Eileen. Do you remember when we were on the couch with bar-b-que potato chips and coke on the coffee table? It was two AM and we were still talking like we hadn’t seen each other in years. The Cosmopolitan magazine between us. My beautiful friend. I was so envious of your life. I was in a small condominium with two little ones and you kept me in your life. You not only kept me, you took care of me. Although I had four siblings it was you who took care of me, it was you that loved me, it was you that loved us. I know of no one else that would leave their job to take care of a friend. Hepatitis. Given to me by an unfaithful husband. You knew but didn’t tell. I had no idea. The doctor told me it was viral, it was not until I was forty-three that I found that it was Hep B, and I knew where it came from. That Darleen, the woman that told me she was a prostitute in Florida, that sat at my table and had coffee with me, when you were not there to protect me. Hep A, she said. She got it from a john. I was so naive, thinking that prostitution was the same as being a secretary, the only difference was that you were outside. The shit brought it home to me. The young wife that waited for him to come home at night. The young wife that said no to the ways he wanted to have sex. How was I to know that there was a woman that would do the things I couldn’t ever imagine doing. You knew, dear friend, you knew. I was still in love with my lost love. The one that died too young. I would have gone back to him, he would have taken me back, but it was too late, he was gone. Died too young, died at twenty. Such a young boy, such a loving boy, I’m sorry, I didn’t know. My dear Eileen, how did you hold your tongue, how did you not tell me he tried to have sex with you. I heard him. I heard him acknowledge the very same things I mentioned to him in the magazine earlier in the day. Cosmopolitan. You picked the same ads, my loving friend. How could we be so close? He wanted to know about the things you saw. He didn’t want to know what I saw.  He didn’t care. I had two of his children, two little girls. My life, my loves. You knew. He tried to have sex with you but I already was sleeping. You said no, you always said no to his advances. My love, my friend, my confidante, my Eileen. How I miss you. How I’ve missed you for over forty years. Could it be that one day you will forgive me for not knowing, for being naive, for not understanding that my beautiful girl, was trying to protect me? Was always trying to protect me. From the ugly nastiness of him. Of her. I could have laid with you. I remember the night, the day.

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Here’s a link to a pretty good explanation of overpopulation, which basically shows how ridiculous Walter was. The guy who does these videos is also Hank of vlogbrothers and brotherhood 2.0, so he’s fairly entertaining:

Sorry I meant to put this up a while ago I just forgot about it. Enjoy!

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The American Novel…

I thought this might be an interesting read for some of us (?) as we work through our papers.

Not sure I agree or disagree necessarily (I might be too tired to do either) but interesting to hear another take on it. Personally, I loved A Visit from the Goon Squad, but that’s just me.

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Wallace’s Postcard to DeLillo

I found this on a website while looking up Franzen’s and Wallace’s literary movement; I thought it was a fun connection considering our coursework:

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A symbol of strength

There has been lots of talk about how Frazen created a negative stereotype for women and gave them no credit.  I, at first, thought this too, but after I took a second look, I changed my mind.  Patty’s coach, Coach Nagel, is one of the women in the novel that is mentioned, but she has pretty much been absent from class discussions.  Coach Nagel plays more of a significant role in the novel than most people think.  Nagel is the symbol of the quiet strength in women.  Franzen gives women a lot more credit than we think.  Coach Nagel is the one that makes the effort to see if Patty is ok and advises her to seek help after her rape.  She also stands up to Patty’s mother and advises that going to the hospital and the police would be the best option.  Coach Nagel seems to be strong in confidence and possess strength.  The very fact that she is a coach also proves that Frazen may not be as against women as we think.  He did portray Patty as an athlete.

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Masculine Studies

The love triangle between Pattie, Richard, and Walter is the driving force of the plot in Freedom. Their entanglement as best friends and lovers complicates the emotions and relationships in the novel. Love triangles have existed in all shapes and forms for as long as we can remember. Rhett Butler, Scarlett O’Hara, and Ashley Wilkes; Jay Gatz, Daisy Buchanan, and Tom Buchanan; and Bella, Edward, and Jacob are a few famous love triangles. Typically, we view the woman to be the tippy top of the triangle, the driving force, the pinnacle to the triad. Yet, what if we look at things from a masculine studies point of view? Change things so that the woman is reduced to a small role and it is just man against man. This is what I am interested in. I want to take the focus off of Patty and see the true nature of the heterosexual love between Richard and Walter.

It is obvious that in Patty’s autobiography things revolve around her. We see Walter and Richard as two men she loves in incredibly different ways. Even in her narrative, we specifically see intense evidence of the bond that Walter and Richard share. This bond is motivated by both love and competition. As Patty recounts her visit to Nameless Lake in which she will end up sleeping with Richard:

“Thankfully for all concerned, Walter was better than Richard at chess and usually won, but Richard was dogged and kept asking for another game, and Patty knew that this was hard on Walter, that he was straining very hard to win, getting himself wound up, and he would need hours to fall asleep afterward” (Franzen 166).

The men’s connection is obvious. Rather than being involved in a triangle where Patty is at the top, they are a yin and yang. Patty is of course important, but I find that there are many examples that stress the intense love and bond between Richard and Walter that Patty cannot even comprehend. Richard writes an album titled after Walter’s lake house that Walter so graciously let him stay in. When Richard fails to affirm Walter’s importance, Walter packs up and moves to D.C. to compete with Richard’s success. Richard decides not to come sleep with Patty while she is in Philadelphia because he just received a call from Walter which changes his mind. Part of the reason that Richard finds himself so drawn to Patty is because of the same draw his best friend has towards her. Walter is the only one able to predict that Richard’s relationship with his neighbor lady will end badly. These are only a few examples showing the push and pull between Walter and Richard that make their connection so important to the events of the book.

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In class we talked about Desire. And what did we say? That desires can never be met so if we ever do get something we desired our feeling of desire goes away (which would suggest that so would any value we had placed on the object of desire?), and then we come up with new desires because we’re all into never being satisfied and constantly wanting and going after things? And that this is the nature of Desire and this is how it ALWAYS works?

I do not understand this. There have been things I’ve wanted that I got, and I was very happy and content and still really valued them and the desire was still there except it just changed, from WANTING to have those things to wanting to CONTINUE to have those things. To be more specific, when I got to spend time with friends I’d been “desiring” to see, new desires don’t crop up in me once that desire is met and I’m hanging out with them. But the desire does change (and is still PRESENT, even though it has been met) from wanting to spend time with them to wanting to continue to spend time with them, not wanting it to end. I think that is different than the new replacement desires we were talking about in class.

So then what? Do humans not apply to this Desire rule? Only objects? And is it really an ALWAYS kind of thing? If I get an iPod, what new desire is going to come up because the iPod desire has been met? I’m not one of those people who wants an upgrade of technology stuff every two seconds. And when I’m listening to my iPod, even though I’ve met my iPod desire by having possession of it, aren’t I still valuing it because it feels good when I listen to it? And I will have other desires, but is it really BECAUSE my iPod desire was met? If I get an iPod and then the next day desire to buy some new clothes at Rue 21, the two are totally unrelated – I still would have desired to buy those clothes even if my iPod desire had not been met yet.

What am I not understanding?

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