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Have Men lost their Manhood?

This whole Taco Bell / Sports Illustrated model thing has me thinking. Do men really need any help these days getting…….  shall we say, “in the mood”?
With all the marketing of Viagra and pornography ranging from Victoria Secret to Playboy or worse, are men losing their manly desires? I’m just asking…… Why do they need to much “help” these days? Seems to me that God made them plenty easy to…[achem]…. arouse. So what has happened to them that requires all this aid in that area?  Why all the concern over ED?

Could it be that our culture is killing the “loving desire” right out of men? Could it be that men are really deeper than we think and need loving committed relationships too? (Gasp!) Could it be that appealing to their baser desires is hurting them?

Whoa. You won’t likely get men to admit a weakness like that, but I think by now……….. It’s kinda obvious……

Sorry Taco Bell I guess I'm not your "core target"

Update on Taco Bell purple sauce packets advertising pornographic photo shoot.
Well luckily I am not the only one upset about Taco Bell's new purple sauce packets with the webite on it. Other women also object to their sons and daughter- not to mention their husbands- romping on the beach with Daniella the hussy. Taco Bell has been sending out press releases all over claiming that Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit edition is eagerly anticipated. Well I for one don't eagerly anticipate seeing my gender expolited by a sports magazine annually. And I don't want them invading my kids brains either. I'm calling 1800-tacobell right now to complain mightily!
So glad my gender is not totally clueless.....

Book review of textbok for HIST 362

It’s Your Misfortune and None of My Own; A New History of the American West by Richard White ought to be called European Atrocities of the Dependent Greedy American West: Persecution of every minority under the western sun, (except Mormons), Complete with razor blades to slash your wrists when you realize what a horrid country you live in!
Part One: Evil Spanish Explorers; Virtuous Indians
Part Two: Evil Americans: Dependent, Collectivist, Racist, Greedy, Earth Destroying, Westerners (And don’t forget the Evil Dictator BrighamYoung)
Part Three: Greedy Americans Persecute, Enslave and Kill Minorities and Destroy the Environment (And don’t forget those Anti-American Mormons)
Part Four: American Government Saves the Earth from Loggers and Miners, but Still Persecutes Minorities
Part Five: Depression and WWII and FDR Saves America, while Subsidizing the racist West
Part Six: The Backward Hypocritical American West; Fights Civil Rights; New Minorities and all that Regan Individualism is a Big Fat MYTH!
Epilogue: Still haven’t entered deep depression? Here ya go!

The agenda of this book is not even veiled. Revisionist historians no longer attempt to sneak their views into our textbooks. They are blatant. By the time I got through this book I was fighting depression. The continual pounding of how evil Europeans were to minorities and the earth and how dependent the west was on others are so one sided that it would make you laugh if you weren’t so depressed. The books assertions about my own heritage, Mormons, was so blatantly false and full of easily discredited rumors, that I couldn’t help doubting the rest of the book. The author purposely leaves out any positive history that might interfere with his hard hitting negativism about America and its history. It makes me wonder why these kinds of historians, who hate America and her history, are so interested in history. It’s an oxymoron. Why would they love a subject that runs down their own heritage? What drives them to such works? Is it a sick perversion of pursuing truth? How can this kind of negativism drive someone? I don’t understand it. Why don’t they go into a field they can love? Can it really be that they love running down America? Do they get up each morning with new ideas for how they can debunk another evil American value? What kind of dark prism are they looking through? What misery.Man, I feel so sorry for these people.


When Will Women Get A CLUE!

Sometimes, I am ashamed to be a woman. One of those times just happened.

I love Taco Bell. The crunch wraps are addictive, besides, they have these cute saying on the sauce packets now. It’s amusing. I went to Taco Bell today and got some cute sauce packets. The hot packets were a great shade of purple (I love purple) but the saying on the packet was just a website. I had a feeling I better preview this website since my kids will certainly want to see what it is when they see the packets.

Well it’s a website that allows you to be a director for a photo shot with a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. So our children are now lured to a website that lets them direct a bikini clad babe while romping on some beach or yacht. Now I’m sure they will say that this is for adults. But does that make it any better? Do I want my husband doing this? NO!

When are women going to get a clue and see that this type of sexual behavior is not real power. It is in fact the giving away of our femininity to creep leering men and the corruption of our youth. These women may think that they are getting something in return but all they are doing is losing respect for all women. Women who willingly “bare all” and think that the money makes it all worth it are instead finding that they are more miserable, and they get no respect from men. Why should they? If you give up the main source of your power you are going to get trampled! Unfortunately, many other women also get trampled.

Marriages are destroyed, children are left in divorce limbo and other women are abandoned or mistreated by men who are chasing the swimsuit model ideal woman. When they find her are they going to respect her? NO! They only want one thing from her. (You know what that is!) Who wins? Even men are damaged by this circle. They aren’t happy with a swimsuit model? They are deeper creatures than that. They miss out on a loving committed family and the joy that comes from that circle.

The pimps of pornography think they are winning too, since they are getting richer than Solomon by peddling this filth. But they suffer to. Corruptly earned money, from the backs of addictions, will never bring happiness.

I sometimes get so disgusted with women. But I have to remember that they are a product of this corrupt society too. Now many of them had no father? When are we going to get a clue that families are the answer to all our societal ills. Universal heath care will not solve it. Reducing Co2 emissions will not solve it, sex education will definitely not solve it. Women’s Studies only makes it worse. And Taco Bell’s sauce packet pimping adds to the spread of this fatal attraction!

HELLO! Am I in the twilight zone?



Liberal Fascism Recap

Glenn Beck did a spotlight on Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism last week. Goldberg wrote four articles for Beck’s newsletter that will help us all understand what Fascism really is, its history, and how to spot it in others and ourselves.

Read it here.

Party Platform.... huh??? You mean I can do that?

What the heck is a “party platform” you ask? I will tell you…. It is where you have a say in political party issues.

