Reflection/Response: Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice

I have most recently finished Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. These two novels are classics of the western European literary tradition and question social status, class, and gender-related issues of 19th century England. I enjoyed both for different reasons and at the same time had my own complications with the two.

Pride and Prejudice (published 1813)

The characters are vibrant and possess a lot of stubborn vigor when it comes to family and gossip. The socio-cultural habits of middle-class and upper-class (somewhat royalty) families are the main subject of this book revolving around complicated marriages, friendships, and of course the tumultuous romance between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I enjoyed reading this novel again purely because the dialogue is extremely witty and the plot is full of plenty of drama. My complication, or struggle, with this book is probably the same as anyone else’s Elizabeth and Darcy’s behavior, mainly their stubbornness and arrogance which is sometimes frustrating and painful to read. I love Elizabeth for her honest and straight-forward ‘say-it-like-it-is’ style which I think is refreshing to read and comforting. Overall it is a novel I would read again at any opportunity.

Wuthering Heights (published 1847)

This is a much darker more tragic novel than Pride and Prejudice, it is not a happy romance. Lockwood rents a home from Heathcliff and what results is a long story told to  Lockwood by Nelly, a housekeeper about the complicated history of Heathcliff and Catherine’s love and the generation after. Illness, madness (mental illness), rage, and abuse are consistent throughout. There are mysterious elements in this novel such as ghost stories and apparitions, and I believe this could be considered a Gothic Novel. My complication with this story was the role of Nelly, she is the narrator and ultimately a complete meddler in people’s affairs but she has no family, few friends, and is a life-long servant to the two main households in the story making Nelly, in my opinion, an equally complex character to that of Heathcliff and Catherine. I found this novel interesting and heart-wrenching but I gradually became more curious about the possible inspiration or reasons that Emily Bronte would write such a book. Overall I am impressed by this novel and I have been struggling to think of anything I’ve ever read that could be similar to it that is from the same century.

I wanted to give brief reflections on these two novels, to keep it short and sweet. Usually, I would include a little background info on Emily Bronte and Jane Austen but I am thinking about posting a small summary of the lives of Emily and Charlotte Bronte as well as Jane Austen sometime soon. I am currently reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte for the nth time (it is one of my all-time favorites) I have no idea how many times I have read this novel but it is incredible and I love it, do expect a reflection/response post to this novel as well!

Thank you for reading my reflections and writing, I hope that you will return in the future! 

-Alina 

 

 

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Coming Soon: My Personal Response on ‘Surviving 2017 in the Trump Era’ and ‘Combating the quote-unquote brainwashed College Student Theory’

I have been thinking about two topics recently in light of personal experiences and conversations I have had with numerous people such as family, friends, and fellow students.

These two topics I plan on writing MY OWN PERSONAL RESPONSES to:

“Surviving 2017 in the Trump Era”….did anyone really survive? and how do I feel now that 2017 is coming to an end. This will be my own little synopsis of how my year has gone including my reflections on the insanely horrifying events that have happened this year…so far… in American.

“Combating the quote-unquote Brainwashed College Student Theory” this has been a reoccurring conversation that has been happening between me and my family. I found this theory (as I am going to call it) to be more laughable than a serious issue to address. But after talking to other students in my Major (English, the Humanities) and doing a bit of research on my own, it appears that this little theory is a persistent issue that conservative parents and families have been “dealing with” for a very long time in America.

My responses will be posted by the end of this year so keep a lookout. I would also love to hear about any experiences that college students have had dealing with this “brainwashed liberal” thing. I find it an interesting little concept that now aides in dividing families and the nation even more than it has been this year.

This is also me lighting a candle in my own little lighthouse in this continuous storm, is there anybody out there with similar thoughts?

I want to thank my faithful and regular readers and followers that take time out of their day to read my work on my blog. Thank you so much for the support you give to me and my writing! I hope you will (and others) return in the future! 

-Alina 

Reflection on 101WKQK’s Interview with “Nine Inch Nails” (Being an “Old Rock Band”, Social Media and the Artist)

(featured image is a still from one of 101WKQK’s interviews with NIN)

I recently watched a short snippet provided on youtube of an interview with “Nine Inch Nails” by 101WKQK (published on youtube.com on Oct. 6th, 2017). The questions were answered by Trent Reznor, leading frontman, and revolved around NIN’s relation and involvement in Modern Day Festivals.

