Shannon D

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Some quotes and notes from "High Anxiety"

High Anxiety- Quotes and Strong Details

1. The opening really catches your eye and pushes you to keep reading. "My hair is slimy with 10 days worth of grease, my armpits reek, my calves are throbbing and bruised, my right toe is numb, and I've already thrown up 13 times today, hyperventilated, and cried twice today."

2. Bottom of page 68- end of second paragraph, shows great imagery. "Locals passed us on their way down the mountain, collecting trash in bags atop their heads, while trees towered into the sky, their long, shaggy, green leaves dancing in the wind like something out of a Dr. Seuss book."

3. I love her reference to pop-culture. For example on page 68 she talks about a Pink Floyd concert in comparison to the stars.

4. I think its important to recognize and note Musa's opinion of her. "Shah-ny, good lady, strong lady, always smiling, good companion." Since the trip is helping her to cure her insecurities and low self-esteem, his opinion holds a let of credit.

5. Finally, her realization of the importance of her life. Page 70. "But I knew I could not go any higher. For the first time, I truly understood how important my life was to me."

-The author is very descriptive about her surroundings. This makes her narrative easier to read.
-The amount of time past actually on the hike was six days, which she tells us. I just wish she had given us an idea of how long she trained before going to Mount Kilimanjaro.
-The story is told in chronological order-showing us the complete transition she made on her journey.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Same-Sex Marriage in VA

Love is a feeling of intense desire and attraction toward a person with whom one is disposed to make a pair; the emotion of sex and romance.

-Webster’s Dictionary

Our society puts a lot of pressure on love at a very early age. When we see love depicted on film and in fairy tales love radiates feelings of both perfection and longevity. Not too many people go into a marriage, for example, looking for it to end. Therefore, love begins to represent a bond of eternity between two people. But which two genders can experience love? This problem affects the entire world, but more specifically the state of Virginia. Our nation recognizes Virginia as a conservative southern state. Since it is a southern state that means a lot of traditions still stand strong. One of the most controversial traditions happens to be marriage; whether marriage should happen between just a man and a woman, or two members of the same gender. Over the years homosexual relationships have become more apparent in the media. Each state reacts differently to this idea of same-sex marriage. The easiest way to deal with an issue and try to find a solution is to list all the problems and concerns that lie within the controversy. By looking at the church, elderly, and young adults across Virginia, two sides will emerge on same sex marriage.
As of August 2004, only one state allowed same-sex marriage which belongs to the state of Maine (Robinson). Virginia though opposes this idea that same-sex marriages should be recognized by law. Virginia is trying to pass an amendment to the marriage law that states:
“That only a union between a man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions. This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage. Any other right, benefit, obligation, or legal status pertaining to persons not married is otherwise not altered or abridged in this section.”(Human Rights Campaign)