Political parties have a statement called a platform. Yes, even county parties have one. County parties are where it all begins in fact. Counties appoint a platform committee and that committee meshes the resolutions and surveys taken in the caucuses (another reason to attend caucuses) into a document that says this is what that county’s Republicans believe, support, oppose, or want. The state level platform committee consults those county platforms to create its platform and on Presidential election years, the National platform committee consults the state platforms to make its own platform. Platforms can be in any form. Some are formal, some are not. Some are specific some are general ideas. Some cite specific proposals some cite only ideals.

How many times have you wondered why certain candidates are one party or another? Even wonder what makes one a Republican or a Democrat? Look at the platforms. Ideally, the candidates running as Republicans should support this platform. However, since most people don’t even know there is such a thing as a platform for counties or even states, they can’t pressure candidates to stand by those statements. If more people were familiar with their platforms they could show the candidates what it means to represent that party. Since the statements have come from the voters themselves, and are voted on by county party representatives, with heavy input from actual local voters and party members, they are a pretty accurate view of the informed voters of the area.

Anyone can ask to be appointed to the platform committee. I am currently chairing the committee because no one else asked to get the ball rolling. I simply asked to be on the committee and who the chair was! There is so much apathy and ignorance among voter about how their government works that a new resident in a populous community can show up and shortly thereafter, end up writing the platform for voters who have been in the county far longer!

It took me a while to figure out how the party system worked. I decided I could not stand before God and answer that I had not done anything to stop the slide towards homosexual marriage. So in 1994 when I was a full time student, part time receptionist, and Primary President of my church’s children’s organization, I volunteered, was elected Party Secretary, and thereafter Vice Chair. Don’t tell me you don’t have time to help. Make time.

          How will you answer when God asks what you did to stop the Constitution from falling? Joseph Smith prophesied that the LDS would one day save this Constitution and I believe him. So where are the others? Where is the LDS voice? We have much to offer on many issues in political life. Just because our church’s official stance is neutrality on candidates, it is not neutral on issues. The Church has been active on many issues that have a moral tone. So much of current political issues are really moral and cultural issues. The church begs members to be active in their communities. But members conveniently only remember the neutrality policy. I have had people tell me that we can’t have books read in a book club that contain anything political! We’ll call it book avoiding!

Avoiding information on issues will not help us. Where is the voice of those who have the truth? – I’ll tell you. We are hiding. We are afraid. We are uninformed. We are unwilling to work with outsiders. And I for one am disappointed in us. We could have so much impact for good in this country, and we won’t.



I Need Another Blog!

Ok, I think I need another blog for all the books I love. It’s like my continual need for more bookshelves (not to mention more money) for all the books I want to buy! I may have to split this blog into two or three for all the areas of my life! Books, School, Politics, and Life! (oops that’s four)


I'm an addict

Yes, I stand to tell you- I am an addict. I am addicted to YOU TUBE! (Can ya tell?) I start with music videos, my favorites are the troop tributes, then I move on to LDS Public Affairs or LDS9999 videos, and before I know it it's almost midnight and I haven't been doing my schoolwork! Augh!)!#&^&^$^#!@^%$@
MUST.......BLOCK............. YOU TUBE..................


Proud of our Troops

Real Men Fight

American Cultural Changes From 1890-1940

In 1890, America was still fighting Indian wars. But Americans were at the end of their frontier and saw civilization from coast to coast. Increasingly, over the next fifty years new opportunities opened up in urban industrial areas. The Civil War had ended slavery, but not discrimination and repression of African Americans. All this was happening during two European wars and dramatic racial conflicts. American literature reflected these changes.
 Mark Twain was a prolific and well-known writer. His stories depicting the slow pace and slave culture of the pre- Civil War Mississippi river corridor, were a window into the past. In “Huckleberry Finn”, written in 1884, he describes the social expectations of the people. Huck was expected to “wash, and eat on a plate, and comb up and go to bed and get up regular and be forever bothering over a book” and refrain from “cussing” (234). Like Huckleberry Finn, America was struggling with accepting the end of slavery and the morality of its practice. It felt “wicked” to help a runaway slave. Huck remembered that Jim, the runaway slave he was traveling with, had been good to him enabling Huck to see his humanity. He could not allow him to be a slave again, deciding instead to “go to hell” and find a way to save Jim. (359).
In 1895, Booker T. Washington emerged as an African American leader, with his speech given at the Atlanta Exposition. He embraced the partnership of black and white people, encouraging whites to tutor blacks making them more fit to exercise their rights and freedom. He called on blacks to “mak[e] friends… of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.” (761). He was roundly praised by some, but other black leaders emerged who advocated a more radical approach to the development of the rights and freedoms of the black community.
The new century brought rapid job opportunities for immigrants and African Americans through technological advances and industrial expansion. Henry Adams wrote about the fear that the new and rapid changes could evoke. He felt that inventions would cause Americans to worship power and deny God and “the truths of his Science.” (1063). Mr. Langley “constantly repeated that the new forces were anarchical and especially that he was not responsible for the new rays in their wicked spirit towards science.” (1063). These industrial advances caused a great migration as cities became bloated with immigrants, and the poor farmers who left rural life for urban industrial jobs. (1063).
Large ethnic neighborhoods organized in these urban areas around the country. Harlem was a famous black neighborhood. Eatonville, Florida, was a small black town where Zora Neale Hurston was raised. Here she was not subjected to racial conflicts and discrimination until she was thirteen, and was sent to school in Jacksonville, Florida. The “sea change” (1516) from a small sheltered town to this large mixed race city was a culture shock to her. In 1928, she writes in an autobiographical piece “How It Feels To Be Colored Me” about the way this shaped her self-confidence. She moved from being just a little girl to being “a little colored girl.” (1516). But she did “not belong to the sobbing school of Negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal and whose feelings are all hurt about it.” (1517). Hurston was unusual in her attitude and confidence. She was ahead of her time. She writes that “someone was always at my elbow reminding me that I am the granddaughter of slaves” as if that was supposed to stir her up to depression or anger. (1517). But she did not buy it. She felt her color at certain times, like when she went to jazz nightclubs and couldn’t help herself from dancing “wildly inside myself,” while her white companion sat “motionless in his seat smoking calmly.” (1517-18). She seemed to embody the confidence African American’s so desired during this time in their emancipation. She belonged to “no race nor time,” just America “right or wrong.” (1518).
Americans were not the same people in 1940 as they had been in 1890. African Americans were emerging as a separate and assertive culture. White Americans were adjusting to new attitudes and urban living.  Americans were becoming more unified in culture and increasing in general acceptance of each other. The frontier was gone and a new American power was in motion. Through writers like Twain, Washington, Adams, and Hurston, we see the huge cultural change that took place in America from a dramatic war over slavery to national and personal confidence.

