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chad
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The trees that got even with the world

That the world was was put in a hearse from the trees from America is an interesting point. Hey! They're still chopping down trees around me- they apparently cause damage to the homes made of trees. But we became the soul of the tree when we built homes of wood, or, at least, the wood of th tree became our skin and helped civilization to survive the environment. But, inasmuch as we are part of that environment, it sometimes seems as if trees helped us fight ourselves, turning civilization against itself, as the Pequod sinks to the bottom after its struggle with the legendary Moby Dick. Fennimore-Cooper, in "The Last of the Mohicans", basically tells us that we are the trees, and is an excellent story if you're intersted in the impact of trees on the world, but specifically the tress of North America, where one country's flag depicts a maple leaf in red.

Chad
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Time

Our concept of time is dependent on the revolution of the earth around the sun. We can leave time by escaping the earth's gravitational pull, but perhaps only to find ourselves being pulled by something else. We are leaky caskets within leaky caskets. How can we keep our integrity? Where can we remain the same? These questions are what I think drive Ahab insane, in part.

Chad
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Choisya
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Re: Just to add to "the sun"

I don't think it is the B&N Forum which doesn't 'allow room' chad but that most people do not want to go really, really, in depth into most things. Nor do most folks have the time to do so. Lots of questions wouldn't just drive Ahab insane but most of us. One of the problems that mentally ill people often have is the inability to turn off their minds, to stop asking questions - hence 'tranquillisers'.




chad wrote:
The B&N forum doesn't really allow room to go really, really in depth- you could write books on all of these things. But Melville writes about the forces that pull or bind us- these forces could be politics, business, religion, biology, physics, etc. etc. The drama and intensity in Moby Dick comes from tension in reaization that those forces that pull me may lead to my own destruction or the disintegration of my own skin- forces which are insurmountable. For example, I'm not sure if I should leave the country with my "stove self." That is, will the union of the U.S. survive or lead me on a path to the Middle East? A question on a larger scale mght be: will humanity collectively be able to leave the pull of the sun when it's time to leave? Will we ever feel it is time?

Off to the gym once again! have a great day!
Chad


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Language

[ Edited ]
Choisya:

Many authors of this time period write about a language that was taught to them. Language, itself, is often the source of the tension in the novel, including the last one, I might add. In most of these works for example, characters are unable to express how they feel with words, or are unable to uncover what they hope to be the truth- truth is often someting we describe in language, but does not exist. Language can also be something which removes us from ourselves, something that builds a barrier to the natural world around us, or something which became outdated, an ananchronism to a rapidly evolving modern society beginning in the 1800's.

So, language can plague a human being with thoughts, creating something mentally ill to society, but I add again, and remember, language is taught. There are, what I would consider to be, inherent problems with the use of language. It's time for me to whistle in some birds or talk to some dolphin, who like to sonar my head when I swim in the ocean...

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 04-17-200709:06 PM

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The letter A and the letter H: Ahhhhhhhh, let it fly!

[ Edited ]
Hawthorne writes about the letter A and Melville, I think, writes about the letter H. I like Melville's choice a little better, but I did like the Scarlet Letter, too.

Chad

PS-This may conclude our masterpiece discussion, what a great story though, I loved it!

Message Edited by chad on 04-17-200709:19 PM

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Re: Language

Language isn't so much taught chad, it is learned. We know very little about how children pick up a language (or languages in some cases) but some psychologists think that language is innate, that our brains are 'wired' to learn any language. It all depends upon which culture we are born into as to what wires are used.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_acquisition





chad wrote:
Choisya:

Many authors of this time period write about a language that was taught to them. Language, itself, is often the source of the tension in the novel, including the last one, I might add. In most of these works for example, characters are unable to express how they feel with words, or are unable to uncover what they hope to be the truth- truth is often someting we describe in language, but does not exist. Language can also be something which removes us from ourselves, something that builds a barrier to the natural world around us, or something which became outdated, an ananchronism to a rapidly evolving modern society beginning in the 1800's.

So, language can plague a human being with thoughts, creating something mentally ill to society, but I add again, and remember, language is taught. There are, what I would consider to be, inherent problems with the use of language. It's time for me to whistle in some birds or talk to some dolphin, who like to sonar my head when I swim in the ocean...

