A Christmas Carol Meets Isolation

This project is in collaboration with Cole Sharpe and Riley Whitener

Upon opening Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, published in the late 19th century (December 19, 1843) the reader is introduced to the main protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge. Ebenezer can be described as a “tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!” (Dickens, Stave 1). We see Scrooge’s introverted, ill-tempered attitude towards many things, especially Christmas and the feeling of togetherness. Below are three diary entries coming from different Scrooge’s point of view in regards to isolation.

Monday, December 12, 1827

Dear Diary,

On this dreadful day, I am discouraged. During this time of isolation, I have had only one thing on my mind, that being money. Since everyone is taking caution, locking themselves in their houses to be safe, we have made little to no money at the bank. We have no one to lend money to, payments are not coming in, and I’m afraid we are not gonna make enough money to make ends meet. No one wants to leave their homes because they are afraid of catching the yellow fever. If this pandemic lasts much longer, I am afraid that not only will my business not survive, but that I may not survive if I do not make money soon. 

Ebenezer Scrooge

Tuesday, December 13, 1827

Dear Diary,

Yet another day I sit here on this dreadful day of isolation.  On this day I am again losing money from being away from my bank.  With everyone staying at home I was told there is no reason for me to be at the bank.  But today I have come to realize that not only am I losing money from no one coming into the bank, but I am just throwing money into my furnace.  Just lump after lump of coal being burnt up all because I have to be at home for my “safety”.  It pains me to waste my hard-earned money for something this simple when I could be at the bank working and making money to offset this inconvenience.  But I am sure this all will be over soon enough and things will get back to normal.

Ebenezer Scrooge

Wednesday, December 14, 1827

Dear Diary,

I am once again confined to the slow, abstract moving walls within my home and its construct. I sit at my window watching the dreary clouds go by, free to roam, blowing wherever they please. I get up to fix myself a meal in hopes of tiding me over when a small bug crawls away, into the shadow in fear. I then began to ponder on the idea of isolation to which I am becoming closer and closer. It begins to strike me that isolation isn’t that bad after all when reflecting on many of the world’s issues a simple resolution crosses my mind. Greediness between people, jealousy for money, sickness from plagues, murder in the streets, all a part of the human condition. Simple isolation would cure much of this, peace of mind, breaks for the mentally ill. The more I think the longer isolation begins to set in, not the feeling of isolation, but the meaning of isolation. I begin to truly appreciate time to oneself.  

Ebenezer Scrooge

Works Cited

Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. 1843. Project Gutenberg, gutenberg.org/files/46/46-h/46-h.htm. 25 April 2020.

Parallels Between Unusual Tales

This semester, we have learned about a specific era of British Literature called the “Romantic Period”. In this era, we have read two specific tales; one of the tales is titled Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and the other titled The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Although these books were published twenty years apart from one another, they condone the same behavior and portrait several of the same ideas. 

Popular to the time, some stories during the romantic period, especially toward the end, became obsessed with evil creatures. Both Frankenstein and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner have an evil being specific to their storyline that plays its specific role. In Frankenstein, the monster plays the role of a creation made by a mad scientist named Victor Frankenstein seeking acknowledgment for his great studies and hard work. Frankenstein has the idea that if you use electricity, you could bring people back from the dead. Nevertheless, he puts together a makeshift body and runs electricity through it, bringing it to life. This scares Victor tremendously, so bad that he flees his laboratory and goes out for a late night walk. This walk signifies a “walk of shame” as he tries to understand exactly what he has just done, also the consequences that come with his actions. Soon after this night, the monster kills an innocent boy. The murder of this boy is blamed on Justine after a picture of her is planted on the boys body. For these accusations, she is executed. The reader can tell that Frankenstein regrets his decisions even further when he says, “I beheld those I loved spend vain sorrow upon the graves of William and Justine, the first hapless victims to my unhallowed arts. (Karbiener 79)”  Likewise, Samuel Taylor Coleridge displays a similar sequence of events in his poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Similar to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is from the romantic period and has a similar moral and topic. In The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a mariner is sailing to the Arctic to explore with his crew. Along the way, they are followed by a being of good omen, an Albatross, which the crew take in full heartedly and enjoy. The mariner then kills the Albatross (81-82), casting bad luck upon the crew for the remainder of their journey. After the Albatross is dead, two new beings arrive, The Nightmare Life-in-Death and Death. Death takes over all the crew except for the mariner, who is controlled by The Nightmare Life-in-Death. Even though the crew liked the Albatross and had nothing to do with its death, they had to perish; they perished as an example to the mariner. Just like in Frankenstein, the innocent people are killed for one man’s mistake. This seems to be a common occurrence in this era.

