Thursday, February 7, 2008

Period 6 Self Assessment / Joyce Discussion


Francis Bacon's Self Portrait, on which a student wrote an excellent psychoanalytic analysis based on the myth of Oedipus for his research paper three years ago.

Before I grade you on your class discussions on the critical theory essays on Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, I would like to read your self assessment of that week--sometimes you can offer insight into my observations. I will not give you a grade until you post. Please be specific with your responses.
  1. What was your role in the small group discussions? What did you add to the group?
  2. How would you rate your performance in the large group discussion? Why?
  3. Out of all the discussions, what were the two most insightful observations that you gained from the discussion, and who made those points?

PERIOD 6 POST HERE BY MONDAY FEBRUARY 11th, 4:00p.m.

36 comments:

ashley S5 said...
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Elina R 6 said...

When we were separated into smaller groups, I was part of the Feminist one group. Within our group, we divided into smaller groups each focusing on a particular essay. In my group, we talked about how throughout the book, Stephen pushes women away because he is afraid that they will unman him and take control of his life and art. In our small group, my role was to pick out a few passages that I thought were interesting and could be analyzed deeper and encourage the discussion of these passages with my partner. We worked together to find the meaning of words and to understand the feminist criticism. I picked out a passage that walked about Stephen casting off the yoke of a matriarchy and forming a brotherhood with Dedalus. I was at first confused as to why he would turn to Dedalus, but we came to the conclusion that like Dedalus, Stephen is afraid of people taking control of his trade. After taking a psychology class, I also tried to find the similarities and differences between the feminist criticism and the psychoanalytical criticism.

During the feminist group discussions, I brought up various passages and analyzed them using the feminist point of view. I think I did a decent job explaining my passages and picking them apart in order to find the greater meaning. Although often, I was really intrigued by a passage, but had a difficult time explaining my opinions to the class. One of the passages I brought up talked about Stephen relating himself to a writer and the female body to the text. I said that since the author always has control over the outcome of a story, it was easy for Stephen to draw up these comparisons in order to feel in control of women. I also built up off of other people’s comments. I was able to connect what others said about a certain passage to my own passages and continue the conversation.

During the discussions, Jessica S. and Meghan S. brought up two passages that really interested me. Jessica brought up the passage of when Stephen is made fun for kissing his mother. Although we had talked about this passage before, when Jess brought it up, we read a little further and the conclusion was made that the imagery of Stephen falling in a puddle was almost like him going into his mother’s womb. She said that whenever Stephen is afraid he looks for the comfort he once had in his mother’s womb. When Meghan spoke, he talked about the gender of God. She said that although God has never been seen, he is given the gender of a male. Since men feel less then women because they can’t produce life, they make God a male in order to have a grand male power as a figure to look up to. Since God created the universe he is a greater artist than the female because he created the female gender according his wishes and imagination. By making God a male, men feel powerful and superior to females.

Jessica F. 6 said...

I was in the Psychoanalytic group 2, my group focused mainly on the childhood developmental stages of Sigmund Freud. What my group decided to do was go through the first essay page by page and outline the main points. Since the group was really quiet I felt like I had to say something in order to encourage others to beginning a conversation. Once we finished the outline of the first essay I typed it up and sent it to Mr. Gallagher. The group decided to break up the work for the second essay. Everyone was assigned at least two pages they had to take notes on or know even on to be able to discuss to the group and we had to find at least one passage from the book that connected with a passage or idea from the essay. The last day we had to discuss as a small group we practiced for the larger group discussion by having the floor open to anyone who had something specific they wanted to talk about, from there we all made sure each one of us had something to say for the larger group discussion.

In the larger group discussion I focused mainly on Sigmund Freud’s theory of the Childhood Developmental stages, which were the anal, phallic, urethral, and oral stages. There was another stage that came up in the book, which was the Oedipal stage, which James Joyce demonstrated through Stephen throughout the book. I introduced the stages to the class because I felt like they were important to understanding Psychoanalytical criticism and understanding how it was used to analyze Stephen’s evolution throughout the book. I also spoke about the Oedipal stage and Stephen being afraid of castration was a connection to eyes and the Oedipal stage. The Oedipal stage was strictly based on the myth of Prince Oedipus who pulled out his eyes after discovering that he had killed his father and married is mother. Stephen had the fear of being castrated so he would make no eye contact because of his fear of becoming “less of a man.”

