Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Week 3, Post B

Referring to pace 119.
In this particular section August really gets in Jacob's face. Jacob's whole career was going to be based on working for the well being of animals. Prevent them from getting sick, and treat them back to good health if they do become ill. However, here, August stops Jacob from even giving some animals water. He explains that until Uncle Al (the ringmaster) can get paid by the mayor, and guarantee the stay, he can't let Jacob care for the animals. Hardly ever standing up for anything, Jacob becomes angry and calls the philosophy bullshit. August is known to go from a charming man to a complete asshole and control freak, and when Jacob talks back to him he becomes alarmingly enraged. Jacob goes back to his quiet self while August yells at him, but it is noticeable that his attitude has slightly changed. This is yet another example of Jacob's growth and development in the real world.

Week 3, Post A

Pages 92-137
sublime (p. 93): supreme or outstanding: a sublime dinner.
formaldehyde (p. 104): a colorless, toxic, potentially carcinogenic, water-soluble gas, CH2O, having a suffocating odor, usually derived from methyl alcohol by oxidation: used chiefly in aqueous solution, as a disinfectant and preservative, and in the manufacture of various resins and plastics.

(Quote on page 102) "He turns back to me. 'I'm goin to find Al.'
'You better find Marlena, too.'"
This quote is an example of foreshadowing because Jacob thinks that when Marlena hears the gunshot, she'll do something to hurt herself because she cares for the horse so much. My prediction is that this is a minor quote and she'll be just fine.

(Quote on page 102) "'Come now, darling. Don't be a wet noodle,' says August. "You know we were out of meat."
This quote is a direct metaphor coming from August. He means he wishes Marlena would stop blaming August for, well, basically his own actions.

(Quote on page 118) "I open the orangutan's a pan of fruits, vegetables, and nuts on the floor. As I close it, her long arm reaches through the bars. She points at an orange in another pan.
'That? You want that?'
She continues to point, blinking at me with close-set eyes. Her features are concave, her face a wide platter fringed with red hair. She's the most outrageous and beautiful thing I've ever seen.
'Here,' I say, handing her the orange. 'You can have it.'
She takes it and sets it on the floor. Then she reaches out again. After several seconds of serious misgivings, I hold out my hand. She wraps her long fingers around it, then lets go. She sits on her haunches and peels her orange.
I stare in amazement. She was thanking me."
I believe that this entire descriptive quote is an example of symbolism. I believe this because now Jacob has seen a lot of depressing things so far on his circus journey. In fact, before this beautiful sighting of what he specializes in (animals), the reader hears only negatives about what goes on around the circus. But then we are presented with this beautiful image of an orangutan's kindness. I believe that it symbolizes hope.

The emerging theme must be hope and looking to the future with an optimistic perspective.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Week 2, Post B

Pages 62-64.
"It's my mother. She's standing in the yard in a cornflower blue dress hanging laundry on the line. She has wooden clothes pegs in her mouth and more in an apron tied around her waist. Her fingers are busy with a sheet. She's singing quietly in Polish.
I'm lying on the floor, looking up at the stripper's dangling breasts. Her nipples, brown and the size of silver dollar pancakes, swing in circles--out and around, SLAP. Out and around, SLAP. I feel a pang of excitement, then remorse, and then nausea.
And then I'm...
(next chapter)
"I'm blubbering like the ancient fool I am, that's what."

Although part of this quote is kind of disturbing, this quote has a great significance to the transition Jacob is undergoing after leaving college. He wants to experience new things, but at the same time he feels guilt in going against what his mother would expect of him. He has been living in the moment, and now really wants to go back to his old life. At the end of the quote when Jacob says, "I'm blubbering like the ancient fool I am, that's what," it is the beginning of the next chapter. This book has now been split into two stories, the first about the main character as a young man experiencing new things as a college-run-away, the second about his life in his nineties. Reading the second split part of the book, Jacob can be viewed as a grouchy old man, in great denial, and wishing he could go back. He talks about how he looks nothing like himself anymore. He also fathered five children, is a widower, and now lives in a nursing home with a bunch of old people he doesn't like, and a bunch of nurses he doesn't like either. The second story I predict is just going to be about him at the ending of his life. I also predict it's going to be more about what he believes now and what he is still learning even in his mid nineties.

Week 2, Post A

Pages 46 - 91.
shanghaied (p. 49): To induce or compel (someone) to do something, especially by fraud or force: We were shanghaied into buying worthless securities.
scuttle (p. 51): a short, hurried run.