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 04-17-200709:06 PM




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Re: Language: taught vs. learned

[ Edited ]
That is arguable. The 1800's lieterature also focuses on the teaching of language. North America did not learn English through osmosis.

Chad

PS- It was also important for the crew of the Pequod to speak the same language to function as one working entity. Many characters have different accents or dialects, leading me to believe that English was not the native tongue.

Message Edited by chad on 04-18-200710:53 AM

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Ahab

"From beneath his slouched hat Ahab dropped a tear into the sea; nor did all the Pacific contain such wealth as that one wee drop."

It is about all the forces that would pull a man to battle a whale on the Pacific. I would have to question everything in life had I found myself on such a vessel. This usually does not happen until we grow a little older- mid-life crisis sets in....

Chad
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Choisya
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Re: Language: taught vs. learned

It is a sort of osmosis though isn't it? The Native Americans didn't (originally) formally learn English, they 'absorbed' it, just as children absorb language. I am always amazed by the way my young grandhcildren pick up languages when we go abroad. In next to no time they are communicating by sign, mimicry, visual aids etc etc. We also 'pick up' dialects, which are rarely taught.Which tongue would have been the main one board the Pequod, which sailed out of Nantucket, given that the owners and the captain were English speaking Americans?




chad wrote:
That is arguable. The 1800's lieterature also focuses on the teaching of language. North America did not learn English through osmosis.

Chad

PS- It was also important for the crew of the Pequod to speak the same language to function as one working entity. Many characters have different accents or dialects, leading me to believe that English was not the native tongue.

Message Edited by chad on 04-18-200710:53 AM




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The last of the Mohicans

[ Edited ]
Choisya:

You might want to pick up a copy of Fennimore-Cooper's, "The Last of the Mohicans." Montcalm, the evil French commander, and Magua, the Indian chief, had a father/son relationship as well. The Indians and the White settlers had different parent/child relationships, and, as a result, a different orientation to language and the use of language. Moreover, their sense of duty and relationships to each other were somewhat rooted in the language and arose from the language itself. So, absorption was something that might naturally take place with the children of your culture, but not necessarilly with the children of this one. Children and Adults are also defined in language.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 04-18-200712:41 PM

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Black holes, sun spots- the sun's influence:one more question to ponder lit fans!

Just to add:

Did an amlagmation of spots on the sun influence the weather here on earth, forming what we know as civilization? Are we a mirror image of the sun itself?
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Choisya
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Re: The last of the Mohicans

Thanks Chad. I have read Last of the Mohicans but a long time ago. I don't remember anything about language but no doubt I have forgotten that part. Are you a Native American? I correspondence with a Native American cyber-friend in Virginia (scene of the recent dreadful massacre:smileysad:).




chad wrote:
Choisya:

You might want to pick up a copy of Fennimore-Cooper's, "The Last of the Mohicans." Montcalm, the evil French commander, and Magua, the Indian chief, had a father/son relationship as well. The Indians and the White settlers had different parent/child relationships, and, as a result, a different orientation to language and the use of language. Moreover, their sense of duty and relationships to each other were somewhat rooted in the language and arose from the language itself. So, absorption was something that might naturally take place with the children of your culture, but not necessarilly with the children of this one. Children and Adults are also defined in language.

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 04-18-200712:41 PM




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Re: The last of the Mohicans

I believe it is about language, among other things. Events turn on a written letter. Language, actions, diplomacy, facial expressions are all used to decieve, leaving the reader with one simple question, "What is true?"- the answer you may find in this one. Again, so well done. I loved this one, too. I am not Native American, but I live on the Indian River and cannot help but feel the Native American spirit here.


I also cannot help bringing up the dangers of teaching language, second languages, or language transplants for the authors of the 19th century. Languages were used in this era, and the writers wrote about it.

Chad
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Choisya
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Re: The last of the Mohicans

Dangers of teaching language? Do you think it is best 'picked up' then?




chad wrote:
I believe it is about language, among other things. Events turn on a written letter. Language, actions, diplomacy, facial expressions are all used to decieve, leaving the reader with one simple question, "What is true?"- the answer you may find in this one. Again, so well done. I loved this one, too. I am not Native American, but I live on the Indian River and cannot help but feel the Native American spirit here.


I also cannot help bringing up the dangers of teaching language, second languages, or language transplants for the authors of the 19th century. Languages were used in this era, and the writers wrote about it.