Considering both these stories were written in the Romantic Era, they are going to have some similarities. In the case of these stories, they both had to do with a creator hating its creation; Frankenstein hated his monster, while the mariner hated what he did to cause his crew to die. The moral of these stories is to be careful of your actions because the consequences could be detrimental.

Into the Dark Unknown

Image result for le triomphe de la Liberte en l'élargissement de la Bastille
James Northcote’s “Le triomphe de la Liberté en l’élargissement de la Bastille” (1790)/W.W. Norton

Upon examination, this image looks bleak with no sign of hope. The image depicts the prisons of the Bastille with “unburied bodies and ghastly instruments of torture.” (C2). Although this image looks like an image of doom and gloom, the people locked in the basement are getting rescued in that very moment. In Mary Shelley’s book “Frankenstein”, there is a young woman named Caroline Beaufort who’s world is about to be flipped upside down. Her father has fallen on hard times, meaning they have little food, little supplies, and inadequate facilities to support them. He then fell ill and died in Carolines arms, leaving her an orphan and a beggar (28). Before they fell on hard times though, Beaufort had a friend who was of a very delegated family who was plenty well off and cared for Beaufort. He attended Caroline by her father’s coffin and was like a “protecting spirit” to her (28). After this encounter, he brought her back home to Geneva with him and after two years of being together, she became his wife. In both of these works, their is a time of dread and unknowingness, but then they are rescued by a third party who are much better than where they came from. Hope can be a very powerful tool if needed, but there has to be a catalyst for that hope.

Works Cited

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 1818, 1831. Introduction and Notes by Karen Karbiener. Barnes and Noble, 2003.

Gillray, James Le triomphe de la Liberté en l’élargissement de la Bastille. “The Norton Anthology English Literature: The Romantic Period.” The Norton Anthology English Literature: The Romantic Period, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2018, pp. C2–C2.

Reflective Essay

This English class has been like no other class I have taken, not only because it is a college English class, but also because of the many differences it has had from previous classes. These differences, however, have made the experience of this class better than imaginable. The differences that impacted me the most were things like writing longhand, constructing and sending snail mail to people, and studying texts written by other people to go off of when writing our own essays. All of these differences are expanded upon during the reading of this essay.

One of the major differences that have come with this course is the screen-free environment, screen-free meaning no laptops, cell phones, tablets or anything of this nature is allowed unless told otherwise. With every paper we have had to write, they have all been drafted on paper first. This is usually something that would be looked down upon in today’s time period, but once you do it several times it becomes enjoyable. In every other class I have taken, we have been able to use technology to start and finish a paper. Throughout this semester, I was shown that technology isn’t always used and that is okay.

The essays in this class are drafted in one day, meaning that most of the time the papers aren’t fully drafted within the first class period. This is also a significant difference I have noticed about this class. For the literacy narrative that we had to write in the beginning of the class, this certain difference in the course surprised me because I was not done with my paper, yet we still had to turn it in. I had never turned in an unfinished paper before, so obviously I was shocked. Now we are at the end of the semester and I have grown accustomed to this way of writing.

Before this class, I had never written a letter to anyone. It was a unique experience for me because most people, including myself, would choose the faster route of sending that person a text. When you send a text, you do not get the same satisfaction as you do when you sit down to take the time to write them a letter. There can be so much more emotion and affection put into a letter rather than a text, solely because of the time taken out of your day to write a letter. The other person would feel more appreciated to get a letter versus a text. For this course, every month we had to send out a letter to someone. The first person I sent my letter to was my grandmother. This particular grandmother loves reading and writing and does so quite frequently. She received the letter and was very grateful for the gesture and said she was glad we were actually writing and composing snail mail and not just texting. The letter that I wrote in February was sent to a man from Wichita Falls, Texas and for a very special reason. Joe Cuba is a World War II veteran who turned one hundred on March 2, 2019. Joe’s family put an image of him on social media with him holding a sign that reads “I’m a WWII veteran who will be turning 100 on March 2, 2019. I would like to receive 100 birthday cards”. This image got a significant amount of publicity in a small amount of time and I heard that he received well over one hundred birthday cards for his birthday, one of those including mine. In the letter I wrote, “Happy birthday and thank you for our service!”. This goes to show that writing the letters have not only reached lives in Alexander County, but also across the country in Wichita Falls, Texas.

