Week 7 Peer Review – Yasmin

Yasmin, I was extremely captivated by this piece! There were so many literary techniques within it, from alliteration, the use of the dash, complex sentence, etc, that all worked so well in creating this work (whether intentional or not. I like the notion you put forward of a ‘society that only makes it age in all ways.’ This is definitely true, and further the point that ‘in the woods is perpetual youth.’ Good work,


Link to blog post: https://yasminandliterature.wordpress.com/2017/08/20/blog-2-america-writing/


Week 7 Blog – Critical


BALDWIN- How does Baldwin through his language technique succeed in immersing his reader in the experience of his characters? Chose any section of his amazing story “Going to Meet the Man”

When you read a piece of writing, it is, unfortunately, true that we discern the writing quality and entertainment factor within the first couple of lines, or first couple of pages – if we’re generous. James Baldwin, American social writer, essayist, and critic, produces powerfully captivating work that often commentates on social issues within America. He does this whilst maintaining a calm demure in order to efficiently communicate the, often concerning or contentious, issue. Within his 1965 text, Going to Meet the Man, Baldwin’s powerful language techniques immerse the reader in the experience of his characters.

Within the opening section of the excerpt provided by The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Baldwin immediately captures audience engagement with his use of dialogue and questioning of “What’s the matter?”. This insinuates to readers the presence of an issue, and the desire to unearth the presented predicament. The character’s aversion to the question also invites further speculation into the scenario, prompting additional reading. It is through the use of the vernacular that we are captivated. The American slang becomes our adopted reading voice; the colloquialism makes the text an inviting, playful piece, with an undeniable hidden meaning. The controversial topic is made more approachable through the conversational tone that is employed. We are offended, yet entertained by the narrator’s remarks. Repetition and rhetorical questioning capture reader attention, particularly with the profane word choice of ‘nigger’ in the example: ‘The niggers. What had the good Lord Almighty had I mind when he made the niggers? Well. They were pretty good at that, all right. Damn. Damn. Goddman.’ The gyration between short and compound sentences implements a fast paced rhythm, mimicking that of a conversation. This engenders an amicable relationship between the reader and writer. Particularly with the delicate content matter, we feel, through his writing style, that we, as readers, have been entrusted with this information.

In the narrator’s conflicting attitudes towards coloured women, we are able to identify a conflict within himself. One opinion, anaphorically exhibited, again, with the use of rhetorical questioning to encourage reader engagement, is that ‘They were animals, they were no better than animals, what could be done with people like that?’ This is then contrasted with an opposing notion that ‘the image of a black girl caused a distant excitement in him, like a far-away light.’ The simile manifests the sense of yearning. In this society, it is typical to be against the welfare of African Americans, however, it appears that he, conflicted, is attracted to them.

In this masterful piece Going to Meet the Man, within only an excerpt, we are able to identify Baldwin’s ability to immerse readers into his story through his skillful literary techniques. We are submerged into the world of the narrator and empathise with his world.

Image from: http://www.warscapes.com/blog/ferguson-haunted-james-baldwin

Blog Week 6 – Creative


CREATIVE: Imagine you are Huck on the raft. Write a letter to the world saying why you want to be where you are and why the world should be different than what it is.


Dear world,

Jim reckon’d the world was full o’ bad luck, always ha’nted with bad things lurkin’ ‘round corners. I reckon’d the world was beautifully really, we humans just tended to mess it up.  If I want food, I go hunting for food. I dunt need nothin fancy, nor anything to fuss over. I need me and nature. That’s it. So what does everyone fuss over their fancy clothes, their spelling and their grammars. They dunt matter now, do they? The shun upon the uneducated, uncivilised, the coloured – like me ’n Jim, but really, who is the more civilised? Throw them on this raft, and they’d surely sink! Treat the coloured like slaves, for what? Cuz they look diff’rent? ‘Cuz they’re not righteous with their God? Why would I rather be on the land, where slavery confines us – well, Jim – and they dun let me live they way I wanna.