Chad


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English Imperialism

I don't think that India was just supposed to "pick up" on the English language, Choisya.

Chad
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Spine

In Moby, the spine sometimes is the skin and vice versa. Sailors become the spine of the ship, which is also the skin of the crew, which becomes the skeleton for the world, etc etc. Everything is a little confusing on the interface. Can you think of other examples?

Chad
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Choisya
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Re: English Imperialism

Yet most did Chad - only those who were privileged enough to get schooling or in the better jobs, like the civil service, had formal tuition. If your livelihood becomes dependent upon your rulers, you are likely to pick up their language. How many of America's immigrants today had formal language teaching even though they landed with hard any notion of English? I know that here most of our immigrants come with very little English - particularly those from Eastern Europe - and yet they 'muddle through' and eventually 'pick it up'. Indeed, it is a constant complaint here that immigrants do not know enough English and are forced to pick it up. The authorities set up 'English as a second language' classes for the first wave of immigrants coming from the Commonwealth but few availed themselves of them. (I taught them for a time and it was usually the already better educated folks who came, or those who were trying to improve their job situation.)




chad wrote:
I don't think that India was just supposed to "pick up" on the English language, Choisya.

Chad


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Re: English Imperialism

I just use India as an example. But, in this case, I think there was a conscious formalized, decisive effort from Britain to educate India in the use of the English language. I am believing that some were supposed to "pick up" some of the language.

Chad
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I'm feeling sad becuase I have to put Moby away and move on...

[ Edited ]
So, I was thinking about what I would do when I finally left this, what seems to be, an "all encompassing" epic. And I turn once again to the beautiful painting at The Spouter Inn. A painting is an interface, itself, I think-- one in between the mind of the artist and his audience. And the painting at the Spouter is at the heart of the interface in Moby Dick. So, because I also paint,

"Entering that gable-ended Spouter-Inn, you found yourself in a wide, low, straggling entry with old- fashioned wainscots, reminding one of the bulwarks of some condemned old craft. On one side hung a very large oil-painting so thoroughly besmoked, and every way defaced, that in the unequal cross-lights by which you viewed it, it was only by diligent study and a series of systematic visits to it, and careful inquiry of the neighbors, that you could any way arrive at an understanding of its purpose. such unaccountable masses of shades and shadows, that at first you almost thought some ambitious young artist, in the time of the New England hags, had endeavored to delineate chaos bewitched. But by dint of much and earnest contemplation, and oft repeated ponderings, and especially by throwing open the little window towards the back of the entry, you at last come to the conclusion that such an idea, however wild, might not be altogether unwarranted.

But what most puzzled and confounded you was a long, limber, portentous, black mass of something hovering in the centre of the picture over three blue, dim, perpendicular lines floating in a nameless yeast. A boggy, soggy, squitchy picture truly, enough to drive a nervous man distracted. Yet was there a sort of indefinite, half-attained, unimaginable sublimity about it that fairly froze you to it, till you involuntarily took an oath with yourself to find out what that marvellous painting meant. Ever and anon a bright, but, alas, deceptive idea would dart you through. - It's the Black Sea in a midnight gale. - It's the unnatural combat of the four primal elements. - It's a blasted heath. - It's a Hyperborean winter scene. - It's the breaking- up of the ice-bound stream of Time. But at last all these fancies yielded to that one portentous something in the picture's midst. That once found out, and all the rest were plain. But stop; does it not bear a faint resemblance to a gigantic fish? even the great Leviathan himself?

In fact, the artist's design seemed this: a final theory of my own, partly based upon the aggregated opinions of many aged persons with whom I conversed upon the subject. The picture represents a Cape-Horner in a great hurricane; the half-foundered ship weltering there with its three dismantled masts alone visible; and an exasperated whale, purposing to spring clean over the craft, is in the enormous act of impaling himself upon the three mast-heads."

Chad

Message Edited by chad on 04-20-200712:50 PM

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Re: Just to add to "the sun"



chad wrote:
The B&N forum doesn't really allow room to go really, really in depth- you could write books on all of these things.





That is true and it is a pity. I can't yet think about Moby Dick on a deeper level beyond the first reading. But in that way MD can be an encyclopedia, not about whales but about different ideas.

ziki
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