A Chinese Poem: Mid-Autumn Festival (With Translation Below)

Posted by Maddie on November 29, 2011 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (1)

Inspired by the Chinese holiday. In Chinese, you cannot make characters "upper-case," so the personification Dickinson frequently uses, would not accurately be translated. Similarly, while I used alliteration in the Chinese version of the poem, those who cannot speak Chinese cannot catch the alliteration and homophones used here. 

Flash Poem: Reruns by Maddie G

Posted by Maddie on November 17, 2011 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (29)

Reruns by Maddie G

Forever is felt this way.

The drum regulates the rhythm

A thought in every beat

And reminder in repeat. 

 I can't help but feel like the sky.

Towering over a city of lights

Pierced by skyscrapers' grandeur;

Memories are the backdrop of 

My very own reality TV show.

A rerun disguised.

Probably the fate of my demise.

Essay by Maddie G: Fashion in Much Ado About Nothing

Posted by Maddie on November 14, 2011 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (20)

Thought this would be of interest to some followers. This may be my favorite essay, and my English teacher's favorite too. I wanted to explore the 13 unique ways that fashion in Much Ado, but instead found this essay more exciting. Streamlined, this essay is about why Shakespeare uses so many definitions of fashion, and that we should manipulate structure and tradition to our own use in order to be successful in fashioning plans... Enjoy! MG