Overall, the discussions were very interesting and insightful. Something that stood out was what Jessica S. said about the passage where Stephen was getting teased for kissing his mother. She came up with a different view on things about the passage, she claimed that the passage to her seemed like Stephen was returning to his mother’s womb, which was very surprising and new to me I would of never pictured the passage that way but I am glad that she shared with the class. Another idea that stuck to me was the one that Michelle brought up about Stephen’s description in the passage of his mother’s feet and how fetishistic it was and how he needed to find some sort of phallic symbol on a woman in order to have respect for them. I found that idea about the feet was very interesting and weird but it made me view the text in a new way.

Ping L 6 said...

I was in the Psychoanalytical Two group. In the beginning, my group was very quiet because everyone was afraid to speak. Also, the noise the other group made was overwhelming. In the end, a person started up the conversation. We began with the different ideas that Sigmund Freud considers as important. Then, we moved on to other critics. We talked about the stages in life. In the end, when my group got quiet on how to divide up the second essay so that everyone has a part to focus on. I spoke out and ask everyone to read a specific passage and find an example from the book based on those pages (different from the one given). In the end, Michelle thinks that we should divide it up by pages instead of passages. It was a great idea, because the next day, we came back to discuss the examples we found and we were able to prepare for the large group discussion.

I believe that my performance in the large group discussion is fine. Although I only I had only spoken once throughout the whole discussion, which lasted two days for the part I was assigned to, I believe that the idea that I contribute to the discussion is helpful. I asked the question, “if Stephen looks toward women for comfort, why does he resent them at the same time?” I asked this question if some background quotes. The answer was brought about immediately. They said that his wanting of comfort is more important than his resentment towards women. However, the response to this question lasted until the next day. I consider that this is an important idea or topic in the book.

Out of all the discussions, there were two most insightful observations that I gained from the discussion. Quan made the first observation by saying that darkness does not necessarily means something bad, and he supports this with quotes from the book. Someone raised the topic of the God’s gender. He or she said that God is a He. Women have the power of bearing a child, while men lacks this ability. In order to balance this, God becomes a male figure. However, this is not true. I was able to find examples from the book in which God is used with She.

Meaghan S6 said...

I was part of Feminism Group 2. When we first started the discussion process, we split into smaller groups to focus on explaining the different types of Feminism. Thespina and I worked together to create an outline of French Feminism, and we focused mainly on how they analyze the use of language as a symbol of male-dominated culture. I also combined and formatted our group’s outline into one big outline to post on the blog. Then, when we tackled the analytical essay, Kathy and I worked on creating a series of notes about the Mother and Child section. We both found quotes and an example of not only what the text was explaining to us, but also events that branched off of that and generated a deeper discussion.

During the class discussion I feel that I brought up a lot of relevant points to the discussion and also initiated new topics. One thing I noticed first was Stephen’s fear of God and his inner conflict between the possible genders of God. Also, I tried to connect what other students said about Stephen’s inner conflict to the many examples of dichotomy throughout the text. This ties into the French Feminism that I focused on because one of the main focuses of their analysis of language was based in the underlying pairs of masculine/feminine, light dark, etc, and how regardless, the language is phallocentric.

One point I really noticed during the class discussion was Quan’s interpretation of darkness. For as far back as I can remember in English classes, darkness always represented evil or a figure of evil. It was really interesting to see his take on it and it really opened my eyes to interpreting the rest of the novel. Also in the discussion, many students brought up the fact that every time Stephen looks away or down or closes his eyes, it’s like he’s feeling less masculine or threatened by a paternal figure. One location Laurie pointed out was when Wells teases Stephen about kissing his mother before he goes to bed and it says that Stephen closed his eyes and looked away. It really gave me a good insight into his relationships with other boys growing up at his school and how he was really threatened by Wells.

Alexander A.6 said...

During the smaller group discussions, I found myself very involved in them. I came with ideas to attempt to guide the conversations. Since the group was really quiet I felt like I had to say something in order to encourage others to begin a conversation. We focused a lot on what the developmental process was rather than how it affected Stephen. Another group member and I wanted to split the discussion/outline into different sections for the essay. However, this became flawed when we were the only two who managed to muster up enough time and/or effort to create something.

