Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lightning Didn't Strike Twice

      Back when I was nine years old, I went to a sleep away camp in North Carolina called Camp Seagull.  Water sports, sailing and motor boating were about as popular as all of the land sports. Everyone had to take the swim test within the first couple of days when arriving at camp.  I had taken the fairly easy test the past three summers and I passed even though swimming was not my favorite activity.  I loved to drive motor boats at the time and that meant I had to take a long swim test to gain the ability to take out a motor boat by myself.  I hated the lake since I did not like it when a fish, turtle or some other scary creature grazed me under the surface.  It was a hot, sunny afternoon when I hopped into the lake to take the dreadful, forty lengths swim test.  One of the swimming counselors, Jake, counted the number of laps I swam and supervised me during the test.  The first fifteen lengths flew by and I thought it was going to be easy the rest of the way.  I was wrong as I became fatigued and switched to side stroke with the intention of conserving my energy since it did not have to be completed in a finite amount of time.  Time slowly passed and I was on my twenty fourth length when suddenly clouds started to roll in.  I did not want to be in the lake if it started raining so I attempted to speed up but cramps ensued so I slowed back down.  I was feeling confident by my thirtieth length thinking to myself, only ten more to go.  On the thirty sixth length, there was a clap of thunder in the distance and Jake hollered for me to get out of the water.  I was sure they were going to count it because I was so close to finishing but the lightning stopped me.  I was wrong which infuriated me because I had done so much work for nothing and I hated Jake for the rest of the summer.  I took the test again a couple days later and it was cloudy once again but I passed it and was relieved that there had not been lightning which would have ended my test.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Not An Epiphany

   It is very interesting that the old waiter ventures away from his comfort zone which was at a clean, well-lighted place, to a dirty bar.  The older waiter was able to connect himself with the old man throughout the story especially when he went to the bar at the end and realized how much nicer the cafe was.  The waiter does not have an epiphany at the end because nothing changes drastically by the way he acts or thinks and it seems as if everything that happened is part of his normal routine,  "After all, he said to himself, it is probably only insomnia"(345).  This seems normal to him that he goes to bed so late because earlier in the story he tells the young waiter, "Each night. I am reluctant to close up because there may be someone who needs the cafe"(344).  The old waiter has a set routine that does not change and he understands the wants and needs of others.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Rebellion Against the Family

        All three of the short stories deal with a rebellion against their own family.  In “Paul’s Case”, by Willa Cather, Paul does not have a close connection with his dad and he wants to live his own life away from him.  Paul had, “Not once, but a hundred times had planned this entry into New York”(Willa Cather 273).  Paul was able to run away after stealing money from his job.  In “The Chrysanthemum”, by John Steinbeck, Elisa is unhappy with her life at home in the garden and she wants to live freely like the tinker who she is paid a visit from.  She feels she has been treated unfairly and while her husband is gone and the tinker is with her in the garden her “Hand went out toward his legs in the greasy black trousers” (John Steinbeck 356).  She is yearning for the free life the tinker lives but she is unable to grasp it and live it.  “Barn Burning”, by William Faulkner, tells the story of a boy whose life is run by his father, also a criminal.  He wants to escape this life so the only way he sees the ability to seek freedom is to turn in his dad for burning barns.  Eventually, “He was free.  His aunt grasped at him but it was too late” (William Faulkner 338).  The son was able to escape his family’s problems in his pursuit of freedom.  A boy had planned to escape from his family as an act of rebellion many times because he was unsatisfied with his life.  He had even gone out for runs in order to prepare for his escape.  On his run, while away from his family, the boy is tempted to ask a stranger for help to escape while they talked, but he decided against it.  He was inspired by the free life the man lives and wants the same for himself but when the boy mentions it to the stranger, the man says it would not be a good life for the boy.  The boy does not listen to the stranger’s advise and the next day, he decided he was sick of living with his family and all of the problems his father had.  He darts towards the door in his attempt to leave for good and just before reaching the door, his arm is snatched by his aunt.  Although it made him tumble, he was able to bounce back up and he was finally free.

Monday, October 13, 2014


        Elisa had been living the average life of a woman during this time period which did not satisfy her.  When she meets the man in the wagon, she realizes that she wants to live a free life like the tinker.  When mentioning that to him, he says she would be unable to live that life because she is a woman.  His sexist approach upsets Elisa greatly because she believes she can do it.  She wants to run away from her contained life in the garden in order to try something new and adventurous.  After he leaves, she has a boost of confidence which her husband notes when he returns home that afternoon.  She is unsuccessful because she gives up on her dreams later that night when she returns to reality after she declines her husband's invitation to the boxing match.  Steinbeck shows that women were not treated equally and were believed to not be able to do the jobs men did.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Away From Reality

In "Paul's Case", Paul is running away from reality and all of his troubles.  Paul has been living a life full of trouble and he is very depressed.  The events leading up to his runaway were that he was suspended and kicked out of school, lost his job, and was not given enough attention and care at home.  When Paul steals the money and escapes to NYC, he escapes his reality and finally lives the life he has always wanted to live in one of the nicest hotels in the city.  He is successful in the way that he was able to live the life for nine days.  He is trying to show that it is possible to escape reality but one should accept reality because it is hard to "escape" it without being caught.

Friday, October 3, 2014


In "The Yellow Wall-Paper", the act of rebellion is when the narrator begins to tear the wallpaper off towards the end of the story.  During the story, the narrator sees a woman inside of the wallpaper who is trapped and is unable to free herself.  I think the narrator is seeing herself as the woman stuck in the wallpaper because of how she feels trapped inside the house by Jennie and John. Her act of rebellion is shown when she cries, "I've got out at last... And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!"(198).  She sees her tearing down of the wallpaper as her freeing herself and as her act of rebellion.