Works Cited
Adams, Henry. “The Education of Henry Adams.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume C 1865-1914. Ed. Nina Baum. 6th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2003. 1037-1069. 

Paper written by Nicole Prasch. Barefoot In Heaven blog. If this paper is turned in by any other author it is plagiarized.
Hurston, Zora Neale. “How It Feels To Be Colored Me.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume C 1865-1914. Ed. Nina Baum. 6th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2003. 1516-1518.
Twain, Mark. “Huckleberry Finn.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume C 1865-1914. Ed. Nina Baum. 6th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2003. 219-407.
Washington, Booker T. “Up From Slavery.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume C 1865-1914. Ed. Nina Baum. 6th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2003. 746-780.

Human Nature Exposed

Realist literature seeks to tell stories that are true to life. It exposes human nature without condemning or glorifying it, and with no romantic rescues. It is frequently stark, often puzzling, sometimes intensely personal, and ripe for repeated readings. Two examples of this type are seen in Henry James’ “The Real Thing” and Jack London’s “To Build a Fire.” Both stories portray our natural tendency to falsely believe ourselves capable of doing things without any real understanding or experience.

James describes a story illustrator and his models, a newly destitute former upper class couple Mr. and Mrs. Monarch, attempting to sell illustrations for stories. The artist believes he can morph his drawings of the couple into the characters he needs to draw, while the couple thinks that they are the actual thing he desires to draw. However, the couple “had no variety of expression” (515). The artist tried placing them in “every conceivable position” but they would “obliterate the differences” (515). Mrs. Monarch was only capable of one character, “She was always a lady certainly… always the same lady. She was the real thing, but always the same thing.” (515). He began to see that he was unable to transform them into his imagined illustrations. The Monarchs learn that sometimes imagination cannot find its human equal.

London’s “To Build a Fire” is a portrayal of the harshness of the natural world, rather than society’s classes, in the story of a solitary traveler facing the deadly cold of the Yukon. He feels deceptively comfortable in his unseasoned skill as he “remembered the advice of the old-timer on Sulfur Creek and smiled. The old timer had been very serious in laying down the law that no man must travel alone in the Klondike after fifty below” (982). Despite the folly of rejecting long experience, the traveler smugly mocks the old-timer’s lifesaving advice, “he had had an accident; he was alone and he had saved himself. Those old-timers were rather womanish… All a man had to do was to keep his head” (982). A moment later he quickly realizes what a fool he has been.

 In both of these stories the characters display a self-deceptive view of their abilities. There is no romantic hero to save these people from their self deception. Real life isn’t that way. Some people are “insurmountably stiff” and will not yield who they perceive themselves to be in order to become what they could be (James, 515). The Monarch’s thought it was beneath them to be anything but a lady and a gentleman and always tried to be that no matter the setting. Unemployment resulted. The Arctic hiker felt very manly until he belatedly realized the old timer was not “womanish” but wise (London, 982).

These are personal stories with stark themes of survival in society and nature. They give us vicarious experiences and show us a hidden side of ourselves. These are the types of themes and values that Realist literature gives us, helping us understand ourselves.

Works Cited

James, Henry. “The Real Thing.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume C 1865-1914. Ed. Nina Baum. 6th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2003. 515.


London, Jack. “To Build a Fire.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume C 1865-1914. Ed. Nina Baum. 6th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2003. 982.


Roads Taken

As we age and find ourselves looking back upon our lives, we often wonder what would have happened if we had made different choices. Our hindsight is often quite different than our foresight was. Years bring us wisdom, often hard won wisdom, causing us to acknowledge the consequences of choices and habits made in our youth. Robert Frost understood this concept and addressed it in his most famous poem, written in 1916, “A Road Not Taken.”

We are all the character in this poem. Our lives are like the main road that “diverged” requiring us to take some action on the direction we want our life to go. These often involve habits and choices of education, religion, lifestyle, career, family, and values. Frost recognizes that once these paths are taken we don’t “ever come back” to make them again in the same way.

We all come to these well-worn points in our lives. Points where the choices we face differ in how “well trod” they are by our society or by our own previous choices. Sometimes we face momentous challenges that are not comfortable, popular or commonly praised, thus those paths that “wanted wear”.  At this fork in the road of our destinies, we choose if we will follow our well-worn fears and habits into the tangled “undergrowth” or choose personal growth by confidently following our conscience, though it is indeed the more difficult road to follow.  

This poem is a timeless poem because it speaks to all ages whether our perspective is as a youth facing important roads, or mature adult and looking back on our memories. We all have these decisive moments that we reflect on, slowly realizing over time the importance of those first decisions on the direction of our lives, moments where we began to break from our supervised childhood and make our own way in the world.

Ironically, life often throws these options in our path at an early stage, when we are proud, headstrong and foolish. Frost acknowledges that “way leads on to way” and we cannot go back in time to change our experiences. Many of the paths of our lives are dramatically life altering, though little do we realize it at the time. As we mature in “ages hence” we begin to understand the connection between action and outcome. The character in this poem comments on the significance of the choice to take the “less traveled” path, saying that the choice “made all the difference” in his life as he now looks back.

Often we find that it is the small choices of right and wrong that send us down the corridors of our lives. This poem reminds us that the comfortable road is not the only way to go; in fact the road less traveled does bring a life of satisfaction. The way we choose will have a large impact on our lives because we cannot take both roads. We cannot live a life of indulgence and a life of self discipline. One road eliminates the other.  