For this course, we read several different essays either ones from the book or ones that you wrote. The most memorable essay that I remember reading this semester was on that you wrote about your father’s converses titled Taylor-Made. The reason that this one stuck with me the most is that through this piece of literature, we as a class got to experience a small part of what your childhood was like growing up and the importance of these shoes to you. While this essay provided us a way to see into your life, the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars were a way to see into his past. In your essay, you said “That former life of his that I could never truly see remained a source of fascination for me (Lucas, pp. 3)”. With this quote, we can now understand the reasoning behind why you are so passionate about the shoes. It is not because you like the way they look or feel, it is about the curiosity and wonder about the All-Stars your dad had when you were a kid and that fascination has not left to this day. We also read “Proficiency” on pages 82-83 which are about the author, Shannon Nichols, taking a certain proficiency test and showing that tests do not show everything and that if you fail just keep trying. Nichols went into the test after months of preparation and passed all the parts except for writing, which is the one subject she thought she would ace without issues (Nichols, pp. 2). This news tore her apart emotionally because she only failed, but half of a point, but decided that it was okay and she would pass the next time. Fast forward to October when she takes the test again thinking she is going to pass this test no problem, but this is easier said than done. She gets her scores back and finds out that she fails again, this time, also by half a point (Nichols, pp. 4). After this happens, she starts to hate writing and feels like she is terrible at it. Finally, after taking the test three times she passes, but she says she, “… never again felt the same love of reading and writing (Nichols, pp. 5)”. Certain experiences that I have encountered through my schooling have also made me feel exactly like Nichols did with this test. Whether that be due to bad grades on math test or papers I spent a long time on, to not understanding what we were doing in that class, but I still have not given up. The point of the story is that if things get hard in life and you feel like you cannot do anything right, just remember to keep trying and you will eventually get over whatever obstacle may be in your way.

English 111 has been challenging without a doubt, but through different experiences and studying essays I feel as though I have come out of this class a stronger writer and reader. Through reading the different essays, either in the book or the ones you wrote with us, my analysis skills have increased tremendously. By writing the different essays throughout the course, I have learned the procedure of mapping out my essay and creating the essay in a certain form rather than throwing the paragraphs together hoping they sound good. I have learned how to write snail mail and plan to do so continuously to show my gratitude in a more formal and intuitive way. For the first time in several years, I have started writing my essays longhand instead of strictly on-screen, which I still am not sure if I like better or worse because of my handwriting being the way that it is.  With all of this being said, I hope to have you again for English 112 next semester if the chance is provided and I thank you personally for being an amazing instructor and for providing me the material to become a better student.

Works Cited

Lucas, Dr. Jane. “Taylor-Made.”

Nichols, Shannon. “‘Proficiency.’” The Norton Field Guide to Writing with Readings, vol.     4e, 2016, pp. 82–83.

Textual Analysis Assignment

The Lenoir-Rhyne ad has many details to study if looked upon closely. These examples are not only pictures, but the description as well. The question that must be asked is does Lenoir-Rhyne really live up to the expectations set by this ad.

The ad itself has two concepts; the background area and the text included. The background consists of what looks like five college students in what looks like the main part of the campus. Out of the five students, not a single one is dressed poorly, meaning they all look very fancy and mature. The men are both wearing button-up shirts complete with khaki pants and shorts and Sperry’s. The women all have dresses on accompanied by either what looks like sandals and a pair of heels. This kind of look creates the style aspect because they all look very professional in what they are wearing. Relating back to the first paragraph, the question can be answered with a yes for the style affiliated with Lenoir-Rhyne. The text that is included on the ad drives the evidence of sophistication through the roof. The text includes higher level words to describe simple things and brags on their own program. Lenoir-Rhyne uses big words such as ‘Donned’, ‘Seersucker’, and ‘Dapper’ to sound more educated and professional. This tactic is used by a lot of colleges around the world because they want to impress the people looking into their schools.

