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Reading Response 6- Nelson’s “Chapter Two”

I felt that reading Nelson’s short story, “Chapter Two” was a kind of meta piece to read for a creative writing class. Hil essentially uses her A.A. meetings as a way to tell stories. Rather than sharing any part of herself, she talks about her larger-than life neighbor, Bergeron Love. Rather than telling her audience about her encounters with Love as they unfold, Hil purposefully chooses a specific point in time in the story of their relationship. In this way, she is thinking about time in the way that a writer would when writing a story. Her oral story-telling is an art, and as such it reveals and conceals elements about the artist.

While Hil is sharing elements of her life that are technically true, she is presenting them in a way that does not create an accurate depiction of her current existence. In this way, reading “Chapter Two” from Hil’s perspective is like being inside the mind of someone who is writing their memoir. Much of the history and personal information is present, but it is all presented in a very meaningful and artistic manner which is meant to elicit a particular response from an audience. Hil even takes into account her distinct audiences when she tells her story. She knows, for example, that the female-only A.A. meetings are generally a “tougher” crowd who don’t appreciate lewd or rambling stories.

Even her more honest relationship with her friend Joe, is more like a relationship between an editor and an author. They meet and “debrief” after these story-telling sessions and discuss the finer points of her narratives. The reader only finds out about Love’s death because Joe noted it as a serious omission from her story. They both, however, ultimately agree that leaving out this detail would have ruined the intended effect of the story. In this way, Hil manages to make someone else complicit in her deceit and validate her twisted use of these would-be moments meant for honesty and personal growth. I loved this piece as a commentary on all people who like to tell stories, orally or otherwise.

Warrior

 

Change of Mind

Meditate on a time you misunderstood someone or were misunderstood yourself. Write the poem from the other’spoint of view.

You don’t know where I come from

You don’t understand what I go through

How could you say the things you have said

I have put up a wall

My defenses are up.

There is a battle in my head

I try to be the strongest

A warrior against my mind

You don’t know where I come from

You don’t understand what I go through

Test

this is a test

Testing

testing?

Poor Parenting

In “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl, there are four of the most poorly behaved children ever. The behavior of these children, Augustus Gloop, Violet Beauregarde, Mike Teavee, and Varuca Salt, is absolutely atrocious and for that they are punished throughout their tour of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. These children cannot be blamed for their lack of discipline for it is their parents who should receive the blame of their poor behavior.
Augustus Gloop is the first to find a golden ticket. From reading the book it is easy to determine that he is an overweight and greedy child. He is also the first of the children on the tour to be punished for their poor behavior. Augustus is unable to help himself once he lays eyes on Willy Wonka’s chocolate river. After being warned by both his mother and Mr. Wonka he still approaches the river and falls in. He is then sucked into a giant pipe that chocolate flows through to be manufactured. Once he is jammed in the pipe he receives a song from the oompa-loomas. Augustus’ mother was unable to control her son because of the way she spoils him. In an interview she brags about how “eating is his hobby” (Roald Dahl 22). By allowing him to eat whatever he wants she neglected to teach him the self-control he needed to resist the chocolate river.
Violet Beauregard is the third child to find a golden ticket, but is the second to receive her punishment for her poor behavior during the tour. Her greediness is shown when she takes a piece of experimental gum from Mr. Wonka. He warns her that there are unpleasant side effects, but like Augustus she has a lack of discipline and pays no attention. For her rude behavior and failure to listen to Mr. Wonka’s warning, she is punished. Violet fills with juice till she has the appearance of a large blueberry. She then receives an oompa-loompa song, and then they roll her to the juicer room where they will squeeze the juice out of her. This could have been avoided had her parents taught her proper manners and not allowed to her to become so rude.
Varuca Salt could be considered the most spoiled of the four to be ejected from the tour. She was the second to find a golden ticket, and all it took was her father buying candy bars in extremely large quantities to find it. Varuca receives her punishment when she demands to have a squirrel from the nut room in the factory. The squirrels then toss her down a trash shoot, and the oompa-loompas then sing another song. This situation could have been avoided if her parents didn’t respond to whenever Varuca said “I want”. Instead of teaching her that she cannot have everything she wants, they spoil her to the point where she was an ungrateful spoiled brat.
Mike Teavee is the finder of the fourth golden ticket and to be ejected from the tour. Mike uses a machine Mr. Wonka made to teleport chocolate from his factory into the televisions of his customers. By teleporting himself, Mike is shrunken down to the size of a candy bar. Mr. Wonka then suggests that the oompa-loompas use the machine used to stretch out certain candies. Once again this shows that Mike’s parents neglected to teach him self-control, and spoil him by allowing him to watch television all the time.

