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The Loophole

“A White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett is a short story about a young girl named Sylvia who lives in the forrest and has a great love for nature. I believe that Sylvia’s love of nature and devotion to everything in it is the “loophole” in this story, the reason she is victor at the end.

When the “handsome stranger” comes to stay at Sylvia’s house in hopes of catching a White Heron for his collection, the young girl is intrigued by the stranger’s lifestyle. However, she is also suspicious as to why the man kills the birdsH he claims to love. Sylvia agrees to help him find the bird in exchange for $10. This is a large amount of wealth to her, and would be enough to make her “rich with money.” However, when Sylvia is searching for the bird she is suddenly thrown back into her love of nature and realizes that she cannot give up the precious bird. The stranger assumed that Sylvia’s greed would overcome her and force her to reveal the bird’s spot, but the “loophole” here is that Sylvia’s love for nature trumped her greed.

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Physicality and Mentality

This quote is extremely powerful and says so much about the concept of slavery. I believe that Douglass is acknowledging in this quote, that he cannot change the past, he was a slave. However, he also believes he is now free in his mind; his mind is no longer connected to the idea of slavery or enslaved to his owner. After being a slave for so long the idea of being a slave became apart of Douglass’s identity. This could have affected Douglass’s view on himself for the rest of his life, that he was less than other men. Instead of letting his past hold him back Douglass casts off the mental shackles of being a slave, implying that slavery is as much mental as it is physical.

Earlier in the narrative Douglass discusses how within the first six months of being with Mr. Covey he was, “broken in body, soul, and spirit.” While people usually think of slavery as not being able to leave and be physically free to do as one wishes, it is also the idea of not being able to one’s own person. Someone else owns everything about you, including your mind. Douglass reminds us that slavery goes much deeper to what we cannot see.

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Barbaric yawp

We usually define barbaric as something crude or unsophisticated. This was exactly how Walt Whitman’s poem, Song of Myself, was first received, but that was exactly what he wanted. The poem does not rhyme and has no
What is now considered free verse was once considered strange and unorganized. This epic poem is organic and goes against everything that poetry was like when it was published.

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“Being”

At length let up again to feel the puzzle of puzzles,
And that we call Being. (Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, Section 26)

While Whitman has many things to say about himself and religion and other people I found this line to be the most interesting because of it’s simplicity. The poem is, of course, lengthy and Whitman discusses many different topics. The language of these lines is not complex, Whitman is very straightforward in this section, and in most of the poem. He is confused, like most people, about life. Why we are here? What is the meaning of life? I found this section of the poem to be very interesting because Whitman begins it by talking about listening to, “…all sounds running together, combined, fused or/ following.” He then begins to list all kinds of different sounds that exist in our world, practically the whole section is a list. This part of the section seemed very loud to me, I could imagine all of the noises of the universe at once and just how loud it would be. The words used towards the end of the section (whirls, wrenches, sails, cuts and throttled) create a fast pace which suddenly stops, and Whitman pulls the reader back to the present and questions our purpose and livelihood. He asks a simple question, what is it be a person and live in a world with so much noise.

This section of the poem reminded me of “Young Goodman Brown” because both characters realize that they do not know everything about the world. Whitman calls into question what it means to be a person while Brown questions the morality and righteousness of the people around him. Both characters feel as though the world is too complex to comprehend and that nothing is black or white.

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The American Scholar

The ambitious soul sits down before each refractory fact; one after another, reduces all strange constitutions, all new powers, to their class and their law, and goes on for ever to animate the last fibre of organization, the outskirts of nature, by insight. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

The first thing I found to be challenging about this quote was the detail. Emerson’s use of language is not something I am used to reading. His sentences relate to the ones around it and he expects you to understand what he is talking about at all times because he will not reintroduce the subject matter in every new sentence. This creates the task of focusing on every sentence in a different way in an attempt to understand if it is adding on to the previous sentence or starting a new subject entirely.

My largest problem with this quote, though, was the length of it. Emerson lists so many different elements in one sentence that by the time I was done reading it I had forgotten everything I just read. However, when I take it more slowly, and piece by piece, I can comprehend it a little easier.

The sentences preceding this one discuss an astronomer and a chemist simply doing what their professions ask of them. Then the ambitious soul comes in and examines all facts in front of him. I am still confused as to what the remainder of the sentence means. I believe that “…reduces all strange constitutions, all new powers, to their class and their law…” means the person analyzes all of the information around him to it’s simplest elements; he ignores all information except for what the subject is originally meant to convey. Maybe this means that “…and goes on for ever to animate the last fibre of organization, the outskirts of nature, by insight.” discusses how the person can now understand things by using his own understanding of the matter at hand.

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Emily in Transit

Hi there! My name is Emily and I’m a sophomore at SFSU. I’m interested in studying either Psychology or Anthropology, but I have yet to decide what I want to do with my life. I really enjoy working with kids, I’ve spent my last two summers working as a camp counselor at a camp I’ve attended since I was four years old. I look forward to summer constantly because I have met my closest friends there and I take joy in working with children. 

I am also an avid reader, my book shelf is completely full of my favorite books and ones I have yet to read. My favorite author is Sylvia Plath, I have four biographies about her that I am excited to read. Harry Potter, of course, is another one of my favorites. I will read just about anything besides horror. 

My music taste would most likely be described as “indie” but it seems to me that “indie” music is extremely popular now, and I listen to music that never even comes close to being on radio waves. Many of my favorite bands are only known by my closest friends or sister, which makes going to concerts with people very difficult. I cannot stand the type of music that is featured on MTV or the radio because so much of it does not seem like real music to me. I like to hear the singer’s voice without autotune and the actual sound of a guitar, but that’s just my particular taste. 

Since moving to San Francisco last year, I have fallen in love with this wonderful city. Unlike some people, I enjoy the gloomy weather and fog. I love how walking down a few blocks can transport you to a completely different part of the city. I have only explored a small portion of the city and I can’t wait for this year has in store.