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Common Place Book

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Common Place Book - Page Text Content

FC: The Common Place Book Charlotte Brown

1: Contents: 1. The American Dream 2. Colonial Literature 3. The Crucible 4. Arthur Miller's "Why I wrote the Crucible" 5. Benjamin Franklin's The Autobiography 6. "The Cross of Snow" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 7. William Cullen Bryant's "Thanatopsis" 8. "Nature" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 9. "The Birthmark" by Nathaniel Hawthorne 11. "The Minister's Black Veil" by Nathaniel Hawthorne 11. A quote on Happiness- Leo Rosten 12. A quote on Strength- Irish Proverb 13. A quote from Patrick Henry's Speech to the Virginia Convention

2: On The American Dream "For everywhere we look, there is work to be done." -Obama in his inaugural speech

3: I enjoy this quote very much, in that it simply suggests that there is always something more we can do. Obama realized that the state of the US economy called for action, we needed to come up with new jobs and new sources of income. This statement can apply to anyone and anything around the world. If I look around my sculpture class at the end of the day I can always spot something else to clean. Likewise, If I finish my homework early one night there is always something else I should study for or work on. Our world needs us to be conscious of the work to be done and the improvements to be made. We are able to grow as a result of the people who take the initiative to start improving.

4: On Religious Revival "If God should only withdraw his hand from the floodgate; it would immediately fly open..." - Jonathan Edward's "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"

5: Of all the colonial literature passages that we read, I enjoyed Jonathan Edward's sermon the most. His language is revealing and descriptive. Edwards was determined to convert his audience to Christianity, and to do this, he took the initiative to scare his listeners. I find it interesting that instead of Jonathan choosing to encourage his listeners to convert, he creatively chose to instill fear in his audience. He approached his listeners in a way that was interesting and not like any of the other colonial speakers.

6: On Threatening "I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you." - Abigail Williams in "The Crucible"

7: I admire Abigail Williams in the way that she took her own initiative to save her reputation when the times in Salem were unstable. Abigail was a cruel and intimidating woman who took pride in controlling others. In this quote she was able to grab a hold of all the future actions carried out by the girls. Abby oversaw how the other girls behaved, whether she intimidated them into seeing a yellow bird on a wooden beam, or she caused them to accuse innocent people of Witchcraft. In this quote, Abby successfully eliminated the possibility of any of the girls to confess. I like how Abby was able to recognize her potential for power and she was able to put it to good use in her devilish mind.

8: On Fear "What terrifies one generation is likely to bring only a puzzled smile to the next." - From Arthur Miller's "Why I wrote the Crucible"

9: This statement relates to much of the plot behind The Crucible. This idea is significant to the majority of our society's present reaction toward The Crucible. Today, the idea of obsessing over witchcraft seems absurd and somewhat comical. Back during the time of the Salem witchcraft trials, the devil was feared and witches were hung. As I read through the Crucible, I experienced a similar reaction. I tended to feel that Arthur Miller was almost making fun of the time period in which witchcraft was a major source of corruption in societies. This goes to show that what one time period fears, brings a chuckle to the other.

10: On Generosity "A man being sometimes more generous when he has but a little money than when he has plenty, perhaps through the fear of being thought to have but little." - From Benjamin Franklin in "The Autobiography"

11: I admire Benjamin Franklin for stating this idea in "The Autobiography". It seems all too common that those who are wealthy and possess infinite amounts of money, are also the least generous to society. Benjamin Franklin was a poor, 17 year-old runaway from Boston, Massachusetts. His arrival in Philadelphia signified his new beginning. As he purchased his three-penny loaf, he was little aware of the greater cheapness found in Philadelphia until he was surprisingly given three great puffy rolls. Benjamin Franklin is admirable in the way that although he had little money, wore filthy clothing and had no permanent housing he was still able to share what he did have. I find it interesting that instead of saving his rolls for later use, he simply gave them away, not thinking twice about what he would do later on when hunger struck.

12: On grief "There is a mountain in the distant West That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines Displays a cross of snow upon its side. Such is the cross I wear upon my breast These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes And seasons, changeless since the day she died." - From Longfellow's "The Cross of Snow"

13: I enjoy the meaning behind Longfellow's poem "The Cross of Snow". In these two sentences Henry Longfellow put forth the notion that he would never forget the woman who died. I enjoy how he related his permanent grief to the everlasting cross of snow found on the side of the mountain. He implied that his feelings would never vanish, just as the cross of snow never would. Henry's portrayal of nature successfully reflects the tendencies of the American Romantic movement. He creatively found the connection between the cycle of man's life and the cycle of nature.

