Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dilution of Scholarly Works

One of Emerson's main points is that a true scholar does not become a scholar by merely reading books and studying past philosophers (except in rare cases, as he says at one point). One must think for oneself and come up with new doctrine. To justify this argument he explains how the first scholar viewed his surroundings and recorded it. In relation to to following doctrines Emerson says, "In proportion to the completeness of the distillation, so will the purity and imperishableness of the product be" (4). I first took this to mean that scholarly works and information get diluted as it's reinterpreted and rewritten by new scholars. However, the last sentences in this paragraph confused my understanding. Emerson concludes the paragraph by saying, "Each age, it is found, must write its own books; or rather, each generation for the next succeeding. The books of an older period will not fit this" (4). This seemed to mean that as time goes on theory and information change books and doctrines must be updated. I'm not sure if I am taking these sentences too literally or not. Perhaps you guys can clear this up for me.

Heidegger and Emerson

First of all I just want to say wow!  I found this to be very motivating and particularly took interest to the part about Man Thinking and how books effect that.  I know at the very end Emerson states “We have listened too long to the courtly muses of Europe.  The spirit of the American freeman is already suspected to be timid, imitative, tame” but I can not help but think of Heidegger in the part about Man Thinking.  When Emerson writes “Hence, instead of Man THinking, we have the bookworm.  Hence, the book-learned class, who value books, as such; not as related to nature and the human constitution...” it instantly reminded my of Heidegger’s ideas about knowledge, truth and questions.  I interrupted that quote to mean that instead of Man thinking on his own, there are often book-worms how just look to absorb as much information out of books as possible.  But Emerson later states that books are of the past and “They are for nothing but to inspire”.  He also states that in order to be a scholar you have to be looking forward, not in the past, and books are ideas of the past.  I related this to Heidegger because of his idea about questions.  He stated that by just answering someone else questions you do not gain truth.  This is because, like books, the questions already stated are just a guide to help you think deeper about being and Dasein.  I also remember reading Heidegger talk about how taking all of the classes available will not give you knowledge.  This I related to mention of the book-worm because both are examples of men trying to take in as much preexisting knowledge as possible, when Emerson and Heidegger are stating that by doing that alone you are not a “scholar” or you do not “gain knowledge”.  In both instances you have to go forth and do own your own; whether it be think or questions to be answered or discover actions and make them thoughts.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pop Culture Reference!

So the transparent eye-ball reminded me of an image in the Song "Marching Bands Of Manhattan" by Death Cab for Cutie, but I didn't want to bring it up in class because sometimes I feel shallow for making so many pop culture references.

The lyrics are thus:

I wish we could open our eyes,
To see in all directions at the same time.
Oh what a beautiful view,
If you were never aware of what was around you.
And it is true what you said,
That I live like a hermit in my own head.
But when the sun shines again,
I'll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in.

Anyhow, I feel that they are self explanatory. Thought people might enjoy. Also, here is a picture drawn by Emerson himself. This was shown to me by my friend Taylor Fitzgerald, I didn't want to take credit for her glorious find.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

No Topic

Like reading Heidegger, my understanding of Emerson came trippingly along in fragmented ideas and phrases. I’m not entirely sure if it was simply the indolence of a holiday attitude, or a genuine struggle, but despite the difficulty I felt there was a lot to be gained in this reading even in between all my misunderstanding. All my life I have been a seeker of experiences that will make me feel small, and I can’t but agree with Emerson that being in nature is where I most readily find such experiences. My favorite passage from chapter one is this:

            “In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life, no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair. Standing on the bare ground, my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.”

I feel like this is a perfect description of the way one feels when they are truly experiencing nature. I don’t feel like you can look out over the vast and rolling expanse of the earth and feel anything other than small, or look at the lovely and ornate minutiae of a leaf and feel anything other than lost or simple, yet somehow connected. Those same intricate lines and patterns in the leaf can be seen in your own finger prints, it is all so wonderful and unbelievable that you can’t help but feel connected to that little piece of divinity within you, and within, (as you realize again and again with the same feeling of freshness and grandeur each time), within all things. 

            I liked when Emerson talked about how all words, nature and the sublime all reflect one another, and bring life and meaning to the symbols we create. However, I am not sure I agree that all nature reflects some kind of particular mood. For me, midnight is most certainly not “grim.” However, as I looked for ideas of “the ordinary” as we have discussed it so far, the only thing that really jumped out at me was the line about the stars:   

“If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile. The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible.”