Shakespeare's Multiple Uses of Fashion in Much Ado About Nothing by Maddie G

Shakespeare does not believe in following rules unthinkingly. He manipulates rules to suit his own purposes and uses multiple definitions of “fashion” to rebel against social convention. His casual word usage reflects his broader philosophy about the limitations of society: he uses “fashion” as a gauge to rate the complexity of his characters’ perspective of the world. With his varying and at times confusing definitions of fashion, Shakespeare hints that the world is more than simple ethics, and that characters’ understanding of the world’s complexity determines the success of their schemes. Much Ado About Nothing punishes the villains for their unsophisticated consciences—a result of upholding social conventions— and praises heroes for seeing beyond such simplistic terms and understanding the complexity of the world. Ultimately, Shakespeare reveals that a comprehension of human nature will liberate us from the limits of society and give us power to control the success of our schemes. Society’s imposing rules cause a blind duty to convention, limits its members by promoting shallow thinking, and makes choices for its members by applying ethics to all the facets that make us human. Villain Don John automatically assumes his status in society, and feels that he should fit and conform to his bastard place. Even when Conrade suggests faking a pleasant face for Don Pedro, Don John says: Being as thou sayst thou art, born under Saturn... I must be sad when I have cause…I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his grace, and it better fits my blood to be disdained of all than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any… I am a plain-dealing villain… let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me” (1.3.11-34). Don John sees his status in society as determined at birth and reveals that his fated demeanor is to “be sad,” for he was “born under Saturn.” His use of “born” makes it seem that society assigned him a predestined fate and use of “must” reveals his blind duty to following society’s set patterns. Additionally, Don John believes we have to uphold our loyalty to our identity; he thinks adopting a new demeanor, or “carriage,” is unethical because fashion “alters” identities and “robs” emotions. Ultimately, because society enforces strict rules, Don John assumes that there is one implication of fashion— its harmful thievery— and consequently does not realize fashion’s benefits. He uses “plain-dealing” to describe his villainous personality and the underlying simplicity that regulates ethics. He thinks it is “better” to assume his real identity, stating that he does not want to use fashion to cover what he is not, and would rather be a “canker,” than a “rose” because the ugly aspects of nature suit his illegitimate “blood.” Because Don John is accustomed to society’s order in which he must alter himself, he recoils back to his illegitimate status. Thus, Don John’s plans fail because he cannot take command of fashion and put it to a good end as Don Pedro and the Friar do. He says that it is “better” to “fit [his] blood,” which counters Shakespeare’s message on fashioning and manipulating. Shakespeare teaches us that we should fashion our surroundings fit to us, rather than we ourselves mold to our surroundings, which is the reason Don John is eventually captured and brought back to be punished. Shakespeare’s teachings about our role as individuals reveal that the world is always being manipulated and changes from person to person, like fashion, and should not be seen in structured ethical terms because we are supposed to manipulate the world ourselves. Shakespeare suggests the villains’ vision of life is too simplistic because society breeds thinkers to accept one interpretation. Borachio, in his conversation with Conrade, sees fashion one way: he believes that fashion is a thief. When telling Conrade of his immoral actions to help Don John, he digresses onto the subject of fashion perhaps because he was thinking about the discrepancy between clothing and identity when he crafted a plan to have Margaret impersonate Hero. In his conversation with Conrade, Borachio cannot understand Conrade’s point because society limits him to see another view of the same topic. Conrade and Borachio’s conversation about clothing highlights the confusion and limitations that victims of society encounter: Conrade: Yes, it is apparel. Borachio: I mean the fashion. Conrade: Yes, the fashion is the fashion. (3.3.113-8). Apparel is fashion without ethical implications, which Borachio cannot seem to accept because he cannot see the world without structured ethics. Borachio’s submission to fashion traps him to understanding one conventional usage and one interpretation. To him, fashion is a “deformed thief” and “giddily ‘a turns about all the hot-bloods between fourteen and five-and-thirty, sometimes fashioning them like Pharaoh’s soldiers in the reechy painting…where his codpiece seems as massy as his club” (3.3.129-33). Borachio views fashion as negative because it “deform[s]” individuals. The act to “deform” is considered to be a wrongdoing because society imposes a strict form and structure upon its members. Borachio observes that fashion makes young people “giddy” because they care about how they are dressed, sometimes copying the fashion of the paintings. Painters can to manipulate the perception people have of others to their advantage, by emphasizing what they want the audience to see by controlling the whole