Showing 501 - 510 of 514 annotations tagged with the keyword "Ordinary Life"

The Stone Diaries

Shields, Carol

Last Updated: Dec-19-1996
Annotated by:
Wear, Delese

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction — Secondary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Novel

Summary:

The Stone Diaries is the story of Daisy Stone Goodwill, an ordinary woman born in 1905 in Manitoba, who arrives in this world at the same time her mother leaves it, and who moves through the world as child, daughter, young wife, widow, mother, friend, grandmother, and old woman. What makes The Stone Diaries extraordinary, in addition to the quiet lyrical quality of Shields's writing, is the book's autobiographical form: Daisy tries to tell the story of her life by becoming a witness to her life in ways quite impossible in a traditional autobiographical format (e.g. she witnesses her own birth).

Woven throughout the book is Daisy's sense of never quite being in control, of never being the subject of her own life but rather being pulled along by forces beyond her control. Only during the last dreaming weeks as she lies dying, contemplating her own life and death, does she realize that she's never constructed the story of her life, which she is finally able to do as she "returns to currency all that's been sampled and stored and dreamed into being."

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Long Term

Dunn, Stephen

Last Updated: Dec-17-1996
Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This poem is one of several by Stephen Dunn in which the dynamics of married life are examined. The speaker begins by saying that in marriage "anything that can happen between two people" eventually will, including things that cause incredible hurt and pain. The couple portrayed in the poem stays together through tacit agreement; whatever the hurtful event, neither refers to it. Instead, conversation centers on harmless subjects such as the garden, work, and little aches. While living together in the same house, the couple remains separate because forgiveness is not forthcoming for the spouse who trespassed.

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After the Argument

Dunn, Stephen

Last Updated: Dec-09-1996
Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Dunn's poem describes the choreography of married couples after an argument. The narrative voice considers how silence is imposed, then broken and how two people eventually come together after an unpleasant exchange of words. There are, according to the speaker, unspoken rules and rituals. First, a long silence permeates: after all, "whoever spoke first would lose something." In this household drama there is meaning to the clanging of dishes, sleeping arrangements, and accidental touching.

Eventually, one or the other is careless, spontaneously and shamelessly breaking the Yalta-like stalemate with an observation about something ordinary such as a "cardinal on the bird seeder." An accidental comment secures a truce, bringing the couple together in sex, a "knot untying itself."

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Anti-Clockwise (2)

Abse, Dannie

Last Updated: Oct-17-1996
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator is watching his "grey-haired neighbor" starting on an early-morning run "anti-clockwise around the block," trying to turn the clock backwards in pursuit of youth and health. The narrator sees this as the age-old quest for virility, satirically recalling historic figures who sought to preserve or enhance their sexual prowess. But he recognizes that these are supremely human impulses--"Don't mock, only the young don't wish to be younger." He muses that perhaps the current fads of jogging and health food are better than some of the more gruesome practices in which mankind has been known to engage.

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Time's Arrow

Amis, Martin

Last Updated: Oct-17-1996
Annotated by:
Marta, Jan

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Novel

Summary:

Tod Friendly awakens from death, rejuvenates, and becomes a surgeon. In New York he becomes John Young. He travels to Lisbon and a privileged existence as Hamilton de Souza. He leaves Lisbon for Salerno, then Rome. As Odilo Unverdorben he travels north to Auschwitz Central where he resumes his surgical career and conducts research. Through this time he has a series of affairs until he joins his wife. Their daughter dies, they marry, then court. Odilo works as a doctor, then attends medical school. He joins a youth organization and lives with Father and Mother. Finally, he enters Mother.

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Of Experience

Montaigne, Michel de

Last Updated: Oct-17-1996
Annotated by:
Willms, Janice

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Essay

Summary:

In Montaigne's final essay he expounds upon the results of his long search for self knowledge via life experience. He uses disease, health, medicine and doctors as prime arenas for demonstration of what he has learned from living. On physicians: to be a "right" physician, one must have experienced every illness, accident or mishap one seeks to treat. On going to stool: to have a right bowel movement, one must have peace, quiet, punctuality and privacy to avoid unruliness of the belly. On treatment: "I hate remedies that are more troublesome than the disease itself." On the most preferable ailments: here the essayist writes of the advantages of stone: that is, the agony always ends, the disease does not portend death or worse, the sufferer spends more time feeling well than hurting, and it has political advantages for allowing a show of stoicism. And there is more.

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The Remedy

Jones, Richard

Last Updated: Jul-09-1996
Annotated by:
Stanford, Ann Folwell

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The speaker of this long poem is recovering from seven weeks of pneumonia, during which time he has been completely bedridden. On the day of the poem, he has just arisen and makes preparations to cook a pot of tomato soup with herbs and vegetables from his (now overgrown) garden. The poem describes the beginning of the day when the speaker gathers the food from the garden, later in the day when he applies various natural remedies, and the evening when he finally drinks the soup.

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Insomniac

Plath, Sylvia

Last Updated: Jun-14-1996
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The insomniac looks at the sky ("a sort of carbon paper") and "suffers his desert pillow." Projected in front of him are his life's embarrassments and bad memories. "He is immune to pills." He listens all night to "invisible cats . . . / howling like women." The sun rises, the city awakes, and people everywhere "Are riding to work in rows, as if recently brainwashed."

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A Palsied Girl Goes to the Beach

Hunt, Nan

Last Updated: Oct-27-1994
Annotated by:
Squier, Harriet

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

In this poem, a young woman with cerebral palsy must withstand the rude stares of children and the withdrawal of adults as they watch her walk to the beach. The narrator has never had a normal appearing body. She likens herself to objects in nature: mantises, crabs, coquinas. While these comparisons are not exactly flattering, they allow her to feel that she belongs in the world of nature. Only in the natural world are her jerky movements considered normal. Sitting on the beach she feels "inconsequential." Yet, the way her body is able to "stay the waves" and "more than stay-Resist," suggests that she is not inconsequential.

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Cold Head, Cold Heart

Piercy, Marge

Last Updated: Aug-05-1994
Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This is a comic poem in which the narrator describes the experience of having a head cold.

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