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Monthly Archives: September 2010

“It is the language that speaks, not the author” I completely agree with this statement. While reading Barthes he comes up with some very interesting points. Yes it is the author who writes the language but it is the language itself that gives the reader meaning. Barth goes on to explain how literature that was around in his time was awful because the author would inflict in opinion on the reader. The reader however should pay no attention to the opinion of the author without forming his own opinion first. The author should just be sharing his information with you, rather than trying to persuade you to take his side in the argument that is being portrayed. Barthes places much value in the reader. The reader is the one who has to make connections for themselves, and in that case the reader is analyzing everything to their liking, with no help from the author, and that is how it should be.

            Barth goes on to argue that the words do all the work in a book. The author is just there taking credit. The author puts the words together in a certain form, but the words are what speaks to the reader, and draws them in. The words are what help the reader make connections. However now a days there is no emphasizes on the reader what so ever. All the fame goes to the author. IN order for readers to get credit for making sense out of the simple words that are being put together, the author needs to share the spotlight. However I don’t think that will be happening anytime soon.

After our discussion in class today i began to see a connection between Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, and Fred, Marx, and Nietzsche.  In the novel, Gregor is turned into a giant insect which is known as unfamiliar which equals uncanny(Freud). Gregor went from living a normal life to things changing in an instant. Socially the family cannot be seen with this “thing” in public so they have become confined to thier home. They do not want to be judged by society. They originally become upset because the money earner in the family(Gregor) is no longer able to help his family live their extravagant lifestyle. They do not want to decline in the social ladder so they will do whatever it takes to stay a float(Marx). Poor Gregor, all this time he is living a lie, because he thinks only about the needs of his family. He puts them above everything else. Eventually he comes to see the truth because in reality his family only cares about him  because he was able to contribute financially. As the truth strikes him he dies, knowing that his family was not happy with him and or what he had become due to the face that he could not provide for them.  Nietzsche).

Franz Kafka’s  The Metamorphosis was a very strange book. Personally I could not imagine waking up in the morning to find out that I am a giant insect. However I feel sympathetic toward Gregor. He worked as a traveling salesman for a company that he hated just to support his family. When this craziness started his family seemed to shun him, and expect him to be confined to his room, while Gregor is worrying constantly about his family’s financial state.  His family comes first above everything else. As time goes by Gregor’s family will not be associated with him, just because of what other people think. Gregor loves his family so much that he doesn’t want them to go through this. He dies. His family just moves right along. It says in the text that now they can go out in public as a family, how horrible that they couldn’t be a family with Gregor.

            Gregor’s family was so quick to judge someone who was once a part of their family. I guess Kafka has a lot to say about society and how we work. It seems as though society develops what they believe to be “norms” and an individual who does not follow or look like those established “norms” is shunned. However, abnormal is looked upon as tragedy. Tragedy in the sense that people will not associated with you because of the way you look, or act, or what you wear. But seriously who is in charge of deciding what is normal? I know that I wouldn’t want to be associated with someone who was exactly like me in every way because I don’t want to be friends with myself. Difference should be celebrated. Everyone has similarities but it’s great that everyone is different. Society doesn’t think that way though. I think that there is no such thing as normal. Everyone is abnormal, because there are no two people who are exactly alike, and I like things that way.

While reading Freud’s passage, the first thing that I found most interesting was the fact that he tells us uncanny does not equal unfamiliar. In languages around the world they have words to mean the same thing; they are just not translated as uncanny. The Greek word, xénos (ξένος), means strange or foreign. That word can still be used to describe uncanny. I think in this section Freud is trying to portray there is not one way to say Uncanny. You can say it in many different ways, and or languages. But most importantly it depends on the person.

 In class we discussed repressed memories in conjunction with the story about Nathaniel, in relation to uncanny. Repressed memories are stuffed away because a person generally does not want to revisit them. I think that whenever someone is scared, they repress those feelings and images because they generally do not want to revisit them. However when those memories are triggered those feelings come back.  Just like Nathaniel. He represses the Sandman story, and then anything that has to do with eyes brings back those uncanny feelings. However, just because something is unfamiliar does not make it uncanny. There is a certain element added to the situation to make it become that way. Take a doll for example, you may see a doll that you have never seen before, but when that doll starts murdering people (chucky) it becomes frightening. The fact that the doll is coming to life and killing people is the element that makes the situation scary.

Freud, Marx, and Nietzsche are all interrelated. These three theorists, question things that as individuals we come into contact with in everyday life. For Marx, its social classes, for Nietzsche it’s the truth, and the lie, and Freud is known for the uncanny.

  While reading Nietzsche’s article i found it very interesting that he questions truth. He goes on to suggest that the truth is disguised, and no one is really what they appear to be. That is tough for me to read because when i meet someone i would like to think they are the person they are portraying. However I have had experiences with individuals that seem to be one thing but then turn out to be not so nice. So in a way I think that Nietzsche has a point. However instead of taking it to the next level and saying that no one is what they appear to be, I think we should re-evaluate things and say to be careful, and not let your guard down right away because nothing may be as it seems. 

 The truth does exist because you are restating something that actually happened. However I think Nietzsche is trying to get at the fact that the truth exists in certain individuals. But in others the truth is disguised. So in any situation you have to be careful who you trust because the truth can act as an illusion. The person who seems to be telling the truth can be lying.

After class on Wednesday, I think we all pretty much agreed that Karl Marx is a confusing individual. Looking at the packet, on page 7 where Marx says “A pearl or diamond is valuable as a pearl or diamond. No chemist has discovered exchange value either in a pearl or diamond. The economic discoverers of the chemical element, who by – the – bye lay special claim to critical acumen, find however that the use value of objects belongs to them independently of their material properties, while on the other value, on the other hand, forms a part of them as objects” This excerpt suggests that a pearl and a diamond are valuable due to their name if you called something else a pearl or a diamond it will be just as valuable. However I think that Marx is also questioning why they are so valuable because there is nothing in their molecular structure that contributes to their value, and makes it worth so much. The reason that diamonds and pearls are worth a lot however is because there is a high demand for them.  Another main point we discussed in class was how when the demand for something goes up the prices go up with them as well. However some people will say that a diamond or pearl is well worth spending the money on while others will disagree and say that it is not practical so spend so much on an object that doesn’t really give you any benefits.

 In class today we spent alot of time talking about Karl Marx, and his beliefs. The one quote that I liked was “Individuals can only think the thoughts that are thinkable in their society” (399). This quote is very powerful because it suggests that in every society noone wants to be different. When you are different your not normal. You only allowed to think how everyone else is thinking. Marx did not think like everyone else, which is why he was kicked out of many countries. Marx had his own thoughts on religion, and culture and just plain way of life, but when they contradicted with society instead of listening to what he had to say, they removed him. Marx was looked at as more of a problem, than someone who just had a different opinion.