Well, in spite of all of the other more pressing things I need to get done over the next few days I decided to spend the last five hours finishing my eighth Wharton novel. Although I can see why so many critics think it is "her most sentimental" I am not sure that I completely agree. While there is a romantic happy ending that verges on sappy there are elements in the language that complicate the "sentimental" reading. For example, the last glimpse of the moon, the last line of the novel, is: "a few drops were already falling, the moon, labouring upward, swam into a space of sky, cast her troubled glory on them, and was again hidden". How this should be read is perplexing.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I am feeling overwhelmed. It's not the anxious panic-stricken sort of overwhelmed-ness but rather a strong sense that I have ohhh so much to do. I have so much work between classes (two impending papers), the thesis, new TA training, and being a teacher myself. In some ways I am behind the program; I haven't really worked out my schedules, or made any lesson plans. In other ways I feel as though I've been productive; in my head at least I have a good plan for how I want my schedule to look/work, and I have several class activities thought out.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I met with Betjemann today and we discussed the progress of the thesis. I am feeling pretty good about the whole thing. He suggested the idea of three case studies which was right on target with what I was thinking.
Monday, July 28, 2008
So Ethan Frome (the film version) was not a letdown. It was actually quite good.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Some what recovered from my first week of class I took the better part of today to finish reading The Fruit of the Tree. I was pleased to finish it and am happy to think that I have now completed six of Wharton's novels. Of course there are many more to go before I could claim to have read all of them. She completed 16 novels in her life and many other works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. I was somewhat perplexed by the ending of the novel, but I am sure it will make clearer sense to me in time.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Bird and I had our midterm in Ecology of the Columbia Basin today at 7PM after which it was determined that we should go out into town and partake in a few drinks. This unusual act of "socialness" was exceedingly out of the ordinary as we actually met a friend and chatted.
Posted by Julie at 10:13 PM
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
As if Kate Chopin hadn't done a considerable amount to bring New Orleans to my mind, news of the oil spill has focused my attentions firmly on the delta. This class is mentally exhausting me. I've read another three articles relating to Kate Chopin and nature. Each one seems to be written from a different theoretical perspective. This seems to be a result of the novel's popularity. While it is exciting to work on a novel that has been so widely considered it is also daunting. With so many voices in the conversation I am beginning to feel bewildered.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I've completed my first short paper for this Women's Literature class, a two page rant regarding late 19th century women's clothing and the final scenes of The Awakening. I think it was perhaps too brief, too rushed, but I wanted to stay within the page limits assigned so I cut my thoughts short.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Feeling the pinch of a day without Wharton, I've spent today attending to other literary pursuits. My class in Women and Literature ran from 9 am to 11 am and then spilled over into another 45 minutes of conversation for those of us who are graduate students. I had been hoping for a small class, but this class is well stocked with undergraduates. In all we as a class probably total around 25 people.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Tomorrow another class begins. I'm a bit down about losing all the time for my thesis work, but the class at least promises to be interesting. Onward to Women's Literature.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Lucky me, my Aunt (superawesome) went to Edith Wharton's house The Mount today and took a number of beautiful pictures for me. She also captured images of several old mills in the surrounding area. Furthermore she procured a book for me of Wharton's correspondence and is mailing both book and pictures my way. I am very blessed and quite inspired by the mill and garden fountain photographs.
Posted by Julie at 8:17 PM
Friday, July 18, 2008
In working on the thesis I bent my mind to Beverly Gordon's article "Women's Domestic Body". Dr. Gordon's article examined the conflation of women's bodies with their homes, and discussed the ways in which the home became an extension of the woman. Of course all of this sounds ok except for the underlying dehumanization of women as property that this system of metaphor seeks to naturalize. Gordon elaborates upon this and looks to the etiquette and advice literature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries to make her point. A good read though not as relevant to my thesis as I might have liked. I amused Bird by reading sections of the text aloud to her.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Today I tried my best to get some work done on the thesis. I started out hearing from Betjemann (superhero lit master/thesis advisor). He essentially assured me that my original thesis idea was probably worth sticking with. We're meeting up next week to discuss it. In the meantime I've been advised to look into Italian Villas and Their Gardens in hopes of some info pertaining to water. Of course in this text I would likely find writings about fountains, ponds etc... I haven't followed this advice yet, but I did read a good essay today; Peter Hays "Undine is Us". The essay gave a good overview of how Undine (The Custom of the Country) is an embodiment of American materialism at its worst. I was also pleased to find several passages in The Fruit of the Tree which referred to swamps and marshes. I am still trying to figure out what state Westmore mills is set in so that I can better guide my historical research though I suppose it doesn't make too much of a difference if it's in New York or New England since the industrial histories of the two are quite similar.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
This morning bright and early-ish Bird and I headed out to the William L. Finley wildlife refuge where Bird is doing part of her study. The place we were looking at is basically a field dominated by various grasses and small rose bushes. Unlike where we were yesterday, Finley had almost no fruiting plants. There were, as far as I could see, no cherries, only a few apples and some other dark berries on a tree I've yet to identify. There were a number of lovely wildflowers, some that I know by name, but many unfamiliar to me. I took photos of them for later identification. While at Finley we saw a group of about five Western Kingbirds. They are apparently uncommon in this area, so it was a nice find. They were also terribly cute and talkative.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
It is finally heating up in the Willamette Valley. Not that I wanted it to get hot, but it had been cool and rainy from October well into June. Enjoyable, but I had wondered if there would be a summer. There is. It is overwhelmingly warm. We have the front door propped open with the dog kennel and a cheapo (though oddly made in the USA) box fan on top of it.