The first word that is used to describe towards Lenoir-Rhyne is the word ‘sophistication’, this word means to display good qualities and wisdom. This word, when used to describe a certain object or place, expresses a positive view on the subject being described. In this case, it is describing Lenoir-Rhyne. Using the word sophisticated was a good choice of words because it make the school look good. The whole point of one of these ads is to make the school look good, which, Lenoir-Rhyne does a good job of in this scenario. When a family sees words like ‘sophistication’ it establishes a sense of professionalism and quality, ensuring a greater interest in the school itself. Said family may not know anything about the school in particularly, but with an ad like this one, the ad could speak for the school itself and influence the decision of the family. The next word used in the ad that would catch the attention of possible students is ‘style’. This is appropriately backed by the people posing for the ad. As I said earlier, they are all wearing very nice clothes and look the part for the college. Although, the style aspect might go deeper than the actual appearance of the people on the page. They could be talking about the way they run the school and how good it is or the style of the city is supposed to be better than what you would think about any other school. When you put the combination of sophistication and style, it created a great duo that cannot sound much better. You have the complex system of do and don’ts and what to do in certain situations, but also the style of the high-end lifestyle. The final word used to describe LR is ‘Southern Charm’. I believe that they should have used a different ending than ‘Southern Charm’ because you can get that at any college in the south. One could go to a college such as UNC or NCSU and get the same southern feel so the ‘Southern Charm’ is not a special quality strictly confined to LR. Some people may not want the southern feel to their college because that is not how they grew up so why would they want in for their college experience.

A better ending could have been ‘United’ because of how small the school is compared to the bigger public schools in the state and across the country. All-in-all, the ad simplified LR into three words that all describe the school positively and accurately.

“Go, Dog. Go!”

When I was about three or four, there was a certain book that I loved. The book was called, “Go, Dog. Go!”, by P.D Eastman. My mother used to read this book to me every night because it was my favorite. I remember many nights, I would ask her to read to me. After a while, she knew which book I wanted and she did not even have to ask me anymore she already knew I wanted to read “Go, Dog. Go!”. If anything would have happened to that book as a child, I would have had a section of my life torn from by life and I do not know what I would have done. I learned to read from this book, which is one reason that it is so special to me.

This book is about a group of dogs that are always involved in some type of high-speed activity. These activities including roller-skating, roller coaster riding, racing in cars, climbing trees, climbing mountains, and having parties.  The activities made me feel like it was a good thing to be wired up and crazy. The act of actual racing in this book sparked my love for NASCAR. NASCAR and racing in general have always been a big part of my life, and it is one thing in my life that has always been around. All of the activity in this book has stuck with me because of my love of sports.

I love to run track, and I can thank a portion of my love to “Go Dog. Go!” because of the constant running around. I like to relate track to NASCAR because when you are running, you can follow behind somebody and “draft” off of them. The book has helped me in more way than one: inspiring both my participation in sports and my love for them. In one scene from the book, the dogs play a game of baseball. When I was a kid, I played baseball for eight years and I loved every minute of it. This scene from the book was my first interactment with the sport of baseball and it intrigued me in a way like no other.

The book is a very short and simple book only containing seventy-five words but can have a major impact on a three year old boy. In the book, there is a dog that asks another dog if he likes her hat. The other dog responds three times with a no, but on the fourth try he says that he likes the hat. This interaction taught me perseverance and to not give up on something because the answer might change. Another benefit from this specific interaction is the advancement of my social skills. I am a very extraverted person, meaning that I like to be out there with people and life without other people is meaningless to me. All of the dogs in this book are very friendly with each other and never show any signs of hostility which guide me in acting the same.

This book was the most influential book of my childhood. It taught me a life lesson and also lit the fuse of several key things in my life. I thank my mother for reading this book to me as a child because if she had not, I could have missed things in my childhood that are very important to me.

What Running Means to Me

I have always been a very active person. Whether it be playing sports for a recreational team or playing for fun. I am very passionate about running. Running is like an escape from this world that I need several times a week. Running helps me think about things going on in my life and how to deal with them the right way. I ran track for East Alexander Middle School in seventh and eighth grade and I enjoyed every second of it. The feeling that I got from running back then is what made me want to keep running today. From the middle school I came to the high school where I run all year round. I love to run cross country with the open courses and warm fall weather. I like indoor track but it’s not my favorite just because of the weird intervals and the air at the track makes me cough. My favorite ,however, is outdoor track because it has the eight hundred meter run which is my favorite. I plan to be running track for the rest of my high school career and possibly into college.