It is this sometimes belated understanding that makes the divergence so memorable. As we look back and “sigh” we suddenly recognize that our life is undeniably our own self-created reality.

Works Cited

Frost, Robert. “Road Not Taken”. The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume D 1865-1914. Ed. Nina Baum. 6th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2003. 1187.

An Enlightened Runaway

Mark Twain’s “Huckleberry Finn” published in 1885 was a gentle poke at society’s justification of slavery. Twain used a wild, backwards, superstitious, runaway boy to demonstrate the struggle of conscience required to endorse and practice slavery. Despite the society that he was in and because Huck spent so much time with Jim in a relationship of equals, he realizes that Jim should not be a slave. His enlightenment rebukes his entire society from the kind widow who owned Jim to Huck’s bigoted violent father.

Huckleberry Finn was a untamed boy who was raised by an abusive drunk father. Although he was raised dirt poor, money was not important to Huck. After receiving a reward for finding stolen money, he invested it and earned interest of a dollar a day, which Huck calls, “more than a body could tell what to do with” (9).

After finding a body believed to be Huck’s father, the widow Douglas, “took me for her son”. She tried to teach Huck to be “sivilized” and to wear new clothes instead of the rags he was quite comfortable with (9). He reported that she and taught him to “pray everyday and whatever I asked for I would get it. But it warn’t so. I tried it”(19). In addition to teaching him religion, she sent him to school long enough that he “could spell, and read, and write just a little and could say the multiplication table up to six times seven is thirty five” (20).

This was a new lifestyle for Huck, who was used to being free of many of the constraints of regular living, such as going to bed at a regular time or having regular meals. He records, “it was rough living in the house all the year round, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways” (9). Although this was difficult for his free spirit, Huck continued to make the best of it until finally he “was a getting sort of used to the widow’s ways, too, and they warn’t so raspy on me. I liked the old ways best, but I was feeling so I liked the new ones to a little bit” (24). Huck is a good and humble boy who, describes himself as “ignorant and so kind of low-down and ornery” because of his rough upbringing (20). Despite this Huckleberry Finn learned to make peace with his conscience by doing what he, and society, thought would damn him to hell. He decided to free a runaway slave who became his friend.

The widow owned one slave named Jim who, like Huck, was extremely superstitious. Huck spoke of his need to “throw (salt) over my left shoulder to keep off the bad luck” when he spilled the salt (24). Jim taught Huck not to “count the things you are going to cook for dinner” or shake “a tablecloth after sundown” because it would bring bad luck (55).When Huck’s father returned to town alive, he recognized his father’s boot prints in the snow by the “cross in the left boot heel to ward of the devil”(25). Superstition was a stronger motivator for Huck than Widow Douglas’s religious teachings. He deperately wanted to avoid bad luck.

Huck describes his father as “there warn’t no color in his face… a white to make a body’s flesh crawl” a vivid indicator of his lifestyle of drinking and violence. (28). Huck’s father seemed to suffer an intense inferiority complex which flared right up when he confronted Huck in his new home. He accused Huck, “you think you’re better’n your father now, don’t you” and when he found out Huck could read and write he angrily ordered Huck to immediately “drop that school” (29). He heard about Huck’s money and demanded, “You git it. I want it. You just shell it out”, threatening to “cowhide me til I was black and blue if I didn’t raise some money for him.” (30-31). He forced Huck to turn over the dollar he had in his pocket and promptly went out and got drunk. Despite the violent treatment from his father, Huck seemed to have a good conscience. Huck did not develop the anger or desire for revenge that we associate with his circumstances.

Huck found a way to escape his fathers abuses by making everyone believe he was murdered so he could runaway down the Mississippi. At the same time, Jim, who believed the widow was going to sell him down river, was also running away. They found each other on Jackson Island and together fixed up a raft to float down the river. They had many adventures as they went. Huck met up with people who wanted to settle him down or who just wanted to use him. But he always managed to get away safely and continue down the river with Jim who was always so delighted and relieved to see Huck safe when he returned from his land adventures. Jim did not dare leave the raft lest he be caught and returned to slavery.

The bond that Jim and Huck developed as they spend day and night peacefully together on the river, hiding out and avoiding people, finally caused a dilemma for Huck. Two of the scoundrels they ran into on their trip sold Jim off for “forty dirty dollars” (226). Huck had come to see Jim as a man and not a slave, and couldn’t understand how they could “make him a slave again and amongst strangers too” for money (226). He figured, “as long as [Jim’s] got to be a slave …it would be a thousand times better for Jim to be a slave at home where his family was,” and Huck determined to write to the widow and tell her where Jim was being held (226). But he had helped a runaway slave and felt like, should he ever meet someone who knew it, he’d “be ready to get down and lick his boots for shame” (226).

Huck had been indoctrinated in the values of a slave holding society that what had been doing to help Jim was very wrong. He felt “wicked and lowdown and onery” for helping Jim (226). He tried to pray, as the widow taught him to do, but just couldn’t get the words out. “I was trying to make my mouth say I would do the right thing and the clean thing…but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie and he knowed it. You can’t pray a lie” (227). He tried to “harden” himself against Jim by bringing up angry memories, but he “couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me against him but only the other kind” (227). Huck was at a turning point in his life. “I’d got to decide forever betwixt two things and I knowed it” (228)..

At this crucial turning point, Huck realized Jim’s value as a human. He decided to rebel against what his culture believed was right. He decided to “go to work and steal Jim out of slavery” (228). He had been trained by his upbringing and culture that this was heinous, but he couldn’t fight his conscience which told him Jim should be free. He decided, “alright then I’ll go to hell” and went off to free Jim (228). In making this decision, without realizing it he showed his righteousness.

So the irony of this story is that Huck, the poor son of a drunk, did a singularly noble thing. Although his society would scoff at his decision he was confident that he could only live with himself if he freed Jim and he decided his own peace of conscience was worth more to him than the widow’s teachings of heaven. Following the crowd would not bring him peace and he knew it.

