Prompt 1, assigned Tuesday, August 30

Posted in prompts at 2:55 pm by Dominique

The What: Below I’ve included four items: a picture of President Obama, a Salvador Dali painting, an episode of the cartoon comedy “South Park,” and a poem by Wallace Stevens, “The Snow Man.” Choose one of the four “texts” and comment on this post with two brief paragraphs (3-4 sentences each). In paragraph one, respond to the question, “What is the meaning of this text?” In paragraph two, respond to the question, “What’s one assumption you are making about the text that has led you to this meaning?”

The When: Required prompt for all members due by Wednesday, August 31, at midnight.

The Why: To get us to continue to begin to think about how interpretations are created and how we come to “get” their meaning



3. South Park, Season 7, Episode 15: “All About Mormons” (Original air date: 11.19.2003) http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s07e12-all-about-mormons (21:26)

4. “The Snow Man”

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1.    jenn691 said,

    August 31, 2011 at 11:57 am

    The text that I am choosing to interpret is the text which illustrates our current president, Barack Obama. I would say that the meaning of this text is very emotional; meaning that he is showchassing that he is stressed or is disappointed about something, such as a presidential speech for instance. This photo does not give off a positive vibe to the viewer which is why I am led to believe that he is not satisfied with his performance.
    I assumed this meaning from this photo because of the specific way he is portrayed and his facial expression as well. Obama has a very disappointed look on his face and his fingers placed on his forehead. This is an expression we usually do or see on a person when we are not satisfied with something, upset, or something has not gone that way that you have envisioned it going. Also, another clue is that in this picture he is by himself as he is dressed in a suit; which I can assume this means that he may not want to be bothered by anyone because he is ashamed of himself or something, and because he is in a suit, I can assume that he just gave a formal or presidental speech.

  2.    brianfinnerty91 said,

    August 31, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Brian Finnerty 8/29/11
    English 170W Prof. Zino

    Barack Obama Interpretation

    1) This picture shows our president, Barack Obama, in a distraught manner. He looks confused and worried in this picture.

    2) There are many questions that need to be addressed from this picture. First off why does Barack Obama look upset and worried during when this picture was take. Could this picture been taken during the 2008 presidential campaign where stress would lead to someone to look like Obama does in this picture. Second, what does this picture represent and why was it important for this picture to be taken.

    3) Some assumptions I am making about this picture of Barack Obama is that he looks very worried and stressed out. I conclude that this picture was probably taken during a stressful or heated moment during Obama’s presidential campaign against John McCain.

    4) Many beliefs and worldviews underline my assumption that Barack Obama looks distraught and worn out in the picture that was taken of him. When under stressful times people tend to show their emotion through facial expressions. In this picture of Barack Obama his facial expression shows that he is tired and stressed out due to the responsibilities of a President.

  3.    amark916 said,

    August 31, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    The text that I am choosing to discuss is the picture of our great President Obama. The meaning of this text shows a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
    The President looks defeated, worried, and sad. He looks as though he is praying to get the economy back to where it needs to be. He looks as if he feels he has let us down. My assumptions are based solely on the difficulty he has had since his presidency began in 2008. From War to millions of unemployed Americans, many will agree that he has been dealt a bad hand.

  4.    khaff88 said,

    August 31, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Kelly Haff.
    Response to Text #2 (Salvador Dali):
    The meaning to this painting is that time does not exist. It gives a dark meaning by the use of the colors and the way Dali breaks up the painting. Time is literally melting away, as an escape you could say, from reality.
    One assumption I can make is by observing the way he paints the clocks melting away and slipping through the cracks. The clocks are fading away from this life that Dali has created; in a way showing that in this world time is unnecessary.

  5.    awilliams108 said,

    August 31, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    “The SnowMan”
    1. What is the meaning of the text?

    Firstly, this poem left me mentally challenged. I know the poem states about a snowman, but if u read carefully, “One” basically mean the readers as in we. I think the poem refer to reality of philosophical invitation or where are the quotes “January sun”, ‘Cold a long time”, not really referring to nature but of a man. I also see the poet was sad and going through painful experience, or a description of a snowman.

    2. What’s one assumption you are making about the text that led you this meaning?

    As I said earlier, this poem left me a bit puzzled but what led me to my meaning was the quotes that was given. It was very distinctive to know that it was wintertime by “ January Sun”, “Cold a long time”.

  6.    Terry said,

    August 31, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    When viewing the Salvador Dali painting shown in the text, I see a load of symbolism. My personal interpretation is that this painting represents how fluid and flexible time can feel to an observer. The old saying ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’ comes to mind. The background of the piece can possibly represent how time can seem detached from nature at times but nevertheless it is a crucial component.
    I assumed that the liquid-like states the clocks are in symbolized the fluidity of time. It’s almost like a play on words the way I see it. I also assumed that the clocks were there to represent time. A clock is a device used by man to get a grip on the concept of time so it seems plausible, but it is not necessarily what the artist intended.

  7.    marissae17 said,

    August 31, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    I chose to respond on the first picture of President Obama.