appearance—size, color, and clothing of subject— to the viewer, which is how Shakespeare believes we humans should behave. Conrade replies, “But art not thou thyself giddy with the fashion, too, that thou hast shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the fashion? (3.3.134-37). Conrade notices that Borachio too is “giddy,” even though Borachio lacks the insight to realize it. Ultimately, Shakespeare punishes the villains because they fail to understand how to have power over fashion without fashion overpowering them. Shortly after his statements about fashion, Borachio is caught by the watchmen and is eventually demoted to criminal status because he sunk to low means for money. The way society nurtures its members prevents them from ever being able to control and manipulate it. Thus, Borachio’s rigid belief and unsophisticated ideas cause his demise. While Don John and Borachio’s schemes are not successful because they are trapped by society’s one-faceted opinions, Don Pedro and the Friar are not influenced by society and can see beyond appearance and unforeseen situations. As a result, these two heroes notice and manipulate human tendencies and expose hidden emotions from their understanding of the complex nature of the world. Because Don Pedro understands human nature, he is able to unite two enemies of marriage. He tells his partners in crime how he plans to craft love between Beatrice and Benedick: I doubt not but to fashion it…I will teach you how to humour your cousin that she shall fall in love with Benedick; and I… in despite of his quick wit and his queasy stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer” (2.1.340-57). Don Pedro’s understanding of complex emotions and human weakness allows him to successfully manipulate his friends. His plan does not require differentiating right from wrong; rather, he concentrates on making two people who may love each other, open about their emotions. Don Pedro suggests using “humour” and taking advantage of “[Benedick’s] quick wit and his queasy stomach” to unmask their love. Don Pedro notes that he and his friends are assuming Cupid’s role of “an archer,” with the weapon being knowledge of valuable insight into his victims’ tendencies. His comparison to Cupid reveals the immense power and control he receives from having the ability to manipulate human nature. Don Pedro’s Cupid-like role provides a contrast from Don John and Borachio’s limited power in society. Becoming the role of Cupid allows Don Pedro to assume a powerful, even god-like s definitions. Like Don Pedro, the Friar too can gain insight about hidden situations and manipulate human nature to aid his scheming escapades. Because he understands human nature and the complexity of people, the Friar creates a plan to reunite Hero and Claudio. his plan is successful because he understands human nature and the complexity of people. When Hero’s reputation is tarnished, the Friar fashions a plan to reveal the truth behind the miscommunication and to instill pleasant memories of Hero into Claudio’s mind to repair their relationship: “What we have we prize not to the worth/Whiles we enjoy it, but being lacked and lost,/ Why, then we rack the value, then we find/The virtue that possession would not show us/Whiles it was ours. When he shall hear she died upon his words,/Th’ idea of her life sweetly creep Into his study of imagination... and doubt not but success/ Will fashion the event in better shape” (4.1.218-35). Human nature is the backbone to the Friar’s plan. The Friar says that humans have a tendency to place little value on what is ours until it is “lacked and lost.” In the same way Don Pedro took on the role of the Greek demi-god Cupid, the Friar assumes a God-like power in this scene in three ways: he is able to bring the dead back to life, erase the past, and instill good memories of Hero into Claudio’s mind. The great power that comes from living without society’s limitations is crucial to the success of schemes. For Don Pedro and the Friar, they are able to see what is hidden or overlooked, and are able to devise successful solutions to unite people and create joy. Ultimately, Shakespeare suggests through his use of “fashion” and these two heroes that we need freedom to successfully create plans and shows us that freedom and God-like power comes from understanding human nature differs greatly from the minimal freedom of an ethics-based lifestyle. Shakespeare tells us that society makes us think that we need to fit a certain standard to gain acceptance. The vague definitions of “fashion’ reflect the complexity of the world; with varying definitions of “fashion,” he purposely confuses us to reveal that there is no specific fashion or trend that exists outside of society because it is up to the individual to craft the world to how they see fit. He molds “fashion” to his writing and does not force himself to use one definition. His vague definitions force us to think harder about its effects on society and human nature, so we are insightful and multi-dimensional people like Don Pedro rather than shallow Don Johns. The successful outcomes of schemes in Much Ado About Nothing are a result of careful manipulation and deep insight into the nature of people. He reveals through Don Pedro and the Friar that if we understand the complexity of our world, we have the power to craft successful schemes, which ultimately illustrates Shakespeare’s philosophy about our roles as humans: the world is up for manipulation and we as individuals have the ability to challenge the definitions of society. 