“This measure passed the legislature in 2005 and, as required, was passed again by the legislature in 2006. It will go to voters for ratifications on November 7, 2006.” (Human Rights Campaign) By looking at this amendment it does not give the implications that Virginia has any intentions of recognizing same-sex marriages. So what is next for Virginia? Equality Virginia is the states largest gay rights group who are working to keep the issue of same-sex marriage alive. “On January 25, 2006 nearly 500 gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and allied Virginians participated in the Equality Lobby Day” (Equality Virginia). This is just another step that concerned members of this state are doing for equal rights for same-sex marriages.
The Church has very strong opinions on same-sex marriage, and there are Biblical admonitions against homosexuality (McLenaghen). Mr. McLenaghen happens to be a member of the Catholic church, and also an advocate to stop same-sex marriages. He states in his homily that homosexuals are already protected by the law from discrimination, so why do they need to take the next step to get married (McLenaghen). McLenaghen, like some Virginian’s, feel that homosexuals already get enough recognition by the law and media, which causes their resentment towards same sex marriage. Mr. McLenaghen states, “There isn’t a single monotheistic religion that approves of homosexual acts” (McLenaghen). This statement is a bit misleading because there are some members of the church that do allow same-sex couples to even attend their congregation. The main idea here is to show that the Roman Catholic Church does not recognize same-sex marriages because they are deemed immoral and corrupt.
What is it that is so scary about allowing same-sex couples to marry? After researching the topic, some common themes arose to answer the question. Many people confuse same-sex marriage with illegal issues, such as incest or even the twisted love for one’s pet. Two men who are in love have absolutely nothing in common with two people committing incest. Of course there are people who believe that they are in love with a family member, or their goat, but just because these types of people exist does not mean same-sex marriages should be categorized with these outlandish people. Same-sex marriage and incest are so different that they should not ever be compared to one another. This statement is easier said than done. People fear the unknown and change, it has always been this way. To help those in Virginia see same-sex marriage in a different light, groups actively protesting their rights for marriage. The more people see gays and lesbians and become more acclimated with their presence, the easier it will be to see articles pushing for same-sex marriage.
If same-sex marriage never is recognized by Virginia, then what problems can come from this? One issue to be tackled would be spousal benefits. In the case of insurance, buying a house, or even the death of a spouse, the law doesn’t recognize that these unions even exist, therefore no benefits will be paid. Also in the instance of adoption, the child can all belong to one spouse, and take that spouses name. What happens if the spouse who legally adopted the child dies? Can the living spouse attempt to adopt the child, or does the child then belong to the state of Virginia? Obviously many questions surround same-sex marriage and the pros and cons that accompany it. In a society where marriage and love are so highly looked upon, the next question to ask would be, is love enough? The church states that same-sex marriage goes against the bible, elderly that are not used to same-sex couples oppose their union, and young adults stand spilt between the two sides. Is it merely enough to offer same-sex couples protection from discrimination, or should they be allowed the same rights as heterosexual couples receive?

Monday, March 13, 2006

Summer Days


Family story triptych

Choose a family story that offers some complexity -- that is, one that could be told differently by different members of the family (participants and/or non-participants). The story may involve members of your immediate family or members of a past generation. It should be a story that is neither tragic nor comic, but interesting in an original way -- perhaps provocative and/or intriguing. (You don't have to be faithful to the facts -- as a writer, you may make changes for the sake of the story itself.) Tell the story in about 500 words from one person's point of view. This part will be due Tuesday, 3-14. (Bring one copy to turn in.)

Then tell the story two more times -- each one in about 500 words and each from a different person's point of view. These will be due the following week, 3-21. For that class, please bring 23 copies of all three versions.

Shannon Davis
Creative Writing 5
March 14, 2006
Word Count 640ish

Summer Days

“We just got our first boat”, my dad said when I got home from school. It was a dream come true to me, any twelve year old would have agreed. Summer time is the best in the small town of Tappahannock. Long lazy days spent on the water playing, eating, fishing, and hanging out with family. What more could you ask for?
“Can we take it out tomorrow?” I asked my mom and dad while they stood in the kitchen fixing dinner.
“Sure thing bud, it’s your day, we’ll do whatever you want.”
That night while I lay in bed I couldn’t get over being able to go spend the whole day on the water. I knew my dad was excited about it too. It was something else we could do together as a family, and that was important to him and mom. It’s been a pretty big week, I thought, first the edition on the house is finished, next we get the entire inside of the house redecorated tomorrow, and now a boat. It’s like a complete makeover for my entire little world.
The next morning I woke up to the sweet aroma of breakfast, by none other than the best cook in the world, my mom. I could hear the scrapple crackling on the griddle, and I saw the steaming puffs in the bread basket. After a full belly I helped my dad unload the boat into the creek. Before you knew it we were all three on the water.
The thing about living on our creek is that we have to wait until high tide to go out to the river, and then wait till high tide again that evening to go back home. Well I guess all three of us lost track of time, and there was a huge storm coming from downstream. The clouds were turning black, the water went calm, and the temperature began to drop.
“Do you think we’re going to get stuck out here?”
I was beginning to panic a littler.
“No”, mama touched my head with a little smile while trying to calm me down.
Well I guess dad was rushing too much to try and beat the storm, but before I knew it the motor was stuck in the mud, and so were we.
“What are we gonna do mama screamed!”
Mom was obviously upset, and worried, we had to do something. So mom and I jumped into the mud to make our way over to a house about a mile from ours. We trudged through the mud and water which finally led us to the road. We continued to walk a mile barefoot to get tour house before the storm hit. Since we were walking to try and beat the storm that meant dad was left to fend the storm by himself. I was really worried about him, and I know mom was too, because my short legs couldn’t keep up with her. By the time we reached the hill that led to our driveway, I heard a buzzing sound. I looked and dad was zooming around the bend of the creek, just waving and smiling at us. A sign of relief came across my mother’s face as she realized that dad was ok. We met him at the dock with open arms, and ran up to the house before the storm hit us.
The day was over and I couldn’t complain about a thing. I got to do everything I wanted, with a little adventure added to it. Mom, dad, and I sat down at the table to play a game of rummy and wait out the storm. I’ll never forget those days on the water with my family, or the distinct smell of a storm on the water.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sentence Combing and more paper stuff

