Wednesday, April 11, 2012

 Rhetoric Strategies:

Exerpt from part III page 370 onto 371.

Al? This is Chandler again. Al, thankyou. Thank you for releasing that girl..... It was an absurd thing to say, yet Chandler had to say it. He would praise the madman who'd kept a young woman prisoner by gunpoint for several hours, he would thank him for releasing her, and he would be genuine in his gratitude. Al? Now there's you. Will you pick up the phone? It's ringing...... The phone was not picked up. the number was redialed, and again went unanswered. Al, talk to me! This is going to end well, now you've released the girl and people can see that your intentions are good. But now you need to give up your weapons, Al, O.K.? So tat you don't get hurt, Al. You can come out, you'll be taken into custody but not hurt. Think of your family, Al? Your children, your parents. Your father. He was a brave man, I remember your father. He should not have died so young. He'd want you to live. Al. You're so smart, you know  that. The police want you to lay down your weapons, just leave them on the floor inside there and come to the door, slowly. Let us see you, Al. I'm right here, I'm watching. Extend you r hands where we can see them. It's going to be all right, Al, see, you let the girl go, that makes all the difference, no one has been killed, or seriously hurt, the girl is saying you treated her well... So Chandler spoke earnestly, with increasing desperation; but there was no response.

The phone was redialed, and this tme the line was  busy.

Al? Please Put the phone back on the hook, talk to me... I want so badly to talk to you.

Amy's Explanation

This passage is interesting because the style is quite different from the previous approaches Oates' has been taking regarding conversations and dialogue between characters. This is the conversation between Chandler Burnaby and the gunman hiding inside the house, and is conducted in front of an audience over the megaphone Ariah's eldest son is holding. Previously The Falls author used the traditional technique of putting any spoken dialogue from the characters in quotations. Italics were reserved for showing the inner thoughts of characters or flash backs of conversations. It's odd that Oates chose to put this conversation into italics, disregarding quotes, but it is evident that her choice was deliberate and there to make a point or signify events in the text. My hypothesis is that this strategy was to show the intimacy of the conversation between the two men. They are peers, childhood aquaintances, bonded in a way they have never felt before. When reading the conversation, as a reader you almost forget that Chandler is surrounded by a huge crowd of concerned and curious townspeople. But Chandler feels this way as well. His words are sincere, genuine, he is speaking honestly and candidly. Not to the crowd, not to the media, but to his 'friend', 'brother', Al Mayweather. So really, this conversation might as well have been in Chandler's head, or a secluded conversation between the two men. Oates' goal in this portion of the text was to convey a sense of intimacy and sincerity in the conversation and of Chandler's words and action. A strategy I believe she executed perfectly, in this pivotal, nail biting turning point in the text.

Video Component

CLICK ON LINK MR. KENT! Tested should definitely work.

This video features an interview with the author of The Falls, Joyce Carol Oates. She is discussing how she goes about developing characters that are realistic and believable in her writing. Oates uses many examples ffrom her famous novels, like the Grave Digger's Daughter. The techniques that Oates discusses are evident in her novel, The Falls, because real, raw emotion is displayed in each character. Ariah, Dirk, Gilbert, and her children feel fear, jealousy, sadness, and guilt and that is felt by the reader when Oates shows us their innermost thoughts. When I read The Falls the characters felt unbelievably real to me because of their genuinity and innocence, but mostly because I could relate so well to each of them. I relate to Ariah through her insecurity and her unsureness and lack of confidence she feels at times. I relate to Chandler because of the protectiveness and love he feels for his family no matter what the circumstance.
This video was insightful because it explained to me Oates' thought process when she was creating the characters' in The Falls.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Character Description: Ariah's Children. *As of page 367

 As a child he was a lanky, pale little boy. A recluse that would disappear for days at a time, without anyone knowing where he was. Had a tendency to hole up in library or go on very long walks by himself. Somewhat of a black sheep in the family. Took backseat to Royall and Juliet. But as a man, he has somewhat grown into himself and blossomed. Chandler has now beefed up, tall, Ariah even noticing he had gotten better looking. He is working as a high school science teacher in Niagara Falls and is in love with Melinda, an unmarried woman with a 1 year old child. It is obvious that Chandler has a kind heart, through his willingness to do the right thing and service within the community. He is a certified 'crisis responder', who goes to accident scenes to help wherever necessary, and also volunteers for the suicide hotline. Which is ironic that both those things are tied so closely with suicide. Chandler is very loyal to his family and is very protective of his mother and two younger siblings.