14: On Nature "Go forth, under the open sky, and list To Nature's teachings, while from all around-- Earth and her waters, and the depths of air-- Comes a still voice-- - William Cullen Bryant's "Thanatopsis"

15: William Cullen Bryant's "Thanatopsis" is a very powerful piece. His poem gives nature a "voice of gladness, and a smile". In this line, Bryant was establishing the importance of nature. He believed that when one was miserable, they must go outside and listen to nature. I enjoy how he implied his belief that we learn from nature, and that we must take the time to listen to nature. I find it interesting the way he complimented nature and focused on encouraging the reader to find themselves through nature's guidance.

16: On Death "So Nature deals with us, and takes away Our playthings one by one, and by the hand Leads us to rest so gently, that we go Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay, Being too full of sleep to understand How far the unknown transcends the what we know." -Longfellow from "Nature"

17: The Italian sonnet "Nature" written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow is a very figurative poem. Henry related the cycle of nature to the cycle of man's life. In this sestet, Henry explained nature's role in death. As the unknown floats closer and closer to the surface, friends and family and even our youth seem to vanish. We hesitantly leave our lives and everything else behind. I like the perspective in which Henry allows the reader to have, in viewing the topic of death. I find it intriguing how he earlier related the mother to nature and the child to the reader.

18: On Inner Beauty "If she were my wife, I'd never part with that birthmark." - Amindadab from "The Birthmark"

19: This statement shows Amindadab's appreciation for inner beauty. In "The Birthmark", Georgiana's true beauty was overlooked by her husband, Alymer. Today in society, we are overwhelmingly concerned with our outer appearance. Many seem to have forgotten the importance of our personalities and inner qualities. Each of us have outer features in which we would love to remove, but these features make us who we are. Georgiana's birthmark was hideous to Alymer, while Amindadab was able to look past her imperfection and was able to appreciate who she was. I think it is important to realize the significance of this quotation and it is essential to realize the importance of appreciating inner beauty.

20: On Sin "I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a Black Veil!" -Father Hooper from "The Minister's Black Veil"

21: Mr. Hooper had a very affable weakness. His black veil was intendedly worn to symbolize the secret sin in which all men treasure in their hearts. Mr. Hooper wanted to illustrate mankind's evil nature. I admire Mr. Hooper's boldness to his entire community, along with his persistence to never unveil himself even at death's bed. I agree with Mr. Hooper that everyone does carry with them a sin of some sort, but I do not believe that mankind has an evil nature.

22: On Happiness "The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all." - Leo Rosten, an American teacher and humorist

23: This quotation speaks the true reason as to why we live. When we discover that we matter and that we are important, we find our peace of mind. When we realize our productive strengths and our ability to create ideas and projects, we experience delight. When we recognize our usefulness in the kitchen, at work, or at home, we experience pleasure. Living is having a peace of mind, a sense of delight, and a sense of pleasure. I do believe that everyday, we are constantly making sure that our existence creates a significant difference in the world.

24: On Strength There is no strength without unity. - Irish Proverb

25: I agree that without unity, strength does not have the ability to exist. This quotation relates to my life as to when I was a competitive cheerleader. I was a flyer and in our routines, three girls were given the job to support me in the air. It took only one person who didn't do their job correctly for our stunt to fall. Unity plays a big role in competitive cheerleading but it also plays an important role in everyday life. In the workplace, when employees are assigned group projects, it takes each of the members to do their entire part and to do their part correctly. Without unity, the group cannot meet the their full potential. Unity is a major component of strength.

26: On hope "It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope." - Patrick Henry in his speech to the Virginia convention

27: I chose this quote written by Patrick Henry because I feel that it represents the way that I approach reality. It is a common tendency for people to avoid the painful truth and to rely on hope for something better to occur. As Patrick Henry stated this idea to the President of the Virginia Convention he was able to show his understanding of the natural optimism found among humans. We tend to look for the more favorable side of events. His country was attempting to avoid the reality of war; they were only hoping for a better outcome to occur. I look at life in a very optimistic way and I tend to avoid the parts of truth that I do not want to hear. I dislike knowing the unfavorable side of events and I would rather enjoy the pleasant side of life. I agree with Patrick Henry that it is natural for everyone to "indulge in the illusions of hope."

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  • By: Charlotte B.
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  • Title: Common Place Book
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