Monday, April 12, 2010

A little bit random... but I was searching Postcards criticisms and found this little user review about feeling depressed or unfinished after finishing reading Postcards. We will probably get to this in class but I was wondering how you all felt when you finished the book? It was a pretty sad ending, reminded me a little bit of some of the stories I read in Russian Lit I and II, tragic endings!
Do you think tragic endings are unsatisfying? One really sad story I remember is "White Nights" about a lonely man in Russia who finally meets a woman for one evening and then she leaves for another man... its very sad but at the same time he appreciated even this one night. Ah ramblings, but yeah what do you think!

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  1. Maybe we can put pressure on what we consider depressing. I mean, death is the one inevitability of life, isn't it? Is that depressing, or is it true, or is it both?

    Also, it just occurred to me that even though the novel, in name, suggests that we'll only get pieces of a narrative, we actually get a fairly full picture of the Blood family throughout the years. Irony? Anyone? Anyone?

  2. Something that struck me during our discussion in class was how we, as the reader, actually know more about the Bloods than anyone else in the world within the story, let alone some members even within the Blood family (ie Loyal...).

    I do think it is a sad ending, but I was not necessarily saddened by it, while I have found other books blatantly depressing. There are many reasons why I was not necessarily emotionally affected by the book, one of which is that I've been spending my summers in the mountains of Vermont (30 minutes from any grocery store, gas station, etc) since I was born and yes, my 2,000 person town has more cows than people. In a sense, I feel like I've seen families similar to the Bloods, not that I've heard of any murder's going down, but rather the debate of leaving the small town where everyone knows each other and finding comfort in tending to their own crops, farm animals, etc rather than searching for something more. Many people (called “transients”) even come to the town so they can be in tune with nature and escape urban life.

    If you are interested in an analysis of Postcards which doesn't necessarily focus on how depressing it is, look at David Bradley’s article where he says that Annie Proulx does indeed come close to writing the “next Great American Novel.”
    Here is an introduction to what Bradley defines as a “Great American Novel”:

    “In 1869, the novelist John William De Forest coined the term "The Great American Novel" to denote a fiction that would be not only esthetically pleasing but also a realistic reflection of American geography, history, population and problems. De Forest, whose own subjects ranged from the native Americans of Connecticut to the African-Americans of South Carolina, concluded that creating such a novel would be difficult because, even less than a hundred years after the birth of the nation, American society was changing too quickly to be comprehended as an artistic whole.”