Sunday, November 28, 2010

Night and Literary Quality

Night is an incredible book that recounts a tale from the Holocaust. Making this a personal account rather than a historical one adds more depth that no History book could do. When you read a book from history, you tend to look at it from the outside in. Also, since it’s from History we think it’s from a long time ago. People forget that the Holocaust was a recent event and some of those people in the Holocaust are still alive today. We become disconnected to the horrors these people faced in the concentration camps.
The personal account puts the reader inside the bubble. It allows the readers to be able to relate to the characters in the story. It hits the readers not only on a mental level, but on an emotional level as well. It’s history, but it’s not. It’s a story, which could be our story.
There are literary qualities to this memoir: scope and intent and larger truth. Night covers a particular period in Wiesel’s life. It addresses the challenges he had during the Holocaust, mainly surviving. The result of it becomes the larger truth- losing hope, faith, and humanity during a horrific time in one’s life. Millions of people have went through the Holocaust, and millions more couldn’t fathom of what atrocities these people went through, however we can still relate. Our struggles aren’t as bad, but we still experience events that put us down-that make us wonder why bad things happen to us. We aren’t stealing bread crumbs from the dead, but we do curl up in bed hoping tomorrow will be better.
What Weisel did took a lot of guts. Writing something about your past is hard, writing something about your past that you want to forget is almost impossible. I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t even know if I have any difficult struggles to write about. I lived a pretty happy life compare to Wiesel’s so far. I’m sure I can write about my struggles of being poor, being Asian, or living in the shadows of my older successful brother, but that’s just life.  If I had to write about it, I would try to add humor to it, kind of like what Karr did for The Liar’s Club. I don’t like writing about gloomy events. I try to learn from them as much as I can, and when I do I try and forget about it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thoreau's Memoir

Thoreau’s Walden is a memoir. Not your regular memoir, but it does have all the necessary characteristics to be a memoir. Thoreau writes about his two year experience living in nature. A social experiment, Thoreau details the story with his feelings about trying to live simplicity. I would call this either a philosophical memoir or a self-help memoir.
I thought having no dialogue would make the book slow moving and unexciting. However I was wrong. No dialogue made it more his story. He didn’t need to worry about developing characters because there weren’t any. We got into the character’s head and see how he came up with those insightful thoughts of living simple. “To be awake is to be alive.” He wasn’t necessarily alone though. He gave the trees, plants, anything dealing with nature a great deal of life when he describes them with imagery.
The theme of living in nature and simple of it is timeless. Even during Thoreau’s time where they didn’t have the internet and fast cars, people still were caught up of wanting things. Another thing that his time and this time have in common is people. We tend to be dependable on people: whether it’s our parents, our love ones or a drug dealer. Thoreau’s sums it up in this sentence: “I have a great deal of company in my house, especially in the morning, when no one calls.”
Unlike other memoirs we read so far, he chose this lifestyle. I feel it would have been a lot different if he was poor and had to live in nature. Maybe we would’ve gotten a more depressing viewpoint of what it was like to be alone in the woods. Still I find it commendable for someone to give up everything that he had to find out what it means to live a life of simplicity.
I like the idea of putting yourself out there. Why not find adventure instead of waiting it to come to you. If you’re a writer it makes you think of things you could write about. The subjects are unlimited. With me, it's this girl sitting next to me who I plan on marrying.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Eggers Creative method.

Eggers had an unusual approach when he told the readers that he lost his parents. Instead of telling the audience directly, he inserted a play-like format in his story.  I find it acceptable if it doesn’t take away from the story. At first, it confused me. The story began at an open house when Dave escorted his brother to the school. We find the intentions of Dave, “I was looking to score.”
To me this is where the story was heading. I was pretty excited to read what will happen next. Then, we found out why he was actually there. His new found responsibilities of a guardian to his little brother due to the fact that his parents were lost. It was an interesting approach.
He breaks the story up. It makes it more entertaining to the reader, however was it necessary? I don’t know if it was. I believe the story was going to be just as enjoyable if the play-format wasn’t there. It does create insight on the mind of Dave. It’s not same bland, “Hey my parents are dead.”
When about to introduce to themselves to other parents he gets “ready for the script.” Like most first interactions it’s scripted. Once I reread the thing over again; I found it humorous that he wrote a play-like script of a scripted conversation they are used to having. This made me like the creative way of introducing his parent's death.
I would love to do something creative to be put in my memoir, but I know how unusual or distracting it can be. Unless I know it moves the story; it would be safe just not to do it. One of the worst things I can do is add something that doesn’t matter. Yeah, I might get some laughs, but that’s not the point of the story.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Conroy's Stop-Time

The Jaguar scene gives us a preview of things to come. It allows readers to see the driving force of the entire book, anger.  Why does someone try and tempt death by driving so fast? Who is this person? How did this person come to be? These questions are in the readers' minds, and now they are hooked for the ride.

The scene I choose to write about is the introduction of Lucky. I believe he is the catalyst of Frank's sexual ways. I don't know if he would turn out the way he did if he didn't know Lucky, but he would've had a year or two of more yo-yo playing.

We were first introduced to Lucky, Frank’s cousin, when Frank catches him playing by the water. Lucky, who is a couple of years older than Frank, watches the water as if he was an Olympic swimmer.
Lucky is at the age where puberty comes into play. “Judy’s tits are so big she has to watch it going around corners. The other one has red hair down to her waist.”(120) “Do you realize that in a very few minutes little Miss Titties will be ever so graceful slipping out of her teeny little bathing suit.” (121) He’s a womanizer and wants Frank to know that. Only girls are on his mind and that’s normal for a guy his age.
We see the transformation of Frank from kid to teenager when he is invited to come with Lucky to watch girls undress themselves. Here Conroy creates a scene of anticipation with humor. “I leaned forward and spread the branches farther apart. Sweet Jesus! She was undoing the belt of the bathrobe! She was….‘Eeeyow!’”(131).
The scene reads like a novel. It so happens that Lucky’s pet squirrel attacks Frank just right before the girl is completely nude. It does, however, work with the story. Since these are just high intense scenes that usually involve risk taking, it would be less exciting just to see the girl undress and nothing happens. In the end Frank runs away with Lucky as his joys of yo-yo playing is left behind.
I think the best way to create an intense scene without fabrication is seeing things that people forget to see. A writer’s gift is seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary and with this can help make any scene more intense. I still have problems with it though. I might take out things that just so the story flows better and have a 180 ending that a reader can’t guess, since I didn’t leave any clues for them to follow. I