Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Study Guide: Good luck tomorrow!

Final Exam Study Guide, English 261

Terms to define and to recognize in the context of literature.

Dramatic irony
Colloquial or informal diction versus formal diction
Short-short story or flash fiction
Short story
Limited versus omniscient point-of-view
Figurative language (idioms and metaphors)
Hard-boiled crime fiction
Film noir

You will write an essay in response to one of the following three questions.  You may prepare by marking your text (you may bring and use the book) and/or making a notecard with key pages and passages marked.

1.      Do a character study of Lizbeth Salander.  Is she a hero?  Antihero?  What might explain the popularity of her character?
2.      Examine the role of personal relationships and romance/sex in Blomkvist’s character.  Why is his love life such an integral part of the novel and his character?
3.      Crime novels often have a special duo trying to solve crimes together.  What makes the relationship between Salander and Blomkvist unique or interesting?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

For Monday from Mike

Guang is right!  Just read "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner for tomorrow.

I miss you guys! But I'll be there tomorrow and we'll catch up, hear the last Presentations, and review for the final on Wednesday.

I'm sure you guys are glad to be mostly done reading here now and you can just review the novel and the stories we've read since the Mid-term.  I appreciate all the work and for being gracious to the visiting teachers as well.

On Tuesday, I'll bring my Wuhan University students and we'll have a US/China trivia set up and some conversation and an Open House with free lunch about 11:30.

This class has flown by, it seems.  Kathy, we can read that flash fiction of Hemingway's in our textbook during class tomorrow and that will go nicely as a short text to accompany your Presentation.

Good luck and see you in the morning.

Mike Lohre

Saturday, July 16, 2011

To Ashante

birng 3 copies of your essay on one of the films we saw in class. you don't have to read "the last menu girls", just read "barn burning". i hope i didn't forget anything.

To Kathy

thanks for your comment Kathy! you are truely a big reader. i can sit in the couch and watch tv all day, but hardly can stay with a book for an hour. shame on me! :( i always admire those who just enjoy reading. i guess i should take some actions and make some changes. i'll start with On China by Henry Kissinger. wish me good luck!
As most of you know, I missed class on Thursday...Is there anything I should have prepared for class beside my presentation and essay?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Big Sleep

I loved the snarky dialogue between the bad guys and Marlowe. He acts so serious when he makes funny dialogue. Some of his lines pop out like he's self aware of being a character in a crime novel. he Even jokes about being a private detective with Carmen. the funnier part that stick out to me is the scene in his office with Vivian, where Bacall seems to want to scratch her leg and Bogart says "well go ahead, scratch it" it seems to me that this was a blooper of the actors, but they left it in for humor between the two of them.

One of the more humorous lines is when he encounters bad guys and either disarms them, is caught, or gets the last laugh.

[Marlowe]Somebody's always giving me guns.

[Marlowe] My, my, my! Such a lot of guns around town and so few brains! You know, you're the second guy I've met today that seems to think a gat in the hand means the world by the tail.

[Canino] What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a gun before? What do you want me to do, count three like they do in the movies?

[Marlowe] I can do what? Where? Oh no, I wouldn't like that. Neither would my daughter.
[hangs up]
[Marlowe] I hope the sergeant never traces that call.

These are my favorite lines, I also tend to think the filmic conventions used to try to get us into Marlowes head are interesting, such as when we see him trying to keep track of Geiger in the bookstore across the street. his actions are very literal and interpretated i could see the book narrating this scene as I was watching.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Plot Structure of The BIg Sleep

There are two stories caused by two major blackmails in The Big Sleep. The first story is developed around the investigation of a blackmail General Sternwood received from Arthur Geiger. Philip Marlow, a hardboiled detective hired by Sternwood, goes directly to Geiger's rare bookstore and then follows Geiger to his house. Marlow then finds Geiger is shot dead and Carmen, Sternwood's daughter, is drunken inside the house, posing in front of a camera. So what happened in the house? Is Carmen a covergirl or something else? And where's the film roll since it's not in the camera?

Vivan, Sternwood's daughter, goes to see Marlowe with some nude pictures of a woman and these pictures offer an important clue to Marlow becuae the woman on those pictures is Carmen. Tracing the blackmailer who has Carmen's pictures, Marlow is led to Joseph Brody's apartment. Talking to Brody, Marlow finds out Brody wants to take over Geiger's porn business, but he denies killing Geiger. Ironically Brody is shot by Geiger's lover. Now Mr Sternwood's case is closed and Vivan meets Marlow in order to give him his check. Their meeting leads to the second story.

Marlow's professonal sense tells him that Vivan is hiding something from him. Regan, Vivan's former husband, have disappeared for a few months and it's said that he ran away with Eddie Mars's wife. Marlow starts from Mars' casino. However, Marlow is unable to get any information about Ms Mars from Mr Mars. Harry Jones, who knows where Ms Mars is located, finds Marlow and tries to sell the information to him. Canino, Eddie's boy, poisoned Harry before Marlow's able to make the deal with him. Now it seems the clue is cut off, but the girlfriend of Harry, Agnes, is able to finish the deal with Marlow. Marlow then drives to the auto shop where Ms Mars is held. In the shop Marlow is knocked out by Canino. When he wakes up he sees Ms Mars and Vivan.

After a long talk with Vivan, Marlow figures out what's bothering Vivan. Marlow and Vivan then return to Geiger's house. Fallen in the trap created by Marlow, Eddie is shot by his own boys. Marlow then reports to the police like this: Eddie killed Regan although he knows it's Carmen who really killed Regan after being spurned. The ending is romantic when Vivan challenges Marlow by saying, "Nothing you can fix."

The plot of the movie is not easy to follow because it's a complex story and have several herring (something that draws attention away from the central issues) characters. For example, Geigle appears dead on the floor and his death is still a mystery. It is hinted that Taylor killed Geigle but the motives are never shown. Carol kills Brody for his "lover" Geigle without any background introduction and hints. These characters are portrayed in a very minor way, but they offer clues to Marlow and keep the movie going. In the book all these questions are probably answered. However, due to time constraint, the movie just can't cover all of it. Frankly a complex story like The Big Sleep doesn't fit the big screen too well.