It struck me as funny, that although they are there every night, hardly changing, thousands and thousands of years old, we always find so much exhilaration in their presence. Stars are most definitely “ordinary” yet not at all. One cannot describe the night without their mention; nobody would ever call a star “normal” or “mundane.” Every time you look up at the sky on a clear night you cannot but help gasp at their beauty, point into the sky and wonder aloud about them to others. But if it was cloudy, we would not miss them or notice their absence. I guess I just feel like there are certain things like stars, or mountains, or maybe even waterfalls among other things in nature that are in this strange place between ordinary and extraordinary. They simultaneously hide themselves in their constant presence, but call out for you to take note, and frequently if you be nearby.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Solitude: Nature v. Chamber

While reading the remainder of “Nature”, I found myself fighting an internal battle (which caused much distraction) over whether or not I agreed with Emerson in his first chapter. In chapter one (also entitled Nature), Emerson says “to go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars.” At first, I completely balked at this idea. Is Emerson crazy? I feel the least alone when I look at the stars or walk in the woods or hike a mountain on my own. For the longest time, going into nature was one of the only means I had through which I could feel “not alone”. Growing up with few friends in a very isolated yet forest-rich village, I spent a lot of my time “alone” in nature but I can never remember feeling lonely. No, I felt lonely when I was alone in a house or a room.

That particular thought caused me to wonder if I was thinking about this all wrong. I was equating lonely with alone which is wrong (especially if you agree with Kelly Clarkson and every other empowering post-break up song ever written). In thinking back, while I never felt lonely tramping around the Weld woods, did I ever feel alone? When hiking on my own these days I never feel lonely, but do I ever feel alone? Well, yes, I do. I think in separating “lonely” from “alone”, I was able to understand and agree (for the most part) with this passage of Emerson’s.

A Person of Powerful Character

To be honest, there were parts of Emerson's writing that I'm not sure I was fully able to grasp as I read it, but I like some of the points that (I think) he was trying to make. One such quote that he wrote that I find very interesting is: "And in common life, whosoever has seen a person of powerful character and happy genius, will have remarked how easily he took all things along with him, - the persons, the opinions, and the day, and nature became ancillary to a man" (Beauty). The way I interpret this (and feel free to correct me if anyone disagrees) is that a person of powerful character does not necessarily go about life questioning everything in it. While they may question some things, this person is not going to spend all of their time obsessing over what is "right and wrong," or trying to find a definition for everything that they come across. Instead, this person seems to take life as it comes, shaking off any misfortunes that come their way, and celebrating the joys that they encounter as well. I imagine this person is fully capable of taking a walk through a field somewhere and simply relaxing, taking in all of the nature around them without trying to come up with a "why" for it all. It is due to the person's ability to simply take things as they are that they are so powerful and a "happy genius," because they do not let their lack of knowledge (if you wish to call it that) dictate their lives. While other people obsess over what they don't know, this person is free to enjoy what they do know, and merely live their lives, perhaps inadvertently learning more along the way.

Snow Rambles

I don't know where everyone else has gone off to for this glorious, if ever too short, break but I am currently holed up in my aunt and uncle's house in Vermont.  Since I last set foot outside yesterday morning,what will soon be a foot and a half of snow has been dumped from the sky onto the mountain where I'm residing and has ruined any and all desires to go out and do something.
Out here, in the middle of nowhere, I feel like I am in that poem; the one I can never remember the name of, but I completely misunderstood back in middle school.  The snow filled woods are silent and lovely in a way that does not do them justice, indescribable.  But if you look at the poem, in the faint light of a sun blocked by so many clouds, the woods are smothering the observer.  Curled up near the wood stove, just watching the large flakes of precipitation float along the wind currents, I feel like that.  Never falling straight down, they all but fly: left and right, swirling in circles, suddenly changing direction as they encounter a windfall against the glass doors, gently returning back toward the sky as an updraft catches them.  So many layers of movement, all superimposed upon each other, yet balanced.  The scene is not crowded or busy, but yet the movement is everywhere.  A magic eye picture, there is no one part to look at, but rather you most look at everything and nothing.  Then, finally, you see it, the flakes all falling perfectly into place and... everything scatters.  A hard gust ripping across the deck, throwing already settled snow into the air, hard to the left, creating a heavy curtain of white streaks that can't be penetrated with the naked eye.  Just as suddenly as it has begun,  it's gone.  The snowflakes regain their composure, sinking back down and continuing their dance.  A dramatic ballet, the softness interrupted by tension that is so out of place, as yet flows perfectly together so you can't imagine one without the other.
Somehow, my blog post has become an ode to snowfall, void of both the Emerson necessity and the philosophy necessity.  I know I was going somewhere with this.  I could speak of Emerson's ideas of beauty.  How he wants to give credit to man as well as Nature when he sees a sight so spectacular he cannot help but sit in awe.  I could speak of how this idea at first offended me.  The snow will dance on, even after we stop observing it.  Snow cares nothing for Schrodinger and quantum mechanics, but I may be wrong.  I have never trod out to the middle of a dense forest.  I know not if the snow dances on, or if the evergreens snatch them from from their airy flight like so many hungry children when candy is thrown.