In doing so, Huckleberry Finn was far braver than the people of his time. Mark Twain gently poked at the prejudice of the people in this region with a simple, ragged, “wicked, low down and onery” boy (226). We can all learn like Huckleberry Finn did, to follow our conscience despite our culture and upbringing.
Works Cited

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Penguin Books, 1986.

How NOT to Raise Kids!

Willy Loman is a liar. He lies about nearly everything in his life. He lies to himself, his wife, his kids, neighbors, and anyone else who will listen to his bragging. He teaches his kids to lie, cheat, brag, and to get ahead through popularity. Though awkwardly written, Death of a Salesman is a timeless drama of how not to raise your kids. Seeing it onstage will help enlighten you about the real message behind this play.
Willy Loman is scared. Scared that someone will find out he is just a common man, like everyone else. He brags to his wife and sons about how he is so highly regarded in the towns he travels to that he can “park his car in any street in New England, and the cops protect it like their own.”(2122; act 1). He wants desperately to be idolized by others and passes this desire to his children, telling them that they are “Adonises” and that the way to get ahead is to “be liked and you will never want.”  (2123; act 1).
Willy Loman is a cheater. Being well liked is the only skill he thinks will profit him. (2123; act 1). He encourages his kids, Happy and Biff, to cheat on academics. He teaches his kids that “it’s not what you do…It’s who you know and the smile on your face! It’s contacts” that get you ahead. (2148; act 2). He threatens his neighbor’s son, Bernard, Biff’s friend, to “give him the answers” (2126; act 1) on an important test so Biff can graduate. Ironically, he denigrates Bernard and teaches them that being smart is weak, and will count against a person being well liked. Yet later when Bernard turns into a successful lawyer, Willy begs for “the secret” (2152; act 2) to his success. Bernard nails it when he reminds Willy that Biff “never trained himself for anything.”(2152; act 2). Willy has only trained his sons to cheat.
Willy Loman is an adulterer. He must to have someone around flattering him and feeding his ego, so he has a honey on the road. In a sort of odd reverse sexual favor, the woman promises to “put him right through to the buyers.” (2126; act 1). Biff finds out about the woman and it devastates his relationship with his father afterwards. Biff can not succeed in any situation with his father now.
Willy Loman feels small. Willy confesses to his wife that he is lonely and gets “the feeling [he’ll] never sell anything again.” (2125; act 1). Anytime someone gets close to his fear of being small he instantly becomes defensive and hostile, reverting to name-calling and chest-puffing brags. Whenever he has a conversation with Biff he feels his guilt and feels constantly threatened by everything Biff says. He can’t stand to be around Biff anymore.
 Finally, after years of wandering and trouble, Biff understands what he has become and what has been happening in his family. He proclaims, We never told the truth for ten minutes in this house!” (2172; act 2). He blows the myth that Willy Loman is uncommon with the realization that “I’m a dime a dozen and so are you!” (2172; act 2) Biff cries out to his father, “You blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody! “ (2172; act 2). Willy Loman can’t stand being average, ordinary, even deviant hot air and kills himself. While Biff discovers that being ordinary is really a happy relief.
Works Cited

Miller, Arthur.  “Death of a Salesman.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature Volume C 1865-1914. Ed. Nina Baum. 6th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2003. 2111- 2176.

The Scarlett Letter: Hester's Humility

The “Scarlet Letter” is a tale of the results of our dealings with our sins. The story is about a triangle of lovers. Hester, Chillingsworth’s wife, thinking her husband dead, had an affair with Dimmesdale and had his child, Pearl. She is discovered by the pregnancy and is brought forward onto the scaffold to stand before the public with an ornately stitched A attached to her bosom, representing her sin of adultery. She is commanded to always wear the letter (Hawthorne, 2334). She refuses to reveal her partner in sin and when her husband, Mr. Chillingsworth, confronts her in the prison in the midst of her despair, she agrees not to expose him as her husband to the community either (Hawthorne, 2347).

The narrator follows Hester, the main character of the story, over seven years, as she raises her daughter Pearl and struggles to live among a people who judge her daily (Hawthorne, 2351). Her home is symbolically located outside of the town, alone, as she is, and separated from society as if she is cast off. She feels the burning shame of the scarlet letter on her breast in all her interactions with the townsfolk.

While Hester bears the effects of the sin in the full light of day, the minister, Mr. Dimmesdale, suffers the most in his secrecy. The hypocrisy of his high station, co-existing with the guilt in his heart, ruins his health and he becomes a patient of the ever watchful physician Mr. Chillingsworth (Hawthorne, 2372). He develops a habit of grasping his heart, as if feeling the same burning shame that Hester feels when the gaze of others rests on her scarlet letter.  The guilty minister has become pale, his nerves are frail, and he appears emaciated. His flock fears that he will soon die and views him as a saint, too righteous for this world (Hawthorne, 2371).

The physician, Mr. Chillingsworth, who is working to revenge the wrong done to him, is hiding his dark intent and secretly looking for the anonymous culprit. He settles on the preacher with whom he is in frequent contact as his physician. The two are persuaded to occupy the same boarding house, in order for the physician to be ever watchful over the beloved minister (Hawthorne, 2371). In his quest for the guilty party he becomes certain of the minister’s part in the affair and engages in effectively inflaming the suffering at every opportunity. This happens so subtly that his patient does not recognize his the role of tormentor. In so doing he become a devil or a fiend himself (Hawthorne, 2397).

All along the way we see Pearl at Hester’s side, dancing or skipping and making insightful remarks. At one crucial point she asks the minister if he will hold her hand with her mother at noon the next day on the same scaffold that Hester and the infant Pearl had stood seven years before (Hawthorne, 2387).  Later, Pearl asks her mother what the scarlet letter means and why the minister keeps his hand over his heart (Hawthorne, 2401). The child makes the connection for the reader and like a messenger from God subtly encourages the minister to confess himself.