So, I think I’ll stay on dis raft. With Jim. Me. Jim. Jim and me. Because they dun see what I see in Jim. He’s more human that the rest of them! Here, I’m in the nature. I appreciate it. I don’t need nothin but the earth. Neither does Jim, and I think that’s why we git along so well. He knows things the townspeople don’t. Like when the birds fly in a certain direction, it’s gunna rain. On the raft, Jim and I can be who we want to be. Not constrained by what they tellin’ us we should do or be. I’m mighty comfortable here.

So, world. I might leave you be. One day you’ll hopefully change, or be better, or accept Jim, or accept me, without tryin’ change us. But for now, I’m gunna enjoy this nature, enjoy the stars, enjoy the night sky as it guides us somewhere better than where we have been.

Thanks for readin’,


PS If you can’t read, like I used to not know hows to, maybe someone can read this for you.

IMAGE FROM: https://www.etsy.com/listing/125343738/the-adventures-of-huckleberry-finn-by

Week 5 Peer Review

Annabelle, this was a truly thought provoking piece. I appreciated your succinct personal definition of transcendentalism, as it aided in my own understanding. By reducing the enormity of such a philosophy Into graspable terms makes it easier to apply and adapt to. The idiosyncratic recount was extremely accurate, and shockingly so. You captured the essence of the introductory quote you provided. I would have liked a bit more elaboration in the final paragraph on the importance of admiring nature in living more deliberately – particularly because I enjoyed the blog so much!

Great work,


Link to blogpost: https://annabellebarnslicha.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/blog-two-transcendentalism/

Week 5 Blog – Critical

5/ Create your own topic that weaves your impressions of either Whitman or Dickinson (or both) into a paragraph that expresses your sense of what is personally important about these two artists.


Image result for walt whitman

Walt Whitman: legendary, the father of American poetry, a self-referred ‘kosmos’. Whitman, in his radical experimentation of free verse and new style, expressed what is personally important to him, something under-appreciated by society, something that should be celebrated daily: himself. For Whitman, the human body was an example of the magnificence and beauty of nature. In his acclamation of the body, the self, he critiques the way in which we celebrate higher, omniscient beings. Whitman subverts the typical elements of religion, and instead of bowing to a higher being, in the presence of embellished Churches, on particular days of the week, through certain prayers and hymns, he celebrates spirituality everyday. Within himself, through himself, outside himself. This line is epitomised in the lines: “Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touch’d from / The scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer, / This head more than churches, bibles, and all creeds.” Whitman acknowledges the beauty of the self. This is something, that even in contemporary society, people struggle with; to be proud of the body, and to not scour the surface of your skin for a blemish to fix. A strikingly powerful line from part 3 of Song of Myself captures this impeccably: “Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man hearty and / clean / Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be less familiar / than the rest.”

It is this utter acceptance of self, a true contentment, that Whitman admires in the qualities of animals. In part 32 of Song of Myself, Whitman anaphorically lists the things which he commends in the lives of animals, simultaneously critiquing the materialistic society that himself, that we, live in:

‘They do not sweat and white…They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins, / They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,/ Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things.’ There is a sweet relief from consumption that the animals have. It is this appraisal of self, the contentment of self, a happiness with the self, that Whitman is gnawing at here. Why do we not do these things? Why are we so fixated on materialistic goods that apparently make the self look better? Why are we fixating on modifying the self? We need to celebrate the raw nature of the human: ‘Turbulent, fleshy, sensual, eating, drinking and breeding.’

For me, Whitman displays a refreshing outlook on life. My impression is that the materialistic woes, the hierarchical struggles and the oppression of religion are all faculties the detract from what should truly be celebrated in life: the human. The human in its purest form. For, the human is beautiful, content, miraculous.

Image: “Walt Whitman, age 35, from the frontispiece to Leaves of Grass, Fulton St., Brooklyn, N.Y., steel engraving by Samuel Hollyer from a lost daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison” quoted: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Whitman, 30/8/17

Peer Review 1, Week 4

Link to blog post: https://daniel4946.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/blog-post-1-week-3-2/

From the opening sentence, I felt welcomed to your blog. The colloquial address, the familiarity of Michael, and the reminiscing gave a personal touch which I found endearing.

