Authentic Aspects Revealed

Throughout the twenty five chapters one can see that the narrator has not been himself or lived his own life. Hence, he thought of himself as the invisible man. Since the beginning of the novel he reveals that he is constantly being judged and called something other than what he is; which is the reason why the narrator gets into a fight with a man earlier in the prologue. We continue to see how the narrator tries to live his life based on what others want. One can see the narrator’s effort to satisfy others through his college tour he gives to an unwanted guest, that leads to his expulsion from school. In addition, the narrator agrees to take  the role of the speaker for Brotherhood. This role requires the narrator to make speeches for the Brotherhood community. It is evident that the narrator lives trying to please others, and has not yet found his own identity.

Towards the end of the novel however, the narrator is able to find his selfhood. He is no longer apart of the college, or Brotherhood community, and finally has the opportunity to make decisions on his own. The narrator’s first decision is to remain invisible in an underground hole. The narrator continues to be invisible because no one can see him, as he remains isolated from the outside world. Although the narrator has made the decision to stay underground, the most memorable part of this scene is his epiphany that one belief should not dominate all aspects of society. The narrator realizes that one belief does not make up a truthful society.  Instead, there should be a variety of beliefs, and people should be entitled to their own opinion. This concept can be compared to Henry James’s depiction of authenticity, which is illustrated through the character of the artist in his short story “The Real Thing.” Similar to the artist’s ideology, “the real thing” is one that could carry out diverse parts. The artist mentions: “…the thing in the world I most hated was the danger of being ridden by a type” (James, 200). A society which consist of multiple roles, is what the narrator has come to realize and desire.

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Strether’s downfall

The anamorphosis of the skull in Holbein’s painting is a representation of a theme seen in the novel. The anamorphosis suggest a hunting failure that Strether has and can not get rid of. Initially Strehter’s hunting was the death of his son and wife. Now Strether’s hunting is his inability to fulfill his ambassador role. Stether’s duty constantly haunts him because he knows Mrs. Newsome is depending on him. This can be seen when Strether reveals that he believes Madame de Vionnet is the reason for Chad’s improvement. Strether therefore dismisses the reason he came to Paris which was to encourage Chad to leave Paris and come home. Strether’s shift in his feelings can be seen when he promises Madame de Vionnet that he will try to keep Chad near her. In addition, to forshadow Strether’s failure, Mrs. Newsome writes a letter to him, demanding he end his role as an ambassador. Strether’s services are no longer needed by her. If Strether is unable t bring Chad back home, he will not expand his wealth, or his social class.

When first viewing Holbein’s painting , I though that it related to the novel The Amassadors. Due to the painting , I believed the novel would would about the differences in social class, because I noticed two men in the painting. One man appeared to be wealthy and well experienced because of the rich clothing he had on, and a globe in his background. The other man appeared to be middle class, yet not as experienced as the other due to his dull clothing and insignifcant objects in his background. The painiting made me feel that the middle class man would somehow rise to the top, and gain wealth. Yet in the novel, Strether, whom I characterized as the middle class man failed at his duty as an ambassordor, and therefore could not gain the wealth Mrs. Newsome tried to offer him. Strether also turned down the marriage of Ms. Gostrey.

After finishing the novel , and viewing Holbein’s painting again, the anamorphosis of the skull in the painting gives meaning to the novel. I now realize that this anamorphosis technique was used perhaps to show that one of the two men would suffer a great loss, or experience failure. In the novel, Strether is seen as a failure. because he ends in the same situation as when the novel first began.

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Holbein’s painting as an Optical Symbol for the text

Seeing the image of Holbein’s 1533 painting “The Ambassadors” adds to my reading of the book because it suggest that the story will focus on how wealth and social class affect the characters living conditions and the people whom the characters acquaint themselves with. The painting reflects this because there are two men who are dressed differently. One man appears to be heavier, with more layers of clothing, and displays a  fur. Perhaps his clothing suggest that he is wealthy, because he is able to show his assets. This man appears to be holding a weapon, maybe implying that he is strong and powerful. The other man however, has on dark colored clothing that lacks fur, which is not at all as fancy as the other man in the painting. His facial expression is dull, unlike the other man, who has rosy cheeks, and brighter eyes. Perhaps the simple clothing suggest that this man lives an average life, and is not as wealthy as the other. In addition, the man who appears to be wealthy has a globe in his background. Maybe the globe shows his ability to travel, meet various people, and be an experienced man. The other man, lacks the globe in his background, yet seems to have a less intriguing object in his background. Perhaps implying that he is living a mild life.