I found this seven-and-a-half minute interview illuminating as Reznor touched on being in an “Old Rock Band” still playing today alongside young musicians. Reznor also talks about being an artist and what that means to him in regards to how artists place themselves in the public sphere (social media etc.). Atticus Ross sat by Reznor and did not say much, whispered to Reznor frequently but said almost nothing.

I am a HUGE fan of Reznor and his projects with Atticus Ross (soundtracks for major motion pictures) and I loved NIN’s latest release “Add Violence” which came out in July. I was curious to hear his commentary and views on being an “Old Rock Band” particularly one that still plays instruments versus the computer-generated sounds and DJing which have taken over in the music industry as the popular form.

I personally like both kinds of music but relish in hearing music that is made solely by I guess they would be called now “classic” rock instruments; guitar, bass, drums, vocals, with little to none add-ons done after recording (background noise, effects, synthetic sounds) of course NIN’s music has way more involved than just the classic instruments but it is the fact that they still play and use them that makes them one of the “Old Rock Bands”. There is something amazing and beautiful hearing a band actually play instruments and create sound but there is arguably no difference between someone playing an instrument to create music versus playing on programs and computer software, the outcome is still the same, we get music and it does take talent and skill to create music that is generally accepted to be good or even legendary.

In the interview, Reznor was asked how it feels to play big music festival shows, particularly the two that they performed at this year. Ross whispers to Reznor every once in a while in response to the questions, I think Ross was more of letting Reznor take the reigns of answering these questions for this interview. Reznor replied,

“I think rock bands are out of fashion generally, you know these days but I don’t give a shit.”

Later going on to comment generally on how the younger artists such as Frank Ocean and DJ Khaled are completely different artists than NIN. Reznor also remarks on the need today for everyone to be on all social media, or as a platform for artists to have everything out there and available for audiences,

“I’m a big believer in less is more on that front and I said this elsewhere but…our decision making collectively comes from our experience….our tastes and our judgement…and the endless amount of decisions made…are not based on what we [NIN] think you’ll like but what we know we like…”

Reznor continues on the subject of social media and how, in his opinion, why people participate in it,

“…I think that now as everyone’s a publisher, everybody’s got a blog, and everybody’s got a facebook profile and instagram and snapchat, the world can’t wait to see everything about ‘my fantastic life’ that I’m presenting to you through a distorted lens about how awesome it is…”

This conversation on social media and the artist leads Reznor on to reflecting how he listened to music while he was growing up and that he rarely ever saw a picture of the actual band (which he loved, such as Pink Floyd) and that because of this there was a mystery about these bands, they were like “gods” to him that he could connect to according to how he felt when listening to their music. Reznor believes that it is important for the artist to have a little bit of mystery to them to fascinate people,

” I have grown to believe that trying to stay out of the limelight a bit, leave something to the imagination and I think an artist should be mysterious in my opinion…try to avoid the need to over saturate yourself…”

Reznor also mentions that although he does not believe personally inputting your entire life out there on social media that that is a particular thing for him and what it means to him to be an artist,

“…Times are different…I’m not trying to say its wrong…but I do think there are some lessons to be learned about the role of the artist, the role of art, the role of music, we still base it on what it was to us, what it meant to us, what matters to us…”

(quotes are from time marker 2:10-6:40)

I resonated with a lot of what Reznor discussed in this interview mainly because I have similar viewpoints and opinions on social media, the artist, and “Old Rock Bands”. I don’t have a facebook, on purpose, I think it is a total waste of time and I remember in high school when I did have one and it was starting to gain this traction as a thing where having as many “friends” as possible was what was desired. It was also growing to be more popular and more widely used by everyone I knew then, the now ancient and relatively unknown “Myspace”. After graduating from high school I “deleted” my facebook account because I wanted to start fresh, interpret that however you like I don’t care.

It is only in this year ( I am not counting my addiction to Tumblr that started in 2013 and reigned until the beginning of this year) that I finally got a Twitter (and kept it), got an Instagram and created this blog. I have held a very strong belief that if anyone wanted to be apart of my life they would come into my life, by this I mean, knowing what I’m doing, where I hang out, what I like, what food I eat, which is all the information that people generally share with everyone (the entire world) on most social media sites. I am still reluctant to be apart of an online community and put myself out there because I think there is something to be valued in an individual experience or one among a few people but times are changing and I acknowledge that I may be left in the dust if I don’t jump on the band wagon in some form or another (however I am aware of how much information I am putting out there on the internet and what it means to me).