I’ll be honest and admit that my part in the larger conversation was diminutive. Partly, the reason was that my ideas had been taken by the people in my smaller group and given a spin. Also, it was intimidating at times when it got awkwardly silent and anything I could say would have been just obvious and embarrassing.

I got to say that I did learn things during the entire conversation, however. I forget who it was exactly, but I believe it was Meaghan, who said that God’s gender is brought into question. This proved useful in the assessing of Stephen’s character and how he changes through the story. On another note, Quan stated the fact that light in terms of the sun and clarity, all have deeper meaning stemming into more than just clarity. The revelation as well as the first one proves to be a good transition of Stephen and how his character evolves.

Alexander A.6 said...
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Linda Y 6 said...

For the smaller groups, I was in the first psychoanalytical group. First, we tried to understand the first essay. To do so, we went through the essay together and made notes of what we thought were important. We focused on Freud, the id, ego, and superego, and mostly the Oedipus complex. Because Alex, Brian, and I took psychology, we tried to explain it to the other members what the main focuses were about. For the next essay, we split up each parts of the essay to analyze them. Each group member had to analyze at least two pages of the essay and take notes on them. The next day, we basically summed it up while focusing on certain parts that we thought were important to the second essay.

In the larger group, I only contributed once and maybe twice, which I’m not really sure if it actually counts. On the first day of the psychoanalytic group discussion, I responded to Shuyi’s comment about Stephen’s “mother fixation” and projection on a girl. My comment refuted Shuyi’s comment. I contributed to the discussion to not move onto another topic so quickly. Later on a different topic, I volunteered to talk about the Greek myth of Arachne.

During the discussion, I thought Jessica S. and Quan’s ideas were the most interesting. For Jessica S., she pointed out how falling into the mud was similar to the birth giving process and being inside the womb. She related the imagery to Stephen’s “mother fixation” and need for comfort. He said that darkness does not always refer to a bad situation, but can actually be a form of protection for Stephen.

Son N. 6 said...
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Son N. 6 said...

I was in the Psychoanalytic group one. At the beginning of the discussion Bryan and Alex were already at it explaining what they thought about what they have read about the critic. I sat listening and tried to add whatever questions they had about on Psychology such as the Id, Ego and Superego since I had taken the class the year before with Mrs. Mastromauro. Although I believed not yet was needed from me since I was shunned away from the discussion every time I tried to speak. I thought I was a bit quite helpful to the rest of the group that had questions.

During class discussion on a scale from one to five, I would give myself a three. A three, because I felt that I had added something new to talk about, about the bildungsroman of Stephen thought process developing. This got me throughout the whole book because I had always thought of the human mind as an interesting subject, like how people think or began to think and in what way people thought about specific topics. Although I added something new, I didn’t think I was able to explain what I was trying to say specifically towards the class. That’s why I think overall I did a three.

Out of all the discussions I thought Jessica hit me hard on the womb topic. I was specifically interested on how the womb could symbolize this pleasurable place and when one is given birth it becomes this painful, agonizing experience one first experiences. Also Quan’s addition to this light and darkness allusion, where he explains that darkness isn’t necessarily bad since the womb is dark. In fact, he believes that light is the one that is bad, since light is this painful subject that shines bright to make us close our eyes. So I went back into the book quite a few times and actually notice how Stephen longed for his mother care and nurture and also how he keeps away from this “light.”

Laurie M 6 said...

In the smaller group I found myself in an awkward position. I was put in a quiet group that had a lot to say. I mean we were all a bit shy at first but once we got the ball rolling we found many connections. We had a great time working together. As for me personally I was assigned to pay particular attention to the first few pages of the second psychoanalytic essay. I ended up doing what I was assigned which is in my notebook, but we never really got around to sharing what we were assigned to do. The rest of the time when we were in the smaller group we just basically analyzed all that the essays were saying.

In the large group discussion it was a bit difficult to get completely involved. Since there are so many people in class it is a bit hard to get out what you have to say. Luckily I had a few chances to speak and voice my opinion. I do not remember exactly what I said but I believe it was along the lines of Stephen filling the void of his mother not being there. I spoke another time too but I don’t remember what point I made but I think it was about Wells or something. So I did not speak as much as I would have liked to but I spoke a few times.

