• I chose this first passage because I thought his reason for only smoking once was interesting. He explained that it could either get him killed one day from inattention, or insulate him to the point inaction. […]

    • I think you’re onto something. Ellison seems to draw really clear connections between various forces that can shape or alter his protagonist’s mind. Throughout, he presents identity as relational–a product of interactions between person and environment. The problem for the protagonist is that none of the environments he finds enables him to seek identity on his own terms. They control, coerce, and abuse him. In the cellar, surrounded by all that stolen electricity, he builds his own environment. But he knows the hibernation can’t last.

  • I thought the differences in the scope covered by Damasio and Dehaene to answer the same question of consciousness was very telling. Both claim to disagree with the reductive ideas that come out of Cartesian […]

  • I agree, there were some creepy tones in the poem. I actually did feel bad for the speaker in the whole poem though. He appears to be tormented by her, like in the end of the second stanza when he described her hair around his arm as intentional by her because “except she meant that I/By this should know my pain/ As prisoners then are manacled,…[Read more]

  • commented on the page, on the site Make Up Your Mind 5 years, 2 months ago

    Do you think it’s possible that Lodge personally speaks more through Helen than Ralph? I only say this because I find it hard to believe that Lodge didn’t purposefully write Ralph to be so unlikable with his reductive views. His confidence comes off as a one-dimensional foil to Helen’s (only slightly) more open-ended approach to the novel’s big questions.

  • commented on the page, on the site Kelly's Writing 5 years, 2 months ago

    I agree that the poem was a little hard to understand, but I also think it’s part of Donne’s style as a metaphysical poet. He’s well known for his conceits which are sort of exaggerated metaphors that purposely compare two things that can feel awkward to compare (since it’s usually one concrete thing and one abstract thing). Like in this poem I…[Read more]

  • commented on the page, on the site My Head Hertz 5 years, 2 months ago

    I liked that you thought more deeply about whether each individual character is a cerebral subject. I was following the blog prompt on that the cerebral subject is the idea that a subject’s entire personhood is simply his “brainhood”?
    A reductive idea I think, so if I had to pick a single character as a cerebral subject it would definitely be…[Read more]

  • I chose the conversation, but I changed it slightly to a conversation between Hustvedt and Gilman, rather than Gilman’s narrator (though they do discuss Gilman’s story). The scenario is that Hustvedt has a dre […]

    • I agree with Chani. The hostility in the dialogue is hilarious–but also raises interesting questions about the different stances (in Harvey’s terms) of two feminist writers from different eras interested in mind-body relations. I love Gilman’s “stop pathologizing the pathos” line. It’s really true that Gilman is uncompromising in her vision and her use of pathos to grab readers–while Hustvedt is much more circumspect and careful not to sound sentimental.

    • Hi Sumaria! Thank you for choosing this prompt! I absolutely loved your piece, especially the eerie ending and the moments of realized temporal displacement. I enjoyed how you put these characters in conversation with each other in a rather hostile way. I agree with your Gilman about the versatile nature of non-fiction. I wonder why your Hustvedt needs so much convincing to become the “Shaking Woman”. It seems to me that she might be the type to embrace such a title, but perhaps this is due to the influence of your Gilman. I feel that you really hit the nail on the head when it comes to the roles writing serves for these authors. Your Gilman used her writing to find a voice for her illness, while your Hustvedt’s data collection served less of a humanitarian purpose. It might even be said that Hustvedt’s writing acted to aggravate her illness. Thank you for your piece! Hoping you’re well!

  • I enjoyed Professor Chu’s definition at first glance simply because it’s a very lyrical definition, but after reading it again one small point bothered me. Specifying that the attributes of the lyrical poem can […]

    • Fascinating! It’s interesting to think about the question of “being” the artist and “making” art in relation to questions about the persona or voice of a lyric poem. What’s the relationship between Donne, the maker of poems, and the voices of his poems, who are so often intensely and even violently possessive.

  • I think it’s clear that Lodge’s novel can easily fall under Roth’s definition of a reductive neuronovel, but it actually follows Ortega and Vidal’s definition as well. The question becomes which view does Lodge pr […]

    • I loved your post! I didn’t even take into account how economically driven the discipline of neuroscience is and the affect it has on the research. Also, I agree with your point about the burden of proof being cast on Helen and the side of the humanities. Throughout the novel Ralph maintains a stance of superiority, assuming that Helen’s ideas are too far fetched even though he has not provided any evidence to substantiate his claims. Also, I think that Lodge, as an author and literary critic, veers towards the ambivalence outlined in Ortega and Vidal’s piece. He attempts to problematize the reductionist view, and attempts to prove the validity of an approach to consciousness that mirrors Helen Reeds. Great post!

    • I’m really glad you picked out the Sayeau quotation from Ortega and Vidal’s article. Your reading of it is astute. Economic factors do shape neuroscience–profoundly. We all live within the larger economic structures, but that doesn’t mean that a novelist simply reinforces them. For that matter, individual neuroscientists might also work against them, or conduct research that challenges some of their assumptions.

      I think you’re right to focus on Helen’s “last word” speech. After all, Lodge gives her the last word, but makes it clear that the scientists at the conference will go about their business. Both are true.

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