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Part I
One idea I noticed reoccurring in my posts was how the authors we have read use form in interesting ways, often times with narration. I guess this both intrigues and frustrates me because I really seem to like the different, unsteady form of postmodernism that doesn’t need to bind itself with rules, but at the same time I get frustrated because it makes me unsure of whether or not I’m actually understanding what I’ve read. I noticed this most in my very first blog for Winterson’s novel and I return to the concept of form with my post on Lyotard which really helped me better recognize the aspect of form in relation to postmodernism. As I said above, in some cases form helps me understand a text and at other times it confuses me more, and I discuss this in these specific blogs.
In my post for Winterson I wrote,

I noticed the postmodern aspects of this novel really shine through in Winterson’s form. It is often that I had to go back and reread something because she jumps from dialog between two people to a random thought. An example of this that really stands out for me is on pg 32. The narrator is going on about his/her obsession with looking at Louise’s wedding ring, then some dialog jumps in that reads, “‘ you bloody idiot,’ said my friend. ‘Another married woman.’” Then the narrator starts talking about Elgin and the history behind his name and his family. This left me thinking, who the hell is the friend? And why is she jumping around?

This is where the postmodern form in the novel really confused me. A friend is introduced in the above quote, and the presence of this friend completely lost me. I really enjoyed Winterson’s novel, but in this case the form really confused me. There was so much going on as I showed in this piece of my blog and I couldn’t quite grasp what was happening in the text. I also noticed, as I just reread this quote from my blog that the huge issue I had with the gender of the narrator is another form of the novel I addressed. I wrote, “the narrator is going on about his/her obsession” because at first whether or not the narrator was male or female confused me, but it them became something I liked after a few pages into the novel. The genderless narrator kept me thinking throughout the entire novel and what helped me through without knowledge of the sex of the narrator was the Malpas reading on the subject. I could then realize the concept of more than one subject in a text which I had never thought about before. So Winterson’s form both frustrated and intrigued me in Written on the Body mostly through the narrator’s gender and the creative narration that constantly jumps around. I feel I did a nice job making connections with this text in this post. I was clearly mixed up by the postmodern aspects of this novel, yet I enjoyed it as much as possible. After rereading this post I was happy with the fact that I could put down exactly what confused me about Winterson’s form and use the novel to explain what I struggled with.

Lyotard was an important blog for me because after our class discussion, I could really understand his ideas about postmodernism. In this blog I discussed how,

Reading through Lyotard for the first time definitely threw me for a bit of a loop. Our class discussion really helped me pull it all together. What I grabbed most from the reading was Lyotard’s point that postmodernism alludes the reader to think certain things and I could connect with this in comparing it to Written on the Body. As a postmodern text, Winterson is constantly trying to allude the reader, and the end of the book is probably the best example of that.

In this case, Lyotard helped me better understand Winterson’s novel and the possible alluding based on allusion as a form of expression. The alluding of the reader was an important aspect of the form in Winterson’s novel. In this case the postmodern form intrigued me and it opened up a new light for me as a reader. I was confused by the end of the novel, and after reading Lyotard I realized how many options the end of Written on the Body offered. Whether or not I accurately connected Lyotard and Winterson, Lyotard still helped me see how the genderless narrator can be used in a different way. Because the narrator can be male or female and Winterson could be trying to allude the reader to think certain things about the novel which changes constantly, form is working in two ways. The alluding the reader can change based on whether or not the reader sees the narrator as male or female, or it could depend entire on when the narrator says something that alludes the reader to think the narrator is a female or when the narrator says something that alludes the reader to think its a male. In this post I was attempting to make a connection between what I understood from our class discussion and apply it to a text. I addressed the ending of the novel because that was what immediately came to mind after discussing Lyotard. I attempted to use Lyotard’s idea of alluding and attach it to Winterson’s novel when I wrote, “The reader is left wondering whether or not Louise is really there and its completely left open for the reader’s interpretation”. I was attempting to use the text to describe the correlation I was trying to make. In these two quotes from my blog I thought it was interesting how I addressed form in both cases, and at the same time both posts went well together.