Reading the book adds to what I see in the painting because it helps me make sense of the individual’s clothing, facial expression, and objects that surround them. These aspects provide information about their character. After reading the two books, I am aware that Waymarsh is more financially successful then Strether, who is relying on Ms. Newsome to improve his social class and wealth. In addition, I learned that Strether is less experienced by not having the opportunity to travel and enjoy his life due to an early marriage. Maybe Strether could be the individual in the painting without the globe in his background? While reading, it is revealed that Strether desires more out of life, which could possibly explain the dull facial expression given by the less wealthy man in Holbein’s painting.

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Motion pictures present Modernity

Eadweard Muybridge creation of being able to capture pictures in motion was a facinating yet controversal contribution to the world. Muybridge’s interest with capturing the muscles of animals and viewing images that the human eye was unable to see on its own was a factor that inspired him to explore the topic. However, in Rebecca Solnit’s article River of Shadows, she discusses how difficult it was for people living during the ninteenth century to accept this concept of a motion picture. “Annihilating time and space is what most new techologies aspire to do…” (Solnit 11).  The railroads made transportation faster, instead of relying only on the horse, and according to Solnit, the invention of writing enhanced communication, in which it stories were more accessible in more than one place. As a result of these new techonolgies improving the lives of many people, can we say that, Muybridge’s creation of the motion picture was just as useful? Did these motion pictures make sense to those living during the nineteenth century?

Primarily, I thought that Muybridge’s motion pictures did not cause controversey, yet many people were doubtful. One factor that contributed to the doubt people obtained was William James idea about the conscious mind. James explained that the human mind is constantly working, and forming new thoughts; that it is impossible to see the same images twice.  Some people accepted this idea, and therefore found it diffcult to believe in Muybridge’s motion pictures that presented the same images over again.

Perhaps Muybridge presents his work in a catelog form to show the relation between the text and or the narrative and the picture. For example, Muybridge writes “Lion walking” 129 to prepare the reader that a lion walking is what he or she will see on page 129. The categorical form  acts in an evident way to show that pictures can correspond to texts as well.

Although Muybridge’s motion pictures created conflict among the nineteenth century population, he was “a doorway between the old world and ours, and to follow him where the choices that got us here” (Solnit 24). This quote suggests that Muybridge’s creation was the start of the new motion pictures  techologies we utilize today, such as 2 dimenional and 3 dimensional pictures we find entertaining. People eventually accepted the idea of being able to capture images in motion because this idea has been expanded and has become part of the 20th century culture.

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Conscious State of Mind…

Rita Carter’s discussion of consciousness in 2002 compares with William James’s in 1890 in a way in which both authors address our conscious state of mind. Carter and James mentions that our minds are always working, providing examples of how our minds interact with the environment. As humans our minds go through different classes. For example people can go from loving, hating, willing, reasoning, and many other states. Our conscious state of mind, according to the authors also provide us with various feelings.

In James’s account, Mr. Shadworth describes his conscious state of mind mentioning that his conscious state of mind provided him with several feelings. Therefore he does not rely on his conscious state of mind to provide him with facts. Both authors describe how our conscious state of mind is never the same, which is the reason why objects that are the same will not give us the same sensation over again.

Rita Carter’s explores our conscious state in more depth. She reveals various abilities our conscious state has. For example, in her article “Exploring Consciousness” she introduces a concept known as the “blindsight.” This concept discusses ways in which people use their senses to provide them with answers; when they are not conscious. “Blindsight” implies that that when we are conscious, we are still not aware of everything even though it appears that we are because we are awake.

The visual perception according to Carter limits us. The way we see, only allows us to capture a inadequate information. Therefore we miss out on details that are present (Cater 12).

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Wikipedia Ideas

1) Shift in Vision (perhaps discussing Crary’s camera obscura model; a tool that allowed people to see realistic images)

2) Fabrication of the Eye (perhaps discussing Hoffman’s explanations of how the human eye has the ability to fabricate what we see. For example, adding lines to a a flat cube to create depth)

3) Seeing through Imagination (perhaps relating Richardson’s “Dream of Reading” to the way in which we supply the details to a text)

4) The skew of Photographs (perhaps relating this topic to Trachtenberg’ s account which discusses how photographs have the ability to create false information)

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Whitman’s Camera like vision

Whitman’s account of the war is similar to the account presented in the photos in Trachtenberg’s chapters, because they both narrate a story about the civil war. Whitman’s account tells a story about the civil war through his narrative, and Trachtenberg’s account tells a story through the photographs. People wanted to be shown images that were as close to reality as possible. “Photographs are the popular historicism of our era; they confer nothing less than reality itself” (287).  Whitman’s account can be compared to Trachtenberg’s photographs because people believed his narrative because he was an actual observer in the civil war, and many did not question his journal entries. Similarly, people did not question the photographs in Trachtenberg’s account “ it seemed to trouble no one that he (Brady) was not the cameraman who made the pictures he signed “Brady” (289).  Whitman’s narrative appears to be valued just as much as the photographs in Trachtenberg’s account. Whitman’s eyes were like camera lens, capturing scenes from the war. This is made evident in Whitman’s journal entires in particular, “Down at the Front.” In this account Whitman describes his visits at the camp hospitals in the army. Without making it inside the hospital, Whitman describes the scene he captures outside the hospital doors. “I notice a heap of amputated feet, legs, arms, hands, a full load of one-horse cart…several dead bodies lie near…” Whitman’s camera lens vision is so vivid that it has the ability to paint an image of a deadly scene in one’s mind. In comparison to Trachtenberg’s photo titled “A Burial Party” the same image that was previously described by Whitman can be painted from the photograph as well. Plies of dead bodies, amputated feet, legs and arms…