If You've Seen Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing...

Posted by Maddie on November 8, 2011 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (61)

...You may like this. For English class, my final term project could be anything. I could have used Google Sketch-Up to create a set design, I could have acted out a scene, or could've wrote a personal essay on a theme that strung through Othello, Much Ado, and The Merchant of Venice. Instead, I chose to analyze a film: my favorite of the three: Much Ado About Nothing. Perhaps it was the beautiful scenery that drew me in, or maybe Much Ado is just my favorite play. Whatever the reason may be, I chose Much Ado About Nothing (1993) to analyze the first scene of. I recommend you watch it and then read my analysis to see what my take of Branagh's director decisions. Here is the clip:

Shakespeare’ Much Ado About Nothing reveals that people have a tendency to create schemes to trick others, whether the victims are their friends or enemies, in order to take control of the situation. Of the five schemes in Much Ado, the three that determine the play’s fate are crafted by heroic characters, Don Pedro and the Friar, characters who have good intentions. While Shakespeare convinces us that good intentions return successful results, or that understanding human nature is crucial to fashioning successful plans, the first scene of Much Ado About Nothing (1993) illustrates the power of women through the song “Sigh No More, Ladies,” color, location, and biblical illusion, to change our basic assumption that good characters, like any fable, triumph in the end. While suggesting that Much Ado’s characters are divided into hero and villain is a safe assumption, Branagh chooses to risk commentary from Shakespearean purists to argue that successful schemes are determined not by ethics, but by gender, with female characters who decide the fate of the play. He highlights female superiority over men in Much Ado’s opening scene to have us think more deeply about the true tensions the play is centered around: good vs. evil or women vs. men. Branagh makes Beatrice the focal point of his film to strengthen the role of female characters in the play. Beatrice — a victim of being tricked into loving Benedick — teaches us to invest little emotion in men in her recitation of “Sigh No More, Ladies.” “Sigh No More, Ladies” is originally sung by Balthazar in Act 3 Scene 2, where Benedick is tricked into falling in love with Beatrice. The woeful song teaches a lesson directed at women from a woman, which makes the song’s message more genuine, serious, and personal, than having it sung by a man to men, as Shakespeare intended it. When sung by Balthazar, Don Pedro, Leonato, Claudio, and Benedick do not consider the song’s importance as more than a love song sung badly. However, Branagh has Beatrice directly recite the song instead of Balthezar in the first scene, is speaking about men as womens’ source of woe. Beatrice’s tone suggest her words are one of caution, telling women that they should distance themselves from misbehaving men in order to free us of our woes and overcome the male power that is exerted on us when our emotions are controlled by men. The lyrics are white words leaping across a black screen reveal Branagh’s desire to engage his audience with the lyrics personally and wants to engage his audience with the lyrics personally and come up with their own connection to Shakespeare’s words in the opening song “Sigh no more, Ladies” before bringing in his interpretation. After all, Branagh presents the medium to how we typically connect to Shakespeare and what we praise him for: his brilliant words. Branagh wants his movie to be accessible to everyone, and the opening of the movie displays this desire. He starts off with the recitation of Shakespeare’s words because he wants to draw a contrast to how he uses this song and how Shakespeare used this song. The fact that a woman sings this song in the beginning suggests that women set the standard for the direction of the play. The white font on black also emphasizes the seriousness and importance of this song, where there was not much importance in Shakespeare’s handling of the song. This song also appears in the film’s end credits, as well as Shakespeare’s original placement of the song in Act 3, Scene 2, when Benedick is being tricked into liking Beatrice. Thus, Branagh reveals that this song stages the movie’s themes, twists the plot in the middle, and is apparent during the final scene and rolling credits to reveal that women are the ultimate controllers of fate from the beginning to the end. Branagh also uses location to emphasize female power; location and scenery physically stages women looking down on men. In addition to the “Sigh No More, Ladies” song, the soldiers who arrive at Leonato’s home have a duty to yield to women. When Beatrice is angry at Claudio for ruining Hero’s reputation during the wedding, she gives Benedick an ultimatum: kill Claudio and keep her or do not kill Claudio and lose her. Also, when Hero is supposedly dead, Leonato makes Claudio indebted to him, making him create an epitaph, mourn for her, and to swear to marry Antonio’s daughter. Branagh uses setting to reveal this dominance of power that females have over men. The beautiful setting that the movie takes place is considered to be the official location for Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, which reveals that females have dominance over the villa. Branagh uses the element of height to reveal the power women have over men. He uses hills to elevate women and to have them looking down on men three instances in the first scene. After Beatrice’s line, “Not til a hot January,” the camera focuses on the men on horses galloping beneath them. Also, when the women are inside the house getting dressed, when Hero and a woman look out the window, the camera shifts downward to capture men on horses, still galloping beneath them. Lastly, when Claudio and Benedick are on ground level inside Leonato’s villa speaking about Hero, they are gazing up at Hero and Beatrice, who are standing on a balcony staring down at them. In addition to Branagh’s use of elevation, Branagh wants us to pay attention to color perhaps to mark the conventional heroes and villains; but more importantly, he wants to