Sunday, July 12, 2020

The Best Books We Read This Month at Book Riot

The Best Books We Read This Month at Book Riot  Every month, we ask Riot contributors to share their favorite reads from the last 30 days. These picks are old and new and yet-to-be-released, and span all genres, so there’s something for everyone! Take a look: Between the Wars: 1919-1939 by Philip Ziegler (MacLehose Press, March 2017) In a STRANGELY PRESCIENT book, Ziegler examines how the world went from “never again” to “oh I see it’s happening again but worse” in a 20 year span. Between the Wars comprises a series of short essays, each concerning an event from the years in question and ranging from Hitler’s rise to power to Picasso’s Guernica to the Chaco War and Gandhi’s Salt March. I came away from this feeling like I had something more of a glimpse into the world “between the wars,” and one that truly made them feel like World Wars instead of “England vs. Germany,” and so on. Ziegler tries to make his book global, or at the very least clue us into how more of the world was involved in these conflicts than popular culture might show us. Alice Burton Bone Gap by Laura Ruby This one took me by surprise. I had put it on my Overdrive wishlist a while ago, so didn’t really remember what it was about. It starts out like a pretty straightforward missing-girl-in-a-small-town YA mystery, but goes in places I never expected. I don’t know what to say without giving things away, but I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something a little bit different in Young Adult. Sarah Nicolas The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch (Harper, April 2017) Joan is a mythical creature who is also extremely real and human in this masterful reimagining of a Joan of Arc savior fit for modern times. In a future world (not very far in the future, mind you), earth’s wealthiest humans have ascended literally. They live on a space station that is running out of ways to sustain itself, and since sexual organs have shriveled and died, the ability to procreate is also off the table. In that world, a woman named Joan is believed to have been killed branded an eco-terrorist by the ruling megalomaniac who watches over the space station, Joan was a freedom fighter for none other than Mother Earth. Told with Yuknavitch’s incredible imagination and attention to language, this book floored me. Ilana Masad Braced by Alyson Gerber Its about time we got a modern scoliosis story. (Sorry, Judy Blume. I love you and Deenie, but times have changed.) Rachel Brooks just started seventh grade and has to wear a back brace. As she figures out how to function with a big, awkward turtle shell, she also deals with normal teenage things like friends and boys and soccer and dances. And bullying. Her mom went through the same thing at her age â€" and had surgery for it â€" and the Youre so lucky; I had it so much worse grates on Rachel. The brace makes common things more difficult, but it also helps her deal with her problems head-on. Just because her torso is in a shell doesnt mean the rest of her needs to be covered up. She stands up for herself and kicks ass on the soccer field.  Braced brought back so many memories I didnt know were still locked away in my brain about my time as a 13-year-old with new metal in her spine and a plaster brace to keep her safe. Its the perfect portrayal of this twisty-turny time so many teen age girls go through. Ashley Holstrom Century of Struggle: The Woman’s Rights Movement in the United States by Eleanor Flexner Oh my gosh, so much I didn’t know! Why is the suffrage movement not taught in U.S. History classes?! I picked this out to read because my new idea for a novel takes place in the later years of the suffrage movement, and I knew I needed to research the time period. While I was familiar with the Seneca Falls convention (notably, several people I’ve talked to about this book had never heard of it!), I was completely ignorant about the vast majority of suffrage history. So many awesome women, and so many horrifyingly misogynistic trials to overcome. Flexner does an awesome job at research. If you’re worried about inclusivity, Flexner does address black women’s contribution to women’s suffrage, and also the racism that occurred within the movement. This is a must-read for anyone interested in learning more about the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. Margaret Kingsbury Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas I wasnt sure what to expect from this book. The previous installment in the series, Marrying Winterborne, made me feel like I was watching paint dry, and bringing back the descendants of one of Kleypas most memorable heroes (Sebastian from Devil in Winter) seemed like maybe she was grasping at straws. After an irritating opening scene, however, I was thrilled to realize Kleypas was back to form with this book. The true star of the story is Lady Pandora, a quirky board game inventor with no interest in marriage. Gabriel, her suitor, is a bit 2-dimensional, but he is swoony and he and Pandora have fantastic chemistry. Not to mention there are some truly delightful secondary characters, in particular Pandoras footman/bodyguard, Dragon. I love Dragon!! Kleypas historical research is, as ever, top notch, and I appreciate that she populates her books with people of all classes, both men and women. If youre looking for an escapist, romantic story you can sink your teeth into, Devil in Sprin g is it. Tasha Brandstatter The Diviners by Libba Bray I picked this audiobook on a whim, but it turned out to be a delightful surprise! The story takes place in the mid 1920s and centers around seventeen-year-old Evie O’Neill, who has been exiled from her Ohio hometown and sent to live with her eccentric uncle in New York City. But what Evie doesn’t tell anyone is that she has a psychic gift a gift that ultimately ended up causing major trouble for her in Ohio.  Soon after Evie arrives in New York, however, a terrifying (and possibly supernatural) serial killer starts picking off people in a series of ritualistic murders. Evie believes that she might be able to use her special gift to help solve these murders, but doesn’t know how to tell her uncle.  Even worse, what if he doesn’t believe her?  This book satisfied a reading need I didn’t know I had it’s a rich, multi-layered YA historical supernatural mystery with interesting, diverse characters and a serious creepy factor.  Plus, the amount of historical detail in the story makes you feel like you’ve really been transported back to the Roaring 20s.  I can’t wait to start the sequel and find out what happens to the rest of the characters! Katie McLain The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin After seeing the documentary, I Am Not Your Negro, I knew I had to get my hands on Baldwin’s work. I began with this short book, composed of a letter to his nephew and a longer essay, that deals head-on with the “racial nightmare” of the United States (to use Baldwin’s own words). The author describes the suffocating Harlem of his youth, his disappointment with trying to find salvation through religion and his own conflicting feelings about Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad. The book is vital, not because of its description of the Civil Rights era, but because Baldwin’s analysis of race relations can so easily be applied to the present. A sobering thought, indeed.   Ines Bellina The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill I’m not surprised this won the Newbery, because it is absolutely stunning. Told in a wonderfully mystical narrative, this book is sure to join the ranks of enduring middle grade classics. The story centers around a long held tradition in the Protectorate, that every year the youngest child must be sacrificed to appease the witch in the forest. But right away the reader finds out the the witch, named Xan, is actually kind and makes the yearly trek to the Protectorate to save the babies from dying alone. One day, Xan picks up a baby girl and instead of feeding her starlight she feeds her moonlight, which imbues the child with incredible powers. What follows is an intricate cast of characters that are all affected by Luna, the girl who drank the moon. I loved every word in this book, and I look forward to reading it again and again and again. Karina Glaser Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach (OneWorld Publications) Did you know that the human infant enters the world without information on what is edible and what is not, and until they are around the age of two, you can get them to eat almost anything? Or that saliva could be used to pretreat food stains because of the enzymes it contains (the same enzymes are artificially manufactured for laundry detergents)? Or that one of the reasons we like crunchy foods might be because we have a destructive nature and derive pleasure from destroying things? Mary Roach is a popular science writer, and her books are accessible and hilarious. Gulp is about food, eating, and the human body: the journey food goes from the moment it passes our lips to the moment it exits our bodies. An interesting and informative book that had me laughing out loud as I read. Don’t skip the footnotes. Jen Sherman The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray) Hearing about the book hitting #1 on the NYT bestseller list was a pretty darn good reminder to check it out. I read it over the span of a few days, and had a hard time putting it down. The Hate U Give handles quite a few issues with nuance and incredible storytelling the one thats at the forefront being, of course, police brutality and Black Lives Matter. Now that Ive finished the book, I want to get down to reading reviews and discussions of it theres plot developments that Im definitely curious about in regards to peoples thoughts and reactions. And I cant wait for the spin-off sequel! Jessica Yang Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy (FSG) If your index finger and your middle finger are the same length, you’re probably a werewolf. Hemlock Grove is a town full of secrets. Someone-or something-has been murdering young girls. Peter thinks it’s Roman. Roman thinks it’s Peter. An unlikely friendship between a vampire and a werewolf draws all kinds of negative attention in a small town. You’d better stick to your curfew in this place, because there’s a high likelihood of being devoured. McGreevy’s characterizations and luminescent sentences are like something out of a dream world. This is  a gorgeous literary horror novel with an excellent sense of humor. You may be familiar with the Netflix series of the same name. Turns out McGreevy wrote the TV version as well, and it’s deliciously close to the novel. I highly recommend reading the book and then binging on the TV show. Just as long as you’re not binging on human flesh. Jan Rosenberg Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi This multigenerational epic has already gotten lots of attention, and it deserves every bit of it. Gyasi’s debut novel begins with two half-sisters in 18th-century Ghana, strangers to each other. Effia marries a white man, and Esi is enslaved and taken to America. The novel follows the children of these two women through the generations, alternating between Africa and America. As we meet each new descendent, we see how the legacy of slavery plays out across history, both for the enslaved and for those complicit in the slave trade. Each chapter reads like a single short story, but the forward momentum across time gives the book a novelistic feeling. I adored this book, finding it illuminating, heart-breaking, and beautiful to read. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Teresa Preston Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders What a weird book! I’ve seen others describing it by saying that Saunders has essentially invented a new form and I don’t think that’s incorrect. The story is essentially that of a group of . . . ghosts? Non-alive people? Including President Lincoln’s recently deceased Willie? Hanging out in a cemetery basically in purgatory (bardo) and sort of talking to each other? Every sentence I want to write about this book ends in a question mark because reading it was such a weird experience. A few pages into it, I kept thinking, “Who are these people? What is going on?” because it’s just dialogue with the name of the person talking written after what they were saying but who are these people and also what is going on? And then I got to the chapters that were short excerpt after short excerpt of actual news reports, biographies, etc. from the time in which the story took place? All I can say is that by the time I was 50 pages in I’d stopped thinking, “What is going on?!” a nd just accepted that I had no choice but to sit back and let this book do what it was going to do to me. Tracy Shapley The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather ONeill, Julia Whelan (narrator) O’Neill has created a fantastical feeling in The Lonely Hearts Hotel that combined with the imaginative writingand Whelan’s narrationmade me feel as if a vintage movie was playing in my brain. It was all so vivid I wanted to reach my hand out and run away with Roseor join the circus. It was so beautifully written it cushioned the heartbreak of Rose and Pierrot’s lives: two childrenwho are quirky and gifted and creative and in love growing up in a Montreal Orphanage in early 1900s and their subsequent teen and young adult lives. This will certainly be one of the best novels of 2017. Jamie Canaves The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson This was my Book of the Month pick a while back, and it was a great one! It was an exploration of the butterfly effect in a high school context the eponymous dangerous place and so insightful as to the minds, emotions, and motivations of teenagers. The voice, subtly different for each character whose story it explored, was a joy to read. And it made me supremely glad Im not at high school anymore.  Claire Handscombe The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit This was my first experience reading Rebecca Solnit. I was deeply impressed with the lyricism of her writing and the depth of her thinking. The Mother of All Questions is a collection of twelve feminist essays covering topics as diverse as motherhood, anthropology, literature, film, and sexual assault. While there is some overlap between essays, I generally found this collection to be insightful and thought-provoking. Kate Scott The Mothers by Brit Bennett I don’t even know what to say about this book. It made me feel all the things. It’s about three peopleâ€"Nadia, Luke, and Aubreyâ€"but mostly Nadia. It’s about how our choices affect us, and how our secrets can define us if we let them. It’s about growing up in a tight knit community, and the pressures and the judgements that can go along with that. It’s about how grief and pain mess us up and what can happen when we try to leave it behind. The Mothers is my favourite kind of bookâ€"a story about people, about life. It’s so beautiful and poignant in its exploration of humanity in the microcosm that are these characters. I absolutely devoured this book. Beth O’Brien Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books) Fans of  The Three-Body Problem, old-fashioned military sci-fi, and/or books about raging high-level conspiracies, this is your jam. Kel Charis is a disgraced military captain who is given the opportunity to redeem herself by recapturing a fortress over-run by mathematical heretics. But to do so, she has to attach her consciousness to a mass-murdering psychopath who is also a little undead, maybe? Add some cute robot servants and heart-pounding space battles and youve got yourself a good time. Unless youre dying in the space battles. Amanda Nelson Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (Swoon Reads) Swoon is right. First of all, this whole book takes place at a convention! The protagonists are diverse (one is a fat, geeky, anxious aspie girl and one is a Chinese-Australian bisexual girl) and they both have adorable love stories. There’s a romance between two female vloggers who are both women of colour and both fans of each other’s! Oh, and it’s funny and geeky and heartwarming. This was just lovely. Danika Ellis Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett (Tin House Books) Hartnett’s novel is kind of like when a lone cloud drifts in front of the sun for a few minutes during a day at the beach. The atmosphere is warm and vibrant, but there’s a looming reminder of how quickly our fragile environments can be overcast. Delight and dolefulness collide in Rabbit Cake, and it leaves one overwhelmed by the simple beauty of the novel’s spectrum of emotion. Elvis Babbitt, a ten-year-old girl who’s just lost her mother due to the hazards of sleepwalking, is likely the most memorable narrator I’ve encountered in the past year. The dysfunction of Elvis’s family following her mother’s death is at times whimsical, tragic, and untamed, but what makes Hartnett’s novel a standout is the way it finds absurdity in the quotidian. Rabbit Cake examines how families whether human or zoo animal function in the face of chaos, cohabitate in moments both mundane and extraordinary, and change course in times of trauma. -Aram Mrjoian The Redemption of Galen Pike: Short Stories by Carys Davies (April 11, Biblioasis) This is a slim collection of stories but oh it be mighty! Each story is a gem, a wildly imaginative look at the hardships and beauty of life. Davies infuses each interesting tale with raw emotion and observations as her characters grapple with the unpredictability of the world. A man shares a story with Queen Victoria; a teenage girl runs away from home; a woman has a visit from her new neighbor; a famous writer gets a new bonnet. No matter what the tale, this collection is filled with unique visions of loss and pain, but also filled with surprises and humor. My favorite story is the title story, about a kindly Quaker woman who visits a doomed prisoner in a Colorado jail. I cheered at the end of that story, but I sighed at the end of the book, for it was over much too soon. Can’t wait to see what Davies does next. Liberty Hardy Replica by Lauren Oliver Picked this up as part of an exploration of alternative POV books for reference as I write a two-sister POV project of my own, and it was lovely and inspiring. It opens in an intense sci-fi world, with the story of Lyra, a replica. Then it switches to the perspective of everyday teen Gemma, and you realize that sci-fi world is this world. Definitely recommend a print copy of this one, because you read each girl’s story from different ends of the book, and you can go right through one or the other, or alternate chapters between the two. Emily Wenstrom Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta I moved earlier this month and didn’t have the brain capacity for anything other than a plot-driven mystery novel. This book is exactly the kind of page-turner that’s perfect for when you want to read but don’t want to have to meditate on the meaninglessness of life (lookin’ at you, literary fiction). This book had so much that I just adore: teenagers with real, nuanced inner lives; diversity in the characters (in a lot of ways); no guns; complicated families with secrets and histories. I listened to it on audio and it felt like having a British friend tell me about his (admittedly, really terrible) day, so that was a bonus too. Ashley Bowen-Murphy Want by Cindy Pon (Simon Pulse, June 2017) I’m sorry, Book Rioters. But you are going to be hearing from me a lot when it comes to this book. The ARC Gods were kind enough to deliver me a copy of Cindy Pon’s latest YA novel, and my goodness, is it ever a treat. Set in a future Taipei where pollution leaves a majority of the population dying incredibly young, while