    I believe that the meaning of this text is that President Obama is worried about something. He might be making a hard decision that could affect a lot of people. He could also be concerned about a more personal matter, maybe concerning his life or his job.

    I am assuming that he is upset because of his facial expression and the way he his holding his hand on his head. I know from person experience that when I, or people around me are upset, they usually have a more solemn face. Also, his hand is on his head leading me to believe that he might have a headache or perhaps wiping sweat off of his forehead because he is nervous about something.

  8.    nadiab said,

    August 31, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Nadia Bhagwandin
    I think that Salvador Dali’s painting is a dream like state of the unconscious mind. It depicts that time is diminishing and disintegrated. There’s also no boundary, limitations or control to time in this scene. Reality is not an option and this may lead viewers to believe that time does not matter.

    The emphasis is definitely about time because there is more than one clock in this painting. The melting clock suggests that time is fading and as such, it will not be of importance to the dreamer. There are endless possibilities for a dreamer because he can dream as long as he wants because time does not matter.

  9.    Christian Zapata said,

    August 31, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    This is the first prompt which shows a picture of president Obama displaying deep emotions. Emotions such as sorrow to which he is either preparing or already its addressing the United States. This is important because majority of the addresses are something big.
    This picture has led me to interpret Obama’s emotions as negative because of his body language. His hand rubbing his forehead and his eyes looking down as if what he has to say isn’t good. The sadness in his face led me to assume that a natural disaster has occurred and he is giving a presidential address to which he will inform the public.

  10.    emina said,

    August 31, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    In my opinion, the meaning of the painting by Salvador Dali has to do with the idea of time. Dali shows the melting of clocks, which show the importance of time. Even time can “melt” or pass by without someone realizing it. This painting also shows how everything in life is in pieces, and can be broken down to the most simplest objects. Dali is telling the viewer that people need to take some time and see the little things in life and break things down, instead of looking at them as a whole.
    One assumption that I made about this text is that it is dealing with time. Dali painted a number of clocks in his painting, and automatically that stood out to me meaning that is was about time. In the painting all of the objects are in small pieces, and simplified to the maximum. This made me think about the simplicity of life, and how everything looks different when broken down.

  11.    terrylghong said,

    August 31, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    Text 1
    President Obama is covering his head and thinking. He is trying to figure out the best solution to fix our bad economy.But no matter how hard will that be, he believes Americans can do it. Because yes we can.

    I assume that because we are facing a tough time in our economy.The unemployment rate is about 9% in July 2011.I am thinking this must be the No.1 issue that gives President Obama a “Headache”.

  12.    kocampo100 said,

    August 31, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    First Text:

    Clearly the text is a photograph of the president of the United States, Barack Obama. In the text he looks frustrated and distraught, his eyes even give off an impression that he probably hasn’t slept yet. An easy assumption would be that he is stressed about any political decision making that he must make. This just shows the complications of his job description. To be more specfic, it can be assumed that he is flustered over the catastophes and burden that Hurricane Irene has caused the country. However it is possible that he is worrying about other things as well. The main idea of this text is basically how problematic the president’s job is.

  13.    rasuli said,

    September 1, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Text chosen: Photo Of President Barack Obama

    By analyzing this photo of President Barack Obama, I have acquired several observations which lead me to make my own interpretation of the photo. Obama is pictured with his hand on his forehead covering a pair of furrowed brows. This pose shows that he is feeling tense, anxious, and/or apprehensive. He seems distant and lost in thought. This is a photo highlights his emotions.
    My assumptions about Obama’s emotional state in the photo are what lead me to the figure out the meaning of the photo. Beliefs and world views that underlie my assumptions are the media’s portrayal of Obama’s lack of success and efforts as President. People continue to critique him and say that he is doing nothing. If one were to be put in his shoes and acquire all his responsibilities along with the enormous amount of pressure to lead this nation, then he too would not help but feel overwhelmed

  14.    emendoza said,

    September 1, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Mendoza, E
    Prof Zino

    RE: President Obama

    Upon first glance, President Obama looks stressed, or even pensive. After staring at the photo for a few minutes, I started to think of all other possible emotions expressed, some of which include perhaps Obama had a headache, or was simply trying to scratch his forehead. Certainly the photographer has impeccable timing. I believe whoever snapped this photo was trying to portray the image of our American leader in a sort of weak sense or in a negative manner.

    One assumptions of this “text” that has led me to this meaning is my prior expectations of what a leader should be like– strong, confident, intelligent, etc. While the photo does not reflect on Obama’s intelligence at all, it certainly portrays him in a state of dismay and uncertainty. Obama seems to have definitely been deep in thought, or exhausted by his workload, indicated by his lowered eyelids and lack of a more enlightened and chipper expression on his face.

  15.    beezy said,

    September 1, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Barack Obama.

    This photo of President Obama clearly depicts frustration. He could be distraught based on several different factors. The weight on his shoulders stemming from being the president of the United States is something many of us probably don’t fully understand. This photo could be a direct result of the USA’s first ever drop in credit-rating from a AAA to a AA. Not to mention the overwhelming daily burden of media, and public critique of his presidency, constantly stating that he hasn’t done enough, and has yet to bring about promised change. It’s no mystery why he appears so glum.

