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Sara's Inscriptions

Page history last edited by Sara 14 years, 3 months ago

4th Self-Select


 (wrong picture, but oh well)  


The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz 


This is a nonfiction documentation of the jazz era in the early 20th century, mostly 1920 through the 1940's. It came with a collection of 5 CDs of most of the big names of Jazz, like Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, and SOOOOOO many others. Most of them are black. =) I think there is one white jazz musician in the whole book. A quote regarding this: "Jazz is a major contribution of American black men to contemporary culture. It was they who created it and they who provided its greatest innovations. At the same time, it has always been a meeting ground: white men have participated since its beginnings, and some of them have contributed with excellence." pg. 12




2nd Self-Select 



Emma by Jane Austen was such an adorable read! I've seen two versions of the movie which I really enjoyed, but the book is still much better. However, I liked the end of the movies better, since they were more romantic and cutesy than Jane Austen chose to make her novel.


     Emma's character seriously made me bust a gut. She is so conceited and interfering! I found it hilarious that anyone could be so into herself. Then Mrs. Elton came along and I was like, "Wow, I stand corrected!"


By the way, there are spoilers in here for those who want to read the book.


Here' a list of what I understood the main characters to be like:


  • Main character Emma Woodhouse is almost 21 years old and lives in a mansion called Highbury with her worry-wort father. She is "handsome," clever, rich, content, argumentative, and stubborn. She is the youngest of Mr. Woodhouse's two daughters. Emma loves to play the matchmaker but claims that she is "immune to love."


  • Mr. George Knightley is about 37 and is an "old and intimate" friend of the Woodhouses'. He is Emma's very gentleman-like brother-in-law. He is sensible, rich, and thinks the world of Emma, even though he is the only one who dares (or wants to) criticize her. SPOILER COMING UP! (Although any reader can see this coming the whole time) He ends up marrying Emma.


  • Harriet Smith is 17 with no known parents or relatives. She is short, plump, and fair with blue eyes, light hair, and regular features. She has a look of great sweetness, but she is slightly simple. She tends to be a follower and is easily influenced. She is Emma's "project."


  • Jane Fairfax is a 19-year-old orphan who stays with her grandma and aunt while in Highbury. She is very elegant and educated. She is perfectly tall, graceful, and of medium size with deep grey eyes, dark features, and clear, delicate skin. She is cold and reserved (for a good reason) but "handsome."



  • Frank Churchill is Poor Miss Weston's step-son. He is very good-looking, quick, lively, spirited, open, action-taking, and impulsive. He has a well-bred ease of manner and knows how to please everyone. He is negatively modest and underneath his easy-going ways, a reader can tell right off that he is deceptive.



Intense Vocab 

cavil -- to raise trivial and frivolous objection to 

(pg. 193) bilious -- of or indicative of a peevish ill-natured disposition (Mr. Cole)

(pg. 251) licentious -- lacking legal or moral restraints (Mrs. Elton's tongue)

(pg. 246) caro sposo -- my dear husband (Italian)

(pg. 243) barouche-landau (French) -- accommodating two couples facing each other, it was considered a very exclusive carriage. In modern-day terms, cruising in a barouche-landau would be the equivalent of a convertible Bentley 2008 Silver Tempest

Illustration by Hugh Thomson, Chapter 12 Heading, Pride & Prejudice


Some of my favorite quotes and areas that show foreshadowing and irony (and quotes that I put in my self-select project) and areas that proved important to the awesomeness of Emma...and basically just everything (not necessarily in order)


     As I read Emma I looked for all the forshadowing since I knew how things were going to end up. The irony really made me giggle. Especially when she talked of her "immunity" to love, on page 92.

"'I have none of the usual inducements of women to marry. Were I to fall in love, indeed, it would be a different thing! But I never have been in love; it is not my way or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall.'"

Hmmm, I wonder who is going to end up falling in love and getting married!

     Emma's reason for not befriending Jane Fairfax earlier: "But 'she could never get acquainted with her; she did not know how it was, but there was such coldness and reserve; such apparent indifference whether she pleased or not; and then, her aunt was such an eternal talker!--and she was made such a fuss with by everybody!--and it had always been imagined that they were to be so intimate; because their ages were the same, everybody had supposed they must be so fond of each other.' These were her reasons; she had no better."