the wealthy elite live and flourish in environmental suits, it’s the dream of every reader who has a Blade Runner sized hole in their heart. Readers meet Jason, a teen who infiltrates the affluent high society to change things from the inside… as it’s the large corporations who are profiting off of the pollution while producing the suits only the rich can afford. It’s an absolutely thrilling sci-fi story that’s Red Rising meets Blade Runner, set in a vividly imagined world of secrets, betrayal, and stunning, futuristic technology. Watch out for this book. Eric Smith We Are Okay by Nina LaCour This nonlinear story of family, friendship, and grief is sparse and beautifully paced. After a tragedy, Marin leaves for college across the country weeks early and ceases contact with everyone from her old life. Now, her best friend is flying from California to New York to see her during winter break. The unravelling information about the nature of their friendship and the hardships Marin’s endured kept me enraptured. Reading this book was like a workout for my emotions. Alison Doherty   You Can’t Touch My Hair by Phoebe Robinson This book had been on my radar since before it published in October of last year. A collection of personal essays that tackle issues of race and identity, it gave me a glimpse of racism as it is experienced by marginalized populations, in much the same way Claudia Rankine’s Citizen did. Except that, where Citizen was lyrical, a breathtaking work of prose poetry, Robinson’s book is knock-you-on-your-ass hysterical. Which makes sense, considering that Robinson is a stand-up comic with a resume that includes Late Night With Seth Meyers, Broad City, and her WNYC podcast 2 Dope Queens. I feel grateful that she has so much out there that I can still explore. Steph Auteri

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Financial analysis and risk management of Kingfisher Plc Free Essay Example, 2500 words

Financial trend analysis The financial trend analysis has been done on last five years, which is 2010-2014. The ratios included in the analysis are liquidity ratio, performance ratio and efficiency ratio. For calculation, refer to the excel sheet. The data related to financial statements have been collected from the company website (Kingfisher, 2011; Kingfisher, 2012; Kingfisher, 2014c). Table 1 (Source: Author’s creation) Liquidity ratio The liquidity ratio measures a firm’s ability to meet its short-term obligations. These obligations are generally met within a year’s time. One of the important liquidity ratios is the current ratio. The current ratio, which is also known as working capital ratio, helps in determining company’s capabilities to pay-off the liabilities, if and when they are due with the current assets. The accepted standard of current ratio is 1. In Kingfisher Plc, current ratio has been calculated for last five years and represented graphically in figure 1. Figure 1 (Source: Author’s creation) The current ratio trend of Kingfisher Plc shows that working capital position has been quite stable and has increased consistently 2012 onwards. It was further observed that the firm had negative working capital during 2010, 2011 and 2012.We will write a custom essay sample on Financial analysis and risk management of Kingfisher Plc or any topic specifically for you Only $17.96 $11.86/page

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Essay on The Process of Obtaining a Home Mortgage

To begin this executive summary, we first look at the issue of research. In our semester project we are discussing the steps one would take in order to get a home mortgage. The reason we have chosen to do this project is to see how one goes about not only becoming approved for a loan but also how to service your mortgage and keep it up to par. The sources that we used in obtaining this information were sources that were able to help educate us on home mortgage and also help us further understand the entire process. The web-site www.mortgage-x.com was to me the most useful in our research. This site provided thousands of articles on the issue, a glossary and dictionary to help us in our search, and also provided a number of links†¦show more content†¦As soon as the closing of the mortgage is complete, the mortgage is put on the books at the financial institution and they begin to service the mortgage. In the mean time the borrower begins to make monthly payments to the financial institution to pay back the mortgage amount. The third and final main finding that we came across was the sale of the mortgage in the secondary market. The financial institution may sell the mortgage to another institution in the secondary market. The primary business of these secondary markets is servicing mortgages. Examples of these secondary markets are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. When servicing is sold the secondary market investor will begin to take your payments. If the financial institution intends to sell your mortgage they are required to give the borrower a mortgage service disclosure statement. The sale of the mortgage does not affect the terms of the mortgage at all. At this point the borrower will only deal with the secondary market institution. At this time we cannot really give a specific recommendation for action. The reason for this is the action one would take in getting a home mortgage would all depend on the size of the mortgage and whom they would want to deal with. Mainly, a person needs to find a financial institution that he/she is comfortable dealing with. Table of Contents 1) Introduction 1 2) Obtaining a Mortgage 1 A) Approaching theShow MoreRelatedBuying A Home Right Away798 Words   |  4 Pagesare looking to purchase a home right away or you will not be ready to buy one for several years, if you have not already started, now is time to start preparing financially to buy a home. To aid you in the process of preparing financially for your home purchase, we would like to offer five financial tips. Build Strong Credit It is important to know that your credit score will affect your mortgage rate. A low score will make it hard and sometimes impossible to buy a home. Checking your credit scoreRead MoreHome Loan Essay945 Words   |  4 Pages5 Steps - How to Pre-qualify for a Home Loan There is usually no best time to buy a new house. However, there might be wrong times, especially when the rates are on the higher side. The interest rate is one of the major components to be considered when buying a home. This is so as it determines the cost of the home. Therefore, it is not particularly advised that you wait for a period when the interest rates will be at their lowest. This is so as the factors that determine the interest rates are notRead MoreEssay On Buying A New Home806 Words   |  4 PagesFamilies who are getting ready to buy their first home are sure to be bombarded with advice on how to go about purchasing it. With so much advice, it may be hard to know exactly how to get started with financing a first home. Having a step-by-step guide can help first-time home buyers through this process. 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The mortgage market is the single largest market for the consumer of financial products and the services in the United States, with approximately $10.4 trillion in loans outstanding. Since last decade, market went through an unprecedented cycle of the expansion and the contraction that was fuelled in the part by securitization of mortgages and the creation of increasinglyRead MoreSales Process For Real Estate Transactions1522 Words   |  7 PagesSales Process for Real Estate Transaction The real estate agents have the duty and the responsibility to represent clients throughout the sales process. Agents plays significant roles such as managing lists of contacts, advising clients on mortgages, pricing and market conditions, guiding buyers and sellers through the transaction process, generating lists of appropriate properties for buyers, mediating negotiations between sellers and buyers among others. In this paper, we focus on the sales processRead MoreSubprime and Adjustable Mortgages1156 Words   |  5 PagesSometimes, when people buy a home for first time, they usually get subprime mortgage rates. Lenders grant these types of rates are to borrowers whom their credit history is not sufficient to get a typical mortgage. Sometimes, these borrowers have bad or even insufficient credit history. Subprime mortgages regularly offer loans that are interest only. These loans, that are â€Å"interest-only,† are easier for buyers to afford. When you get one of these l oans, the lender does not require you to pay any

Around the Tables Around the Globe free essay sample