I think my most memorable point was when Quan mentioned the night and day thing. I quickly started to connect many things because my strand had a lot to do with this idea. It was a point that I never would have thought of and it opened my eyes to new clues as to why Joyce included certain details in the novel. Another point was made (I do not remember who said it) but it was said about the part when Wells is bullying Stephen and that the image portrayed a woman giving birth. I found that point to be really interesting as well.

Shuyi G 6 said...

My group was Psychoanalytical Two and we had eight members in it. We had two note takers for the outline and I was one of the comment contributors. On the first day, we discussed the first Psychoanalytical essay. I asked questions related to the differences between the “id”, “ego” and “super ego”, and the stage difference of the child as he grows up to have other members to clear up my mind. I also took notes while others were sharing their comments. At last, while we were discussing how we should do our presentation, Michelle suggested a great idea that we should divide the pages of the second Psychoanalytical essay by eight and focus on the pages we were assigned to. I was assigned to pages 286 and 287. I read the entire essay once, looked for pages that corresponded to the points that were made in my pages and tried to develop more points and explanations. When we came back to the small group discussion, I contributed my explanations to the members. It was about the difference between EC, prostitute, mother, and the two kinds of women in Stephen’s mind, temptress and pure.

In the large group discussion, I spoke up twice. The first time I disagreed with Brian that EC and prostitute belong to the same category of women. I explained that the prostitute is lustful before Stephen’s eyes, because he wouldn’t force himself to kiss her even she lured him to, but EC is pure in his eyes that he had always wanted her but never gotten her. The second time I spoke up was after Laurie had made her point saying that Stephen was using his art to avoid himself from women. I said that I agree with her and provided pages that show Stephen’s abandon on women and pursuit of art. It was the page that Stephen admitted his ignorance of EC, and the page of the essay that pointed out Stephen’s pushing away of women to other men in order find them dirty and betraying his love. Thus, Stephen can unrestrainedly pursue his art. Overall, I think I did a good job on making my point and providing evidences.

I think Benwit’s point about Joyce using God as a symbol of the paternal threat was important, because that in fact explained Stephen’s fear to be emasculated. Benwit’s point actually gave me some ideas on writing my paper. Ping’s point was also interesting that she asked why Stephen went to women for comfort but on other hand despise them. I did not know how to answer her question at once and still don't really know the right answer, but I think that her question was sufficient to prove Stephen’s unconsciousness, which was my topic on my essay.

Erika R. 6 said...

In the first day, we (the psychoanalitical 2 group) pointed out the things we thought were the most important ones, and we read the essay and discussed how things in the essay related to Stephen and the novel. On the second day everyone was assigned a couple of pages to read and then each one of us explained it to the whole group. I remember that my part was the part where Wells and the other boys were making fun of Stephen for kissing his mother every night, and how it was not about his real mother they were talking but about an imaginary one he made up. I read that part of the essay and I said that Stephen was feeling like frustrated because he was growing up and he did not have his mother to protect him anymore, and that he was alone in the college and he missed his mother so much that he had to make up an imaginary mother in order to feel her company at night before he went to sleep. After the second discussion in the small groups we talked about what each one wanted to say in the discussion in the big group and we shared thoughts and questions.

In the large group I brought up the same topic that I had talked about in the small group and I discussed the idea of Stephen feeling that his mother was not there anymore to protect him against the other boys at the college, and that when it said on the book that he could not even look at them it was because he felt ashamed of having created an imaginary mother who he could kiss every night before going to bed like he used to do when he was at home. Stephen was not prepared to face the world by himself yet because his mother, up to this point, had always protected him. But now he had to learn how to take care of himself. Even though I only talked once in the group discussion I feel that I brought up an important topic that was discussed later in the feminist discussion about the relationship between Stephen and his mother.

Over all the discussion one of the topics that specially made me think was when the topic about Stephen needing a woman that did not talk, did not see, or did not feel, because that way he felt more man. That passage in the feminist essay about the bird-girl (I don't remember who read it), really made me think and I thought it was a great passage, it all made sense about how Stephen could not maintain a relationship with a woman because of his nature. Another thing that really made me think was the idea brought up by Quan about darkness not meaning a bad thing like being evil, but instead darkness was what protected Stephen, it was what covered him, something were Stephen could hide. I really think that over all the discussions were very insightful and interesting.

