Literary Response #3

The Maltese Falcon has an interesting style–it is dryer than other crime novels I have read yet it is still fascinating. I feel like the ties to San Francisco are not made in stone–it could take place in any city with a port, or airport even, with the same affect. The city does play a larger role in the novel than in the movie because of the screenplay lie narration, but most of the plot takes place indoors.

One thing I found both fascinating and frustrating was the role of truth. We, as readers, are given “facts” that turn out to be lies–everything told to us become jaded with the question whether what we hear is actually true or if it is just another elaborate lie. Reading with this mentality, I thought the fat man was ridiculous. He says to Spade: “Well, sir, here’s to plain speaking and clear understanding” (105). I understand the sentiment because usually plain speaking and clear understanding are something to strive for but in the entire novel there is not any plain speaking or clear understanding–except the understanding that nearly everything said is a lie or half truth.

I have seen the movie but never read the novel before this class. So I found it interesting that the story Spade tells Brigid is cut from the movie. The story seems to parallel Spade’s situation–he lives his life by his own terms, sometimes this way of life is interrupted but he always goes back to his own pattern. I feel like Spade is like the man in his story: “He adjusted himself to beams falling, and then no more of them fell, and he adjusted himself to them not falling” (64). Spade’s falling beam happens to be Brigid O’Shaughnessy.

I am interested to finish the novel and see how these theories play out and to compare the book to the movie. The book is always better then the movie but I do love Humphrey Bogart.

Literary Response #2

“our own little journeys, away and back again, are only little more than tree wavings–many of then not so much”

This ending Muir uses reminds me of the ending Twain uses in “Roughing It.” It gives the impression of everything we do is history even if it does not make the books. This is an interesting ending because this work is about wind storms in the forest, not the people inhabiting the forest as Twain describes.

This similarity brings up an interesting idea too–how would Muir respond to the man made fire in Twain’s piece. Muir seems to appreciate natural disasters, like earthquakes and wind storms. However, from his defense of Hetch Hetchy Valley, his membership in the Sierra Club, and his naturalistic prose I think Muir would have a deep abhorrence to the destruction of nature because of man’s presence. Although Twain does not condone the forest fire is not passionately against it as I would imagine Muir would have been.

Reflection #2

Redondo Beach. To me, Redondo is just a small beach city I call home. Like many beach towns the main places to go are the beach and the bars.

The pier is also a main hub because it has many restaurants, souvenir shops, and of course space for fishing. It has a expansive walk way that has a spectacular view of sunsets.

We also have whales year around!

Okay, painted whales but whales nonetheless. This huge mural can be found on the outside wall of the AES Redondo Generating Station. It is one block from Hermosa Beach, the neighboring town, and one block from the Redondo Beach harbor and the Yacht Club. Wyland’s whales are one of the defining pieces of art in Redondo Beach.

The town is laid back and the people live on beach time. You can almost always find some souls at the beach because our “bad” weather is a brisk morning in Moraga. I truly live in Sunny Southern California with beaches and blondes and everything.

Although we are a beach city we are still a city and that means traffic! The Pacific Coast Highway is the major street that runs through Redondo, and there is always traffic on that street! Driving down Pacific Coast Highway(PCH) is where a lot of bars and mom-and-pop shops are located.

PCH will lead you to Rivera Village which is the home to many little boutiques and cafes and fairs. It only spans a couple of blocks but it is so full of life and character. It is also the favored parking spot of the Jesus van. No trip to Redondo Beach is complete until you see the Jesus van. The van is completely covered in “Jesus” in a variety of materials: the owner uses anything from tape to tinsel.

Redondo Beach schools are interesting too because we have around five elementary schools, that are all rivals, that dump into two middle schools, that are rivals, and all of those students are placed in one high school. It is nice because there are new people to meet at every new school unlike the schools in the neighboring towns.

Redondo Beach although small is full of character and entertainment. There is always something to do in Redondo whether it is playing beach volleyball, walking to a park, or visiting one of the malls.

Literary Response #1

The Dame Shirley letters were an interesting change of pace. Twain and Harte framed their pieces so they were not tied to the events they described which gave the sense of superiority in their writing. Dame Shirley emphasized throughout all of her letters that she was describing everything “as it is” to giving the full and proper perspective of California. Even though she is not distancing herself from her descriptions what she focuses on is skewed by her own experiences and opinion–she spends a fair amount of time talking the newly orphaned child because she was orphaned young.

Even though she does not distance herself from the rough life in California like the men we have read tend to, she believes she is superior to the women still in the East because of what she has experienced. She had become cultured because how many women back home could casually throw a couple Spanish words into their letters? It is extremely unlikely that her sister, who she is supposedly writing to, knows any Spanish, so something as simple as adios would not be recognized immediately. She also talks about almost getting killed in a by-the-way matter that leads me to believe that she wanted it to seem as if it was an everyday occurrence therefore not a big deal. She is living a life full of adventure now.