Part II
Of all the posts I’ve written for postmodernism, my two best posts would have to be for the movie, Fight Club, and for Written on the Body. I feel these two are my best posts because they address connections I made with the text and I explained where and why certain things were obvious to me. In my post for Fight Club, what I liked most and think I articulated best were my ideas about Marla’s role in the movie. I suggested the following: “When Marla intruded and the narrator confronted her and said he couldn’t cry when she was there, she has destroyed him because his need to cry becomes an important part in the movie. At that point, Marla has begun invading his life and could very well be the cause of his mental creation of Tyler”. What’s most interesting to me is the fact that I described Marla as the leading factor to Tyler’s creation which happened to be said in the novel. When I introduced this idea in my blog, in connection with the movie, I thought I was really stretching the idea and there was a possibility I had no idea what I was talking about. When I read the novel and noticed the narrator says, “I know why Tyler had occurred. Tyler loved Marla. From the first night I met her, Tyler or some part of me had needed a way to be with Marla” (198), I was really amazed at the connection I made. I then used Marla to make connections with the rest of the movie, specifically her relations with Tyler and the ways in which they invade the narrator’s life. I feel like I did a nice job developing an idea based on the movie and articulated it well in this post.

In my second post, of my two best blog posts, for Written on the Body, I thought I did a nice job discussing the novel and relating back to some postmodernist texts we read and discussed in class. I did this in the last paragraph when I wrote,

Our class discussion on McHale’s definition of postmodernism and modernism will be very useful in pulling out more postmodernism in this novel. Not only does the narrator draw in postmodernism through the essence of his/her gender, but Winterson also uses modernism through the narrator’s truth and knowledge when describing his/her experience with love.

I made a connection to our class discussion from what I understood most, and related it back to what we were reading. In most cases, my posts show how class discussion has helped me understand certain aspects of a text and relate it back to postmodernism. In this post, I also noticed how although I was confused about the use of “you” in the novel, I attempted to articulate my own ideas and confusions. Usually when I write a post on something that confused me, I tend to state my confusion and leave it at that. I chose this post because even though I was at a standstill in comprehending the narration, I continued to read and think about what I was reading to attempt to draw out some meaning. I even states in my post that “It is often that I go back and reread something because she jumps from dialog between two people to a random thought”. I tried my best, even when utterly lost in narration, to discuss some important details that caught my attention in the novel in order to write the blog post.

One of my best comments was to Kim H., and I wrote,

You have a few good points about the narrator not really knowing Louise and the narrator losing your attention at certain points in the novel. I got the impression while reading this book that the narrator knew Louise in the way he/she wanted to know Louise. That is, the narrator was familiar with her body and her movements and the sensual aspects. Who Louise really was and her personality seemed unimportant to the narrator and his/her obsession with sexuality. I think this ties in really well with how the novel can lose the reader’s attention and this is probably because you’re reading the novel through the narrator’s dirty mind and towards the end the action in the novel begins to fade away. Although some parts of the novel are frustrating…I on the other hand kind of enjoyed this book in a weird way.

I made a good connection to what she discussed in her blog and described what I liked most about her ideas. I tried to add to her ideas as well by adding more of my own thoughts about the text. I also agreed with her loss of attention when reading the novel, but stated at the end how I enjoyed the novel even though she may not have. My next best comment was for Ryan in relation to Written on the Body, and I wrote,

I must say although I don’t necessarily agree with you that the narrator is a male, you do have some very interesting points here. I too was hung up on the narrators ease in having affairs. It’s as if the narrator thinks any marriage should be destroyed, even the beautiful ones. I also found it interesting when the narrator says, “I know what I did and what I was doing at the time. But I didn’t walk down the aisle, queue up at the Registry Office and swear to be faithful unto death. I wouldn’t dare” (16). It’s as if being an adulterer was the narrator’s only option and that he/she thought, who in the world would want to get married? Marriage is for losers apparently (according to this narrator anyway)!

In this comment, although I didn’t entirely agree with Ryan, I acknowledged what I found interesting in his post and added to it with other quotes from the novel. I feel I did a nice job articulating my own ideas about the narration which correlated well with what Ryan was discussing in his post.