Michael R. 6 said...

My role in the small group’s discussions was to focus on the British influence on Feminist Literature. When I was assigned to this particular strand in the Feminist essays, I read my part of the essay and summarized any important points or major themes and presented them to the group the next day in class. I was able to enlighten the group about the role that the Virgin Mary and Stephen’s fantasy girls illustrated his development into a young man.

I would rate my performance in the large discussion groups as mediocre because, the day that we were all speaking I had everything prepared to speak about. I had picked two passages, one in the criticism essays, and one in the actual text of the book. But I was mad because, on the day that I was going to present, people already brought up my ideas and everyone was saying the same thing that everyone else was saying but in different and overly fancy ways. People just said what they said in the groups and it got me mad and things were kind of awkward. I could not find a point in the discussion to add my ideas but I tried anyways.

Out of all the discussions, I found that the two people I actually learned from were Christina and Quan. Christina actually spoke about some of the ideas that I was going to bring up. She was the first person who connected an idea from the criticism essays and an idea from the text. She spoke of the women’s womb and Stephen’s feminist thought. Quan brought up the question of what light and darkness actually were. He said that darkness was not actually bad but that it can actually be anything. It was pretty insightful and made me think.

Brian A. 6 said...

During the smaller group discussions, I was very involved. I came into the discussions with ideas attempting to spark conversations. But with all of my efforts as well as another group member’s efforts the group was still really quiet. I felt like I had to say something in order to encourage others to begin speaking; however it turned into Alex and I doing a lot of talking. I felt as if we were trying while people were not. We focused a lot on what the developmental process was but it had nothing to do with how this is connected back to Stephen. We wanted to split up the work evenly until, it did not work then Alex and I did an outline for this type of criticism because we felt we had to in order to get it done.
In all honesty, I did try to spark conversation in the larger groups. But I think it was so hard for me to come up with something to say because we really never connected the discussion back to Stephen in my smaller group. I did try to come up with things, but I think they were just stating the obvious and out of place in some parts. I would say I think I deserve a 4ish because I did speak on both days of the psychoanalytical discussions.

I did learn a considerable amount during the discussions. I believe that it was Meaghan who talked about God’s gender and how it was useful to help track and describe Stephen. Another useful thing that I remember is when Quan was talking about light and dark. What I found the most interesting is dark does not have to necessarily be evil. Which helps describes Stephen through out the book.

Emily R 6 said...

For my feminist group, we each split up Henke's essay to take notes on and discuss. We mainly talked about Stephen's relationships with women and how he always feels the need ton have control. I talked about the seperation Stephen makes between women, in how they are either considered promiscuous, or virgins. I took notes on the essay and discussed them with my group. Me and Emily discussed passages from the essays and made connections to them in the novel. We then discussed what we thought with the group and then we would all come to some type of agreement on the deeper meaning.

Well, I did not talk during the discussion, however I did pay close attention to the discussion and took rigorous notes. I did not contribute because everything I wanted to bring up was discussed already, or I did not want to make an obvious comment. My notes are very well organized and very well in depth. They were helpful in writing my explication, I referred to them a lot. Even though I did not voice my opinions, my notebook clearly depicts my hard work.

One of the most insightful observations was when Quan talked about the meaning of darkness. I was thought it was very insightful how he stated that darkness is not always a representation of evil. This was very well thought and interesting because it was something that I had never thought of but then agreed with after. When Elena talked about Stephen andf his need to control and create I thought this was also insightful. This is what I wrote my paper on and what we discussed in our group. I think that this point was a main theme that was brought up throughout the book and also very insightful in that we compared the creation of art to child birth.

Emily L 6 said...

During the small discussions, we were separated into semi-groups for both essays. I was in charge of the American Feminist in the first essay and the Bird Girl part in the second essay. I found some important key points in the first discussion we had regarding the three phases of women’s writing: Feminine, Feminist, and Female. I also talked about the weaknesses of the American feminist criticism. When it came to talk about the Bird Girl, I actually had some trouble understanding what it was talking about so I couldn’t really talk about it during the discussion. Instead, I asked for help to go through it together as a group and then I got a better understanding of it to actually talk about it a little.