Royall will always be Ariah's favorite. Since he was born he has been a big boy with beautiful flaxen hair, certainly his father's son. He is bubbly and outgoing, everyone who meets him falls in love with him. He is not as smart as his older brother, getting mediocre grades in school, but winning 'most attractive boy' in his class. After high school he goes to work for the Niagara Falls tourism industry, captaining an boat full of tourists across The Gorge. Royall cuts off his engagement to sweetheart, Candace Carpentry, because he feels he is "capable of loving a woman more", much to his mother's disapproval. Royall is a free bird who loves to be outdoors and on his own terms. Although he is not brillaint he is curious, begging for more out of life much to his family's surprise, he enrolls himself in the university. He is also desperately searching for more information about his later father.

Juliet is Ariah and Dirk's first and only daughter. Ariah wants to love Juliet the most, and although she loves her, Royall will always be her favorite. Juliet is a sweet girl, who puts up with her mother's emotional turmoil and unexpected fits. She is creative a domestic, fixing up the house whenever she can. Juliet does have a fiery side; never afraid to speak out how she truly feels about something. She lovess her brother's dearly and is delighted when they are at home.

Theme: Grief/Loss & How We Deal With It

The entire novel, "The Falls", is based on the loss and struggles that Ariah goes through in her life. The primary two being the suicide of her new husband, Gilbert Herskine, and the fatal car accident of her real love, second husband Dirk Burnaby. What is significant is not the loss themselves but the presence the deceased have long after they have passed away.

When Ariah's first husband leaped off "The Fall's" she was devastated, her life stood still as she searched endlessly 7 days and 7 nights for his body in the monstrous Niagara Falls. After Gilbert's body was found in the river, she retreated back to her hometown in Troy, trying to go back to  a normal life. Soon after, Dirk Burnaby shows up at her door. He proposes to her and she accepts, beginning a new life for Ariah Burnaby. She never speaks of Gilbert, and only refers to him as the other, seemingly successfully shutting out the dark part of her past. But although Gilbert dies, Ariah will not escape him. A part of him will alway be there; in the form of her first born son, Chandler Burnaby. Ariah has doubts that Dirk is the father, because Gilbert and her had consumnated their marriage the night of their wedding. She shuts these fears out. But as Chandler grows older it is evident that he is not at all like the Burnaby clan, with his tall, lanky stature and reclusive ways, but far more like his real father. Although she will never admit, Chandler's presence is a daily reminder to Ariah of Gilbert and her trgic past.
Ariah's second husband, Dirk Burnaby, also dies tragically later in the novel. His car carreened off a cliff into the Niagara Falls days after his controversial Love Canal case and arrest following. The night before his death, Dirk had dropped off a puppy named Zarjo for his 3 children, much to the anger of his now estranged wife, Ariah. After his death, Zarjo seems to take the role of Dirk in th household. This is evident because of Ariah's original distrust of Zarjo that eventully grew into love, much like Ariah and Dirk's relationship. Dirk could not be in hiw wife and children's lives so he put Zarjo there to love and protect them.

The theme of grief is evident throughout the book, because the whole plot of the book is tragedy and how life proceeds after. Picking up the pieces and moving on after loss. This is a very relateable topic to life in general and American culture because it is something we have all experienced or watched being experienced. The symbols that arise through this theme are interesting, because it makes you think what 'replacements' might appear in real life after a death.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Image Study

The Devil's Whirlpool
This is a picture of the infamous devil's whirlpool where Gilbert Erskines's body was spit out seven days after his tragic suicide. The bride he left behind one day after his marriage waits for his corpse to appear, searching from sun up to sun down for her late husband's body. Ariah Littrel feels incomplete, trapped in the moment, irresolution at the fact that there is no corpse. Without this proof of his passing she is somewhat in denial of the events and cannot move on until she sees him. The whirlpool represents conclusion, answers, confirms Ariah's fears. But it also lets the bride move on, as she has been paralyzed by The Falls this past week. Athough the whirlpool's surfacing of the body is a horrid, gruesome occurence, it also has relief behind it, bringing closure to Gilbert's death. It is a turning point in the novel, because from there Ariah begins a completely new life, separate from Gilbert and her life as Mrs. Erskine.