Well, that's mature!


"There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart.There is nothing to be compared to it. Warmth and tenderness of heart, with an affectionate, open manner, will beat all the clearness of head in the world for attraction--I am sure it will." Yay! Emma values her friendship with Harriet and realizes that Harriet is her superior in charm and felicitous ways. Finally! Emma has a lot of arrogance, conceit, self-importance, whatever you care to call it, but for at least this paragraph, she isn't shallow.


My favorite quote: "Brother and sister? No indeed."

Mr. Knightley's reply to Emma saying that they are not so much brother and sister as to make dancing together improper. I just think this is so cute! They are so in love.

My other favorite quote WITH A SPOILER: "I cannot make speeches, Emma. If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England could have borne it... God knows I have been an indifferent lover. But you understand me. Yes, you see, you understand my feelings--and will return them if you can. At present, I ask only to hear--once to hear your voice."

Gosh, some guys just know exactly what to say to make a girl's day. =)


Everyone needs to read a Jane Austen book (yes, that means you, JesseRay). Even though she wrote her novels in the early 19th century, we can still relate to her characters. At least, I can. I know I have lots of conceited moments and I hope I can learn from my mistakes as Emma did. Maybe I'll even end up with a wonderful-friends-all-our-life-husband =)

1st Self-Select 

I'm reading Lancelot by Walker Percy and it definitely has some intensely crazy qualities. It's written in 2nd person from the viewpoint of a man in a mental asylum. So far this is a story of revenge, or rather a re-living of revenge. Since the whole point of the novel is Lancelot's reflections of his past actions, isuper-connects to the Art of Seeing stuff we've been doing...

       One of my favorite quotes from Lancelot:


"Seeing you was a kind of catalyst, the occasion of my remembering. It is like the first time you look through binoculars: everything is confused, blurred, unfocused, flat; then all of a sudden click: distance drops away and there is everything in the round, bigger than life." page 13


     To me this quote has everything to do with the Art of Seeing. Doesn't it perfectly describe how we experience "things?" Maybe one day you just saw it, whatever, no big deal. You see something and it fits in its own little limited box in the corner of your brain. But then something happens on another day and, bada-boom-bada-bing, what you previously experienced totally changes. Everything makes complete sense! You realize you've been walking around not knowing a thing. Exactly like Lancelot...


     Lancelot Lamar has been in a mental asylum for about a year when his best friend who has become a priest of the Catholic church visits him. This "hospital" is pretty nice considering insane people live there. Lancelot has been trying to communicate with the girl in the room next door who was raped. Eventually he learns her name is Anna. He decides that one day they will be together forever.

     Anyway, these visits from his friend are causing him to remember what happened that landed him in the mental asylum...

     It all started when he found out that his second wife, Margot, has been cheating on him. Their daughter Siobahn has a blood type that is impossible for the two of them to produce. And so Lancelot commences on his search for his youngest daughter's biological father. Along the way he discovers much about himself that he never realized. The night he discovers his wife's unfaithfulness, he takes some much needed time to analyze his life... "So what was my discovery? that for the last few years I had done nothing but fiddle at law, fiddle at history, keep up with the news (why?), watch Mary Tyler Moore, and drink myself into unconsciousness every night." page 60 ... "Then as I crossed the room to the sliding doors, something moved in the corner of my eye. It was a man at the far end of the room. He was watching me. He did not look familiar. There was something wary and poised about the way he stood, shoulders angled, knees slightly bent as if he were prepared for anything. He was mostly silhouette but white on black like a reverse negative. His arms were long, one hanging lower and lemur-like from dropped shoulder. His head was cocked, turned enough so I could see the curve at the back. There was a sense about him of a vulnerability guarded against, an overcome gawkiness, a conquered frailty. Seeing such a man one thought at first: Big-headed smart-boy type; then thought again: But he's big too. If he hadn't developed his body, worked out, he'd have a frail neck, two tendons, and a hollow between, balancing that big head. He looked like a long-distance runner who has conquered polio. He looked like a smart sissy rich boy who has devoted his life to getting over it. Then I realized it was myself reflected in the dim pier mirror." page 63-64

     Lancelot realizes he has got to do something with his life instead of drinking and watching TV. He's going to find out who his wife has been cheating with and he's going to do it completely sober. But what will he find? Well, we don't find out for awhile since this is a man who is in a mental asylum relaying his adventures. 