Boiled brains dangled from sticks, congealed blood floated like Jell-O in thick red fluid, gouged eyeballs and severed feet laid about. No, this isn’t a torture scene or even that of a reality TV show, but merely the contents of dinner tables I have shared. Food goes much deeper than just the nutrients it provides; it goes to the very fiber of a culture itself. The appreciation of local delicacies, the sharing of stories around the table, and the traditional preparation of the common meal all serve as windows into the very heart of any society. One such evening began as we were seated at a round table overlooking the busy city. In the middle was a giant pot; much like something you would see at a fondue restaurant. Our hostess, dressed in her kimono, brought out a hot teapot and began to pour thick red pig’s blood into the pot. We will write a custom essay sample on Around the Tables Around the Globe or any similar topic specifically for you Do Not WasteYour Time HIRE WRITER Only 13.90 / page The liquid began to boil and emit a stomach wrenching smell. Plates of chicken feet, unknown animal stomachs, three-foot long intestines, and fresh slippery brains were proudly placed before us. We stabbed the mystery meat with our chopsticks and plunged them into the boiling blood. Since we barely knew a word of Chinese, we smiled weakly as we apprehensively loaded our plates with our now rubberized meats. We quickly gulped down the slimy substance and were now ready to dig in – not only into the food but also into the culture itself. The ability that I now have to control my gag reflex has given me the chance to do much more than just say I have eaten eyeballs. I have had the opportunity to sit in kitchens around the world and learn from people, to listen to the stories about their lives, their triumphs and their difficulties. Gathering around the dinner table, whether it is in the boroughs of New York or on the floor of a hut in Kenya, a meal is a time that allows us to relate to one another and uncover our commonalities, as well as appreciate our differences. Through these experiences the one constant that flows through all of my encounters is my treasured trips into the kitchens where meals are prepared with utmost pride. When I left my table in Nairobi and found my way to the separate cooking hut, I walked into a joyful cooking lesson unlike anything found on Food Network. Fifteen women, who were dressed in brightly colored fabrics, circled a fire pit in the floor and filled the hut with sounds of robust laughter and rhythmic singing. They welcomed me into their circle and proudly showed me the ways to prepare their favorite dishes. Before I knew it, I was eating hot mandazis fresh off the fire and learning how to make their beloved African chai. For the brief time that I joined in the laughter and dance, there was no barrier of culture or race. I was one of them. My passion to study international cultures has been fueled by my opportunity to travel to several different countries around the world. No matter where I go in life, I will always carry a piece of these cultures inside of me. My quiet, modest hostess in India, who humbly taught me to make dal, lives in my heart alongside the stout Sicilian woman who exuberantly hugged my head to her bosom as she insisted I accept her homemade gelato. In my quest to get to know the peoples of the world, I believe the best place to start is in the kitchens around the tables around the globe.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Nuture in Robert Frosts Poetry free essay sample

Robert Frosts Departure from and Return to Nature ? ? . , , , : ; ; ; ; ; ; ABSTRACT Through the analysis of some of Robert Frost’s poems, this paper tries to reveal Frost’s unique concept of nature, which differs greatly from that of Wordsworth’s and Emerson’s. His attitude toward nature is between love and horror, departure and return. The contradiction between the desire to widen the life circle and the decision to live wisely in the real world is reflected in most of Frost’s poetry. Then the thesis concentrates on the study of the causes of Frost’s unique attitude toward nature from three aspects: social transformation, cultural permeating as well as personal traits. Keywords: concept of nature; love; horror; departure; return Robert Frosts Departure from and Return to Nature Introduction Robert Frost was one of the greatest poets in America in the 20th century. Long before his death at eighty-nine, Frost attained an enviable position as unofficial Poet Laureate for the nation, receiving the Pulitzer Prize four times and was the only poet ever invited to read one of his poems (The Gift Outright) at the Presidential Inauguration?. We will write a custom essay sample on Nuture in Robert Frosts Poetry or any similar topic specifically for you Do Not WasteYour Time HIRE WRITER Only 13.90 / page As for his poetry,Frost employed the plain speech of rural New Englanders and preferred the short, traditional forms of lyric and narrative to describe the simple, nice scenery of rural New England. Just as most of Frost’s poetry set New England s the background, he was often regarded by some critics as a regional poet. But as a matter of fact, New England in Frost’s poetry is far more than a small rural region, but a microcosm of the whole country. Also the natural scenery in New England described in the poetry is also far more than just the picturesque view, but endowed with many metaphorical meanings. It may be the symbol of another world as opposed to the real society, or may represent the myth unknown to the human being, etc. By describing the relationship between the New Englanders and nature there, Frost contemplates on the issues concerning the modern society such as the relationship between man and the real world; the relationship between man and nature as well as the relationship between man and man. Frost reveals the contradictions in the real society, and the confusion, helplessness as well as loneliness of people. We can safely conclude that if one understands Frosts attitude toward nature rightly, then he can grasp the meaning of most of Frosts poetry perfectly. As most of Frost’s poetry set the rural New England as the background, describing the natural scenery, emphasizing the beauty and simplicity of the country life, he is widely recognized as a pastoral poet. Critics usually focus their attention on his attitude toward nature, and compare him with the English romantic poet William Wordsworth and the representative of the American Transcendentalism Emerson on their concepts of nature. In this thesis, the writer will try to make clear Frosts unique concept of nature, and point out the differences of Frosts concept of nature from that of William Wordsworths and Emersons. Frosts attitude toward nature is between love and horror, departure and return. The contradiction between the desire to widen the life circle and the decision to live wisely in the real world is reflected in most of Frosts poems, while Wordsworth and Emerson show deep love for nature, emphasizing the natures role in consoling and protecting the soul of human being. Furthermore this essay mainly concentrates on probing the causes of Frosts concept of nature from social, cultural and personal aspects. In this way the readers can have a clearer idea of the significance of the natural scenery in Frosts poetry, and by extension understand better Frosts attitude toward the whole universe. I Frosts Concept of Nature Frost has so often written about the rural landscape and wildlife that one can hardly avoid thinking of him as a nature poet. As the beautiful natural scenery frequently shows up in Frosts poetry, most people take Frosts poetry as they take Wordsworths. Yet nature in Frosts eyes is a little bit more complex, as there is an apparent bleakness in his landscape in spite of the bright side of it. Most of Frosts poetry is very simple both in language and style, but it does not mean that the meanings of the poetry are skin-deep. If his poetry is analyzed in depth, one will find that his poetry are not the simple description of nature and the rural life, but contain rich meaning in terms of the relationship between man and nature, between man and the real world, between man and man. New England in Frosts poetry is far more than a small rural region, but a microcosm of the whole country. The natural scenery in New England described in the poetry is also far more than just the picturesque view, but endowed with rich metaphorical meaning. His view of nature is quite complex. To sum up, he has a love-hate attitude toward nature. His complicated feeling toward nature is reflected in most of his poems. He loves nature. Also he is afraid of nature. Though he wants to escape from the real world to an imaginative wonderland free of secular desires and worry, he wants to live wisely in the real world. There is the contradictory feeling underneath the simple language. In one of Frosts most widely anthologized poems Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, readers can sense his complicated feeling easily. Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farm house near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. ? It is extraordinarily cold in the woods as it has a heavy snow, and the wind is cold and freezing. But the speaker feels the wind as easy, and the flake as downy: â€Å" easy wind and downy flake†, from which we can conclude that Frost feels a strong love for nature, despite the bad weather condition. Also as Frost refers to the woods, he uses the adjectives â€Å"lovely†, â€Å"deep†. The woods is very tranquil at that dark winter evening, so that it is like a quiet wonderland that attracts the human being, and bears with it rich myth for man to explore. But at the same time Frost expresses his horror of nature, as he writes that â€Å"Between the woods and frozen lake/ The darkest evening of the year†, â€Å"The woods are (lovely), dark and (deep)† . Though dark gives the woods quietness, but at the same time arouses the horror of the poet. Usually dark is used to indicate something frightening, because when it is dark, one cannot see what is there, and nothing is more frightening than the unknown, than imagine what might be there. Thus the dark in the woods may symbolizes that man is alienated from nature. The remoteness of nature reveals the tragedy of mans isolation and his weakness in the face of vast, impersonal forces. Nature is beautiful, pure and simple, and this beauty and tranquility make it a wonderland that attracts human beings to stay and to enjoy. But as for the unknown aspect, nature is too deep and vast for man to know, the great unrivaled force makes people horrified. The two opposite sides of nature are analogous to those in the real society: the physical needs: food, shelter, interpersonal relationship in the real world drag people in, but on the other hand, the hardships, chaos and cruelty make it a hell which compels people to escape. The speaker in the poem, on the one hand, wants to stay in that beautiful wonderland so as to have a good rest without the bother of the duties in the real world; on the other hand, he is horrified by the unknown