1. When depicted on film and in fairy tales, love radiates feelings of both perfection and longevity.
2. Since the word is so informal, their are no specifications of who can and cannot fall in love.
3. The last alternative the dictionary gives for the definition of marriage is this: "A union between two persons having the customary but usually not the legal force of a marriage; a same sex marriage."
4. By viewing this alternate definition for marriage last, it becomes apparant that our culture is split between two different ideas for marriage.

Final Research Plan for tomorrow

1. Who holds certain opinions about same sex marriage.
-young adults
2. Research adoption and its affects on same sex marriage.
3. VA
-talk about it being a southern state that is very conservative
-find out how many states allow same sex marriages currently
-get a working timeline with major dates for legislation in Va, and laws they passed, and bills still in the making.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Poetry review

My favorite of all of the Hughes poems that we read is “Negro”. My preferred part of the poem is the structure, which allows you to read through the poem two different ways. The first way allows you to read through just catching the main points which all have to do with slavery. Ideas such as being black, a work, a singer, and a victim all give the reader a feeling that the narrator has. When you read through it the second way, by paying more attention to the details of the poem, you get a type of explanation from each of these ideas. When Hughes describes being a “Negro” he uses the color black three times, twice at the beginning of the sentence. I think this is Hughes’s way of showing what people associated with the term “negro”, he didn’t associate words about their personalities or even their intelligence, just there skin color which is what some people deemed most important.
The next line is an explanation of what it is like to be a slave. The first word we see is “Caesar”, a historical figure that rings complete dictator. This goes along with the images that I immediately see when thinking about slavery. I can see an awful strong leader, and the helpless slaves who are forced to do whatever they say. This idea can be seen in the image of someone shining Washington’s shoes.
Following Caesar, we see an explanation of the “worker”. The strongest line in the poem is “Under my hang the pyramids arose”, I think that there is no better way to describe the efforts that a slave puts into his work. These people worked from sunlight to sunset barely taking breaks, and the fruits of their labors were strong and plentiful. I think that Hughes gave a lot of credit to the slaves by comparing their labor to those who built pyramids.
Singing is something that is misinterpreted when attached to slavery. It does not always mean that people are happy, instead most slaves sung when they were most unhappy. We see during Hughes explanation of singing that it represents “sorrows” and almost a type of hobby to pass the time. Since slaves had no freedom while working, what more was there to do than sing? Even on Sundays when slaves weren’t forced to work, you can see how many slaves could return to singing since that did not know how to express themselves in any other way.
Victim is the last different detail we see Hughes explain. In this description we get the most harsh tone of the entire poem, and its also where we see imagery at its height. Words such as “cut” and “lynch” are both haunting words that demonstrates to the reader the type of hell these people were living in. At the close of the poem Hughes refers back to his first explanation of Negro, which is being black. The last images the reader is left with are of a black man being lynched in America, or a black man being tortured in Belgium, both which are equally disturbing.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Elderly Drivers

This is an outline of a speech I wrote about my opinion on elderly drivers. I know its only an outline, but atleast it gives you a good idea of what I would be talking about if you saw me actually giving the speech.

