April 20

Josh and Gabe’s Group

Our experience on the Charlottesville  Downtown Mall helped us to further understand the background of our hometown as it applies to the Civil Rights Movement. Each location provided us with a new perspective on Charlottesville landmarks and their effect on our community.

              “The railroad tracks downtown could be viewed as a “dividing line” between the commercial Downtown Mall area, and the primarily low-income housing that sits on the other side of the tracks. Whether the tracks serve as a dividing mark or actually as a physical barrier separating two areas, the positioning of the tracks and what is on either side of them is no coincidence.” -Josh Reiss

Josh’s reaction to the the tracks was shared by many in our group. A disparity between both sides  continues to segregate according to class and race. It is difficult to comprehend why such divisions still exist in our town, and after witnessing Charlottesville’s modern strain of segregation, we began to ask ourselves questions regarding the nature of our society in present time.

         ” It is interesting how in one respect our society respects Robert E Lee but at the same time claims to hate the things he fought for.” -Justin Tennery

While he reflected on the Robert E Lee statue, one of Charlottesville’s most notable sculptures, Justin found that hypocrisy is at the heart of our society’s relationship with one of U.S. history’s icons. As a Southern general, Lee battled the question of slavery, siding with the South and it’s corresponding views. Given that slavery is not noted as a favorable part of our history, it raises the question of why we idolize a figure who was prominent in maintaining harsh slaves laws that plagued our country. Arguably, the statue represents a skilled general involved in the United States Civil War, and is certainly deserving of recognition in our town. However, as we dove deeper into the issues of segregation surrounding our society, we questioned the validity of the latter argument.

           “Associating segregation with modern landmarks in Charlottesville gave me a deeper understanding of not only the history of our city, but also the immeasurable progress that has been made in our town since then.” -Claire Keeler

After observing the outside of the Paramount Theatre, Claire balanced the issues of the past with the progress our city has since made. Her analysis encompasses our realization as a group that the Paramount is one of the most understated historical landmarks in the city of Charlottesville. Few are aware of the “second entrance” that stands on the side of the building. This entrance, in fact, was the entrance designated for black citizens only. As a group, we contrasted the prominence and decency of the white entrance with the downsized, second-rank entrance for blacks.

On the whole, the landmarks we viewed on the Charlottesville Downtown Mall not only provided us with new aspects of our city to which we were previously oblivious, but also opened our eyes to issues that existed, and perhaps still exist, in our society today.

railroadIMG_0538

 

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April 10

WPA: The enemy of Syphillis

enemy-syphilis-health-poster1_1024x1024

This WPA poster was created in Chicago and was used between 1936 and 1940. This poster was designed to improve the common health of americans due to the recent squalor of american cities as a result of the great depression. The depression gave way to a new era where public health was the last thing on many american minds. The sexually transmitted disease called Syphilis was a very common disease during this time period, and was a common target of these posters The poster has a photo of a soldier wearing a gas to describe the danger of this disease and the to create fear for the disease among citizens. The three figures at the bottom are part of the resistance to this disease and are clearly very clean and organized. The poster says “The Enemy is Syphilis,” making the disease into a figure that can be physically fought. At the bottom of the post it says “Enlist employees in a campaign against it,” this is a plea to fight the disease and not to spread it. It asks the common american to enlist, and fight against the enemy (Syphilis).

http://vintagraph.com/collections/wpa-posters/products/enemy-syphilis-health-poster

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/573073_2

April 7

WPA Poster Assignment

For your mission today, we want you to examine poster art that was made for the public by the Works Progress Administration during the New Deal.  Choose one of the posters from this site (there are 7 pages! fyi) or this amazing site  and write an involved blog post on the poster.  You should insert the image in your post! Your paragraph of analysis should discuss the nature of the program (it’s aim and how it connected to ideals of the New Deal) and what organization or people would take part of stage the event.. Then consider it as a work of art. Evaluate its composition, arrangement of word and text, and iconography. How does this poster offer a window in the culture of the New Deal.

Your post should satisfy all the elements of the outline above to be acceptable. In other words, an analysis of a poster that considered the point of the Federal Theatre Project, and how the staging of the comic farce The Path of Flowers at the Experimental Theatre in New York fulfilled ideas of full employment for actors, and “read” the female face in the flowers in the poster, and even a post that sagely discussed the role of entertainment and diversion in a time of Depression would be incomplete without this:

path of Flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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December 21

Huck Finn chapters 31-42: Friendship

 

ff (Source: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/76/76-h/76-h.htm)

From the beginning to the end of the novel Twain shows the growth of Jim’s character. By the End of the book Jim is willing to give up his freedom in order to save his friend. Even the doctor expresses his thoughts, stating that he was impressed by how faithful Jim is. Although it may not be obvious to the reader, Twain portrays Jim throughout the novel as a more sensitive and caring character. He sacrifices his own sleep for Huck when they are on the raft. He is a man of sympathy and caring who explains that he, one day, wants to buy his wife and children out of slavery.