highlight the man who does not fall into either category, character Don Pedro. Don Pedro is neither a villain nor does he end in marriage because he does not end in a happy union with a woman. Not only did Branagh cast Don Pedro as a black character, his horse is the only one that is white, in comparison to everyone else’s dark brown and black horses. A removal of class distinction between the men galloping on horses supports Branagh’s view that men can be either heroes or villains, but their plan will not turn out successful, because women control the fate of our schemes anyway, not ethics. Conrade, Borachio, and Don John wear black collars and black leather pants, while the good men wear denim-colored pants and baby blue collars. However, Don Pedro is unique again, in that his collar is both black and blue and his pants are blue. By the lining of their collars, Branagh distinguishes Don Pedro from the other men, as well as the black collar of the villains and the blue collar of the heroes. When the film title appears on screen, “Much Ado About Nothing” shows up as the seven soldiers collectively pump their fists in the air and shout. The phrase “much ado about nothing” represents the powerlessness of men, and that men are “nothing” in terms of influencing the play’s final outcome. When Beatrice and Hero are involved in engineering plans to have their marriages work, they turn out to be successful; however, because Margaret did not know she was part of Don John’s plan to trick Claudio into thinking Hero was having an affair with Borachio, so the plan eventually fails, while the plans Beatrice and Hero are behind, succeed. Success may come for both villains and heroes, but the plans that are permanent are due to a presence of female control over schemes. Branagh’s presentation of the play portrays Don Pedro as a person who is neither happy nor sad at the end. He is the one hero who does not have someone to marry, which is why he is singled out through costume and does not end up happily at the play’s end. It may be that he asked Hero to marry him—even though he pretended to be Claudio—and that he also asked Beatrice to marry him, which she rejected. Although Don Pedro is portrayed as a hero, Branagh uses clothing to suggest that color does not symbolize good and bad, but the happiness the characters’ leave the movie with. He believes happiness is determined by marriage, the villains are punished, so they are wearing black, but Don Pedro fits neither of these categories, which is why color suggests that being involved with women allows us to have successful plans, which here is happiness. Much Ado alludes to The Bible’s story of Adam and Eve to reveal that women determine the fate of men, just as Eve convinced Adam to eat the forbidden apple. Along this parallel, the first person we see is Leonato with a color palette and paintbrush in hand, which is similar to God in behavior when he had control of how the world is seen and what he wants to bring to the world. Just as God starts with a blank canvas of darkness before his creations, so too does the movie; Branagh’s creation starts out black and eventually turns into a splendid luscious environment, with the painting as beautiful as reality. Painters are referenced in Much Ado, in a conversation between Borachio and Conrade before they are caught by the watchmen: “sometimes fashioning them like Pharaoh’s soldiers in the reechy painting…where his codpiece seems as massy as his club” (3.3.129-33). As I noted in my essay “Understanding Human Nature Gives People Power,” painters can manipulate peoples’ perception of others to their advantage by controlling the whole appearance of what they want the audience to see, which alludes to the power of God. When the hype of men and women interacting occurs when they are pampering and taking showers, both women and men are frolicking or laughing in water nude, with everyone next to each other. They seem unaware that they are naked and in very close proximity to one another. Rather they are laughing, joking, and playing in the water, with this scene portrayed as not sexual in any way, but as innocent. The innocence that comes from nudity in Much Ado conjures up parallels to Adam and Eve’s ignorance when they were unclothed and not ashamed until they ate an apple from the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. Eve’s mistake determined the fate of the human race, which could explain why Branagh alludes to the story of creation in his innocent scenes of nudity to show that women have the final say in Much Ado’s finale, as Eve does with the human race. Branagh says, “I think that our job is to communicate to and to communicate to as many people who are to hear it and not just see it as some sort of elitist thing.” He rejects traditional beliefs that men are superior to women, by revealing that women have control over the fate of men because the tension that steers the play until the end are threads of gender confrontation, witty banter, fear, and hidden emotions that come from creating a human relationship. The reason for my risky explanation for director Branagh’s film choices is because I believe Branaugh was risky in his film choices to reflect what he understands about heartbreak and giving emotions away. Understanding human nature provides security, and being moral or villainous is decided by nature for us, for women, putting ourselves out there for men is risky. While the fate of women may be successful in romantic comedies, Branagh sees a dark undercurrent: women who put themselves out there may not receive the happy ending they see in romantic comedies. Branaugh connects his audience to black and white screen of streaming lyrics and slow melody to reach out to his female audience and let them know they are not alone; in fact, he is on the other end risking film choices to empower women, which may move away from Shakespeare’s original manuscript. Branagh tries to explain that women in the end are happy because they follow Balthezar’s “Sigh No More, Ladies” and have let go of the past and “converted all [their] sounds of woe.” Before venturing into a fairytale comedy where women will sing “Hey nonny, nonny” in spirits of joy, he sympathizes with his female audience and empowers them by making women the center of the play with the power to determine the fate of men.