I am an artist in that I am a musician, a Writer, and I actually create art, paintings, drawings etc. These are the ways in which I express myself and that I can connect with others. Reznor’s comments on the artist as a mysterious person I think is valid. There is so much more left to the imagination that is up for the audience to fill in. I do not know how people percieve my work in its many forms and I don’t care because all that matters is that I am getting my work out there and I hope there is a chance that it will help or mean something to someone who feels they can connect with it, that’s it.

Also, Reznor’s reflection on how he grew up listening to music gave me a kind of relief because I have a similar style to his. If I find new music that I enjoy the very last thing I do after listening, usually to a full album, of their music for a few months is google them. I make it a point not to look up a band’s pictures or history until after I decide I want to know more. This is an interesting venture for me now because I do like to use Spotify which has almost all of a bands info available alongside their music but it is a habit I’ve had for as long as I can remember. After I do look at pictures and info, I watch music videos which are a hit or miss experience for me every time. I can love a song for months and finally watch the music video which influences my interpretation of the song and how I feel about it after. I am trying to get better at this and look at music videos as another format of a song, an entity that can be evaluated seperately from the song, this does help but it is difficult because lines are blurred between the two most of the time, where does the art stop and start?

Overall, I wanted to post a quick reflection on this interview because I loved it and obviously related to what Reznor was saying. I hope that for any fans of NIN out there, they also find this interview if so talk to me! Let me know what you thought of it!

 

Thank you for reading my writing, I hope you will return in the future! 

-Alina 

 

Note: I am thinking about doing a quick review of “A Perfect Circle’s” single release “The Doomed” which has been available to audiences for a little over a month now. Any thoughts?

Lana Del Rey : Lust for Life REVIEW

(photo by Neil Krug )

Just a few weeks ago, sad-pop singer Lana Del Rey released her latest album Lust For Life which contains 16 mind-blowing tracks that span a range of relevant topics but stick true to her ‘Summertime Sadness’ trademark. Lana Del Rey’s songs possess a nostalgia for an Americana landscape full of classic heroes and anti-heroes such as James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Jim Morrison and God. Lana Del Rey a.k.a. Elizabeth Grant often blurs the lines between her persona and her self (Lizzy) or so the public thinks. Evidence of these blurry lines can be seen on stage when she performs, her presence is intense and mimic’s tones found in her music videos but there is something there within her that is honest and very very personal as she sings.

Lana Del Rey is a bad girl who lives in a past-present time shift full of drugs and abusive men, attributes that are linked to Lizzy’s personal life which she has used to evoke her inner muse since the beginning. Lana holds the reigns for a the millennial generation that can relate(?) to hard love, drugs and crime (possibly). Old American styles, and Hollywood icons that have been canonized by American culture are used creatively to highlight and paint her music, making her work uniquely American. Relate-able or not, Lana is doing something that no other musician is at this time, she is synthesizing her experiences and music with specific themes that evoke another life all together. Simply put, the world that Lizzy creates from her influences such as Americana and old Hollywoodland gives her a unique style that can only be found in her music and Lana Del Rey persona.

What does Lust For Life do that Lana’s other albums don’t?

Honeymoon, Lana’s previous albumwas released only two years ago but is a completely different animal from Lust for Life. It appears that Lana’s inward journey through reflecting on her romantic past is finally moving onto a social critique of a present day America. Can anyone blame her? In these troubling times it is more important than ever that cultural icons such as artists, musicians and actresses take a stand and speak out against ignorance and intolerance, they are the most viewed positions in our society for their relevance in our day-to-day lives (music/movies/performances) and they have the ability to speak to large audiences in monumental voices. It is evident that Lana is aware of this fact as she brings up socio-political issues in her songs while evoking past events such as ‘Coachella-Woodstock in My Mind’, the Beatles references (‘Tomorrow Never Came’) while at the same time nodding her head in recognition to one of her big influences Nirvana and Kurt Cobain (‘Heroin’). Her romances are still present and paint this album with darker blues in tracks such as ‘White Mustang’, ‘Cherry’, and ‘In My Feelings’. The handful of themes found within these tracks reflects moods that color the entire album as an intense vibrant experience full of love, life and worries. It’s as if the album is saying, I have my own issues with love and life but it’s worth it even when the world feels like it’s falling apart, this is evident in ‘When the World was at War we kept Dancing’.