(Quote on page 53) "I lean over, retrieve his hat, and brush the dirt off. Then I hold it out to him.
After a moment, he takes it. "All right then," he says gruffly. "I guess that's all right."
when Jacob hands the hat back to Camel after Camel had thrown it down in anger, it is a symbol that Jacob has a deeper respect for Camel, maybe for his experience in the circus.

(Quote on page 52) "Camel scrambles suddenly to his feet. 'Ho! There he is. There's that S-O-B now.'
'Uncle Al! Come on! We gotta get you on the show.'"
This is an example of foreshadowing. It indicates that they will put Jacob into the circus, but I predict there will be many complications.

(Quote on page 55) "'Some of these guys. Right off the fucking boat.'"
This can be viewed as a metaphor. Coming off the boat meaning that they are foreign and have come right into the job directly from there country without taking the time to learn the American heritage.

He is dreaming. "... I feel a pang of excitement, then remorse, and then nausea."
The significance of this quote is that he had just come into the sinful adult world and he still is adapting. He had just encountered a stripper the night before, which did excite him, but he is remembering his old life that he recently left behind. He dreams about his mother doing laundry and hanging the clothes up to dry outside. He then cries. This quote shows the beginning of a transition.

The theme for this section is: Entering Into Adulthood. I believe this is the theme because the reader can begin to see the transition from his controlled life to a new spontaneous one. He's a small man in the big city now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Week 1, Post B

Page 19: "This morning, I had my parents. This morning, they ate breakfast.
I fall to my knees, right there on the back stoop, howling into splayed hands."

Jacob's life up until the point of his parents death had been going smoothly and according to plan. He was in veterinary school, and doing very well. He had been studying very hard for his final exams in his final years of college, which would grant him his degree to become a certified veterinarian at the top of his class in one of the best schools around. He had two loving parents and a great community back home. And in college, he had a girlfriend who he was on and off with. That may not sound like something he would want, but he wasn't exactly into the relationship part of the experience of having a girlfriend. He fantasized about seeing a woman's naked body and especially about sex. He had not gone very far with this girl, but to him the future seemed promising. All aspects of his life were looking up, right up until the fatal car crash that took his parents. This quote expresses what he is feeling right after the accident. He is experiencing a disaster that could potentially change his life for the worse forever. He is confused and doesn't know what to make of the situation. He is experiencing some denial and somewhat blaming himself. If only he could have come into contact with his parents that morning,things could have been different.

Week 1, Post A

Pages 1 - 45.
statuesque; pg. 44: like or suggesting a statue, as in massive or majestic dignity, grace, or beauty.
demurely; pg. 45:
characterized by shyness and modesty; reserved.

It is an ironic occurrence that after Jacob Jankowski ran away from college, a train carrying an entire circus travels by, which is what he is to take part in for the rest of this section of the book. There was no previous relation to Jacob and the "The Greatest Show on Earth" until this moment according to the readers knowledge.

Blackie is a symbol of Jacob's problems in his life that he has recently come across. Jacob knows what he wants, but there is something standing in the way. For example, he could have passed his test and received a veterinary degree, but his parents died a little before the exams and he is unable to focus on anything. Now, Jacob is trying to hitch a ride on a train, but a large man named Blackie is physically standing in the way of his objective.

A metaphor given in this book is a minor character named Camel compares Uncle Al, or the ringmaster, to extraordinary beings. An example, "Lord and Master of the Known and Unknown Universes."

"It's gonna be a few hours before we land. Just don't lie too close to the door, that's all. Sometimes we take them corners awful sharp."

The significance of this quote tells the reader that Jacob Jankowski's smooth life has come to an end. He's going to be completely on his own soon, with no one to take him by the hand.

The theme is still unclear, but my prediction is that it is going to be something about how it's a dog-eat-dog world, and also about being thankful for what you have and not crying about what you don't.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Outside Reading

1. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
2. Copyright 2007
3. Fiction
4. 331 pages
5. I went to Barns&Noble to purchase this book, it's considered more of an adult novel. I am confident that this book is challenging/acceptable for English 10 because Mr. Hatten recommended it.
6. From what I had heard from a friend who was already very far into the book, it is difficult to put down. I was told that it is exciting and there is never a dull moment. In order to even complete a book, I need to enjoy it. Fiction books are usually written to entertain, such as television programs. If a television program is not being enjoyed, the channel is turned and thus the program is not finished. I have the same perspective with fiction novels.

Pages Per Week

Week 1: 1 - 45
Week 2: 46 - 91
Week 3: 92 - 137
Week 4: 138 - 183
Week 5: 184 - 229
Week 6: 230 - 275
Week 7: 276 - 311