For this coming week, Jennifer Paolino and Victoriane Liz will be our main bloggers. By Monday at midnight, they will respond to the prompt below in 500-550 words:
On Thursday in class we identified the following binary oppositions (*review pp. 110-11 in Bressler for an explanation of this concept*) in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Spectacles”:
true love/love at first sight
inner beauty/outer beauty
For now, let’s focus on the second, seeing/blindness. This is actually a complicated way of framing the binary because when we think about how “seeing” and “blindness” have been valued in Western culture, blindness isn’t always a bad thing but is sometimes equated with wisdom (the blind sage)….nevertheless, let’s use this binary to guide us at this point.
The main bloggers should create a list of quotations of all moments from the story that have to do with the eyes, the gaze, seeing, etc. This list, which each blogger will compose separately, with some overlap and some items that may be unique, should be as thorough as possible. One early moment worth listing, for example, is this: “My eyes are large and gray; and although, in fact they are weak a very inconvenient degree, still no defect in this regard would be suspected from their appearance” (paragraph 4). *Indicating paragraphs will be clearer since various printed versions may contain different page numbers.
After composing their lists and reading them over our main bloggers will discuss the ways in which “seeing” seemed consistently undercut by blindness in the story. Is blindness, somehow, always at the heart of seeing? They will respond to this question in a paragraph below the list they’ve formed.
Commentators for this week should respond to Jen and Victoriane’s posts in their own posts of 150-200 words by Wednesday at midnight. To extend the main bloggers’ deconstructionist readings, they should look back at the other questions about using deconstruction (there are about seven or so) on the bottom third of Thursday’s handout and apply them to Poe’s story.
Please note that we will only meet once this week. On Thursday, the campus is closed for Rosh Hashanah and the following Tuesday CUNY classes follow a Friday schedule. This means that after Tuesday we will not see each other in person again until Thursday, October 6th. By that point, you will have both started and finished Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Please plan ahead! Though we will not meet, we will still be keeping our blogging rhythm: Victoriane and Jen will “pass the torch” to two new main bloggers at the end of class on Tuesday, who will be responsible for posting a response to the first section of Conrad’s story by the following Monday at midnight; commentators will be expected to respond by the usual deadline, in this case Wednesday 10/5 at midnight, as well.
I recognize that deconstruction is the most difficult lens we have attempted to grasp thus far and that we did not get very far with it on Thursday. Know that our discussion of Conrad’s text (and the critical readings that will accompany it) will help to clarify the aims and uses of this method; deconstruction will be the primary lens on our radar through October 6th. So, if you still feel mystified by it, fear not. Keep up with the readings and posts and things will fall into place.
As always, I am available via email before we meet next for questions. (On a related note, a response to Mendoza’s question about “the sign” during Thursday’s class has just been on the Q&A page on our blog.)
Have a great weekend and see you on Tuesday,