Lust for Life also evokes more hip-hop tones that call back to Lana’s Born to Die album from 2012. There has been more discussion lately on cultural-appropriation in music and this topic is brought up in a recent interview with The Complex Cover.

Lana leaves us out of breath and bathing in a summer of blues and reflection as always but especially this year her album feels like a sucker punch to the gut chased with a hard drink leaving us dazed and close to knocked out for good.

MY PERSONAL RATING FOR LUST FOR LIFE :  4.5/5

I’ve been a Lana Del Rey fan since Born to Die, following Lana’s work closely for the past five years. I admire her skill to weave in multiple cultural references throughout her work while maintaining a strong theme and presence of self reflection. I love her blues and attitude towards the past which I find thought provoking. The only issue I have ever had with Lana is that she is not a feminist and the males in her songs are often volatile and abusive recalling a time (1950’s- ’60’s) when women were used up and treated as less than men (guess what….it’s still happening!!!). I respect Lana (Lizzy) as an individual and still admire her work regardless of her stance on feminist issues.

MY TOP TRACKS:

White Mustang

Summer Bummer

In My Feelings

Tomorrow Never Came

Heroin

 

SIDE NOTE:

The only question I have for Lana Del Rey,

Is Lust For Life a reference to Iggy Pop’s Lust for Life song???

If not, cool, if so…suddenly my three favorite things can be connected Iggy Pop, Lana Del Rey, and Trainspotting!


 

If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I hope you will return in the future!

-Alina

Announcement: Films, Music, Art Topics

Hello Readers!

I plan on posting a few things this week, here is what to expect,

Poetry: Post that includes 1-3 poems that I am currently working on.

Short Story: Post that includes a short story that I am currently working on.

 

Films, Music, Art: Here are the topics I am considering writing on, would love your input or vote in the comments below as well as suggestions!

 

Movies: Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Evil Dead (1981) or (2013)

Fight Club (1999)

The Twilight Zone (1959-1964) ANY EPISODE

American Psycho (2000)

American Mary (2012)

 

Music:    Iggy Pop (selected album)

Black Sabbath (selected album)

MARILYN MANSON (selected album)* could expand heavily on

 

Art: Egon Schiele

Robert Mapplethorpe

Frida Kahlo

 


Thank you for any suggestions! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

Response: Phenomenology/Body/Poetry

This is a response to tmbenjamin10 ‘s suggested topic from my post National Poetry Month , “…I’ve been recently wondering and reading around the subject of phenomenology and its effect on how we treat the body in poetry. Please feel free to take a stab at the subject…” .

This is a big subject and a lot to chew on so it’s taken me while to compose a response but I hope that my insight/reflection helps.


 

First, I want to break down the word ‘Phenomenology’, it is a long and complicated term that means simply ‘the study of phenomena’ which is often related to Philosophy (dictionary.com)

The Philosophical study of Phenomenology can be defined as, ‘…the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view.’ (plato.stanford.edu)

I want to stick to these two definitions of Phenomenology as I apply the body in poetry to this term.

The body in poetry can sometimes be used to represent or express what is happening internally with the ‘subject’ of the poem. The body can also represent what is happening externally. It is the relationship of subject and representation in poetry that can be linked  to phenomena and the body.

 

For example,

 

                                               (The body has become a physical interpretation for the                                                       decay of the city)

“The body breaks    

away with

the rubble of

the city”

(my own words)

(Body is representing phenomena in the outside                                                                      environment regardless if the expression and event are                                                      linked by action or not)

 

Second Example,

 

“Thunder rumbled above me,                  ( Here the outside event -phenomena- is linked                                                                         to the body, expressed in a reaction that can be                                                                       deciphered as either emotional or physical)

my body static with electricity,

 

vibrates.”

(my own words)

 

Another example that came to my mind, when I read the words phenomenology, body and poetry in the same sentence, was the ancient belief that there were gods that could control natural forces (i.e. Greek and Roman Mythology) and that if you pissed off the gods they would kill you (often by natural forces; earthquakes, floods, storms). So if I were to apply the same principles to poetry and the body it would be something like this,

phenomena/natural forces+body/response (internal/external)= poetry

I can also switch around ‘body’ with ‘gods’ and ‘phenomena’ with                                               ’emotions/expression/poetry’.

Overall, it depends entirely on what you want to do with the ‘body’ in a poem and how you want the ‘body’ to relate (either internally or externally) to the outside world (phenomena/natural forces) in this way the body has the ability of being both God and Human, either expressing how the God can manipulate the environment or vice versa.