But if you'll excuse me, I'd prefer to go role-play as Dorothy Wordsworth and go tromp through the snow childishly while not thinking of my love for my brother.

Part or Particle of God

Emerson's phrase "part or particle of God" has always struck me. It is found in Chapter 1: Nature. Emerson describes how he lets go of his human tendencies, or "mean egotism," and takes in nature. He says he lets "the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God." He is allowing nature to become a part of him, but he is also letting in the "currents of the Universal Being." Emerson seems to be implying that God, the "Universal Being" is being absorbed into him through nature. At first I thought this meant that nature and God are the same. After all, he becomes part or particle of God through nature. However, two paragraphs later Emerson says "the power to produce this delight, does not reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both." I took this to mean that one cannot become godly without nature, but also one must be human to become godly. So to be part of God one must be human and accept and understand nature. Only then can one be godly. I'm not sure if this is a correct interpretation, but this is how I read it.

Vaticination: the act of prophesying

I am so in awe of Emerson that trying to write about him is a little daunting. Initially I found his frequent contradictions and exuberant comma usage frustrating (actually I still find the commas frustrating), but when I stopped trying to read him like an academic and finally tried to feel what he was saying, I realized the trouble was that I was, in fact, "disunited with [my]self" (I am trying to be clever, please leave me alone). I realized this particularly in "Prospects": "Every surmise and vaticination of the mind is entitled to a certain respect, and we learn to prefer imperfect theories, and sentences, which contain glimpses of truth, to digested systems which have no one valuable suggestion. A wise writer will feel that the ends of study and composition are best answered by announcing undiscovered regions of thought, and so communication, through hope, new activity to the torpid spirit" (on a side note, Oh how my torpid spirit awakened upon discovering the word 'vaticination'). So effective was the performativity of Emerson's writing that I wondered if he and Heidegger were BFFs, but after some research I learned that Heidegger was born after Emerson died, and thus the world's greatest friendship could never come to pass. Really, though, I found that more than being able to take any reductive or conclusive statement about nature away from "Nature," I was left with, more than anything, an inclination to go outside and look around. And I think that's what Emerson was trying to do-- at least I hope, because otherwise I just spent a lot of time misinterpreting him-- and while I struggled to accept that at first, this essay really resists an analytical reading; by the time I read "the leafless trees become spires of flame in the sunset," I decided to stop struggling.

I have a hundred more things to say about Emerson, but I think I'll save them for class.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Man's relationship with Nature

When reading Emerson’s first section, titled Nature, he makes it very clear the relation between man, nature and religion as he writes “The rays that come from those heavenly worlds, will separate between him and what he touches” (Nature).  He is implying that man, nature and religion are all separate entities, simply related through the life of man and how he relates to both.  Emerson goes on to make the relationship through man’s actions more clear by giving the example of man and landscape.  He states “There is a property in the horizon which no man has but he whose eye can integrate all the parts, that is, the poet” (Nature).  With this, he is implying that man can own parts of nature, as he gives the example of farms spread across the land, but when looking at the landscape as the whole on the horizon, no man can own that image.  Both are examples of man’s relationship with nature.  He ends the passage relating man nature and religion together again with idea then when man loses a loved one, nature does not seem as what it was before.  Instead, to man, nature feels dull and less populated.  This just reiterates the idea that he presented; man, nature and religion are al separate, but brought together through the actions of man.  Man can own parts of nature, but the landscape as a whole is owned by each individual man’s eye to see it how he sees it.  And that nature and religion are separated until the idea of a loved leaving earth for heaven leaves nature feeling dull and lifeless to the man surrounded by nature.  Which leaves me with the idea that, ultimately, man decides his relationship with nature through his actions (or feelings) with nature.             

