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WPA Poster Blog Post

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The WPA, or Works Progress Administration, was established during the Great Depression, when President Franklin Roosevelt recognized the dire national need for jobs. WPA produced many posters to help promote job possibilities to the American public, which was very significant especially during a time when internet did not exist, and posters like these were one of the most efficient ways of spreading important new information. This specific poster, which says “Save our Wildlife”, highlights the aspect of the New Deal that began to address natural preservation and conservation. Additionally, the bottom of the poster mentions the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior, which were established because of integral acts and associations created and supported by FDR. There are many things that we take for granted today in our society, such as having organized trash pick ups and paved roads, that were not as easily assumed to exist during the time of the Great Depression. The ideas of national parks, and natural and wildlife preservation were very new concepts for people to grasp during this time, but it greatly helped society by providing people with jobs as well as conserving our natural world. In examining this poster more closely, we see that the words are small and at the bottom, while most of the poster is focused on a flying bird and a sunset, which really forces us to concentrate on the nature and wildlife. The importance of wildlife is further emphasized simply in the arrangement of the words “Save our Wildlife”. This poster, as well as many others, offers a strong insight into this time period and more specifically the effects of the New Deal on society, in many ways.

Perception of Women in Daisy Miller, by Henry James

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Henry James’ Daisy Miller brings up many questions about the presentation of women during a different time period. Seemingly set in the late 19th century, Henry James directs the reader’s attention to how women of that time were viewed, especially because of their perceived sexual attitudes. Daisy Miller envelops all of the qualities of a flirtatious girl, during a time when this was absolutely socially unacceptable. We see the direct result of this in the unfamiliarity of this demeanor, and the frustration that it brings, in Winterbourne’s character. Daisy’s flirtatiousness, and her opinion on her perceived reputation are highlighted when James writes “‘Does Mr. Winterbourne think,’ she asked slowly, smiling, throwing back her head, and glancing at him from head to foot, ‘that, to save my reputation, I ought to get into the carriage?’” (Norton C, 446).  Furthermore, her effect on Winterbourne is emphasized when James describes how “Winterbourne colored; for an instant he hesitated greatly. It seemed so strange to hear her speak that way of her ‘reputation’” (Norton C, 446). James contributes an extremely significant story to a collection of some of the greatest literary works in history, largely because he introduces questions of sexuality and reputation of women during a time when the world had a very narrow view of how a woman should and should not act.

Poverty in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets

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Stephen Crane’s Maggie: Girl of the Streets is filled with themes that address many different aspects of the real world, especially the negative aspects. In this novella, the theme of poverty is the most prominent in guiding the lives of Maggie and Jimmie and their family. Crane uses extremely descriptive imagery to paint the picture of the world that they live in. He writes “Eventually they entered into a dark region where, from a careening building, a dozen gruesome doorways gave up loads of babies to the street and the gutter” (Norton C, 949). The words “dark” and “gruesome” set a scene of a dark, mystical and at some points scary world that Maggie lives in. He further sets the scene when he vividly describes how “a wind of early autumn raised yellow dust from cobbles and swirled it against a hundred windows” (Norton C, 949). In describing the “loads of babies” and “a hundred windows” he gives the reader a sense of the immensity of the world around, but at the same time he seemingly illustrates Maggie’s character as somewhat secluded from all of this. Crane uses the theme of poverty to elaborate on the solitude of Maggie’s life, contrasting the immensity of the world around her.

Closing Discussion Post for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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What is the role of the “rapscallions” in the novel? Who are they? What purpose do they serve in terms of Huck’s character development and how do they relate to one or more of the central themes of the novel?