Jim’s humility and sympathy even rubs off on Huck. When Huck has the opportunity to turn Jim in, he tries to come up with anything that will ‘harden’ him against his loyal friend, stating: “But somehow I couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I’d see him standing my watch on top of his’n, ‘stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me.”(Chapter 31) As he tries to talk himself into turning his friend in, he encounters this moral dilemma. He remembers back to the times where Jim has helped him and his guilt becomes overwhelming. Twain uses this passage to draw the reader in and create remorse for Jim. The bond that Jim and Huck create is unbreakable. Friendship has no boundaries.

December 20

Chapter 23 Analysis-Rentz

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In this chapter I think the biggest message that comes across is Huck’s judgmental nature towards everyone except for himself and he finds many ways within this single 4 page chapter to show us this.   He finds others’ actions completely appalling however doesn’t see how hypocritical he is since he himself has made some very questionable remarks and decisions.  The main relationship that comes to mind when thinking of Huck’s judgmental ways is his on and off friendship with Jim.  It seems that throughout the book Huck is unable to be constantly loyal towards Jim.  Jim’s relationship with Huck is only one of many examples, Huck also flips his personality when he’s with Tom.  The reason for Huck’s double personality, I believe, is due to his constant venture between society and nature.

It is in these many moments of when Huck is completely unaware of himself that he is within society.  Society brings out the worst part of Huck, the part that must lie and cheat in order to succeed and be well liked.   He must lie and impersonate another in order to accepted into the Sawyer family.  In society Jim and Huck are not equals, in fact they are from separate worlds where Huck succeeds Jim.  In society, Huck abandons all of the hardships he has endured with Jim and thinks of him only as a slave.  He thinks only of him as property, yet Tom Sawyer is judged instead of himself, “Only I couldn’t believe it.  Tom Sawyer a nigger stealer!”.

In nature, however, Huck is the complete opposite.  Huck is completely free in nature of the labels and rules that make Jim a slave and Huck a freeman.  There is no one in nature to tell Huck what he should do or say, he is instead completely free.

 

December 20

Huckleberry Finn- Chapter 37 Analysis

In this Chapter, Tom and Huck finally get what they need to bake their witch-pie. The boys are trying to find things for Jim that he will be able to write on the cellar walls with so they put a spoon in Uncle Silas’s coat pocket, and nails in his hat. This leaves Aunt Sally to be furious because things around her house are missing, despite Uncle Silas trying to suggest that their could be rats in the house, she is still angry. “Uncle Silas, looking kind of foolish, fishes up that spoon out of his pocket”, after Uncle Silas reveals the missing spoon, the boys are dismissed from the kitchen in order for Aunt Sally to calm herself down. After Uncle Silas finds the nail, but acts oblivious towards it the boys think that they should show him thanks; so they choose to plug up his rat holes. Meanwhile, the boys steal another spoon, and then make Aunt Sally seem like she miscounted them. When they secretly place the nail and spoon in her apron, they know that she will in inadvertently give it to Jim in the hut. Finally, they make the pie, and hide the tope ladder underneath it, Nat delivers it. Jim receives the pie, gets the rope ladder, and hides it in his mattress, writes on the tin, and returns it out the window in hopes Huck will stick to his plan.

Aunt Sally Counting spoons angrily.

Aunt Sally Counting spoons angrily.

This chapter reflects Huck and Tom in their years of learning how to grow up. It also shows how they are trying to help with slavery and racism. Even though Huck tries to compensate Uncle Silas for not saying anything about the nail, it still shows how he acts childish about being so secretive and naive. Even though Tom is probably not doing the right thing, it still shows how big his heart is and how he is always there for Huck and Jim. Although the boys pranks seem really harmless, and their help for Uncle Silas and Aunt Sally to not discover their plan, Jim is still stuck in a hut, locked away from his family. Through this plan, we are able to see trust. Jim trust Huck and Tom enough to go along with this plan, but when you are a slave you have to hope for the best. Even though Jim has a hard time trusting himself, he is still trained to trust his masters, his leaders and therefore Tom and Huck.

 

December 20

Chapter XLII Analysis

In Chapter 41, it becomes clear that Huck has a new “real” family finally, one that can take care of him.  Huck vows to “never do nothing to grieve her anymore”(pg. 303)  after seeing how sad Aunt Sally is at “Sid” having gone missing.  It becomes apparent through that and Aunt Sally’s refusal to let Huck leave, that both of them care about each other a lot, and that Huck has finally found an adult figure that he can look up to and love.  He even doesn’t sneak out because she asks him to, something that would be hard to imagine happening with his father or even with Miss Watson.  Hucks loyalty is also displayed in this chapter, and he lies to the local doctor when questioned about how Tom was shot.  He responds that “he had a dream, and it shot him”(pg. 300), which is untrue, but shows that he will try to help his friends, even behind their back.  That also occurs after Huck had been sticking by Jim, and been trying to help get him become free regardless of personal risk, which also exemplifies his loyalty.   These examples show that Huck truly has made the transition from a rascal to a likable and kind young man.

Sources: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/76/76-h/images/c41-353.jpg