Specific Purpose: To persuade my audience that after the age of 70, everyone should take another driving test to make sure that they are capable of driving safely.
Central Idea: Many car accidents occur from people over the age of 70, and some sort of precaution should be taken.

I. My passion with older people driving began with my Grandfather.
My granddad is 75 years old, and no one knew he had any sort of problem.
Like many older people things begin to go unnoticed, and that’s where the problem begins without knowing.
II. Today I want to show some statistics I found on a specific age group in the driving world. I want to discuss the dangers of elderly driving, and try to convince people that something needs to change with our driving system.

I. After the age of 75, the risk of driver fatality increases sharply.
Most people are not aware that 49% of accidents are due to senior citizens.
5% of all people injured in traffic crashes
13% of all traffic fatalities
13% of all vehicle occupant fatalities
18% of all pedestrian fatalities

II. Why does this often go overlooked?
Many people forget that as you get older your senses begin to fail. Your eyesight begins to fade, as well as your hearing, and reflexes.
This begins to become a hazard on the road, not only to the driver, but to everyone else in a vehicle.
III. What can be done to help fix this problem so that in the end everyone can be safer?
Mandatory driving tests
Physician Reporting

I. In conclusion, after hearing all of the statistics that I got from the Smart Motorist Website, I hope that all of you are aware of the danger that our grandparents are in, as well as us.
Eventually I hope for some sort of testing to be done when you reach 70. This could prevent many accidents and injuries. In the case of my grandfather who is now 80, maybe it could have helped to make his disease apparent earlier in his life.
No matter what driving is a privilege that is earned, that is why teenagers have to wait until they are capable to drive. The term “the circle of life” is very relevant and our elderly today should be tested to make sure that it is safe for them to be on the road as well.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Poetry Analysis

After reading the four poems assigned many ideas of hopelessness and uselessness began to run through my mind. These common ideas became the link between each very different poem. At a time when slaves did not have much hope to cling too, how they spent their leisure time became very important. Whether it was sewing, singing, or just hoping for a new life many slaves spent their lives like this. Having said this I am going to point out some similarities in these poems.
The first poem is “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Dunbar. Just as we read in Douglas, again we see the idea of singing being misinterpreted. This poem focuses on the falseness that follows the ideas of singing. Another connection that this poem has is with the documentaries we saw in class on inaccurate media displays of black people. Characters such as the “mammy” and the “sanbones” showed slaves as being content with their lives, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. These types of media displays really gave people in the North a false idea of how the slaves were being treated. Line’s such as “with torn and bleeding hearts we smile” and “We sing, but oh the clay is vile beneath our feet” just proves that slaves put on act of contentment. Instead of finding happiness in singing, most of the time it came from feeling hopeless, which we have seen now in many cases.
“I Sit and Sew” by Alice Dunbar-Nelson shows another example of the discontentment that slaves felt in their free time. Sewing did not make these people content; it was merely a monotonous way to pass their time in a useless situation often slaves would become more upset with free time because they would often cling to the idea of being free. Alice even refers to the seam, the most important part in sewing as “useless”. It’s just awful to see a group of people left with time to themselves, and always suffering through it. The whole idea of slavery has not only taken over their lives, but even their thoughts and dreams.
“The Slave Auction” by Harper is another example of the emptiness that many slaves were left with. Harper takes you through the eyes of a girl, a mother, and woman. Each of these stages that a woman goes through brings you to the same conclusion of a dead end. Images of women losing children, young girls being separated from their families, and true love being ruined, haunt the slaves at each action. Harper’s account on their feelings gives a more vivid image to the reader when recounting their hardships.
“Songs for the people” by Harper shows a different account on singing. Whoever the speaker is sings for not himself but the people who need help. The “hearts of men”, “the weary”, “the children”, and “the aged”, are all people who he sings to help those who are suffering. I think that it’s interesting that people though assumed that from singing meant happiness. The speaker who is singing isn’t doing it out of contentment, but out of hope for a better life. The three previous poems all showed themes of hopelessness, but this last poem showed that their was still hope in the hearts of some slaves. ;