Tara Polinsky

  • Jeremy says that the smudged ink represents black people’s comfort level amongst whites and amongst other blacks. I like this idea, but I had a different thought. Notice that the text is a very deep black color, while the smudges are a slightly lighter shade of black. It looks to me as if the smudges were added after the text was already w…[Read more]

  • I found Rachel’s discussion of the skinhead to be interesting. She says that when the skinhead declares “I’m your baby, America…” it’s an empowering statement as well as an isolating one. I looked at it differently, as a statement of weakness and vulnerability. I think that although people who are skinheads or the like, who act very tough and v…[Read more]

  • In response to Debra’s second question and her comment that she was able to find themes in some stanzas but not in all, I’m not sure that there is an overall message to find in the poem as a whole in the first place. Meaning, most poems have overall themes that the reader can identify, either easily or not so easily. However, in this poem, the tho…[Read more]

  • Mika asks, “what is the true meaning of language?” I think Rich answers that in her poem, when she says in section VII, “I am thinking this in a country / where words are stolen out of mouths / as bread is stolen out of mouths.” This metaphor seems to answer the question – language is to a person the way bread is to a person – it is a life force,…[Read more]

  • I agree with Rani that the man in “Full Fathom Five,” her father, is “domineering” and “overpowering.” However, Rani mentions one point that I disagree with. She says that the line “this thick air is murderous. I would rather breathe water,” is saying that “the speaker is willing to suffer under abnormal environmental conditions just to further h…[Read more]

  • I like how Deborah describes how she reacted to the last few lines of the poem, that they are the point “when the reader tunes back to the poem because until this point Ginsberg seemed to be on some sort of rant.” I felt the same way when I read the poem – I kind of skimmed the first few pages because the lines seemed so repetitive, as if Ginsb…[Read more]

  • “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical Naked,
    Dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
    Angelheaded hipsters burning for the […]

    • I think that Ginsburg is lauding for being the “rebels” of this society. Not rebels in the typical way (as in a negative connotation), but rather because they clearly do not fit in with whatever was considered the norm then. I think Ginsburg really hates the norm and this shows in the poem. these are the people that were “expelled from the academies.” It what they are capable of that Ginsburg so admires.

    • I don’t believe Ginsberg intended sarcasm in referring to these people as “great minds”; to me, this choice in description signifies sympathy for victims of drug addiction, as well as a lamentation for what could be considered the lost generation. He illustrates the concept of the unfairness of life, and the power of situational influences in this fragmented story. The juxtaposition between “great minds” as organized, controlled, and intentional violently contrasts with “starving hysterical naked” to read much more powerfully, emphasizing the chaotic, exposed, desperate conditions of life.

    • Tara speaks of “the great minds” that Ginsburg describes as “destroyed by madness” and asks if this could be saying that possibly the best minds of the generation have been “destroyed by madness”. I think he meant this literally and believe that this is very possible true. If these young minds would have been given the chance to grow and develop they could have been great. But, as they have never been given the chance, they are instead “starving hysterical Naked”

    • Ginsberg’s whole poem, as I read it, reminded me of my thought process every time I would travel to high school in the city. It was a two-hour long bus/train ride and I witnessed hundreds of different types of people every day. The specific line referring to the bums “who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx” states Bronx as “holy.” Of course he does not mean holy literally; but what he does do is the same thing he does by saying “best minds.” His use of both these terms are expressions of his disappointment in his observations. As Kay says “he illustrates the unfairness of life” through his various belittling remarks. The juxtaposition illustrates the huge difference between the two terms. That huge difference and distance between those two terms help give us a sense of how great Ginsberg’s dissatisfaction is with what he sees.

    • It seems to me that Ginsberg is describing the “best minds of his generation” (1) as victims of circumstance. They seem to be living these lives of extreme hardship, subject to their environment. He describes them as “starving hysterical minds”. One can interpret this in multiple ways. For example, one can take his words literally and assume these people actually famished and haven’t eaten in quite some time. However, one must also consider the alternative that he means people “starving” in a mental capacity. Due to their limited finances and the responsibilities they have, such as their children, they may not be able to pursue the proper channels. Their minds crave knowledge, yet they have none; hence the term, “starving”. Because he refers to them as the greatest minds in society and describes them as living in these circumstances, it is reasonable to infer that Ginsberg believes limited by the environment.

  • In response to Miriam’s second question, I don’t think O’Hara is saying that his way of writing poetry is better than Goldberg’s method of painting. I think what O’Hara is saying is that every artist or writer has a method or a process that they follow in order to create their masterpiece, but this method is not set in stone. They may go back and…[Read more]

  • In his poem “I, Too,” Langston Hughes addresses the concept of racism in America, and the tension that existed between whites and African Americans. He writes that the blacks have to “eat in the kitchen / When comp […]

    • I think that Tara’s view how “Hughes also says that blacks have to eat in the kitchen “when company comes” (4).”…. “In other words, deep down, the whites aren’t really racist.” This Is an improvement at least not all whites where racist and they where just Putting on a show for their company out of fear. To answer Tara’s first question I think the whites will “be ashamed” of their foolishness. They will realize how there should never have been a separation between them and their “Darker brother.” The whites will see how much he has to offer, “how beautiful” he is and the whites will feel ashamed for themselves that all these years they missed out on good companionship.

