity.
One of the other things that Baxter tries to get across to the reader is how technology is taking the place of our own memories. “”Your memory, can now in casual conversations refer to your computer’s memory rather than your own. This usage signals a conflation in the way that we think about the data we remember, as opposed to what we would call “our memories.””(Baxter Pg.145) Baxter knows that people don’t really refer to their own memories as data, he just wants to make the point that the two memories, data memory and information data, get all crossed in our minds. When this happens we can lose things that we want to remember opposed to the useless data that we confront in everyday life.
“The technology of data processing has increased exponentially year by year, resulting in high-speed forms of planned obsolescence in software programs (Windows, ect.) and in the computers themselves. The only frustrating limit to this technology, one CEO told me, is the speed of light, which is now too slow.”(Baxter Pg. 145) I believe Baxter is trying to show the reader how technology today will never be enough. It seems that there will be an ever turning, money making cycle of information technology that we will have to learn to live. One of the main things I think is that we are slaves to this technology. There is no way around it. If you want to go to college you need to be very proficient on how to use a computer, if not, you will struggle. After college you have to still know these skills for your job, if you don’t, this will cause your employer to spend more money on you to train you, thus making you less employable. Baxter has a good point after you have read what he has to say, and then you go back to the epigraph “We have transformed information into a form of garbage.” I believe this is true, and will be true for years to come.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Shame and technology:
"He was among the ranks of those who cannot easily process written information, the data-disabled" pg.142
Memories and Shame:
"His father-his and mine-died in 1948 when Tom was nine years old, and at the funeral some man, some friend of the family, told Tom, "you're not going to cry, are you?" it wasn't a question it was an order. "he told me to stuff it" Tom said later. And stuff it he did, with food." pg.142
Technology vs Memory
"your memory can now in casual conversation refer to your computers memory rather than your own." pg 145
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
"He wanted to be remembered. To this end, he was horribly, shockingly, punitively generous to everyone. He was always giving something away. It was in his nature to do so, but it was also a request: please remember me; after all I remember you. Every gift from him was a remembrance. He was bankrupt twice, mostly because he gave everything away." (Baxter Pg. 143)
In the second section Baxter moves from informal to more of a formal narration. In this section he talks about how we as a society have a different view of memory than we did before due to technology. "your memory can now in casual conversation refer to your computer's memory rather than your own. the usage of signals a conflation in the way that we think about the data we remember, as opposed to what we would call our memories." (Baxter Pg.145) I believe that this also refers to the title of the piece. Also dealing with memory, he talks about strategic amnesia. This is how we as people chose what we want to forget about our memories, or history of ourselves. I think that this had a lot to do with the shame part in the title. when people feel shame about something that has happened in their lives they tend to want to forget it ever happened.
In part three he goes on to talk about an essay called "The Storyteller" by Walter Benjamin. "Benjamin goes on, in a wonderfully suggestive but somewhat unclear manner, to differentiate between a memory for information and memory for experience." (Baxter Pg.149) I believe that these two types of memory can be used for different things. Your information memory could be used for your job, or school while your experiences can be used to shape a persons life and personality. I agree that these are two totally different types of memory that can be used for two totally different things in a persons life.
In part four titled "Shame, Innocence, and Memoir" Baxter goes on to talk about how peoples memoirs are looked down upon when really it's more of a breath of fresh air from all the information that people are bombarded with now-a-days. "But if we follow the lines sketched out by Benjamin, we might discover that the literary memoir is, like therapy, a local antidote to information-poisoning." (Baxter Pg.151) I think that this addresses the memory and information part of Baxter's title. The memoir is one of the last true ways a person can express a memory.
"Maybe Erasure is Necessary: The Literature of Forgetting" is the fifth and final part to Baxter's piece. In this part he addresses the effort of time spent trying to remember history and preserving personal memories as a cultural artifacts. I this final part he addresses trauma into the story of history and shame. "History is narratable as long as its events occur in some logical way, but when trauma and shame are introduced into the mix, history is corrupted from the inside." (Baxter Pg. 156)
I believe that Baxter was trying to get the point across that our memories are important in this day in age. No matter how much technology we have we still need to deal with our own memories, good or bad. I think that we also need to be able to have a strong filter for what we want to remember and what we need to remember because today there is so much useless crap out there that gets in the way of the important things in life.