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nature vs. Man

Upon first impression, Emerson seems to approach nature and spirit as intertwined, for he says, “It is certain that the power to produce this delight, does not reside in nature, but in man, or in a harmony of both,” (Nature) and, “Nature is the symbol of spirit” (Language). These two statements imply that man’s spirit and nature work hand-in-hand to produce mutual respect and understanding. I’d like to believe this is so, that our spiritual tendencies as humans derive from a deep understanding and appreciation of nature. However, Emerson later goes on to say, “The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship…The noblest ministry of nature is to stand as the apparition of God” (Spirit). If Nature is so noble as an apparition, Emerson implies that nature is like a ghost, inaccessible to human understanding, and simply able to exist. If this is so, it appears that man is not worthy, for man does not exist as a mere ghost. In fact, mankind seems to be on a quest to “know the primitive sense of the permanent objects of nature, so that the world shall be to [man] an open book” (Language). Ultimately, man attempts to make sense of everything and anything that surrounds him. Man is fighting in a self-declared Nature vs. Man battle. By doing so, it seems that man possesses insecurities: mankind fears not being all-knowing, and mankind is the alpha animal, so should mankind know all? Emerson implies that there is something to be learned from nature in this light. If nature simply exists without any attempts to manifest itself, it is considered noble. Therefore, perhaps mankind should stop employing emblems as a means to understand his surrounding objects, such as those in nature. Perhaps these objects are not meant to be understood; rather, enjoyed and viewed as equals. Emerson asks, “Have mountains, and waves, and skies, no significance but what we consciously give them, when we employ them as emblems of our thoughts?” (Language). This statement reminds me of our readings and discussions of Ponge in which he overanalyzes and examines bread. In the end, bread is bread, nature is nature, and mankind is mankind. In order for nature and man (and bread) to truly be in perfect harmony, they most coexist without a need of outdoing the other, as nature already clearly demonstrates.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Put Some Feeling Into It

Dorothy's entries are written in a very matter of fact manner. They consist of descriptions and brief summaries of her activities. I found most of her entries to be devoid of emotion. Even when she talks of her feelings she does so briefly. For example, she says she felt "deepest melancholy" and states, "I grew so sad" (36, 37). She does not elaborate on these feelings. It is as if she is just stating her feelings because they were another happening among her list of events that occurred that day. She doesn't why she feels sad and she doesn't try to work through her emotions. There seems to be a lot underneath her exterior that she is not showing. She frequently has headaches, gets depressed when William is away, and is obsessed with receiving letters. She is understandably lonely, but why doesn't she discuss these feelings?

On pleasant surroundings...

I do not think I have ever found anything quite so delightful as Dorothy Wordsworth's journals. Her love for the natural world, her compassion for others, and her genuine elation for what some may consider mundane or ordinary is absolutely adorable. Wile I find that many of her journal entries are very similar to one another, some a little sad, some a litttle less so, I feel as though each passage reveals so much about the loveliness of her character. While she seems to hastily rush through some of her more mundane tasks and chores, (often excluding pronouns), "Transplanted radishes ater breakfast, walked to Mr. Gell's with the books, gathered mosses and plants," you never get the sense that she resents these things but rather finds a pleasure in their simplicity worth noting. It is when Dorothy slows down her writing, using complete sentances, pronouns and adjectives that we really see what speaks to her at heart, usually something charming in nature. "I was much amused with the business of a pair of stone chats; their restless voices as they skimmed along the water following each other, their shadows under them and their returning back to the sones on the shore, chirping with the same unwearied vocie." Though she never quite descirbes her exact feelings in these passage, she is sure to describe them delicately enough for the reader to really experience them as fully as she herself. Dorothies words are a reminder to us all about the bounty of pleasure and joy at the simple yet intricately beautiful moments happening around us every day in the natural world. On a more personal note, reading her journals reminded me of how I felt at a particular moment when I was wondering through Tokyo and happend upon an exquiset garden park among hidden among the sky scrapers. I sat in the park for a long while, silently watching the people around me and feeling a kinship and familiarity with the way people were interacting with each other and the park itself. I felt as though despite the language barrier I knew exactly what the young couples and families and solitary persons were thinking and saying as they walked. I particularly enjoyed myself when a man in a business suit interupted the tranquility of the scene as he began to rush through the park, clearly in a hury, and then suddenly slowed to a stop and looked around him. he took a picture of a big twisted tree at the center of the park and then slowly and leasurely continued on his way, sauntering down the garden path. (To use one of Dorothies words). I believe somewhere within all people is this increadible, inextinguishable primordial pleasure when we are around nature. And I feel like this experience was especially connected for me in Dorothies poem Lines Written In Early Spring where Dorothy suggests that it is Man who has made man this way, extracting and distracting themselves from the extraordinariness fo the vast and beautiful world around us.