However, in Trachtenberg’s “Albums of War” he questions knowledge and points out that Brady was not able to capture actual images during the civil war. Brady’s photographs are presented to his audience as if he was the actual photographer who took the pictures. In addition, Brady signs his name on each photo, which makes the picture look like his own. Trachtenberg argues that Brady is not the individual who took the photographs, and manipulated them to satisfy his interest. Trachtenberg exposes Brady, and seems shocked that no one is troubled that Brady was not the cameraman. It seems like Trachtenberg is trying to enlighten his readers to question images presented to them, because “credit proves to be misleading” (289), and what was made became a form of communication.

(blog 2)

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In depth with Dickinson

Instead of viewing delight through the eyes of one who is content, Dickinson takes a different perspective in her poem 539, viewing delight from one who is in pain. Dickinson figuratively mentions “Delight becomes pictorial” (1), “When viewed though pain” (2). Dickinson implies that the word pictorial is merely an image that sparks interest, yet this image is not reality to one who is experiencing pain. There is a shift in one’s feelings when pain occurs: “Delight becomes pictorial” (1) The word “becomes” marks the transition of one’s emotions from happiness to misery. “When viewed though pain” (2) “That any gain” (4), Dickinson uses rhyming words pain and gain to demonstrate their relation. One who is in pain, has not gained hope for improvement. Instead, the chances for improvement seem “…impossible” (3). In the second stanza, Dickinson incorporates nature. There is a shift from describing one’s feelings of hurt in the first stanza to illustrating scenes from nature. “The Mountain – at a given distance- (5) “…And that’s – the skies” (8). The distance between the Mountain and the skies changes Dickinson’s perception. She points out how far the two are from each other. The painful perspective Dickinson previously describes becomes worst during the second stanza, as she compares the hurting to the distance between the mountain and the skies. Perhaps now the person is dying. Hope is no longer attainable. The distance is too far, delight can not be experienced. Dickinson’s tone is unpromising, as she views delight from a standpoint of one who is not well. She uses words such as “becomes” to show the shift in emotion. “Impossible” to demonstrate that all hope is gone, and nothing else will improve. “Distance”, to depict how remote delight has become.

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“Confrontation of eye and sun…”

1)  “There is a profound shift in the way in which an observer is described, figured and posited in science, philosophy, and in new techniques and practices of vision” (Crary 31). Here, Crary mentions that a new idea is being introduced, that alters the description of the observer. According to Crary, “the camera obscura used to define the observer as one who was subjected to an inflexible set of positions and divisions” (Crary 33). Similar to Crary’s depiction towards human vision, Turner introduces a new idea about human vision as well. Turner’s images can be referred to as “modern” paintings because he provides a new way of viewing his paintings. Initially, Turner’s paintings were not accepted by his audiences. Turner’s paintings, in particular the images that depicted nature were considered abstract, and or unclear. His paintings left people feeling confused, because the images were not understood.Turner did not embrace the more popular and accepted themes such as “Romanticism” that other artist chose to paint about. Instead Turner’s paintings displayed subjective images. He looked into the sun, and painted what he saw. Despite the controversy Turner’s paintings caused, he continued to paint abstractly, mentioning “indistinctness is his forte”. Turner felt that his style of painting was beautiful. Turner introduced a modern way of observing art. He encouraged others to be aware of what the eye can initially capture. Turner wanted to show the way his eye worked through his paintings. Turner’s images can be referred to as “modern” paintings because this new idea “confrontation of the eye and sun” (Crary 34-35), is seen as a turn in visual culture. A beginning of something new.

The most memorable aspect of Jonathan Crary’s “Modernizing Vision” is reading about how many people went blind, or damaged their eyesight as a result of staring directly into the sun. People became so curious to witness the beauty of an image that was present after staring directly into the sunlight, that they took a risk and participated in such dangerous activity. Turner also shows his dedication and passion for his artwork, because he continued to paint images he captured by risking his eyesight also. The shift between the way in which people viewed art, and used their vision during the nineteenth century, and the way in which vision is used today shows how society has grown, and how ideologies have expanded…

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