I commend the way in which you address the Native American’s relationship to Nature. This was strengthened by your example of the turtle clan, demonstrating the guardian animals that were given to the Native American Tribes. You mentioned that it will be difficult in today’s (pay attention grammatical errors) society to form similar relationships with animals, and went on to say that we can apply the close connection that the American Indians had with the land to me our own lives more meaningful. I feel this was shallowly explored, and perhaps with a little more investigation into how our lives could be made more meaningful by the Native American connection to Nature, this blog would have been elevated that much more. Perhaps taking on their admiration for the environment, their love, and respect for it, that we could appreciate the world we live in on a deeper level, thus making our lives more meaningful. Overall, a good blog. Thanks, Daniel!

Blog Week 4

Interweave your own personal experience with your understanding of Emerson.


Image from: bretqxnardella.tk


Having been brought from the shadows and into the light that Emerson has shed with his transcendental ideological way of thinking, I now find myself basking in such elucidation. In contemporary society, nothing is not nonconformist. Everyone has unconsciously or consciously configured their lives into the moulds designed by societal expectation. The advocation for individualism that is a key aspect of Transcendentalism has highlighted this lack of individualism in my everyday life. I look on Facebook, when I’m out in public at the shops, at work, or even in the car driving to and from university. The people in the cars beside me, the woman in front of me in the queue, they are, we are, all variations of another: inherently the same, with a few minor quirks to distinguish Tom from Thomas.  Emerson captures this thought impeccably within The American Scholar (1837), when he states: ‘In the right state, he is, Man Thinking. In the degenerate state, when the victim of society, he tends to become a mere thinker, or, still worse, the parrot of other men’s thinking’ (244). To avoid such devastating fate, Emerson goes on to anaphorically demand us to ‘walk on our own feet; we will work with our own hands; we will speak our own minds…” (256). It appears that in order to achieve such individuality and sense of self, one must look tonature: ‘nature and the soul come from “one root” – “study nature to “know thyself” (The American Scholar, 246). It is now, that I can validate that utterly wholesome sensation that I experience when being alone, in complete solidarity, in, for example, Hyde Park. Is it the grandeur of the mature trees, with their thick trunks boasting age-achieved wisdom, or the clean air seems to filter the mind from impurities? It is in this space that I am able to think strongly, to think clearly, to think deliberately. It is acknowledging this, that I am able to comprehend Emerson’s words ‘Thinking is the function. Living is the functionary…” (250). Living is the public servant who serves its Master Thought. To live strongly, wisely, holistically, one must, therefore, think strongly, wisely, holistically. I find when I am alone, I am truly myself. Untainted from the influence of society. Here, I feel in control of my own thoughts, paradoxically alone, with the companion of nature. Whilst physically by myself, I feel connected to much more than myself. Spirituality runs high in this environmental encounter. I contemplate my thoughts and send them out to higher beings. Is it God? Mary? Jesus? I’m not sure, however, I feel as connected, or even more so, to God in this outdoor haven, than I would in the dusty pews of a Church, overheating under the rays of the stained glass windows. I am comforted by Emerson’s thoughts on Man’s ability to perceive spiritual Truth, to find God in the solitude of nature. Now knowing what Transcendentalism is, what Emerson’s thoughts were, and identifying these aspects in my own life, I cannot help but ask, am I, or have I been, this whole time, unconsciously, a Transcendentalist?

Week 3 Blog – Creative

3/ “The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides”. Use this line from Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself to compose your own short poem about what most delights you in and through your own experience of being alive.


‘Pain and Please; delights of living’

Whitman’s delight in being alone

In the rush of the streets

Along the fields –

and hillsides.

The delight in all those things –

Free to immerse yourself,

Serenely alone –

To engage in communal banter

To stroke the fur of companions

To drown in seas of laughter –

To drown in rivers of tears.

Good and bad

Simultaneously delight,

In the paradox which they both exist.

If you prick yourself and bleed

If you find amusement and laugh

When you’re alone and you weep

When you reunite and your heart warms

This is all delightful.

This being alive.

This is human.


Note: For me, the enormity and possibility of emotions and experiences able to be felt within a lifetime are what brings me delight. Whilst pain is unpleasant, it also means you have cared for something enough to be pained by it. To love, to hurt, to cry, to laugh, all mean that you are living. Being human is what delights me.

Image sourced from: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/journey-life-lucy-rose.

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