I wouldn’t say I did a great job for the large group discussion. I would pay attention to everyone that was talking, but I didn’t do a lot of talking like I should have. I made one comment and it was on the last day. My nerves would always get to me, then id freeze up. However, I did take a lot of class notes. I probably should have talked more, but sometimes I feel as if what I’m going to say won’t make sense. It’s definitely helpful to prepare for the discussion, which is what I did at the end.

I think the two most insightful observations that I gained from the discussion would have to be from Quan and Christina because they are always clear in what they are saying. Quan made an interesting comment about how darkness is not necessarily something evil because it’s shielding Stephen from the light when Stephen fell in the dark pit. I took that point and tried to expand on it by providing another example in the book so it was actually something I remembered and found interesting. Then during the small discussion, Christina thought of a really good example of how people psychologically associate men with things or values more appreciated by the masculine culture. Between a spoon and fork, many of us in the small group would pick a fork for masculine because in our mind we think that fork is more rough and manly and woman are more smooth. Between a fork and knife, many of us picked the knife for the masculine. This idea came up in my head again when Mr. G was talking about Romeo’s dagger and how it symbolizes that Romeo’s more feminine because he has a small dagger compared to the other men in the novel who holds swords.

Faedhra said...

Fwaghnac6
I was part of the psychoanalytic group two. At first, everyone was quiet, no knowing how we should initiative the conversation. Out of the other group members, we were the most taciturn, considering the fact that we could not even hear each other speaking. During our fist met, we talk about the importance of Sigmund Freud, especially is impact on James Joyce writing. We were able to compare the difference between Lacan and Sigmund. I was able to shares my views on the topic and shares my research about the idea of “ego” and “Superego.” I ask questions and hope that it not only did it help me but also the other members.

During our second part of our discussions, each person had two pages they had to focus on. We each come up with quotes and had to analyze it and connect it with Sigmund. I share with my group the idea of feminism, since my strand was feminism to begin with and also I connected it with the idea of the oedipal complex, especially Stephen fear of castration. This knowledge made it easy for us when we discussed the quotes where Stephen had a dream and chooses the make his father, the marshal.

In the large group discussion, I would rate myself as five, though I had some excellent views points to shares, I have let my fears of speaking take over, and I did not let myself speak form the heart. I talk really fast, that I am not even sure that my point got across but I was ecstatic, when on our next discussion someone was able to use the scene where Stephen saw his father cried for the first time to share their point of view.

Christina H 6 said...

I was part of the Feminist II Group. During the small group discussions, my job was to further analyze the American feminists in the first essay and the section, Mother and Child, in the second essay. I helped my group understand the American feminist critique, which focused more on literary works rather than language. I also helped the group understand the three phases on feminism that the American feminists emphasized and the weaknesses in the American feminist critique. Personally, I enjoyed the smaller group discussions because I felt that everyone in my group contributed and when one person did not understand the text, we worked together to break it down and move forward in the discussion.

During the large group discussions, I spoke only once. Therefore, I don’t feel like I fully contributed to the discussion. However, the one time that I did speak, I referenced the passage from the second essay about the Mother and Child. I talked about the significance of dichotomy pairs and its relation to the growth of a child, Stephen and his instinct nature to go to his mother for protection and help. I also backed up this idea by referring to a passage in the story, where Stephen departs from his parents for Clonglowes. During the discussion, I took extensive notes and paid close attention to the ideas that others had to share.

Two of the most insightful observations that I gained from the discussion was said by Quan and Elina. Quan referred to a passage that dealt with light and darkness. Instead of just assuming that light and darkness symbolized good and evil, Quan brought up the point that it could show the contrast between living inside a womb and being outside in the real world. The point was so interesting that I later on used the same passage for my Joyce essay. Elina also brings up an interesting interpretation of Stephen’s emotion. She compares Stephen’s emotions to a refrigerator. As a refrigerator Stephen is able to control, “freeze”, his emotions and then unleash, “melt”, them as he pleases. Similarly, Stephen tries to use the same concept to create the ideal woman.

Katie S6 said...