While reading Dorothy's journals, I couldn't help but notice two things: the varying lengths of her journal entries, and the varying amounts of detail in each entry. I believe the lengths of her entries and the amount of detail are both strongly correlated to her perception of her natural surroundings at any given moment.

For example, in the entry on page 34 from May 15th, she writes, "A coldish dull morning - hoed the first row of peas, weeded etc. etc., sat hard to mending till evening. The rain which had threatened all day came on just when I was going to walk," and that's all she writes on that day. I wonder whether or not she is intrinsically driven to write, or if she does so due to immense pressure from her brother, William. Regardless, I think it is worth noting that she still manages to document her day on May 15th, though completely mundane. She does not go into ornate detail describing her daily activities on this day. For example, she writes that she "hoed the first row of peas," but she does not even bother mentioning any thing else she did that day. Rather, she believes "etc. etc." will suffice. Her lack of writing correlates to her lack of activities, which correlate to permitting conditions. Therefore, her writing automatically mimics her day: dull, which is how she describes the morning.

The following entry, however, is much more descriptive, as if Dorothy suddenly changed her mind about the rain that previously hindered her. She writes, "Warm and mild, after a fine night of rain," (34) yet in the previous entry the rain "threatened" her and kept her from her walk. However, this rainfall, which has now passed, seemed to have transformed her world and the way she views objects within it (or maybe it only appears this way since it is no longer raining). Dorothy writes, "The woods extremely beautiful with all autumnal variety and softness...All flowers now are gay and deliciously sweet...Foxgloves very tall, with their heads budding...The morning clear but cloudy, that is the hills were not overhung by mists" (34). Here, the way in which she describes her surroundings is through a thoughtful and observant lens. Actually, the fact that she takes the time to write about them, let alone in such detail, contrasts greatly from the previous entry. Dorothy even writes that, "After dinner Aggy weeded onions and carrots. I helped for a little," (34). The way in which she presents weeding in this entry, weeding itself does not appear so bothersome and boring as it did in the entry before. Clearly her current surroundings and conditions have altered her perspective.

I felt that these two passages clearly show how Dorothy's journal entries mirror not only her surroundings, but also her attitude toward them.

To walk or not to walk

As I was reading Dorothy's Journals, I kept getting drawn into the entries (especially the long ones), only to be dragged out by other people in the room talking to me.  Outside of the fact that I find her a superb writer and wish I had those skills, I couldn't help but see the differences between my life and hers.  This thought process culminated with a phone call from my mother, who ended the conversation with "You haven't been wandering around alone up there, have you?"  I keep thinking how wonderful it would be to live in her time, where she could walk for miles, through forests and marshes, completely alone and without any mentionable fear.  I can't go anywhere alone back in Annapolis for fear of creeps and I don't feel a whole lot safer up here in Farmington.  I would love to have few responsibilities and get to spend all of my time immersed in good literature and outdoors and exploring.  However, I would most likely end up one of those poor beggars that she talks so much about, since I'm sure few people had the chance that she did.  Also, I would have to depend completely on a man, while I would much rather stand on my own two feet.  Besides, knowing all of the stuff that I know now, I'm not sure I could give up a life of knowledge and equality, much less modern conveniences.  So to sum up the differences: writing skills, walking adventures, gender equality, quality of life.

Or maybe Dorothy just hates sheep...