    -Enes Mrkulic.

  16.    joshuak314 said,

    September 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    I will be commenting on the painting by Salvador Dali.

    Salvador Dali is actually one of my favorite artists. I was pleasantly surprised to see one of his works in your blog! This painting is titled The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory(I actually could not remember the title and looked it up on google). I believe Dali is referring to the many wars he had experienced in his lifetime. The painting shows everything being broken apart which probably refers to the destructive power of weapons. The clocks which look like they are melting could possibly suggest that the recent(recent to him) technological advances in weaponry could affect even time itself.

    An assumption I am making in viewing this painting is that Salvador Dali was actually fascinated with weapons and was affected by them. If my assumptions are wrong, another possible explanation for why everything in this painting is broken apart is that Salvador Dali was fascinated with the molecular world or the building blocks of this world. How everything is created by smaller particles. It actually doesn’t have to be one or the other explanation, both could go hand in hand. Dali’s fascination for the advancing technology is warfare and his fascination with the make-up of all things could have both contributed to the reasons he painted this the way he did.

  17.    victoriane said,

    September 1, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Victoriane Liz
    English 170W
    Assignment 1

    The meaning of the text I have chosen to write about is of President Obama. The feelings I get from looking at the photo is of a man in a vulnerable stage of stress. This is shown by the facial expressions of distress and disbelief. The picture only portrays the President’s face which makes me believe the photographer wants the viewer to emphasis on that.
    My main assumption of this picture is that President Obama is feeling stress. I was able to draw that conclusion because he has a look of anxiety and the placement of his hand on his forehead may indicate he is worried about something. My assumptions are based on my personal interpretation but the President could have had a headache and a photographer caught him at a bad moment.

  18.    steveocarpio said,

    September 4, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    In this text i see a struggling man, the President of the United States. The job who says that will make you look much older than you actually are when you leave office, its true, it might be a perfect job to tell your parent you have but it is in fact the most stressful job in the United States. A man that no matter what decision he makes, he has to hurt somebody, because he won’t be able to please everyone at the same time. There is no smile but the swipe of sweat in the picture which is why i come to the conclusion to label this text as depression.
    I come to the conclusion of this labeling because of the simple fact that he looks like he is sweating off the many comments he gets from the media. First of all a person from the media would take a picture like this as you can see that President Obama is not posing for nay type of picture. I wouldn’t say he would be receiving bad news because even when you get good news its even stressful or relieve, but there is certainly some sort of discomfort here.

  19.    GordonWTam said,

    September 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    “All about Mormons”

    One of the many meanings of this “text” that is you shouldn’t believe in something wholeheartedly before you know more about it. In this episode, Stan and Stan’s father Randy are both leaning toward believing in the Mormon religion based on how loving and caring a new Mormon family is. Randy shows us what you shouldn’t do by jumping right into the religion and attempting to convert his whole family into Mormons. Stan initially wants to believe in the Mormon religion, but after learning how the religion came to be, he decides against it.

    If you never look past the surface, it seems that the creators of the show are trying to make you interpret this whole episode as “Mormons are DUMB.” And maybe they are trying to say that. They constantly call them dumb in the Mormon song when referring to believers of the Mormon religion (DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB!) and it is made only more obvious when they indicate a non-believer as smart (SMART SMART SMART SMART SMART!). But I choose to believe the creators are calling them dumb for the simple fact that all the people who believed Joseph Smith were just blindly (and stupidly) following him without a shred of truth. In short, don’t put your money on something you don’t know jack about. Or, don’t believe in something wholeheartedly before you know more
    about it.

  20.    acervinaro90 said,

    September 6, 2011 at 10:40 am

    The text I chose is the image of our current president Barack Obama. In this
    image it seems as if the emotion is very stressful. I can see that by the position of his hand on his head as if he has a headache from all the decisions he has to make as president. This image also leads me to believe that he might be dissapointed to something that just occurred. Looking at this image I get a down feeling. There is no smile no light just darkness and tension. The job our president carries is very stressful and one man can’t make everyone happy even though he has to try his best to compromise. I came to all these conclusion’s just by looking at his face expression. He’s looking down his face seems so blank as if he doesn’t know what his next step should be.

  21.    cass88163 said,

    September 6, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Cassandra Ramlochan

    The text demonstrates our President in a state of frustration. His hand gesture on his head designates that he has a lot on his mind. Being that Obama is the head chief of the United States, he carries all the burdens of our countries downfall; which may be one of the toughest job one can with stand. If closely looking at the text you can actually see the sweat from his pores, it may be that he is dealing with a stressful situation.

    My assumption of this text that led me to this meaning is Obama’s agonized facial expression. When you hear the word “PRESIDENT”; you think of someone with strong unyielding characteristics, although, Obama can be characterized as that; the photo expresses him showing another side of presidency. It depicts the difficulties and hardship of being a leader of our nation. The text captures realness in a sense that even though Obama is our leader; he’s only human like the rest of us, and stress can also take a toll on him.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Spam prevention powered by Akismet

Skip to toolbar