Do I Know What I’m Saying?


Source: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

For my last blog post I’m going to talk about this Postmodernist world we are living in once again. I’m not ending on the highest of notes but some things we discussed in American Literature today got me thinking.

We’ve been discussing White Noise by Don DeLillo in class and some of the themes that come up in it. The theme of consumerism in particular made me think.

Our society is entirely branded. For example, everybody (maybe I shouldn’t assume) knows brands like Coke, McDonald’s, Nike, Hilfiger etc. The list goes on and on.

Consumerism gives us ideals about life, well at least about the life we should be living. Who decided that these brands were a necessity?

Is there a certain way we should be living? I think there are some moral codes we should all follow, like treating people with respect as one example. If you were to live your life entirely based off what you THINK you should be doing, then that’s not going to be a happy life.

Maybe you’ll feel fulfilled momentarily or feel some sense of achievement if you ‘consume’ the ‘right’ things but is this real happiness…

I’m starting to get really philosophical and I am wondering if anything I’m saying is making any sense. Also, maybe I’m asking too many questions. I think you need to question yourself sometimes though.

We discussed how consumerism is making people homesick for things that they’ve never had and maybe never will have. I think it’s natural to want more for your life, but maybe we need to step back and consider what’s actually going to make us happy?

Is a brand name really that important to you?



(Image is my own)

We’ve been discussing Marilynne Robinson’s novel Housekeeping in American Literature. I haven’t gotten around to reading the novel yet, but it sounds like an interesting read. In lectures, we discussed the background of the novel, the author and some themes that appear.

Something that was brought up that interested me was this idea of light and darkness. Writers will often use images of light and darkness to elicit certain feelings in their readers. I think for most people light would be associated with good things and darkness with bad things.

I found it interesting that Robinson flips this idea around in her novel. Light is bad and darkness is good.

Looking at things from Robinson’s perspective I think I can see what she’s doing. In the light, we are more aware of our surroundings and more aware of ourselves. Sometimes this self-awareness can be hindering rather than enlightening. It has the potential to make you view the world in a materialistic way.

In the dark the materialistic side of life is less prevalent, maybe even non-existent. The way you look, what you have, what you own do not matter when you cannot see them. Maybe sometimes it is better in a way to be blind to these things.

It was interesting to reflect on light and darkness from a new perspective, but it’s probably better to be enlightened than in the dark when it comes to matters of life.



Source: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

I’ve always been a big fan of things that don’t make much sense so I was glad that on Monday we discussed Surrealism in Film Studies.

We watched Un Chien Andalou by Spanish director Luis Buñuel. There was something appealing about it. It reminded me of a movie I watched not so long ago, Eraserhead. Part of the reason I enjoyed Eraserhead so much was that I couldn’t make sense of a lot of it and it had a strange and eerie feel to it.

One scene from Un Chien Andalou made almost everyone in the class wince. I’m going to include the video below, but if you’re susceptible to eyeballs being sliced then maybe you should take a pass on it. I can’t make sense of its significance but again there’s just something appealing about that?

That’s what Surrealism is all about really. I won’t claim to know everything about it but from what I can gather it can refer to the artistic representation of the unconscious mind and I find that interesting.

Our lecturer brought up Irish author James Joyce in relation to Surrealism and it reminded me of the seminar I took on his writing in Budapest. We discussed this idea of stream of consciousness in relation to novels of his such as A Portrait of the Artist as A Young Man and Ulysses.

Stream of consciousness refers to the natural flow of a person’s thoughts as they come; unfiltered. A multitude of things can pass through a person’s brain daily. Based on my own experience much of it is nonsense, but nonsense isn’t always a bad thing.



Source: Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

This semester I’ve been taking a module on American Literature and I’ve been enjoying it mostly. It’s introduced me to writers I’ve never heard of before and also a history of black rights I didn’t know of. Recently we’ve been discussing writer Allen Ginsberg and some of his poetry. He didn’t particularly stand out to me at first but when we discussed his poetry in more detail in tutorials I found myself starting to enjoy his work.

Ginsbergs’ “Sunflower Sutra” stood out to me the most. The poem is about an America destroyed by modern society, but the overriding feeling of the poem for me is a positive one. There are desolate images throughout the poem but amongst the bleak landscape is sunflowers; bright yellow sunflowers. They add an element of light to the bleak world they grow in.

While the poem overall is an interesting read the one thing that stood out to me was the sunflowers and what they represent. There’s always something wonderful happening somewhere even amongst ruins.

I find this metaphor ‘cheesy’ and uplifting at the same time, it made me laugh but also made me smile. Ginsberg says that we are all sunflowers inside, “We’re not our skin of grime, we’re not dread bleak dusty imageless locomotives, we’re golden sunflowers inside”. I think sometimes the cheesiness is needed.

Life ain’t that bad.