    • I agree with Tara that although racism did exist, Hughes was trying to equate both the whites and the African Americans. I think in the second stanza he takes this idea even further saying that though it may appear now that the whites have the final say and are the ones who “send me to eat in the kitchen” in the future the African Americans will be more free and no one will ever order them around (3). He says there will come a time in the future, “tomorrow”, when he’ll be able to sit at the main table and “Nobody’ll dare/ Say to me, / ‘Eat in the kitchen,’ Then” (8,11-13). I believe that Hughes was hoping there would come a time when racism did not exist, or at least would not be displayed as openly.

    • I agree that this poem views the racial tension in a positive light. The speaker seems confident that although today he has to be excused to the kitchen, tomorrow it will be different. There is no uncertainty in this bright future, it is a statement of his confidence in himself and his people. Furthermore, the first and last line show how positive he views equality. The first line “I, too, sing America.” could be related to Whitman’s poem I Hear America Singing. This proves that he is among all other Americans, among the common working man and is no different from the people who dine at the table today. “I, too, am America.” underscores a sense of uniformity among everyone, there are no pretenses to signify a different culture, just America.

    • In my opinion. Hughes makes a convincing argument for the white man’s future regret. He supports his claim to equality by asserting that “I too, am America” (18). When whites realize their extreme mistreatment of African Americans, they will surely be ashamed of their actions. According to Hughes, their ignorance and inability to see past incongruities in appearance will cause whites to “be ashamed” (17). While it is true that Hughes does not openly condemn whites for their conduct, he does not try to downplay the tensions either. Although it is true he referred to them “brothers” (2) earlier in the work, his use of the third person “they” in line 16 implies a detachment from the whites. I think it is important to note that he regards them as a separate entity by not using a more personal point of view, such as first person.

    • Tara sums up the main point of this poem by saying (he in reference to Hues) “he is similar to them, and how he loves America the same way they do.” She then states how hues focus is on their commonalties rather than the differences. I agree. Hues does not seem to be angry or resentful, but rather looks to the future saying “Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table” (8-9), and “They’ll see how beautiful I am” (16). Tara also pointed out how in lines three and four Hues talks about how he is sent in the kitchen but only when company comes. The poem does not show any evidence of inequality at other periods of time. I feel that the shame will come from the recognition of mistreatment for reasons that carry no point. The line before says “They’ll see how beautiful I am,” (16). Here, I feel Hues says they will recognize the similarities and strengths of black people. This then causes the shame from the recognition of the pointless prejudice. Though the poem can be interpreted with negative tension, I feel the last stanza is what supports the idea of positive tension. The last stanza starting with “Besides” seems to reflect upon the feelings of the white population. Such reflection would not have been needed had the poem focused on the negative.

    • I think Tara’s view of white’s being kind of afraid of other whites so they act racist is a very interesting way to look at this poem. I didn’t really consider that at first but it does make sense. Why have him around when alone and not when company is there? I read this in a similar light as Tara, more positive and optimistic. Reading multiple times though, Hughes seems to emphasize the fact that he will “grow strong” (7) and that “nobody’ll dare” (11) send him to the kitchen when company comes over. This honestly doesn’t seem so much as equality as much as a violent revolution. Why say “nobody’ll dare” (11) which seems much more intense than need be. It seems more like a threat than peaceful equality. I don’t necessarily see the poem in this light, but it’s possible to view it this way.

    • I really enjoyed Tara’s thought process when reading the lines “eat in the kitchen/ when company comes” (3-4). I think this explanation fits very well with the idea of not focusing on the negatives and instead, looking towards equality. What this line is now saying is that this man isn’t judging this family, he is simply dealing with their thoughts and feelings. In line 17 when the speaker says, “They’ll see how beautiful I am and be ashamed,” I don’t think that he means “ashamed” as a statement of payback, but possibly as one of regret. It is possible that he feels that although the family made him eat in the kitchen because they were afraid of what company might think, done out of peer pressure, he regrets their feelings because he knows that they had it in them to become more accepting.

    • For the first question, I believe that Hughes believed that the white people he referred to will eventually look themselves in the mirror and acknowledge their injustice towards the blacks or as Hughes calls himself, “the darker brother”(2). Interestingly, this interpretation presents Hughes as a man of hope, as he seems to fully believe that the whites will come around to treat blacks as equals. Secondly, I interpreted the poem as Hughes telling the story of perseverance for blacks. He stays positive throughout the poem while still emphasizing the mistreatment of blacks in society. He looks to the future as a time of change, which allows him to continue to persevere through these harsh times, saying that in time, “They’ll see how beautiful I am”(16).

  • It seems to me that the relationship between Picasso and Stein was more of an idol relationship rather than a mutual friendship. I agree with Marc’s statement that one of the reasons for all the repetition could be that Stein was nervous and lacked confidence; it is almost as if her fear and nervousness caused her to stutter. Additionally, when s…[Read more]

  • I found it interesting that Bella said that it sounds like the speaker had a migraine, because the first thing that I wrote in my annotations for this poem was “sounds like she has a migraine”. I also agree with the rest of what Bella said, that the numbness is connected to the migraine, and the word “again” makes it sound like she’s had this feel…[Read more]

  • In response to Steven’s question, who are “they,” I would think that Dickinson is referring to the general public, the people who read her poems. I don’t know her background, or how her poems were received, but perhaps she was shunned or scorned for her poetry at some point. This poem is her reaction to her readers, and she is telling them that sh…[Read more]

  • Steven asks if the raven represents death, Lenore, Poe’s imagination, or something else. Although there are references to alcohol and hallucinations in the poem, I think the raven is an actual, physical raven that lands in Poe’s house. The fact that he’s alone in his chamber late at night causes a natural fear of unknown noises. Ravens, like parro…[Read more]

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