One of the things I enjoy about a great many of Dorothy's journals is how nonchalantly she describes events that I would consider distinctive... Everything is given equal treatment. For example, on June 1st, 1800, she writes: "I looked up and saw a lamb close to me. It approached nearer and nearer, as if to examine me, and stood a long time. I did not move. At last it ran past me, and went bleating along the pathway, seeming to be seeking its mother. I saw a hare on the high road. The post was not come in." A few things strike me here--one, the line, "I did not move." I don't know why this image is so hilarious to me-- a baby lamb inching ever so closely to the stoic, unmoving, terrified Dorothy Wordsworth (reader's interpretation on that last adjective). I think this speaks to her tendency to remain always passive; the world is there for her to observe and no more, it seems. It is also striking that the events of her day flow quickly from one moment to the next, pausing only when more detail is necessary. There are no breaks between the lamb, the hare, the post (none-- excuse me, William...). Outside of events directly related to William, nothing seems particularly extraordinary to Dorothy (which is not to say she is boring or dull-- on the contrary, she observes with equal appreciation).

The existence of Dorothy's Journal

When reading the first two parts of Dorothy Wordsworth journals entries, they all seemed very short, only outlining the actions of her day.  I did notice, however, when she was in nature or on one of her many walks her writing took a whole new form.  It was full of description and such strong life like actions to nature.  An example of this would be on June 2nd entry on page 39 as she writes “I sate a long time to watch the hurrying waves, and to head the regularly irregular sound of the dashing water”.  While I was reading, I instantly stopped after I got to that sentence.  I reread it a few times, trying to imagine the sound of water of regularly irregular. 
I also noticed, while reading the first part, there is a stretch where William is away and Dorothy does not go on walks.  This stood out to me because all of her journal entries are so similar and then William had to be away and she was saddened and not going on her walks.  I wondered if the two of them went on walks so both could write and then William could borrow his sister’s ideas of what they experienced on their walks together.  I do questions this idea though because in the opening of part one, William and John have left and Dorothy writes “I resolved to write a journal of the time W. and J. return, and I set about keeping my resolve because I will not quarrel with myself, and I shall give Wm. pleasure by it when he comes home.” (pg. 33).  After I remembered reading this passage, my conclusion is that it is not the walks that William use ideas from, but the entire journal.  He encourages her to keep that journal, even when he is gone so he will have material to come home to.  Dorothy may not go on her typical walks, like she does every evening when William is home, but she walks plenty of places during the day (to Miss Simpsons for example) to take in the detail of the nature around her and write about.  

Dorothy in "The Recluse"?

In William's poem "The Recluse", there's a substantial portion of the poem where he refers to someone as "she": "But either She whom now I have who now / divides with me this loved abode was there". Could this possibly be Dorothy? Their incredibly close relationship leads me to think it is, particularly the fact that he says they share this "abode". I find it interesting that Dorothy figures in her brother's writing so heavily, particularly because she seems to be such in important tool for William. The prefaced explained quite clearly that William needed Dorothy to write and his poems often directly mimicked her journals-- "the poor man found he could not stop himself using her very words." This level of importance puts a new spin on Noelle and I's silly mocking skit of William and Dorothy that should now go, "Oh, hey, Dorothy, what's up? Oh, you're writing? Can I um... Can I take a look? I promise I won't copy it... I mean, not really! Because... well, my writing is amazing and yours is just a journal so... Yeah, thanks!"

The "Ordinary" in Dorothy's Writing

As I read through the first two sections in "Home at Grasmere," I found it very interesting what Dorothy chose to write about. Usually she wrote simple things about her day: for example, she almost always thought to include where her daily walks were to, and who accompanied her, and what the weather was like that day. She also tended to write about any time she spent in the garden, so many of her journal entries are very similar to one another.
However, there were a few journal entries that were very different from the rest, such as the one from September 3rd, on page 69. In this entry, she goes into great details about a funeral she attended, including the number of people there, the food that was served, and the scenery around her. I wondered while I read it if she wrote so much about that specific event because it was so different from her usual routine. I also thought about the conversation we had during our first class, about death being so ordinary, in that it happens to us all, but it's also not ordinary in that we never think about it happening to us, until it happens to someone we know. When this happens, a lot of the time it seems like that's all we can think about, and I think that is what happened to Dorothy as she watched the corpse being buried.