The pride of the community in its own righteousness leads it to harshly judge Hester as if she were worthy of death while exalting the two characters who were sinners in secret. This story reveals the pain caused by our judgments of others when we falsely assume our own superiority. Hester was never allowed to forget her sin and as a result her humility became the vehicle for compassionate service to others. In the end, she gained the respect of her community. All knew her sin and somehow it made her more approachable to others who suffered. She became a friend and counselor, offering comfort and advice to her fellow citizens who had so cruelly cast her out and judged her.

Meanwhile, the secrecy of the others had a twisted and debilitating effect on their well being. Yet, when Hester told Dimmesdale the true identity of Chillingsworth and they schemed to flee the place (Hawthorne, 2413), he realizes that he needs to be known not as a saint he has come to be regarded as, but as the sinner he really is. The happiness that their escape plan offered him is the catalyst for his confession. Immediately after he preaches the election sermon, Dimmesdale recognizes his need for confession. He draws Hester and Pearl up on the scaffold with him to confess before the crowd that he is the guilty party. He dies there in Hester’s arms (Hawthorne, 2440).

Chillingsworth, who does not seem to feel any guilt for the offense he is committing against the minister, becomes twisted and devilish. Yet many in the community revered him for his learning and skill to heal physical ailments, a rarity in New England (Hawthorne, 2369). But to Hester, Chillingsworth has become a different person. She sees Chillingsworth for the devil he has become. Chillingsworth even admits this to her and rejoices in his fiendish aims. Symbolically, he offers forgiveness to Hester, claiming that the scarlet letter atones for her sin against him, yet he feels the preacher owes him all the more because of his hypocrisy (Hawthorne, 2397).   

The introduction to the Scarlet letter, “the Custom House” is a separate narration by the author, presented in first person, of his discovery of the scarlet letter and its story in an office under a pile of rubble (Hawthorne, 2323). The actual story is in third person with some degree of reliability since the author asserts his own finding of the narrative, and research into the circumstances. It is a long and rambling piece that wanders off into strange places and most of the time does not relate well to the story. .He sets forth the story as a nonfiction tale taking place in Boston, a Puritan settlement of New England. The story is told in easy to understand sentence structures, even if the language is sometimes a little foreign to modern ears.

This novel, if presented without the laborious introduction, teaches a powerful message about the danger of hypocrisy. Pride and its sister hypocrisy are dangerous poisons to both body and soul. As Dale Ryman puts it Hester, “made the best of a bad situation, showed extreme strength while enduring unbelievable pain, and even improved her public image over time, but it was just her way of turning lemons into lemonade”.

Works Cited

Hawthorne, Nathaniel.  “The Scarlet Letter.” The Heath Anthology of American Literature Volume B: Early Nineteenth Century 1800-1865. Ed. Paul Lauter. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. 2307-2444.

Concerning National Righteousness

Early American literature reveals a constant personal desire for truths that would lift man closer to perfection and salvation. Much of the emphasis came from Puritans who settled in North America to escape religious persecution in Europe and their descendants. Many Europeans broke away from the old church traditions that had been forced on them by their governments. Many reformers were teaching new doctrines and gaining large followings. As descendants of these groups, American culture has always been concerned with its national and personal righteousness.

In William Bradford’s “of Plymouth Plantation” he refers to the “first breaking out of the light of the gospel” in England (326), during the Protestant Reformation.  Bradford was a Puritan who came over to Plymouth on the Mayflower. The hope of this group was to establish a community that would live their new religious convictions. The desire to live apart from the rest of the world established the idea that society could support the individual as he worked toward his salvation. At this time the community imposed the faith on its inhabitants, but if a citizen did not want to conform the land was open to other settlements. Roger Williams was one who disagreed.

Roger Williams felt that taking Indian lands without compensating them was wrong. He also felt that the government should not be the punisher of religious infractions. He left Massachusetts and founded Rhode Island acting on his moral objections. In “A Key into the Language of America” Roger Williams talks about the protection of God when he “had no Guide, No House, No Food, No Company,” (356) and the sweetening that God offered him. He, like many others, desired to convert the local Indian nations and so he began to learn their language. In his translations of Indian dialects he teaches others how to speak of God and to understand the things the Indians believed such as directional Gods, and woman’s God (357). Roger Williams wanted to publish the language key in order that others may also teach the gospel to them (350). Roger Williams, like other Puritans, felt that leading others to the Christian gospel would be doing God’s work which Puritans believed would enhance their own standing before God (Puritans). He established a colony that allowed other faiths to settle in the New World (Puritans).

Later, Mary Rowlandson, wife of a Puritan minister, was taken prisoner in an Indian raid. She wrote a narrative of her experience, an unusual privilege for women. She spoke of her personal conviction that God had intervened to save her own life on many occasions. Mary was captured and taken with her wounded child and forced to walk to the Indians camp. “God was with me” she told, “bearing up my spirit…that I might see more of his Power (446). She began to see how “careless I had been of God’s holy time, how many Sabbaths I had lost and misspent and how evilly I had walked in God’s sight” (447).  She felt God would be justified in casting her off and “cutting the thread” of her life (447). She told of her conviction that the Indians had been preserved to be a scourge and reminder to the settlers of the need for God in their lives (450). Such was the personal view of tragedy in early America.

A prominent minister during the eighteenth century Great Awakening, Jonathon Edwards, found evidence of God in the natural world around him.  To him all of God’s works bore testimony of his reality (648). He talked about the need to have a personal conviction of God and “the endless variety in the particular manner and circumstances in which persons are wrought in the heart” (654).  He taught that God works without “confining himself to certain steps, and a particular method” of dealing with his children (652). This was a break from the tradition of ministers judging whether a persons faith experiences were sufficiently strong to admit them into the congregation. His philosophical and scientific mind did not reject God, but he did reject the idea of predestination, thus preparing the people to later accept that all men could be saved.

In the nineteenth century when many Americans were withdrawing from inflexible faith, Ralph Waldo Emerson also found God in nature. He wrote “in the woods we return to reason and faith” (1584).  He had a personal revelation that he was “a part or particle of God” (1584) as he experienced the beauty of nature around him. He, like Jonathon Edwards, saw God in all his observations of the earth as “the wind sows the seed; the sun evaporates the sea… the rain feeds the plant; the plant feeds the animal” (1585). Nature was Emerson’s cathedral and the place of his personal quest for faith and salvation.

