Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer and Bees


I'm really glad that it's summer. Glad to be done with school, until next year. My latest read was the Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

It's the story of Lily Owens, a fourteen-year-old girl who lives with her father, T.Ray, and sells peaches by the road. Lily's mother is dead, and Lily wants to know the secrets, needs to figure out the mystery of the things her mother left behind. And there is Rosaleen, the Negro stand-in mother for Lily. When Rosaleen insults three racists, Lily knows they both have to get out of there.

Tiburon, South Carolina, two hours away for where they live, has three Negro women--August, the leader, June the hard-hearted one, and May, the burdened spring-sister. Rosaleen and Lily spend the summer there with the three beekeepers. Lily keeps her own secrets until she is ready to tell August, who loves her. Lily learns that skin color doesn't matter--it's the heart that does. And with help, she learns how to fix her own heart.

I loved Bees; this was one of my favorite reads of the year--and a great way to begin the summer. Bees is ultimately about mothers and daughters and sisters and friends, and just relationships in general. How we are, how we act, and what matters in life. Lots of lessons in this book. It's about faith and carrying faith and hope inside and how real it is. It's about the secrets and pain and hurt that humans carried. That we all carry. Burdens. Lily learns about womanhood and standing up for herself and not being afraid.

Some summers stay with us forever. Floating in the air, like a breath. Memories that surround our lives and make us real, make us who we are. Or change us. Let us forget that we are mere humans. Nature consumes, loves, gives, takes away. Nature is a part of summer. Nature. Bees. And the summer is the time to learn the secrets, secrets of the heart, and the secrets of Nature--the secrets of bees.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Buildingsroman and Their Eyes were watching God

Buildingsroman: a coming of age novel
psychological, moral, and social maturity
protagonist grows from child to adult (maturity)
innocent to knowledgeable in ways of the world
told in connection to a journey
journey to maturity-impetos (reason)
example: loss, discontent, struggle
process is long, arduous (hard), repeated classes with society/societal expectations
protagonist moves away from conformity and ultimately accepts their role as an outsider within the society
lives in society, but remain individuals

Their Eyes were watching God
resilience, especially in the face of loss and disaster
equality-little interaction between whites and blacks, race and gender
acceptance and value of self, despite being judged by society
experiencing life-not being a bystander
spirituality and its value, connection to the universe and earth, respect, (not religion)
dialect, followed by figurative language
Janie's hair-identity as a woman, individuality
the horizon-faith
the muck-love, Tea Cake
the pear tree-sexual awakening
Figurative language:
metaphor and imagery

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Keeping Corner, Survival in the Storm, Out of the Dust

I feel a bit behind on blog posts. After this post, I need to do one on Farewell to Arms and The Great Gatsby, which we are reading or have read in English class.

My application at Booksneeze was accepted and I am awaiting the arrival of MacArthur America's General by Mitchel Yockelson and Stephen Mansfield. For my creative writing class, I am reading Angela's Ashes, the first fifty pages for Monday's discussion. I've been busy with ACT studying, hanging out at the park, and of course, reading.

Anyways, A few weeks ago I read Keeping Corner by Rashmira Sheth. It's the story of Leela, a widow, who has to shave her head and give up her bangles according to Indian custom. She must stay in her house for one year and mourn. She is encouraged to learn all she can and is taught by Saviben. She is also helped by her brother and cousin, Jaya, and Shani. Leela struggles to break free from her life as a widow forever, but accepts it for the year. It is a year where she learns much about herself and what she  wants for life, now that her life has changed. This novel is set during the Ghandi-era of India, and I found it quite interesting. The idea of satyagraha and how the outside world affects Leela, even though she cannot go out. But when she is is done, will she be able to, with the blessings of her family? I don't want to spoil this, but I encourage all of you to read it. Lots of good quotes like this one:
"Your inner self is an onion: you keep peeling it, and a new layer is always there."

I had to write a paper on the Dust Bowl for my history class, so I read Survival in the Storm: The Dust Bowl Diary of Grace Edwards. I liked it, and it seemed really realistic of that time period. It's a little bit sad, since friends come and go, but ultimately Grace and her family survive the storm. (which refers to the Black Sunday duster).

I also read Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse for the paper. Here the book jacket summary:
At fourteen, Billie Jo has a great deal to forgive. Her father, for causing the accident that killed her mother. Her mother, for leaving when Billie Jo needed her mots. And she must forgive herself, for being the cause of her own sorrow. Daddy's too wrung out to help Billie Jo much, and there's no one else to care. So Billie Jo must heal herself--even if it means tearing up her roots, and leaving behind everything she's ever known. Set in the Oklahoma dust bowl during the Great Depression, Karen Hesse's spare and moving novel explores both the ecology of the land and the topography of the heart.
Written in poems by Billie Jo, this novel is raw and reveals the horrors of the dust, and the brokenness it caused in people and families.. And ultimately, how the land keeps us in one place, and the struggle to play the piano with burned hands--to overcome the dust. She learns that she cannot leave the land, but can escape the dust.

I also watched the Royal Wedding, or at least part of it. I'm really happy for William and Catherine. Best of Luck to them!