Ariah's appearance/image
Ariah's images is very important in this novel because she is seen very differently through the eyes of each character. Ariah sees herself as bony, disgusting, and sweaty; constantly belittling her image and putting herself down. Her first husband, Gilbert Erskine, decribes her in very negative terms regarding her physical appearance as well as her personality. He is disgusted by the immature, insecure woman he has deflowered on their wedding night; commenting on her gaping mouth, sweaty forehead, and stench. But Dirk Burnaby's view of his new wife Ariah is completely opposite of how Gilbert and even Ariah views herself. He describes her as dainty, beautiful, like no woman he has ever been with. He adores the strong, intelligent, talented woman his new wife is. Interestingly the physical things Dirk mentions are those that she has hated about herself in the past (frail figure, rusty red hair, porcelein skin). Ariah's kids have complicated views of Ariah. They love their mother and feel almost protective of her (especially her eldest, Chandler) but they sometimes resent her for her rash, emotional, bitter ways.
It is interesting to experience Ariah as a character through so many different point of views because it fully develops her character more so than any other in the book. At some points you might not even think they are describing the same person when describing Ariah. It is a testament that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.

Love Canal
The Love Canal is a very important image in the novel because it leads to alot of very important, ultimately tragic events in the plot. Dirk Burnaby originally tries to turn down the love canal case, but is roped into it through a series of events out of his control. Burnaby gets in over his head with the case. He becomes obsessed; pulling out of his own pocket, letting his temper loose, amd ruining the relationship he has with his family. Like the love canal is lethal to the community it is also lethal to Dirk Burnaby. It seeps into his life and ruins everything, the case eventually leading to his tragic death. This event ended the 'happily ever after' that the Burnaby family had created, the living damned to live the rest of their lives in grief and separation.

The Falls
Of course Niagara Falls is an important image in Oates' novel, it is essentially the center of the plot, many events revolving around its powerful pull. The Falls has many different effect on the characters throughout the story, although most of them are morbid, compelling individuals to do irrational, tragic things. Gilbert is drawn to Niagara as an escape to his problems, The Falls being his answer. Dirk Burnaby hears the call of the falls speaking to him to do the unthinkable, to finally leap from the tight rope he has been walking across throughout his flashy life. The Falls finally taking him in a tragic 'accident'.  Then, Dirk's only daughter also hears the voices of the Falls, begging her to jump in, that her father would want it. Juliet almost falls victim to the Falls, if not for her admirer, the quiet Bud Stonecrop, who eventually quiets the Falls voices in her head.
The events that pilot the novel's plot are caused by the Falls and its hypnotic influence and power.

Symbol: Chandler Burnaby

Chandler is the first child Ariah bears with her new husband, Dirk Burnaby. Ariah carries the secret fear that this child may not be Dirk's, but Gilbert's, whom Ariah had sex with only once to consumnate their marriage right before he killed himself. As Chandler grows older it is obvious that he is not like the great Burnaby family, or anything like his well-like, successful father, Dirk Burnaby. This boy is awkward, quite unsocial, avoiding his mother for days at a time. Chadler holes up in the library or will simply wander around town, disapearing from sight. He wears glasses, is fair skinned, and is lanky and somewhat emaciated. It becomes more obvious to the reader, and Ariah (who refuses to admit this to herself) that Chandler, the eldest Burnaby boy, is JUST like Ariah's late husband, Gilbert Erskine. I believe strongly that Chandler is Gilbert's son, and not Dirk Burnaby's. Chandler is a direct symbol of Gilbert Erskine, and his presence after death. He is an everyday reminder to Ariah, that she cannot escape the skeletons of her past, that, like she said originally, "I am damned".

A picture of Oates and husband Raymond J. Smith, taken a couple of years after their marriage in 1961. At their Ontario home. Oates is thin and very dainty, dressed very much like the outfits and image Ariah portrays in the novel. Interestingly, her husband beside her rather resembles Gilbert Erskine. Ariah's late husband in The Falls had glasses, pale skin, and dressed very proper and intelligenty, almost in a geeky way.