     Most of the book is Lancelot talking about how he got to the point of burning down Belle Isle, his home. It's obvious from the get-go that he was the one who did it, but why? How? His journey and reasons for getting there introduce some ironic themes. I found Lancelot to be a very screwed up, cynical human being, but through all of his ramblings and psychoticness, I think a theme is love. Not necessarily a good kind of love, but still love.


     On several occasions throughout the novel Lancelot asks "What is love?" He thought he loved Margot, but it wasn't the kind of love teenage girls want to read about, like in The Notebook. It was all physically based love. He said that he always wanted her, "There was a time...when I could not not touch her." "Love her? I'm not sure what words mean any more, but I loved her if loving her is wanting her all the time, wanting even the sight of her..." He lusted after her, not loved. But he was "in love" with first wife, Lucy Cobb. With Lucy, Lancelot was like a nervous school boy wondering what to do next. So why was his relationship so different with Margot? Why did he "love" her differently? His "love" was what caused that relationship to literally go up in flames. 

     "Did I love her then, that day you speak of? Love. No, not love. Not hatred, not even jealousy. What do those old words mean? Emotions? Were there ever any such things as emotions?... No, my only "emotion" was a sense of suddenly coming alive... That and an all-consuming curiosity. I had to know. If Merlin "knew" my wife, I had to know his knowing her. Why? I don't know. I ask you. That's what I want with you. Not knowing why, I don't really know why I did what I did. I only knew for the first time in years exactly what to do." page 90 

     Lancelot had to find out, know, what was going on with his wife because of his un-love. I don't think he really cared, (in the kind of way normal husbands and wives would) he just had to KNOW.

     "Tell me something. Why did I have to know the truth about Margot and know it with absolute certainty? Or rather why, knowing the truth, did I have to know more, prove more, see? Does one need to know more, ever more and more, in order that one put off acting on it or maybe even not act at all? But why? Why did it become the most important, the sole obsession of my very life, to determine whether or not Margot slept with Merlin when in fact I knew she had, or at least with somebody not me?" page 89

     Lancelot already knew, he just had to prove to himself even more. Why? Because of his "un-love." 

     "But don't you see, I had to find out. There I was in early middle age and I couldn't answer the most fundamental question of all... Are people as nice as they make out and in fact appear to be, or is it all buggery once the door is closed? (Esse quam videri) So I meant to find out once and for all. There is something worse than knowing the worst. It is not knowing... One has to know. There are worse things than bad news." page 131   WOW!


     So what was the cause of their falling out? "Then what happened between me and Margot? If she was here, I know what she'd say and she'd be right as far as she went: Instead of loving me, you crawled into a bottle and I just decided I'd be d***** if I'd crawl in with you. You made your decision." page 120

So Lancelot's boring routine day is what made Margot cheat on him. All he ever did was drink, work sometimes, watch the news, and sleep (by himself).


Comments (4)

Markayle said

at 11:36 am on Oct 10, 2009

Sara, i agree that that quote really went along with all the art of seeing atuff we went through. It is sort of ironic that the book you are reading goes along with the lessons we learn. I think this book sounds like a good one to read; considering the fact that the man realized that he had corrections to make to his problems. Not alot of people realize that their lives need attending to, i think that if everyone did, the world would be in alot different place than it is today. Even if the book was fiction, its still nice to know that some people still want to do things the right way. Lol sorry for my rambling, your quotes spoke to me. :)

Sara said

at 8:23 pm on Oct 11, 2009

Rambling is great! And you're totally right. But it's kind of ironic because what Lancelot did to try to change his life was absolutely the wrong thing in my opinion. He ended up being no better than his unfaithful wife, unfortunately. But I guess if he had done the right thing like so many people need to do, it wouldn't have made a story =( If you catch my drift...

paul bonnell said

at 11:55 pm on Mar 26, 2010

I really liked your Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong presentation. What do you think of the Jazz book? Any photographic links? What about quotations and vocabulary and all that? Reflections. Yes, reflections!

Thelma said

at 12:19 pm on Mar 29, 2010

"Gosh, some guys just know exactly what to say to make a girl's day."
Ha. Cute. :)

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