The “rapscallions” are “the king” and “the duke” who begin to tag along with Huck and Jim in their travels, and they play a large role in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. They completely take advantage of Jim and Huck, most likely because Huck is young and Jim is black. They also lead their lives by deceiving people and in doing this, they put Jim and Huck in bad situations throughout the book. Their relationship with Jim and Huck particularly highlights the evident divide between them, which is shown when Jim explains how he knows they are bad people who are taking advantage of them, but they can’t do anything about it. Jim and Huck say to each other “dese kings o’ ourn is reglar rapscallions; dats jist what dey is; deys regular rapscallions.’ ‘Well, that’s what I’m a saying: all kings is mostly rapscallions as fur as I can make out,” (Norton C, 225). In this short section of their conversation, Huck and Jim recognize how the king and duke are thieves and that they are very immoral, but it is evident that they have to just accept this and go along with it because a young boy and a runaway slave have no power in this situation. This particular aspect of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is an extremely direct assertion of the huge divide between Jim and Huck, who are arguably not morally bad people, and two crooks who take advantage of everyone they meet, solely because they are white and Jim is not, while Huck is just a young boy.

Research Paper Blog Post #3

Another very interesting source I found for my research paper is called The Women of Watergate, and it is comprised of multiple chapters each of which focuses on different women involved in the Watergate Scandal. Each chapter includes the women’s personal stories, interviews and opinions. The prologue of this book is short, but it is extremely dense with reasons for which exploring the roles of women in the Watergate Scandal is so important. The prologue also explains how women such as secretaries, wives and even a female lawyer on the Watergate special prosecutor’s staff played a larger role in the events than people assume. The prologue of this book even says “So different are these women- and their viewpoints- from each other that it is hard at first to think of them as a group at all.” This very accurately explains the importance of the differing viewpoints in researching this topic. I think this will be a very helpful resource because it gives a less obvious but still very relevant and interesting perspective on this event. These particular differing perspectives create and support an unusual outlook which is a strength of this source. On the other hand, one weakness of this source is that it includes chapters about nineteen different women who played some role in the event, and specifying the most relevant information and people from this book may be difficult. Looking at Watergate from different perspectives will add a very interesting and unique aspect to my research paper.

Research Paper Blog Post #2

Another source that will be helpful in writing my research paper is called Watergate, A Brief History with Documents, edited by Stanley I. Kutler. I think this will be one of my most useful sources because it is split into seven sections and it has a specific section for some of the main things I want to focus on. First, this book has a section that gives general information about the Watergate Break-In and what really happened, which will be useful for important background information. I think the most helpful section will be the section about how the White House responded and covered up the scandal, and especially about the CIA involvement in this. This will be a crucial source because it’s most closely related to what I originally wanted to focus on which was the role of organizations like the CIA in secret government events and scandals. It is a very useful section of this resource because this is what I am most interested in, in my research about the Watergate Scandal. This source is also very helpful because as the title suggests, it has a lot of historical documents that are relevant to this event. Some of these documents could be helpful primary sources to examine for my research paper. For example, this book includes speeches given by Richard Nixon, and transcripts of the testimonies and hearings involved in the Watergate Scandal case. This book has a lot of strengths as a source for my research paper, and after skimming through it I have not found significant weaknesses, so I think this will be one of my most helpful resources.

Research Paper Blog Post #1

In regard to my research paper, one of my sources is a book called Nixon (Reputations), by Iwan Morgan. As the title suggests, this book focuses on the reputation of Richard Nixon in the years following the Watergate Scandal. I think that it is extremely important to understand Nixon’s character when talking about the Watergate Scandal which is one reason why this book will be helpful in my research. One weakness of this source is that it doesn’t address the Watergate scandal itself directly, but it is a strong source of interesting information about how the scandal affected Nixon’s reputation. The book is split into 8 chapters, but after looking through these chapters, I think I will find the most useful information in chapters 1 and 2. The first chapter is called “Nixon and reputation”, and it focuses on the negative opinions of Nixon after his resignation. The second chapter is called “The Nixon character”, and this chapter focuses on Nixon’s resulting determination after resigning from office because of these negative opinions surrounding him. The rest of this book could be helpful in looking at certain accomplishments Nixon had after his resignation, but for the most part the first two chapters hold the information that I believe is most closely related to my topic. Although Watergate is not a specific focal point of this book, it’s an important resource because it explores Nixon’s personality and nature after the scandal. This could effectively connect the event, Watergate, with a person, Nixon.