and uthlessness in the natural world and meanwhile summoned in consciousness by the responsibilities left unfulfilled in the real world. In the end he is pulled back to reality. The three lines But I have promises to keep. / And miles to go before I sleep, / And miles to go before I sleep. indicate the disappointment on leaving the woods. Man can never find a home in nature, nor can he live outside of it. Encounters with nature are not always contemplative or symbolic. Frost sometimes just shows nature as it is without adding any metaphorical meanings. In the poem â€Å"Storm Fear†, Frost describes nature as a powerful, destructive force that causes fear in a storm night. When the wind works against us in the dark, And pelts with snow The lower chamber window on the east, And whispers with a sort of stifled bark, The beast, ‘Come out! Come out! ’ It costs no inward struggle not to go, Ah, no! I count our strength, Two and a child, Those of us not asleep subdued to mark How the cold creeps as the fire dies at length, How drifts are piled, Dooryard and road ungraded, Till even the comforting barn grows far away, And my heart owns a doubt Whether ‘tis in us to arise with day And save ourselves unaided.? In the above poem the speaker encountering nature is not just fearing what it may represent, nor reading storm for its significance; rather he expresses genuine fear of the annihilation prompted by actual circumstancesa nature unleashing dangerous and untamed forces that have the power to destroy him and that, consequently, dramatize his helplessness and render him subdued and fearful. Nature in this poem is quite hostile to the human beings, which compels them even into the fortresses they have built against it. The wind whispers, barks, and creeps. The ‘pelting’ snow adds to the visual image of the destructive nature that even doors and windows cannot shut out. As the fire dies out, the cold advances inside. The strength of the house as physical protection against the cold, and home as spiritual protectiontwo and a child, love and familyseem increasingly inadequate. The fear of the powerful nature is the one that antedates buildings and institutions. We are in the grip of a primitive, elemental fearback in a world in which fire gave temporary security against the cold and the dark and frightened away the beastsuntil it went out.? From this we can clearly know that Frost is afraid of nature, especially its destructive power. In the presence of the powerful nature, man is like the ants with little strength to compete with. However, the best state of life is also displayed in one of Frosts best poems Birches. Id like to go by climbing a birch tree, And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again. That would be good both going and coming back.? It seems that the speaker enjoys a good time in climbing a birch tree as if in heaven. But the last line† That would be good both going and coming back. † reveals the speaker’s best desire. Surely the ideal state of living lies not in going but in going and coming back. Then why does Frost consider going and coming back the best? The real society is not orderly, and the hardships people undergo make them want to escape to another world free of secular desire and worries. The natural world just meets the needs of human being with its purity, innocence and beauty, which could console the tired body and disturbed soul of human being. So man needs to live in the imaginative wonderland located in nature. On the other hand, man needs to live wisely in the real world as it is the best place to live, where there are physical needs and advanced technology which could improve the material life of people. What’s more, people have to undertake all the responsibilities in the real society, while the natural world could never provide the material things indispensable for human being, and nature could be very dangerous as it is inhuman and remote, also with measureless, unconquerable force. So the ideal state of life should be living in the harmony of reality and imagination. As most of Frosts poems give large space to the description of natural scenery, many critics compare him with William Wordsworth on their concepts of nature. William Wordsworth is a leader of the Romantic Movement in England (1798-1832). As all the romantic poets at that time had a deep interest in nature, not as a centre of beautiful scene but as an informing and spiritual influence on life. Wordsworth also focused his attention on nature.? As in most of his poems he showed deep love for nature. And the theme of Wordsworths poetry is the spirit immanent in nature and man. He constantly emphasizes the union of mind and external reality and expresses this union most often through suggesting a blending of thought and landscape and portraying the subtle affinities between the natural scene and the moral sentiments. In Wordsworth’s opinion, nature is the embodiment of the Divine SpiritGod and Universe are identical, that is, God is everything and everything is God. For example, in one of his famous poems I wandered lonely as a cloud†, Wordsworth describes the daffodils he came across in a valley. †¦ Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, †¦ Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company: I gazedand gazedbut little thought What wealth the show to me had brought: For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.? The first two stanzas show Wordsworth’s love for the beautiful daffodils: ‘fluttering’, ‘dancing’. In the dull society, men had nothing to rely on, and therefore they resort to the natural world to seek belief. By being near to the natural world, men can have the genuine happiness and comfort, and also have their spiritual world filled fully. The last two stanzas then reflect the harmony and union of man and nature. The beautiful scenery present gives people the happiness, and leads to the dance with it. And then my heart with pleasure fills, / And dances with the daffodils. †. By these two sentences he sang of the harmony between nature and man. Because nature consoles human soul, it fills the empty spiritual world of human being, and enhances human spirit. Wordsworths view of nature is primarily on the bright side, emphasizing the union of nature and man in the spiritual wo rld. But Frost sees bleakness in nature which is quite foreign to Wordsworth as described above, and also never endowed nature with spirit. Besides the comparison with Wordsworth, Frost is often put together with Emerson. Ralph Waldo Emerson is the first and greatest American Transcendentalist and revolutionary Romanticist. Transcendentalism is a break from Puritanism, and it revolts against the puritanical thought of nature: regarding nature as inferior to human being. Transcendentalism places emphasis on Spirit or the Oversoul that is contained in everything on earth, and takes as it as the most important thing in universe. According to Emerson, Universe is made up of two things: Nature and Soul. As for nature, it means everything that is â€Å"Not Me†, such as mountains, rivers, birds and flowers, even human body. Emerson thinks that everyone can commune with God if he wills, so man is divine. By being near to nature, man can be closer to God and comprehend the will of God from what can be seen in nature. In his essay Nature, Emerson expresses his constant, deeply felt love for the natural scenery and shows us nature as the symbol of spirit serves man as the source of language and beauty and self-knowledge. In the essay Emerson writes, â€Å"Standing on the bare ground, my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space, all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part of parcel of God. † ? In this part he earnestly shows the great beauty of nature and the role of it in consoling and protecting human soul. By being in the beautiful nature, the egotism vanishes and man gets closer to God. So nature in Emerson’s writings is the manifestation of God, and contains the signs of God’s will. If man gets near to nature, he could commune with God and know the will of God. The Oversoul is present in everything. It exists in human being as man is created by God and only one step inferior to God; it exists also in nature as nature is the manifestation of God and contains the will of God. This aspect is quite similar to the English Romanticism, but bears the color of oriental religion. But nature in Emerson’s writing is not just the objective natural world, nature is not independent from the human soul. Its beauty is comprehended by the human soul, as the soul is unified, active and divine, so is the nature. So Emerson’s concept of nature, to a large extent, is dependent on the high emphasis on the human spirit or the Oversoul, which is surely different from Frost’s. Frost is using nature to see the nature of human being, while Emerson uses the spirit of human to see the beauty of nature. What’s more, the theme that man could be closer to God by being near to nature in Emerson’s essay is not expressed in Frost’s poetry at all. In Frosts poetry nature is by no means that high, it is glamorous, changeable, yet indifferent and hostile sometimes. The relationship between man and nature is love and horror, rather than harmony or enlightenment as reflected in Emerson’s essays. II Social Reason for Frosts Concept of Nature Frosts concept of nature does not come from nothing, but come into form with the influence of various factors. Among those factors, social reason is surely the most important one. Development in New England at that time exerts great impact on the formation of Frosts concept of nature. Before the 1850s, America was essentially a rural? agrarian and isolated republic, whose idealistic, confident and self-reliant inhabitants for the most part believed in God. American literature at that time was mainly influenced by the European Romanticists. Writers wrote of the mysteries of life, of love, of birth and death. But