During the Civil War, in Lincoln’s second inaugural address he spoke of God’s judgments upon the nation for the evils of slavery. He was concerned not just for personal salvation but also national salvation. He supposed that slavery was a national offense which God now willed to remove, even if it meant that “all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword” (2080). Clearly Americans felt strongly that personal and national salvation was worth fighting and dying for.

As Lincoln said, America was always concerned with the righteousness of our actions, whether collectively as a nation or privately as individuals. Today we want no one to tell us how that must be achieved, recognizing that the way is individually tailored to each of us. Americans want to be “firm in the right as God gives us to see the right” (Lincoln, 2080). Even today, that is our American ethnicity.


Works Cited

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. “Nature.” Heath Anthology of American Literature Vol B 1800-     1865. Ed. Paul Lauter. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. 1582-1609.


Lincoln, Abraham. “Second Inaugural Address.” Heath Anthology of American Literature Vol B 1800-1865. Ed. Paul Lauter. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. 2079-2080.


Bradford, William.” Of Plymouth Plantation.” Heath Anthology of American Literature Vol A 1800-1865. Ed. Paul Lauter. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. 326-346.


Williams, Roger. “A Key to the Language of America.” Heath Anthology of American Literature Vol A 1800-1865. Ed. Paul Lauter. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. 349-365.


Rowlandson, Mary White. “A Narrative of the Captivity and Restauration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.” Heath Anthology of American Literature Vol A 1800-1865. Ed. Paul Lauter. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006.441-468.


Edwards, Jonathan. “Images of Divine Things.” Heath Anthology of American Literature Vol A 1800-1865. Ed. Paul Lauter. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006.648-649.


Edwards, Jonathan. “A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God”.” Heath Anthology of American Literature Vol A 1800-1865. Ed. Paul Lauter. 5th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006. 651-655.


“Puritans.” Microsoft Encarta, CD-ROM. 2006


In Search of Faith and Liberty

Many motivations and goals drove colonization of the America’s and among the most noble of these was the establishment of religious principles. Several persecuted groups found refuge in building a colony founded on their deeply held religious beliefs. Missionary work was foremost on the minds of those who led the efforts of colonization. The Massachusetts colonies, which were set up with a religious foundation, were influential and long-lasting, while the profit-based colony of Jamestown, Virginia lost influence and was eventually deserted.
The early settlers in Massachusetts were Puritans who had been cruelly persecuted for deviating from the established Church of England. They were granted permission to plant colonies in Plymouth and later Boston and sailed with a vision of establishing a refuge for themselves where they could practice the high ideals they preached. In order to do this, the group wisely set up a system of laws that all inhabitants were obliged to follow. Without these obligations, the untamed land would soon have driven the colony to anarchy.
Not all the passengers of the Mayflower who wanted to disembark at Plymouth were Puritans. The others, whom the Puritans called “strangers,” claimed they “would use their liberty, for none had power to command them” (Bradford).  This alarmed the Puritans, who felt that they would be at the mercy of these lawless men. Once they arrived, the two groups consented to the Mayflower Compact, agreeing to “constitute, and frame such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Offices…as shall be thought… for the general good of the Colony” (Bradford).  The two groups subsequently signed the Compact obliging themselves to live by their own laws framed for the Glory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith” (Bradford).  The group afterwards elected John Carver to be Governor because of his “godly” character. (Bradford).  After coming ashore, the group set up a Constitution remarkably similar to our current U.S. Constitution.
John Winthrop, who later sailed with another group of persecuted Puritans on the Arbella, also wrote about the Christian ideals of a community in “A Modell of Christian Charity” (Winthrop 317). He knew that his colony would be seen by the world as an experiment of a new religion. In the speech, Winthrop compared them to “a city on a hill” and reminded the people that their dealings would be watched and judged. IN week 2 of our class discussions Michael Lipscome said that the speech was “to inspire, and instill in the colonists who were heading to the new world to found the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the importance of their mission.” Winthrop exhorted his people to practice what they preached and to have a society that lived up to the high ideals of Christian goodness and charity. He warned the people that they had entered into a covenant with God to uphold these teachings and that turning away from them would bring failure to their new community. This, in part, explains why the Puritans felt compelled to expel from their community those who changed or challenged Puritan teachings such as Anne Hutchinson.
Shortly after Hutchinson’s trial, Winthrop recorded in his journal a speech given by a deputy Governor about the responsibility of leaders to uphold the people’s God-given liberties.
But if you will be satisfied to enjoy such civil and lawful liberties, such as Christ allows you, then will you quietly and cheerfully submit unto that authority which is set over you…for your good. Wherein, if we fail at any time, we hope we shall be willing (by God’s assistance) to hearken to good advice from any of you, or in other ways of God; so shall your liberties be preserved. (Winthrop 324)
Thus, we can plainly see that the people felt that the liberties they enjoyed came not from man but from God, a fundamental idea of the Declaration of Independence. As a result of this belief in a higher authority than himself, this official offered to listen to the advice of the people if he should fail in his governing duty. This was the result of their belief in a higher law rather than man-made laws.
            In contrast, Jamestown, Virginia was not founded on any particular religious principles. Instead, it was founded by aristocratic gentlemen looking for profit. As a result, it was initially made up mainly of men. The wealthy gentlemen in Jamestown expected the same easy life they led in England while the other men worked and so were surprised when John Smith declared that “he who does not work will not eat” (Winans 257). The lack of family life in the colony caused stagnation at first. They were often engaged in wars with the Indian population resulting in huge loss of life. In 1676, during Bacon’s Rebellion, Jamestown was burned to the ground. It lost its seat of government status in 1699 and was eventually deserted (Encarta).
            While Jamestown did not last, the Massachusetts colonies that were founded on religious principles were able to flourish and multiply. Today, Boston is a major metropolis and Plymouth is a household name. The settlers there put down the religious and political roots that would later blossom into the liberties and freedoms we enjoy today. Even two hundred years later their faith and belief that God was the author of our freedoms, rather than kings or men, was strong. We see it in many American icons. This belief is evident in our money, monuments, national songs, and our Pledge of Allegiance, and is it crucial to understanding our founding documents. While mixing religion with politics is a taboo today, back then it was the justification for all their laws and accomplishments, the moving power of their sacrifices, and the power behind all that happened to them. As evidenced by the explosion of democratic governments around the world today, they did set up a “city on a hill” that would shine the light of faith and liberty to the entire world.