The quotes and blog posts above are my best to date because they were the posts I feel I described my thoughts the best in. I often have difficulty doing a good job getting specific thoughts out either because I’m afraid someone will either think I’m completely wrong or I can’t really describe what I’m thinking accurately. Esther’s does this well in her blog for Fight Club the novel. She always seems to get her ideas out in a really clear way. For example, she does an excellent job relating Jameson to Fight Club in the following passage,

Today I will be thinking about the concept of Jameson’s ‘postmodernism is not a style but instead a cultural dominant.’ (4) What I take from this phrase is that we are not able to recognize postmodernism as a thing we can take or leave depending upon our preferences, but instead it is the current state of society. Jameson also insists that postmodernism is primarily characterized by a fragmentation of the concept of history, where people create a conception of the past based on small pieces of actual truth intermixed with fiction (Esther’s Blog).

She not only cited Jameson and quotes part of his essay, but she also puts it into her own words. After quoting and explaining what she got from Jameson’s theory, she also explains where in Fight Club she noticed specific instances of the “cultural dominant”. This is really an exceptional blog because of those things. Not only was Jameson’s essay a challenge just to read and get something out of, but she also went to the extent of putting his concepts into her own words and using it to make assumptions about the novel.

Three goals I would like to set for myself for writing posts for the rest of the semester would be:

  • to make better connections to postmodernism and postmodern theorists in relation to the texts we read
  • use more detail when discussing aspects of a text that struck me as interesting
  • work on putting definitions addressed by theorists in my own words

In order to reach these goals I need to first work on participating more in class discussion. Perhaps if I get my ideas out in class I will be more confident in writing them in my blogs. When I attempt to participate in class discussion I constantly get this feeling inside that stops me. I’ve been working on this, but the lack of confidence I feel after reading a text and trying to understanding it tends to hold me back. Because so many of the texts we discuss have so much detail it’s difficult to get to everything in one class period. When we read something by a theorists I attempt to read it twice before class, but perhaps I should skim through it once more after class before I write my blog for that day. This could help me re-gather my ideas and connect them to what we discussed in class. What helps me most and what I need to continue to do in order to reach these goals is to continue writing my blog posts after class discussion. Most of the time any questions I may have about a text are brought up by someone else in class and discussed which helps me write a better post. I am going to continue working on these things and hope that my blogging improves for the rest of the semester.

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Modernism ME
To decide whether I am a modernist or postmodernist is a tough decision for me to make. Previous to reading Malpas’ The Postmodern I would have probably classified myself as a modernist, sticking to the basics while at the same time trying to make myself think I was straying away into some type of new far-reaching form. After reading Malpas, however, it felt as though depending on whether it had to do with Architecture, Art, or Literature my role as a postmodernist or modernist would change.

While I am constantly aiming to do drastic things with my writing, or whatever it may be, or to use postmodernism to (as Malpas would put it) “confront the reader or viewer with a work that is challenging in terms of both form and content” (30), I find myself not always being confident enough to actually put it out there from someone else to read. This is where I hit a wall and refrain from labeling myself as an all out postmodernist. I would have to say that I fall in the middle, if at all, of the two. What I found very interesting and what also grabbed my attention toward being somewhere trapped in between the two is when Malpas states, “what counts as modernism or postmodernism will change as a culture adapts to the provocations that works of art produce” (31). As discussed in our first class, the word postmodern has been thrown around so often that its meaning had become misleading or untrue, thus making a distinction of what is modern or postmodern has become very difficult. With Malpas’ help this has become a bit easier; however, even he mentions the fact that modern and postmodern can vary even between cultures. This led me to question whether or not the word was really being misused (and confused me a bit more).

So, can I classify myself as being somewhere in between the two or neither at all? I honestly can’t say. Although I fully enjoy encompassing the aspects of modernism and its focus on “how a world can be interpreted or changed, and its interest in questions of truth and knowledge” (24), (getting down to the bottom of things), I sometimes find myself taking much more pleasure in generating some philosophical ideas, question the realities of the world, to really get the mind going.

As of now I’m going to leave the question open…What am I really? Modernist or Postmodernist?

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