after the Civil War, industry had a rapid development and the United States was transformed into an industrial and urban nation, which witnessed dramatic changes both in social and political areas. Large numbers of rural people immigrated to the cities, so that the simple, tranquil rural life was disappearing. Monopoly was intensified, therefore the nation became a land of contrasting wealth and poverty. Because of the cruel exploitation of the bourgeoisie, the workers movement was becoming more and more fierce. The great advances achieved in science and technology further the distance between man and natural world. On the surface, there were elegance, security and comfort, but underneath there were all disappointment and anguish. All these made people begin to question the assumptions shared by the transcendentalists—natural goodness, the optimistic view of nature and man, benevolent God. At the same time people began to be tired of the sentimental feelings of the Romanticism after the Civil War. American literature now began to produce works that reveal the irreconcilable contradictions between the labor and the bourgeoisie, the corruption of the politics as well as the confusion, and loneliness of the people after stripping off all the concealments. The natural scenery of rural New England was used by Robert Frost to contemplate on the situation of the whole world and the psychology of the people. Nature in Frosts poetry was far more than pure picturesque scene, it had been endowed with various profound metaphorical meanings. Firstly it may be the symbol of a wonderland as opposed to the real society. The bustling real society compelled people to work continuously with little rest, to fulfill the demanded responsibilities without complaint. The hardships people underwent made them want to escape, while the beautiful nature was like an attractive wonderland, a preserved virgin land where people could rest quietly and comfortably without worrying about all the duties in the real world. In one of Frost’s best known poems Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, he expressed the desire to escape. Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here To watch his woods fill up with snow. My little horse must think it queer To stop without a farm house near Between the woods and frozen lake The darkest evening of the year. He gives his harness bells a shake To ask if there is some mistake The only other sound’s the sweep Of easy wind and downy flake. The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. In this poem, the speaker goes out to enjoy the beauty of nature on a freezing winter night. It is very strange for a person to appreciate natural scenery on a winter night. Yet the purposeful selection of night indicates the awkwardness of modern people. It implies that the stress and burden in the society is so heavy as to leave no time for human to approach nature. Though it is freezing and dark, the speaker is totally attracted by the beautiful woods covered with snow. The nature is so beautiful, quiet, innocent and tame. It is like a wonderland or a paradise where people can rest to his heart content without worrying about anything. In the poem, there is a sharp contrast of white and dark, illusion and consciousness, love and horror. From another aspect, in the capitalist society everything had been possessed by human being including the natural world. Farmland, woods and forests had been owned by someone. In the poem, the speaker chooses the darkest evening as the proper time to appreciate the woods. Then why does he choose the darkest evening as the proper time to appreciate the woods? It is not only because of the numerous responsibilities encumbered in the real world, but also because only in this way could he not be seen by the owner of it. So moved is the traveler by the sight of woods filled up with snow that he stops. Conscious of the owner whose house is in the village, safely and sensibly away from snowy woods, the speaker seems to need to assure himself that the owner will not see him stopping there. For one thing, he would presumably prefer that the owner not see him trespassing; for another, sensitive as he is to the mentality of the horse, he would probably feel foolish if he were seen by the owner. In such society, man could no longer freely enjoy the beauty of nature, but has to appreciate it stealthily. This situation, in turn, makes Frost show more love for nature and want to stay there in order to have the great enjoyment. Furthermore, in an industrial society, with the advanced science and technology, people were at loss. Everything in the society was out of their control, and they were treated as standardized commodities. But in the natural world, people could get satisfaction by handling the plants or farmlands. In the poem â€Å"birches†, Frost shows us this role of nature. Some boy too far from town to learn baseball, Whose only play was what he found himself, Summer or winter, and could play alone. One by one he subdued his father’s trees By riding them down over and over again Until he took the stiffness out of them, And not one but hung limp, not one was left For him to conquer. The boy in the poem could find no other things to play in his residential area, which is just like the situation of the modern people who could find nothing to control, to manipulate. So he had to resort to nature for help. There are things in the natural world that can satisfy the soul of human being by giving man the sense of achievement to offset his disturbed feeling stirred by the chaotic society. Therefore Frost deeply loves nature and admires its vastness and great strength. But for frost, nature is indifferent? ruthless and ignorant of the existence of humankind. In the boundless natural world, human may be confronted with great danger. The invincible force of nature is more than anything hostile to the human being, it may become extraordinarily cruel and make people unaided and perplexed. It is like a boundless? mysterious island with beautiful scenery. But the weak human stands alone with horror because of the smouldering? unrivaled force around him. Frost shows his horror toward nature in some of his poems. †Storm Fear† is a case in point. When the wind works against us in the dark, And pelts with snow The lower chamber window on the east, And whispers with a sort of stifled bark, The beast, ‘Come out! Come out! ’— How the cold creeps as the fire dies at length, — How drifts are piled, Dooryard and road ungraded, Till even the comforting barn grows far away, And my heart owns a doubt Whether ‘tis in us to arise with day And save ourselves unaided. Nature in this poem is described as a beast that is quite hostile to human being. People show his helplessness in facing the invincible destructive force, especially when living in a place that is far away from the towns. Human could not just live in the remote natural world far from civilized cities where the safe equipments could be provided. So the real society is not quite that bad, there are many facilities in the civilized cities that can protect human, and improve their material life. Frost’s horror toward nature made him want to depart from the natural world and wisely live in the real society. Whats more, people could never just live in fantasy, but had to face bravely the imperfect real world in order to break out of the psychological trap. III Cultural Influence on Frosts Concept of Nature Frosts concept of nature is not only the result of the influence of society at that time, but also the outcome of the influence of culture in the 20th century America. American literature originated in about 1607, when the first colony was set up in Jamestown, Virginia, 13years later following the establishment of the second English colony in Plymouth, New England. The immigrants at that time were all puritans, who escaped from England to the new continent in the hope of finding a refuge from the religious persecution in their motherland. This immigration played an important role in the establishment and development of the new colony as well as the formation of the new idealism and literature in the new continent. Puritanism takes as its ancestor the Calvinism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Calvinists believe in creeds: â€Å"heredity depravity† of human beings, the original sin of human beings, the absolute sovereignty of God, and limited salvation by God. Puritans believe in almost the same creeds as that of Calvinists except that they believe they could be saved by God through the Covenant of Grace by hard work and pious pray. It is this belief that makes them so persistent in developing the new country. Puritans firmly believe that all sorts of entertainment are evil; man should devote himself to hard work in order to be saved by God from his original sin, and make the soul exist eternally in heaven. Therefore they take nature as evil and inferior as nature is beautiful, which could provide man with pleasure. Frost, as a native New Englander, is much influenced by the traditional culture. To puritans all sorts of entertainment are evil, so it is also evil if people are indulged in the beauty of the natural world. What’s more, nature is ephemeral and will wither at proper time. But human, on the contrary, though the body may decay when passing away, the soul would be eternal. So nature is inferior and man could not be too close to nature so as to maintain mans superiority. To some extent, Frost’s poetry reflects this puritan thought. In his poem â€Å"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening†, the speaker is attracted by the beauty of the natural world and even wants to rest there. But as the responsibilities summon him in consciousness, he surrenders to the call and leaves the natural world as the poem states: â€Å"But I have promises to keep. / And miles to go before I sleep, / And miles to go before I sleep. † The sentences indicate