October 13, 2006
Marquita's commentary on Freud
"...All such collections of the strange and wonderful phenomena of hysteria have but slightly advanced our knowledge of a disease which still remains as great a puzzle as ever. What is wanted is precisely an elucidation of the commonest cases and of their most frequent and typical symptoms". Freud p.17
This passage discusses a theme that has been found in a variety of the works we have studied this semester; that is the difficulty in understanding the commonplace. Freud makes the point that people often become too caught up in the cases that seem most extraordinary. They think that because a case is unusual, that automatically means it is most important. This same situation occured in the detective stories of Sherlock Holmes, through the character of Dupin. Dupin often commented that people were unable to solve certain cases because they were convinced that the answer to the mystery would have to be something extraordinary/unusual. Because of this, people oftentimes overlooked the answer to the mystery merely because it seemed too "obvious". Freud connects with this theme because he feels that in studying the case of Dora, a case that on the surface seems commonplace, he might be able to find the answer to the mystery of hysteria.
October 07, 2006
Marquita's Commentary on Oedipus The King
"Wisdom is a curse
when wisdom does nothing for the man who has it." Oedipus p. 37 (lines 429-430).
This passage speaks of the value of wisdom, but also the curse of wisdom. Teiresias states that wisdom is a curse when it does nothing for its possesor. This means that there comes a responsibility with wisdom-- if a man is so lucky to posess wisdom , he is then somehow obligated to utilize that wisdom in a resourceful manner. This idea of a responsibility that comes with wisdom relates to an important theme of the play; that is, the responsibility that comes with knowing. In this play, as opposed to the other stories that we have read, there is a definite responsibility that comes with wisdom and knowledge. In this way, the things that were once considered good (namely wisdom and knowledge) now have the potential to be evil and/or dangerous. Depending on what one does with their knowledge/wisdom, it could either be a blessing or a curse. In the case of Oedipus, wisdom and knowledge prove to be more of a curse than a blessing, which I feel truly defines this story.
September 22, 2006
Marquita'a Quote Commentary on William Wilson
"The teeming brain of childhood requires no external world of incident to occupy or amuse it; and the apparently dismal monotony of a school was replete with more intense excitment than my riper youth has derived from luxury, or my full manhood from crime." (Poe, William Wilson pp. 340-341)
The narrator tells of his schooldays before fully delving into the mystery of the story. The first sentence emphasizes the power of the brain, and specifically it's role as stimulus, and perhaps even entertainment. The fact that the brain "requires no external world" places the focus on the internal, which later reflects Wilson's own internal struggle with the "other William Wilson". The phrases "dismal monotony" and "intense excitement" are set up in opposition; paralleling an opposition central to the story, namely that of the title character in opposition with his own conscience (the other William Wilson). This opposition is made apparent throughout the story, as all of the underhanded attempts of William Wilson are foiled- at the hands of his antagonist. Luxury is paired with crime in such a way that they are almost made synonymous: in childhood, excitement is said to stem from luxury; in manhood that same excitement (for the narrator) stems from crime.
September 19, 2006
Marquita's Quote Commentary
"But it is in matters beyond the limits of mere rule that the skill of the analyst is evinced. He makes, in silence, a host of observations and inferences. So, perhaps, do his companions; and the difference in the extent of the information obtained lies not so much in the vailidity of the inference as in the quality of the observation." Poe, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, pp. 398-399
In this passage, Poe speaks of the difference between calculation and analysis. He claims that the attainment of knowledge is not in itself difficult; the difficuly is in knowing what knowledge to attain. In this detective story, Dupin exemplifies the reality of this statement in his power of observation. Though the police and various witnesses are able to collect knowledge just as well as another, it is only Dupin that possesses the analytical genius to collect the data appropriate to solving the case. As discussed in lecture, Dupin makes meaning of the data that he collects-- and in the opinion of Poe as expressed in this quotation, this is considered analysis.