 

Here’s another example that crossed my mind after thinking about Gods. The movie Carrie (1976) Directed by Brian De Palma, is about a teenage girl with psychic powers (imdb.com). Carrie as a body in a poem can directly influence her environment through phenomena and in another way the supernatural events that happen around Carrie can be related to phenomena affecting the body (the emotions of these events would be Poetry).

I am not sure if this last example really helps. In my mind I think of Gods and Poltergeists when I read about the study of Phenomenology. I think that a good literary example of how there is a close connection between poetry, body and phenomena would be ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man‘ by James Joyce. Although it is often thought of as a difficult and dense text, it can be related to these subjects easily through an analysis of the technique and style that Joyce uses to tell the story of young Stephen Dedalus.

Well, tmbenjamin10 please let me know what you think of my response (if you get a chance to read this). I really appreciate your suggestion and Thank You for helping me contribute to NaPoMo!!!

 

sources: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/phenomena

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074285/      (‘Carrie’ original story by Stephen King)


 

If you are reading this THANK YOU for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

T2: Response and Reflection

WARNING: SPOILERS ALERT

T2 Trainspotting Poster

(source: imdb.com)

The shots, cuts and camera angles used in T2 reflect the style and tone of Trainspotting (1996). Paired with a gritty soundtrack that ranges from classics-remixed or toned down- from Trainspotting and contemporary music, the film exudes in its technique the theme of T2; nostalgia and coming to terms with your past.

Returning to Edinburgh, Renton decides to make amends and pay back his friends whom he betrayed twenty years ago (except Begbie, who he avoids at all costs). What he finds is Sick Boy and Spud doing exactly what they were doing when he left, and Begbie still in prison (soon to break free).

T2 follows Renton and the crew ‘getting together’ one last time in an epic junkie battle of revenge and heart wrenching flashbacks of adolescent beginnings. Emphasizing on nostalgia for a past that has died and gone to junkie heaven, T2 artistically echoes key moments that made Trainspotting  unforgettable; ‘Choose Life’ speeches, Renton colliding with vehicles, Begbie and his love for violence, Spud as the loved and innocent junkie of the crew and Sick Boy (Simon) still working as a con artist and thief. Although it echoes similar actions in Trainspotting, it does not feel like T2 is copying these actions in an attempt to ride the waves of what made it popular in the first place. The repeated or similar actions feel like they stand on their own, echoing maybe the message that sometimes you are always doomed to repeat yourself.

What is added to the mix is the role of Veronica, a young twenty something whose expertise in sex and her partnership (girlfriend?) with Sick Boy puts her at the center of an old man dog fight over events that probably happened when she was just a toddler. Veronica in the book Porno (by Irvine Welsh, and sequel to Trainspotting) has more parts and prevalence as a sex worker who later works for Sick Boy in his venture of creating Pornographic films above his bar. These parts are changed and toned down in the movie T2 and Veronica is portrayed as a possibly more ‘clean’ woman to audiences but in the end she does exactly what she does in Porno; taking the torch from the generation before her of “First there is opportunity, then there is Betrayal.”(imdb.com). I think by toning down Veronica in T2 Danny Boyle may have taken into consideration just how much grit and slime audiences can take (creating an R-Rated film versus a neon flashing NC-17).

Although I was curious from the instant I heard about T2 and after reading the book Porno just how much of book would be in T2, I am satisfied with this cookie cutter version which is easier to swallow for most, although I definitely craved more of the book in the end.

Overall, T2 holds true to Trainspotting as an art device used for social critique and exposure of the disgusting but often real underbelly of modern life (a predominant trait of Irvine Welsh’s works). With added references and use of today’s technology and comments on how ‘conning’ can’t be done like how it used to be, T2 shows the evolution of  addiction, lies, and thievery in our present day in a heart-wrenching story of opportunity and betrayal among best friends.

 

I could write more on T2 and go into depth on certain key scenes/aspects that stood out to me but I will have to think about this. I do plan on seeing T2 again and in the theatre so I can enjoy the big screen experience and if after watching it for a second time I do decide to do another reflection I will post one, probably longer (long long read) and in a couple of weeks.

 

(sources: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2763304/?ref_=nv_sr_1, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117951/?ref_=nv_sr_2 )


 

If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing. I hope you return in the future!

-Alina