Mirror Mirror

People around the world have many different thoughts on mirrors. Pratchett uses different cultures to tell of different myths on mirrors. In Witches Abroad, some believe that mirrors can steal your soul. People also believe that there are other universes inside mirrors. For some characters in the story, mirrors and reflections are a way to gain power, but also a way of seeing things. Reflections can show qualities, or things that people don’t normally see in themselves or the world, which can either be a good, or bad thing.
In the beginning of the story, it is said that “a mirror can suck up a piece of soul”(5). Pratchett is saying that someone who is always in the mirror, or in front of cameras, always staring at their reflection will have a piece of their soul taken because they are too vain and their souls don’t seem to have any good qualities. The mirrors in this story seem to be portrayed in mostly evil ways. Lady Lilith de Tempscire used the mirrors to try and gain more power. It is described that “She could feel herself pouring into herself, multiplying itself via the endless reflections”(14). She thought that if she were to look into two mirrors, that her reflections would just bounce off of one another, giving her more power. She thought she would gain a new quality within her soul rather than lose it. She also used the mirrors to scan the world. This gave her more power because she was able to see anything and anyone from any reflection. They help Lilith see what’s going on and she wants to change the world into her own fairy tale.
The mirror and reflections in this story are similar to the mirror in Snow White, in that the evil Queen was vain, and looked into her mirror everyday asking who is the fairest of them all. The Queen used the mirrors to hear what she wanted to hear, while Lilith used the mirrors to get what she always wanted which is power from becoming greedy. Another fairy tale that uses mirrors for the same purpose that Lilith had, is Beauty and the Beast. Beauty used the mirror to see her father and sisters and how they were doing.
Lilith was trying to find out everything about the world by using the mirrors, but using it for her own advantage. In the end it could be something that could come back to hurt her. For now, the mirrors are giving her power that only a few can manage if they know how to use mirrors the right way. A mirror is a way of seeing into ones soul, Lilith looks more at what others are doing than at herself, and one day Lilith might not like what she sees if she truly looks into the mirror.

 

Granny Weatherwax vs. Nanny Ogg

Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are seen as polar opposites.  Granny Weatherwax is a strict and confident witch, whereas Nanny Ogg is more lenient and motherly.  They are different in more ways than just personality.  They also differ when it comes to authority and how they gain their respect among others.

Granny Weatherwax is known for her strict personality and her extreme confidence in her own abilities.  She’s most certainly not the nicest witch of the Discworld series and doesn’t give people what they desire, but she does shine when it comes to giving people what they need.  Even though it may seem that she was envisioned by nature to be a typical wicked witch, she has a reputation for never wanting to intentionally harm people.  The way she acts is due to the fact that she wants respect and does not care how she obtains it, even if that means she must strike fear into others.

Unlike Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg does not need the use of fear to earn respect from others.  She is also more passive when it comes to proving her abilities are the best as opposed to Granny Weatherwax, who goes out of her way to prove she is the best and has the utmost confidence in her own abilities.  Nanny Ogg sees nothing wrong with being a good runner-up and would rather receive the sympathy for coming second than to go out of her way to win.  People have no problem approaching Nanny Ogg when they are in need of assistance because not only does she have the people’s respect, she is favored over Granny Weatherwax because of her extreme likability.

Nanny Ogg vs. Granny Weatherwax

­Granny Weatherwax is obviously the more assertive character and casts a shadow of the more levelheaded Nanny Ogg, but Nanny’s powers are not to be overlooked. Granny is stubborn, formidable, and more than forthright about her opinions. Many seek out Granny’s advice when necessary but more often people seek Nanny’s advice because she is the more friendly and motherly character. Granny Weatherwax is a more intimidating figure because of her outgoing nature, but Nanny makes people feel at ease because she is wise yet soft spoken. Nanny appears to be fine with Granny’s reputation as the greatest witch in Discworld whereas if the roles were reversed, Granny would be jealous and petty about Nanny’s higher social status. Granny Weatherwax is as traditional as it gets in Discworld, and resides in a stereotypical witch’s cottage. Nanny on the other hand, lives in a more modern town house full of various trinkets she collects.

Nanny and Granny both aid Magrat on her journey to Genua and in fulfilling her Fairy Godmother duties. They fully come together as a team to fight Lilith as she tries to create a perfect “happily ever after” for Ella. Nanny employs her wit by getting the coachmen drunk so they cannot take Ella to the ball and also speeds up time to the spell wears off Magrat faster. In the final scene with Lilith and the mirrors, Granny proves her wisdom when she is able to find her true reflection and trap Lilith in the mirror. Although Granny got the credit for trapping Lilith, this would not have been possible without the aid of Nanny Ogg.

Which Witch is Which?

Lilith can be compared to the White Witch. Both are portrayed as the evil villains of their corresponding secondary worlds. The witches worked towards different goals. Lilith was trying to mediate and encourage the happy ending of a story, whereas the White Witch was trying to prevent one by prohibiting the Pevensie children from taking the throne at Cair Paravel. The secondary worlds and the intentions of Lilith and the White Witch are dissimilar, however, their use of magic, appearance, and actions proves them to be nearly identical.