that in the poet’s mind the duty of human assigned by God is still very important, and the entertainment in the beautiful nature is improper or even evil. Puritanical thought explains why Frost always wants to leave nature once he steps into it. Transcendentalism may be another factor that contributes Frost’s particular concept of nature. Transcendentalism is a â€Å"remarkable outburst of Romanticism on Puritan ground†. It is fundamentally a religious movement, and one that has its root in the old New England Puritan consciousness. But it is a religious movement imbued with Romantic attitudes and emphases, and it expresses itself often in poems about natural phenomenon as in essays about God-in-nature.? It places emphasis on Spirit or the Oversoul that is contained in everything on arth, and takes it as the most important thing in universe. According to Emerson, Universe consists of two aspects: Nature and Soul. As for nature, it means everything that is â€Å"Not Me†, such as mountains, rivers, birds, flowers and even human body. Emerson believes that everyone can commune with God if he wills, so man is divine. N ature in Transcendentalism has been put in a high status: it is the manifestation of God, which man could sense by being close to it, and communicate spiritually with it. Frost is greatly influenced by this idea, and reflects his transcendental thought in his poetry. In his best known poems Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Frost used the vocabulary characteristic of mystical experience, an encounter with the Absolute in which man is in great happiness and afraid that his own sense of selfhood might be threatened with annihilation. The line â€Å"The woods are lovely, dark and deep,† does reflect the contradictory feeling simultaneously. Although Frost appears to be indulged in the state of enjoying heaven on earth, the transcendental moment when his intuition dominants his consciousness, he never regards nature as pure good or completely bad, but takes it as something neutral. In fact, Frost’s concept of nature is the result of combination of the traditional puritan thought and modern transcendentalism. IV Personal Reason for Frosts Concept of Nature Robert Frost has an ambivalent attitude towards nature. He loves it and at the same time is afraid of it. This complicated feeling toward nature is also influenced by his personal life experiences and his personality. In 1895 Frost married his high school sweetheart, Elinor. Their first born, a boy, died in 1900, which caused a great tension between the young couple. In order to ease the tension, Frost and his wife moved to a farmland in Derry, New Hampshire bought by his grandfather. They did not leave there till September, 1909.? This ten years’ life on the farm played a great role in the literary life of Frost. He reveled in the simple joy of farming and being in touch with the earth. By being totally involved in the simple rural life of the New Englanders, Frost freely enjoyed the beautiful scenery there, and keenly listened to the musical, rhythmical dialect there. However, what Frost saw on the other side of the quiet life disturbed him. During the time he spent farming in Derry, New Hampshire, working in the fields might have brought him some of the most peaceful moments of his life. The simple, quiet life in the countryside gave him the happiness and comfort. Yet, when Frost turned away from his chores, he found that his world was crumbling around him. The village life was both hermetic and thrifty. He had to supplement the inadequate income of his farming by several periods of school teaching and other odd jobs. What’s more, his family members were down with illness, his child died and consequently, his marriage was on the edge of collapse. As reflection of his personal life, he saw nature as beautiful and full of hope, yet random and chaotic. Frosts personality also exerts influence on his view of nature. Frost is actually a very sensitive person, which can be seen from one of his poems â€Å"Nothing Gold Can Stay†. Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay. 011 In this poem, Frost pays great attention to the change of color of the spring leaves, and from which he extends to other issues concerning human being. Leaves will fall as spring ends. â€Å"Eden sank to grief† reminds us that among other â€Å"grieves† caused by a loss of Eden is the major grief of death and loss which no one can escape. Human being will pass away at proper time like the spring leaves. So the life of man must change too, as the color of leaves do. Man should not just confine himself to one space. Frost, while living in the rural New England, enjoying the beauty of nature and the simple, quiet life in the countryside, still keeps close ties with cities. Countryside is too far away from the modern life. It seems as if people in the rural areas are forsaken by society. The urban life makes him feel the quick pace of modern life as well as the elaborate division of work in the factories, so he tried to keep a balance between the two ways of living. As the most conspicuous trait of Frost is neutral, so whenever he drops into a dilemma, he will perform his perfect skill of reconciling the contradictions. Frost’s principle in dealing with matters could be summed up as follows: absolute surrender or independence in the real world all has its own deficiencies. Complete belonging to a group, no matter what kind of group it is, one has to sacrifice something, either his hobbies or his freedom, sometimes even his precious life. To Frost, the real world is neither too chaotic nor perfectly orderly, but somewhere between. One has to treat the world objectively, bearing in mind that it includes both hope and desperation, comedy and tragedy, joy and agony. Likewise nature is beautiful as well as hostile. The imaginative world is attractive, but the real world also has its good aspect and people have many responsibilities to fulfill. So man should not linger on the imaginative natural world, but should live wisely in the real world with imagination. Conclusion Frosts attitude toward nature is between love and horror, departure and return. The contradiction between the desire to widen the life circle and the decision to live wisely in the real world is reflected in most of his poems. This paper puts forward three reasons for his love for nature. Firstly, the society at that time was quite different from the past. Industry got a rapid development, which demanded large labor forces. People therefore were under much stress due to continuous work. People began to be tired of the life in the real world, and resort to the beautiful, pure nature for relief. Secondly, Frost was influenced by the new thought-Transcendentalism. Transcendentalism puts nature at a high place, takes it as the manifestation of God. By being close to nature, man could communicate with God spiritually and sense the will of God. Thirdly, Frost had lived on the farmland in Derry, New Hampshire for ten years. This period of time was the most peaceful moment in Frosts life and by farming there, Frost experienced great happiness and comfort. This paper also probes into three causes of his fear of nature. Firstly, in Frosts eyes, natural world is not at all that nice. It is like the real society, also has the dark side. Nature is inhuman, ruthless as well as indifferent. It does not care about human well-being. It may become extraordinarily cruel and make the people unaided and perplexed. It is like a boundless? mysterious island with beautiful scenery. But the weak human stands alone and with horror because of the smoldering, unrivaled forces around him. Secondly, the puritan thought more or less influenced Frost, as he is a native New Englander. For puritans, any sort of entertainment is evil, so it is also evil if people are indulged in the beauty of the natural world. What’s more, nature is ephemeral and will wither at proper time. But human is on the contrary, though the body may decay when passing away, the soul would be eternal. So nature is inferior. Thirdly, during Frosts life on the farm, he underwent many tragedies. His family members came down with illness, his child died and consequently, his marriage was on the edge of collapse. As reflective of his personal life, he viewed nature as quite bleak. And his most conspicuous trait is â€Å"neutral†, so he views nature both lovely and horrible. Frosts ambivalent attitude towards nature can be viewed as a wise way of living for the modern people. Man is not satisfied with the linear life in the real society. Man should hold a poetic lifestyle by living between nature and the real world. By detailed analysis of Frosts unique concept of nature, this paper distinguishes the concepts of nature of Frost, Wordsworth and Emerson. Wordsworths view of nature is primarily on the bright side, emphasizing the union of nature and man in the spiritual world. Nature in Emerson’s writing is the manifestation of God, and contains the signs of God’s will. If man got near to nature, he could commune with God and know the will of God. By analyzing the concept of nature of Frost and distinguishing it from that of Wordsworth’s and Emerson’s, the writer aims to enable readers grasp the implication of Frosts poetry more clearly, and understands the role of nature in Frost’s poetry better. (Approximately 6,448 words) Notes: ? Annette T. Rubinstein. â€Å"American Literature Root and Flower† ( ). : , 1998, p608, p609 , . . : , 2003, p166, p165 ? 011 Judith Oster:â€Å"Robert Frost: The Reader and the Poet†. Georgia University Press, 1991, p137, p224 ? Ibid, p137 , . . : , 2002, p69, p72 ? Cleanth Brooks. â€Å"American Literature The Makers and the Making† Vol. 2. N ew York: St. Martin’s Press, 1973, p691 ? Ibid, p676 Bibliography 1. Annette T. Rubinstein. â€Å"American Literature Root and Flower† ( ). : , 1998 2. Cleanth Brooks. American Literature The Makers and the Making† Vol. 2. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1973 3. James M. Coxed. â€Å"Robert Frost A Collection of Critical Essays†. Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1962 4. Judith Oster. â€Å"Robert Frost The Reader and the Poet†. Georgia University Press, 1991 5. Robert Faggen. â€Å"The Cambridge Companion to Robert Frost†. Cambridge University Press, 1994 6. . . : , 2002 7. . . : , 1999 8. . . : , 2000 9. , . . : , 2003 10. , . . : , 2002