Flash Poem: Empowerment by Maddie G

Posted by Maddie on November 7, 2011 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (3)

Empowerment by Maddie G

A third world is shattered

 But we wear 2D glasses.

We own mirrors in our homes too.

For the first time

I listened. I listened to

this motivational speaker

whose speech resonated with my hopes

but pulled it out in front to me, so I could see.

A third world is shattered

But we wear 2D glasses.

We own mirrors in our homes too.

For the first time, 

I noticed that this smile 

is a leap out of frustration 

and into change.

A third world is shattered

But we wear 2D glasses. 

We own mirrors in our homes too.

For the first time,

I feel that change is around us

People are doing

People are speaking 

People are hearing.

Alarm clocks have gone off

They are well into their second cup of coffee.

One person is enough.


A third world is shattered

And we wear 3D glasses--

This is what Innovation over time does.

We own mirrors in our homes three.

Inspired by a motivational speaker of , Seth, who spoke at our school today.

Flash Poem: Waiting By Maddie G

Posted by Maddie on November 6, 2011 at 9:15 PM Comments comments (1)


The lights

are blinding. 

A tug of war

pulling at the chest,

From the North and South poles

Falling a long way down

Or inching closer to the clouds--

The darkness is blinding:

A shot in the dark.

Knowing what's vertical, not horizontal.

A gun to the chest. 

A spinning compass, spinning questions, non-negotiable answers.

The answer lies in a directionless somewhere.

Just waiting to hear the echo of the trigger.

No edits, merely a stream of consciousness type of writing tonight--raw. Completed in 3 minutes. 


Maddie G

Flash Poem Inspired by Shakespeare's Macbeth

Posted by Maddie on November 2, 2011 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (8)

Shedding by Maddie G

Shedding secrets like washing hands.

Scrub between the webs of fingers--

Intricate webs of secrets do reveal

Another perspective that we do feel. 

Written in under 2 minutes.



"Twenty" by Maddie G: A Flash Essay

Posted by Maddie on October 22, 2011 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (1)

“Twenty” by Maddie G

Living a mile away from my school, I start my weekdays with a twenty-minute walk on the fast-paced streets of Manhattan’s New York City. Each morning, I follow the same mental and physical routine: I navigate the streets with my eye for safety and my mind for reflecting. I wake up ten minutes later than my friends and I walk alone. I prefer my own morning schedule.

The second I leave my building’s lobby, I am sucked into a culture where jaywalking is not enough to save time. I pass business professionals checking newspapers to catch up on overnight news, mothers dragging young ones to school, and students studying flashcards for their tests later that day. There is no time: everyone is preparing for what lies ahead. The future is the new present. When I walk to school, each person I make eye contact with is focused on catching up— speed becomes skewed and the passage of time is his worst enemy. I isolate myself from this morning dash. I enjoy walking at my own unruffled stride even though I usually end up subconsciously mimicking the speed of the surrounding New Yorkers two minutes in. I call this alone time my “restorative twenty.”

Glancing around, the surrounding mass of people are on moving walkways zipping past me. Each person has a purpose and I’m anxious I won’t fulfill mine because I chose wake up ten minutes later and walk slower. My twenty-minute walk holds the same purpose as the twenty minutes I lie awake in bed and stare at the ceiling after a long day before dancing into a deep deserved sleep. I start to feel like my identity is just a photocopy of the classmate next to me. We even look the same. My school requires uniforms. Growing up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan brings a whole new set of standards; the small privileged community lacks the diversity needed to destroy assumptions. That is why my walk to school is the temporary time slot my guard is completely down and my individuality is exposed to the convoluted mess of people we live to please.

Here is a glimpse into my daily life. Hope this inspires you to go write a new piece!


My Research and Analysis of the Word "Immortality" in Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop For Death"

Posted by Maddie on October 21, 2011 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (1)

Pasted below is my research and of Emily Dickinson's use of the word "Immortality" in "Because I Could Not Stop for Death."

Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death” is famous for its description of Death as a courteous suitor. “Immortality,” one of the three carriage passengers, is not recognized for its full importance perhaps because it is difficult to understand the role immortality’s personification is meant to play in the poem. The literary critics Richard Chase, Theodore Hoepfner, and Maria Farland attempt to decode “Immortality[‘s]” meaning; but, they disagree with one another over its definition and purpose. Richard Chase views Dickinson’s personification of the “Immortality” as “meretricious and unnecessary,” and a technical flaw. He argues that the capitalization challenges common sense because “Immortality ought to be the destination of the coach and not one of the passengers” (Chase 249-250). Chase interprets “Immortality” as synonymous with “heaven” ; he argues that a place cannot be treated as if “heaven” were a carriage passenger. On the contrary, Theodore Hoepfner and Maria Farland believe Dickinson has an intention to treat “Immortality” as a person, but they have differing views on the its purpose. Hoepfner debates that Chase is incorrect because “Immortality” represents the soul, not heaven. He writes, “the image of the carriage and driver is appropriate….The soul is immortal, and our immortality, therefore “rides” always with us as a copassenger…because the soul is our immortal part … journeying with us” (Hoepfner 96). Maria Farland offers a differing suggestion for the personification of immortality. She believes Dickinson’s “Immortality” causes the relief the reader feels in the first three stanzas. Farland believes “702” illustrates the popular view of death and immortality in Dickinson’s time. Her view sets up “harmonious images that recall[s] sentimentality’s domestication of death” as a gentlemanly suitor. The “harmonious” view is later rejected in the final stanzas where death is portrayed realistically (Farland 372-373). Farland sees the personification of immortality as a tool for comfort in order to make the reader assume life has some sort of eternity rather than the abrupt end to the grave, “a house that seemed/ A swelling of the ground” (Farland 17-8). Although immortality gives human beings instant relief, Poem “702” provides the most evidence to support Hoepfner’s interpretation of “Immortality.” The separation between the soul and the body is emphasized physically in the first stanza: the word “Immortality” is placed separately to suggest no connection between the other passengers in the carriage, Death and the narrator. In the last two stanzas of Dickinson’s “702,” the stanza regarding “Immortality” is physically separated from the stanza regarding the body. The stanza with the graveyard symbolizes the body’s final destination in the ground while the last stanza illustrates the livelihood of the soul looking back on life from “Eternity.” Darker in illustration, these stanzas support Farland’s view that the poem progressively reveals the optimistic assumption of “Immortality” as flawed. Although the “pause” of the carriage in the fifth stanza represents a stop in motion and a final endpoint where the body is destined to the ground, the last stanza refutes Chases’ point that immortality is a destination: “Immortality” is portrayed rather as an eternal state of mind: the verb “Feels” acts to represent the brain’s eternally active thoughts and movement with no true time limit—“Since then ‘tis centuries.” Consequently, a combination between Farland and Hoepfner’s interpretation is best supported by Dickinson’s poem: separation between the temporary life of the body and immortal soul is substantiated by the poem’s line and stanza structure, and the shift in the narrator’s tone supports “Immortality[‘s]” function as a cushion.

Please email me at if you would like the bibliography. I wrote this in December 2010 last year as an English assignment, but I thought I would post it for all to see.

Hope you found a new perspective,


The Ferris Wheel By Maddie G

Posted by Maddie on October 18, 2011 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (1)

The Ferris Wheel

Mom said you could see Saturn from the zenith.

Dad said the ride makes you a man.

I can't speak to it—

…But I've been on carousels before.

The sun was setting behind him,

The rays gleamed out from his head at all angles

Like He walked out of the Renaissance:

Gioto's The Adoration of the Magi,

He stopped me and accepted my golden ticket.

Impossible, He said “You can only ride the Ferris Wheel

Once. Other kids want their turn too."

But I know he can ride whenever he wants.

He controls the buttons.

I ascend into the pastel sky,

Steady and restless

Energetic and unknowing,

I can see my entire childhood down there— I always looked up.

The cart in front of me seats two elders.

Each inch farther from the ground is one inch closer.

I'm waiting to reach the peak.

Where's Saturn?

I'm still looking up.

But then a voice: "Yo kid, I ain't got all day."

This was originally a flash poem. The Ferris Wheel received extensive edits, however the idea continues to be the foundation of the poem.




Posted by Maddie on August 23, 2011 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (2)

Note: Skim down all the way to the bottom of this blog post for my poetry about two of my favorite Croatian cheeses.


Yesterday was the first time I had Croatian cheese. Have you ever heard of Paski Sir or Zigljen or Kozlar? I didn't until I received cheese samples from Simon Kerr of Paski Sir cheese who kindly shipped me 3 diffent cheeses.

Zigljen (the Croatian cheese company) sent me the following cheeses to sample. Ratings are in parenthesis:

1. Kozlar (Goat milk) 0

2. Paski Sir (ewe's milk) +1

3. Zigljen (mixed milk) +2 

Here are descriptions of the cheese from the company website:

Kozlar: Our goats are domestic to the Island of Pag as well as the straights of Kotar giving Kozlar a fruity and fresh taste.