Huck and Jim’s Relationship in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

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The dynamic of Jim and Huck’s relationship is an integral part to understand when reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, especially throughout the second half of the book. Mark Twain forces the reader to relate to the characters in this book through their relationships with family members. Early in the second half of the book, we see the relationship between Jim and his family when Huck explains seeing Jim “moaning and mourning to himself” (226) because of how deeply he misses his wife and his children. This small passage exposes many important aspects of the book including Jim’s value in his family, and Huck’s recognition of Jim’s feelings. The passage also indicates the common and significant difference between the black and white people at this time when Huck says “I do believe he cared just as much for his people as white folks does for their’n,” (226). Huck often makes observations about Jim such as this, or when he says “he was low and homesick; because he hadn’t ever been away from home before in his life,” (226). Even early in their travels together, Twain shows us in these small ways how strong the relationship between Huck and Jim is. Another specific example of the strength in their relationship is when Huck reminds himself how much they mean to each other after writing a letter to Miss Watson revealing where Jim was after escaping from being her slave. Huck says “I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world and the only one he’s got now,” (262). In subtle and obvious ways, Mark Twain constantly reminds the reader of the strength of Jim and Huck’s connection, which is consequently a defining and vital part of this book.

Racism in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Before even beginning The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it is evident that racism is a distinct and predominant characteristic of this book. Throughout this book, it is clear that the story highlights issues of racism and slavery that were prevalent during the historical setting. These issues are directly portrayed through the way Jim is spoken to or about because he is an escaped slave. Many other clear examples of racism come from Huck’s father Pap. Although he is not very well respected, he is still a white man in a society where having white skin makes you naturally superior. Because he is so often drunk, Pap does not hesitate to vividly illustrate his attitude towards black people. In chapter six, Mark Twain uses strong imagery to exhibit this attitude. Pap describes a “free nigger” (147) of mixed white and black ancestry as a seemingly well-educated and respectful person, probably significantly more than Pap. Twain uses imagery to illustrate a picture of this man being “most as white as a white man” (147) and having “the whitest shirt on you ever see” (147). After drawing an image in the reader’s mind of the whitest-looking black person you could imagine, he continues to recall this man’s respectful and positive qualities. He says that the man “could talk all kinds of languages and knowed everything” (147), which depicts how this man seems significantly smarter than Pap even just through the word choice in the way Pap speaks. Following all of the positive things Pap recalls about this man, the reader is reminded he is still black and undeserving of even having the right to vote in a state where slaves have been freed, no matter how smart or respectful he is. This is a seemingly small example of a very large, widespread view that black people were not appreciated solely because of the fact that they are black. This specific example of racism envelops the much larger issue throughout the book.

Natural Imagery in Chapter 16 of The Scarlet Letter

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Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is filled with natural imagery that is consistent throughout the book, but is especially evident when exploring Pearl and her characteristics. Her name itself represents something beautiful and valuable, which is particularly evident throughout chapter VI, especially when Hawthorne writes  “She named the infant “Pearl,” as being of great price,” (499). Her name translates her strength and power which develops in her strong characteristic of fearlessness. This is an overwhelming aspect of this book, and is especially significant when looking at the close connection drawn between Pearl and the scarlet A. Many times throughout the book, people think of Pearl and her mother’s sin as one and the same. Although she is extremely wise for her age, Pearl is seemingly unsure of the meaning of the scarlet letter on her mother’s chest. Pearl exclaims “the sunshine does not love you,” (551) when “it runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom” (551). This illustrates the natural imagery of how the light avoids Hester because of her sin, which is similar to how people regard Pearl. She is avoided because she is looked at as a sin herself, rather than a child born from others’ sin. The connection between Pearl’s fearless attitude and her negative association with sin is further shown when she says “Stand you here, and let me run and catch it” (551), talking about chasing the light. She shows her lack of fear when she says “It will not flee from me; for I wear nothing on my bosom yet,” (551). When Pearl does eventually catch a circle of light, Hawthorne writes how “her mother could have fancied that the child absorbed it into herself” (551) when the light vanished after Hester approaches “the magic circle” (551) of sunlight that envelopes Pearl. The focus of the light on Pearl is significant in comparison to the negative perception which constantly surrounds her because of her mother’s sin. In describing this natural spotlight in this passage of The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne uses natural imagery to highlight Pearl and her fearlessness, despite people’s generally negative perception of her.