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Understanding the Bible Belt in the United States

Understanding the Bible Belt in the United States When American geographers map rates of religious belief and regular attendance at places of worship, a distinct region of religiosity appears on the map of the United States. This region is known as the Bible Belt, and while it can be measured in a variety of ways, it tends to include much of the American South.   First Use of Bible Belt The term Bible Belt was first used by the American writer and satirist H.L. Mencken  in 1925 when he was reporting on the Scopes Monkey Trial which took place in Dayton, Tennessee. Mencken was writing for the Baltimore Sun  and used the term in a derogatory way, referring to the region in subsequent pieces with such quotes as the Bible and Hookworm Belt and Jackson, Mississippi in the heart of the Bible and Lynching Belt.   Defining The Bible Belt The term gained popularity and began to be used to name the region of the southern U.S. states in the popular media and in academia. In 1948, the Saturday Evening Post  named Oklahoma City the capital of the Bible Belt. In 1961, geographer Wilbur Zelinsky, a student of Carl Sauer, defined the region of the Bible Belt as one in which Southern Baptists, Methodists, and evangelical Christians were the predominant religious group. Thus, Zelinsky defined the Bible Belt as a region stretching from West Virginia and southern Virginia to southern Missouri in the north to Texas and northern Florida in the south. The region that Zelinsky outlined did not include Southern Louisiana due to its preponderance of Catholics, nor central and southern Florida due to its diverse demographics, nor South Texas with its large Hispanic (and thus Catholic or Protestant) population.   History of the Bible Belt The region known as the Bible Belt today was in the 17th and 18th centuries a center of Anglican (or Episcopalian) beliefs. In the late 18th century and into the 19th century, Baptist denominations, especially Southern Baptist, began to gain in popularity. By the 20th century, evangelical Protestantism could be the defining belief system in the region known as the Bible Belt.   In 1978, geographer Stephen Tweedie of Oklahoma State University published the definitive article about the Bible Belt, Viewing the Bible Belt, in the  Journal of Popular Culture.  In that article, Tweedie mapped Sunday television watching habits for five leading evangelical religious television programs. His map of the Bible Belt expanded the region defined by Zelinsky and included a region that encompassed the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas. But his research also broke the Bible Belt into two core regions, a western region and an eastern region. Tweedies western Bible Belt was focused on a core that extended from Little Rock, Arkansas to Tulsa, Oklahoma. His eastern Bible Belt was focused on a core that included the major population centers of Virginia and North Carolina. Tweedie identified secondary core regions surrounding Dallas and Wichita Falls, Kansas to Lawton, Oklahoma.   Tweedie suggested that Oklahoma City was the buckle or capital of the Bible Belt but many other commentators and researchers have suggested other locations. It was H.L. Mencken who first suggested that Jackson, Mississippi was the capital of the Bible Belt. Other suggested capitals or buckles (in addition to the cores identified by Tweedie) include Abilene, Texas; Lynchburg, Virginia; Nashville, Tennessee; Memphis, Tennessee; Springfield, Missouri; and Charlotte, North Carolina.   The Bible Belt Today Studies of religious identity in the United States continually point to the southern states as an enduring Bible Belt. In a 2011 survey by Gallup, the organization found Mississippi to be the state containing the highest percentage of very religious Americans. In Mississippi, 59 percent of residents were identified as being very religious. With the exception of number two Utah, all of the states in the top ten are states commonly identified as being part of the Bible Belt. (The top 10 were: Mississippi, Utah, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and Oklahoma.)   The Un-Bible Belts On the other hand, Gallup and others have pointed out that the opposite of the Bible Belt, perhaps an Unchurched Belt or a Secular Belt, exists in the Pacific Northwest and the northeastern United States. Gallups survey found that a mere 23 percent of Vermont residents are considered to be very religious. The 11 states (due to the tie for tenth place) that are home for the least religious Americans are Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Connecticut, New York, and Rhode Island.   Politics and Society in the Bible Belt Many commentators have pointed out that while religious observance in the Bible Belt is high, it is a region of a variety of social issues. Educational attainment and college graduation rates in the Bible Belt are among the lowest in the United States. Cardiovascular and heart disease, obesity, homicide, teenage pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections are among the highest rates in the nation.   At the same time, the region is known for its conservative values, and the region is often considered to be a politically conservative region. The red states within the Bible Belt traditionally support Republican candidates for state and federal office. Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas have consistently pledged their electoral college votes to the Republican candidate for president in each presidential election since 1980. Other Bible Belt states usually vote Republican, but candidates such as Bill Clinton from Arkansas have sometimes swayed the votes in Bible Belt states.   In 2010,  Matthew Zook and Mark Graham utilized online place name data to identify the preponderance of the word church locally. What resulted is a map that is a good approximation of the Bible Belt as defined by Tweedie and extending into the Dakotas. Other Belts in America Other Bible Belt-style regions have been named in the United States. The Rust Belt of the former industrial heartland of America is one such region. Other belts include the Corn Belt, Snow Belt, and Sunbelt.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

How to Pronounce Xi Jinpings Name

How to Pronounce 'Xi Jinping's' Name China has been growing as a world power, and Xi Jinping, the countrys leader since 2012, is ever-present in the news and on the world stage. Its important, therefore, for students of Chinese- and indeed for anyone keeping up with current events- to be able to pronounce the Chinese leaders name. But saying his name correctly is not simple; it requires understanding the Chinese alphabet as well as the tones you must use when pronouncing Chinese letters and words. Basic Pronunciation The alphabetical letters used to write sounds in Mandarin Chinese (called Hanyu Pinyin) dont often match sounds they describe in English, so simply trying to read a Chinese name and guess its pronunciation is not sufficient.  (Mandarin Chinese is the official language of Mainland China and Taiwan.) The simplest way to pronounce the name of the president of China is to say Shee Jin Ping. But you also must account for the Chinese tones. The Four Tones In Mandarin Chinese, many characters have the same sounds, so tones are necessary when speaking to help differentiate words from each other.  The four tones are: First: a level and higher pitchSecond: a rising tone that starts from a lower pitch and ends  at a slightly higher pitchThird:  a falling-rising  tone that begins at a neutral tone then dips to a lower pitch before ending at a higher pitchFourth:  a falling tone that starts the syllable at a slightly higher-than-neutral pitch then goes quickly and strongly downward You can listen to a recording of a native speaker pronouncing the name and mimic the pronunciation. The BBC notes that the name is pronounced -sh as in ship, -j as in Jack, -i as in sit, -ng as in sing. Breaking Down the Name The presidents name is ä ¹  Ã¨ ¿â€˜Ã¥ ¹ ³ (or ç ¿â€™Ã¨ ¿â€˜Ã¥ ¹ ³ written in traditional form). His name, as do most Chinese names, consists of three syllables. The first syllable is his family name and the two remaining are his personal name. Xi, the first part of the name, can be difficult for non-native Chinese speakers to pronounce because the hard  x sound does not exist in English. It is alveolo-palatal, meaning that its produced by placing the body of the tongue against the front part of the hard palate. The tongue position is similar to the first sound in yes in English. Try producing a hissing sound and youll get pretty close. The i is like the y in city but longer. The tone rises when pronouncing this part of the name, so it takes on the second tone. Jin is also tricky, but if you know how to pronounce the hard x in Chinese, it becomes a lot easier. J is pronounced like the x  sound but has a stop in front of it. Think of it as a very light t, or tx. Take care not to breathe out too hard when pronouncing the t because it will turn into a Chinese Pinyin q. The i in jin should sound similar to the i in xi but shorter. The tone falls in this part of the name, so it takes on the fourth tone. Ping is fairly straightforward; it is pronounced much as it looks in English written form. One minor difference is that the ng is pronounced farther back and is more prominent than in English. The tone rises in this part of the name so it takes on the second tone.