Paski Sir: Produced exclusively from the milk of the autochthonous sheep on the Island of Pag, Paški Sir is the most awarded ewes’ milk cheese in all of Croatia. This cheese is a pure delight and displays quality in the making, leaving a long and pleasant aftertaste to savour. A yellowish creamy colour with farmhouse aromas, Sirana Gligora’s Paški Sir has well balanced texture, taste, aromas and finish and is delightfully tasty." Made from 100% ewes' milk.

Zigljen: Žigljen is a hard type cheese made from a delicate fusion of cow, sheep and goat milk from the Dalmatian region of Croatia. With an abundance of spring water in the region together with the rich minerals of the land, our Žigljen cheese is slightly spicy with a distinctive aroma.


As learned from Max McCalman, we should eat the cheeses with goat first and then sheep. I brought the three cheeses to Artisanal to share with all my cheese-loving friends!

My ratings for the following cheeses are based on the scale that Max uses to rate his cheese and wine combinations (which is the -2, -1, 0, +1, +2 scale in which -2 is strongly dislike, 0 = neutral, and +2 = love it and would definitely have it again and again) 

It might have been the goat's milk packaged in plastic, but the Kozlar tasted bland and the texture was spongy. It had a mild start and has a strong finish. 

As for the Paski Sir, which Max McCalman tried and really enjoyed, was tasty, and densely packed with flavor. The oil from the sheep's milk kept the cheese very flavorful. I really enjoyed the texture as well as a few others on the Artisanal crew. Fabulous!

Everyone's favorite of the three cheeses at Artisanal was the ewe's milk cheese, Zigljen. It tasted like our favorite parmesan! It was so tasty, with each bite better than the next. Seriously addicting! This is a must-try. 

Here is the website:

If you were to buy just one of these cheeses, the Zigljen is the best with Paski Sir close behind. Now for a poems to match these cheese with. 

Kozlar and The Sponges by Chuck Keller:

The poet's soul absorbs the world's beauty like a sponge.

Seeing, eating, living the tragic, the profound and the painful

until filled and dripping the excesses of being plunged

into the bucket of excrement that is man's insane and full

existence. And when the poet's soul has absorbed enough

beauty and sadness and pain and joy and love and scorn,

it is squeezed gently onto an empty page for a draft, still rough,

then nourished, edited and changed until, finally, a poem is born.

Paski Sir and Unknown Treasure by Maddie G

Unknown to many,

Celebrated by few.

A golden gem of Croatia.

A sliver of pure treasure

Found. Once introduced,

now a staple for all. 

Ziglijen and Scrumptuous by Maddie G

Zenith in every bite

I know the valleys lie in swallowing

Love at first bite.

Jamboree to your tongue

Enjoyed by everyone. 

Thank you so much Simon Kerr of Paski Sir cheese for introducing me to 3 new tasty cheeses! I hope you will all have the pleasure of trying the cheese for yourself!




Posted by Maddie on August 20, 2011 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (1)


To how do we know not to push any further—

The viewer decides the limit of the sea to sky

To where edges meet.

Rejected in waves,

Perpetual thunderbolts

To the chest.

Can't you look beyond

The piercing rays of sunlight – be

Blinded no more?

Like the boat to the sea,

Only used for scenery.

Or is the sea too clear

Too far too deep,

You make eye contact with yourself

In the mirror hanging

Behind me.

I notice, pretend to ignore.

Drowned to the pits

Of the wounded ocean

To rise again no more.


#micropoetry #twitter #loveit @cheeseandpoetry

Posted by Maddie on August 16, 2011 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (1)

After using twitter extensively now, I have found a love for #micropoetry. Twitter, micropoetry, tweeting, retweeting, and following... #loveit. I have been following many small farms all around the world, cheese mongers, small cheese stores, poets etc. 

After seeing that #micropoetry was trending, I thought I would write my own. 

For those of you who are missing out on #twitter, here is what #micropoetry is. It's a poem in 120 characters or less, which also includes the dashes, spaces, and slashes. 

Here is my first micro poem. 

Sleep on the subway / Dream in numbers / Let a thousand flowers bloom.

What do you think? Post your own micro poetry here in the comment section below, email me at OR TWEET IT TO @cheeseandpoetry. That would be most appropriate!