The first way in which they are similar is by the description of their appearance. At the ball Lilith’s dress is described as being so white that, “Until that point it had never occurred to Nanny Ogg that there could be different colors of white” (Pratchett 281). Her dress is also illustrated as having “puffed sleeves” and being “edged with lace” (Pratchett 282). Similarly, when Edmund meets the White Witch in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” she is described as being “covered in white fur up to her throat (Lewis 33). Lilith and the White Witch also lied to and deceived Edmund and Ella upon meeting them. When Magrat met Ella for the first time, Ella asks her if she is the good fairy godmother, “Oh the good one,” she said. “Definitely” (Pratchett 214). However, Lilith had already planted ideas of good and evil into Ella’s head before Magrat met her and insisted that she was the good the fairy godmother. This is shown when Ella responds to Magrat, “that’s just what she said too” (Pratchett 214). In “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, the White Witch acts correspondingly. She lures Edmund in with Turkish Delight, and bribes him into thinking that she is good and just wants to meet his family. Therefore, when Edmund learns of Aslan, he already has in his mind that the White Witch is good and that he needs to arrange for his brother and sisters to meet her. Lilith and the White Witch inserted ideas into their targets causing them to be skeptical of other forces that claimed themselves to be good such as Magrat or Aslan.

Lilith and the White Witch also both use animal servants to try and achieve their goals. The White Witch has guards that are wolves. They do her bidding and search out the Pevensie children when the White Witch is seeking them. Lilith has three sisters that are “guarding” Ella, “they’re snakes” (Pratchett 233). They are described as having teeth that have never been seen on human before, skin that looked like scales, and one sister’s “gaze was fixed immovably on Magrat” (Pratchett 231). They also rely heavily on spies. Lilith spied through various mirrors to observe what others were doing throughout the world, and the White Witch used some of the trees, birds, and animals in Narnia as her spies.

Magic is the downfall of both Witches. The White Witch was hindered by not being able to understand the Deeper Magic, which allowed Aslan to rise after he sacrificed himself. She also relied so much on her wand that when Edmund stripped it away from her, she was left defenseless and ultimately defeated. Lilith also fell prey to magic. She was unable to understand that stories need to, and want to end and that good always overcomes evil. At the end of the story, Death placed Lilith “inside the mirror” leaving her in a state that “is somewhere between” being dead and alive (Pratchett 340).

In conclusion, the White Witch and Lilith are very similar in their actions, intentions and appearance. They had different motives. Lilith was trying to mediate and influence the happy ending of Ella’s story; the White Witch was trying to prevent Narnia’s happy ending by preventing the Pevensie children from sitting in the thrones of Cair Paravel. However, they both reacted similarly by trying to portray themselves as the “good guy”. In the end magic was the downfall of Lilith and the White Witch.

Nothing Is As It Always Seems

Fairy Godmothers, like in Cinderella, are seen as kind both inside and out. They want to make your dreams come true so that you can live a happier life. Prachett takes a whole new spin on his fairy godmother in the novel. He makes the fairy godmother out to be the villain. Lilith, also known as Lily Weatherwax, plays the villain fairy godmother. The White Witch in The Chronicles of Narnia is like Lilith because she wants to make a happy ending out of what she wants and will do anything in her power to get it accomplished.

The White Witch and Lilith compare in many ways. They use their power of deceptiveness to their advantage. Lilth acts all nice and sweet but underneath all that she is really trying to make everyone else around her miserable. She turns drunken “naughty” men into horses and mice because she doesn’t approve of it. She goes about this by telling Ella, “You better bring in those naughty men who let themselves get so drunk. That’s not respectful. And if you haven’t go respect, you haven’t gotten anything” (Prachett 249). The White Witch in parallel turns people that she doesn’t approve of into stone and keeps them all in her castle for eternity. Another parallel is how Lilth tracts everyone by looking at them through reflections by keeping a close eye on them while the White Witch has spies set out through all of Narnia such as trees, woodland creatures, and other dark creatures that are on her side. They do this because they are trying to stop anyone from getting in the way of their power. The people in their kingdom don’t really even like them but like in most cases people are too scared to stand up for themselves so they keep quiet because they are scared of the consequences.

The White Witch causes a Hundred Year Winter while Lilth is living her life through stories and that is how she is trying to take over and become all powerful. They are both very powerful people in the novels but they both end up failing in their tasks to of actually being all-powerful. The White Witch ends up being defeated by Aslan in the Great War that ended her reign and Lilth is placed in a place with endless mirrors trying to find her true self but she is unable to complete that task. Unlike normal fairytales, the fairy godmother is seen in a bad light and punished for all eternity for her bad actions in trying to find her form of happiness through stories.