Works Cited
Bradford, William. “Of Plymouth Plantation.” The Heath Anthology of American           Literature Volume A Colonial Period to 1800. Ed Philip Gould. 5th Ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006. 329-330.
"Jamestown (Virginia)." Microsoft® Encarta® 2006 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2005.
Smith, John. “A Description of New England.”  The Heath Anthology of American           Literature Volume A Colonial Period to 1800. Ed  Amy Winans . 5th Ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006. 264
Winans, Amy E. “John Smith (1580-1631).” The Heath Anthology of American           Literature Volume A Colonial Period to 1800. Ed  Amy Winans. 5th Ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006. 324
Winthrop, John. “A Modell of Christian Charity.” The Heath Anthology of American           Literature Volume A Colonial Period to 1800. Ed Nicholas D. Rhombes, Jr. 5th Ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006. 317
Winthrop, John. “The Journal of John Winthrop.” The Heath Anthology of American           Literature Volume A Colonial Period to 1800. Ed   . 5th Ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 2006. 324

Writings of Johathan Edwards

I was struck at the beautiful story of his life that Jonathan Edwards tells. I love to read autobiographies and I feel that this one is the best I have ever read. His purpose in writing this narrative is to tell others in a very personal way about his conversion. It seems that it took a lifetime, as it ought to take. He speaks of learning the gospel and believing it early in his life, but falling away later in his life. Yet, he returns to it in a far deeper way as he matures and sees his uneasiness with his past choices. He begins to feel God in his heart and find the joy that is promised in a very deep and remarkable manner. He feels it repeatedly and in many ways. It is beautiful.
I was also surprised to find that “Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God” was not the fire and damnation that I expected. It is a very reasonable and well laid out explanation of the scripture that opened his mind to the precarious situation of man. While I do not agree with all the doctrine in the sermon, I see that he sincerely felt this to be true. It stands in stark contrast to the very personal tone in his narrative in that it this is a very public tone. He is obviously teaching a principle here, and trying to awaken his congregation to a sense of peril and the need to be truly converted to Jesus Christ.
I feel that these are two excellent examples of Jonathan Edwards public and private thoughts.

Legacy of Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus was a persistent man. He was wrong in his assessment that the world was smaller than then thought, but his persistence and adventurous spirit left a lasting legacy of exploration to last for centuries. Although our textbook states that he believed he had found Asia when he died, another source, The World Almanac Encyclopedia cites his journal from the third voyage as saying he had found a new world. “At the mouth of the Orinoco River he led a party ashore. In his logbook he wrote that he had found a "New World," unknown as yet to Europeans.”
Columbus established colonies on every voyage he led. While none of them survived he led the way in showing that the land was desirable and full of trade resources that the Europeans wanted. Columbus also revolutionized cartography. He explored the Caribbean and contributed to the understanding of the true makeup of our Earth. Columbus was the first to do another act that later became popular among Europeans, that is to convert the natives to Christianity. It was truly a clash of civilizations when the Europeans met the natives of these lands. Unfortunately they did not try to befriend them, preferring instead to dominate them. This was a struggle for all the nations who later tried to claim the lands Columbus discovered.
I am truly in awe of Christopher Columbus’ amazing spirit of exploration. If he had not been so persistent who knows when these wonderful lands we call home would have ever been discovered. I believe that he was inspired by God.

Who were Provincial Americans? Why here?

There were many reasons that English colonist came to America. The most common seemed to be to make a profit from the new land. Embedded in that desire, was the opportunity to create a better life and future. Some of the economic reasons were searching for gold and precious metals, growing crops like cotton and tobacco, and land for farming and raising livestock. Religion was also a common reason for leaving England. England was governed with a state religion to which all must belong. Groups such as the Puritans were looking for a place to carry out their ideals of a righteous society. Many people came as laborers to work the plantations as either indentured servants or slaves. Others came to teach Christianity to the Indians. All were staking out territory for their sovereigns in whatever country held that piece of land. Many colonies were founded to increase the trade with England. The English outlawed trade with other nations so they needed somewhere to expand in order to get the products they needed.
All of the descendants of these original English transplants were living in colonies with distinct cultures and characteristics. They were the provincial Americans who would create a foundation for the American Revolution. Many of these families were doing the huge job of settling new communities and colonies without the basic tools that Europeans and British people took for granted. Plows, guns, pots and kettles, and even sometimes candles were very hard to get. They learned to survive without them. They did a marvelously difficult job at it too. They learned to be self-sufficient and enterprising in getting the hard work done. Laborers were more valuable in America because there were so few. Women were also in short supply for a long time. Families began to develop slowly since the mortality rate suffered from the hardships. Many settlers bartered since there was no established currency. The British crown officially ruled the settlers, but the colonies had their own governments established as well. They became accustomed to the self rule and lack of meddling in their affairs which led to problems later when the Crown tried to assert itself, resulting in the American Revolution.
To be sure there were many lessons learned from mistakes made along the way. Relations with the Indians were a major obstacle to the settlers. I have ancestors from the early American colonies and I am so proud of them. I am in awe of all they did.

Global Warming? New Data Shows Ice Is Back

If global warming gets any worse we'll all freeze to death!
Read Newsmax Feb 18th 2008 story by clicking on title.


Great post by Cocoa!

A friend of mine wrote this about women trying to do so much and make things more complicated than they need to be. She refocuses us on just giving love, pure and simple.


Doubt or Faith? That is the question...

Remember that faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other. Cast out doubt. Cultivate faith.

President Thomas S. Monson, “The Call to Serve,” Ensign,
Nov. 2000, 48-49

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