For Feminist group one, I was the one of the leaders for my group. I typed up the notes complied by the 6 of us and also I contributed a lot of notes about The Virgin and the Whore. Our group mostly discussed the idea of Stephen and his relationship with his mother and the idea of coming out of the womb and becoming a man.
For my performance in the large group I would defiantly not give myself the best grade. For some reason I found it very hard to find the right words in this intellectual discussion and I struggled much more then I should have. I did follow along however and took as many notes as I could write. I wish I could have spoken a lot more because a lot of the topics we did discuss especially with Feminist Criticism I did have something to add, perhaps the idea of trying to make some valid points in front of 30 kids got the best of me.
Two points I really took notice of was Quan’s comment about the significance of dark and light. It really got me thinking when he stated that dark things may not necessarily be a bad thing. The first thing I thought of was the idea of sin being this terrible thing in a Catholic’s eyes, another was the darkness of the womb, something that creates life. Then the idea of light not being a good thing made me think of Stephen’s concerns about God and how he was not sure if he was a firm believer in fate. I really thought that was an insightful comment, it got me thinking.
Luana also brought up some good points and some good passages, mostly the passage that focused on Stephen not bending to a woman’s kiss. It started off our period long discussion bringing up points about the relationship between Stephen and his mother, also the idea of Stephen feeling inferior to his father because he shared that maternal bond with his mother. This discussion I mostly used for the outline of my paper and the notes we complied really helped.

Amy H 6 said...

In the small group discussion, I was in the first feminist group. Sarah and I talked a lot about the British feminist. We concluded that the British feminist are very harsh towards the American feminists. And all the British feminist do is mock the American feminist. We concluded the British feminist has such hatred for American feminist because Britain used to have world domination before, and U.S. was under their control for some time. But the American rebelled and fought for their freedom. We also concluded that in the essay, mother and child, Stephen has a resentment for his mother when he first by himself art Clongowes. Stephen has a resentment towards his mother because his mother is not there to help him anymore and to protect bullies like Wells.

In the larger group discussion, I will admit I didn't do anything to help. So I can’t give myself an rating. I will say however, that the larger group discussion had helped well with notes to help write the explication, though. I had pages worth of notes by the time the discussion was over.

In the discussion, one thing that really struck me was the bird girl. Matt was the one who brought up the bird girl and explained to the class what the bird girl symbolized. The bird girl symbolizes what Stephen views as the ultimate girlfriend. She will be mute, fetishized and an object of sexual desire. I also thought that the bird girl shows a hidden side of Stephen that no one had seen yet. Also, another important thing I found in the discussion was that Stephen viewed his own mother as “sexual desire”. I forgot who had made this point, but I do know more than one person expanded on the subject. I found it an vital part of the discussion because it was a new point that I’m sure not many people had heard before.
There is a scene in the book where Stephen actually does show the sexual preference he has for his mother. Stephen’s mother is giving him a bath and his mother is complaining about how a grown boy can’t even take care of himself. Stephen replies with “But it gives pleasure.” I found this interesting because how could Stephen say this to his mother when she was the one giving him a bath. It wasn’t the other way around. If anything, Stephen should be the aroused one because he is the one being touched. Which is why I think was one of the most important point in the class discussion.

Benwit L 6 said...

I was part of one of the psychoanalytic groups and I must admit it was rather hard working in a small group. We were in fairly quiet and it was easy to drown in the conversations of others in the class or individually amongst ourselves. At times, one person would be talking and everyone in our group would not be able to hear, even if we were directly next to the student. As a result, I felt that we were behind the other groups. If anything, I think I was the person to remind everyone to push forward, even in the smallest bit. I didn’t divide the sections so much but I felt that whatever was said needed to be important or else it shouldn’t be dwelled on. I didn’t understand the essay too well so I wanted to see how things were relevant which was difficult in psychoanalytic critique since application of the critique was the most important factor in the class discussions.

I felt it was hard to jump into the discussion solely due to the amount of awkward pauses there were. I came in with a topic I wanted to discuss but didn’t find good opportunities to introduce it. The topic would have been awkward anyway and I probably wouldn’t have gotten a response. Other than that, I talked a few times, mainly only to help strengthened the points that others made and to clarify ideas that seemed vague.

One of the most insightful observations was the deeper meaning of darkness as brought up by Quan. The idea that darkness is not necessarily evil led to many good points brought up the next days. We were able to connect the imagery of darkness to the imagery of the inside of a womb and how it provides shelter Stephen from the “blinding light.” I definitely saw more depth in later discussions and was glad we didn’t have to always say, “going back to what Quan said,” whenever we talked about it, meaning the topic was able to develop on its own.

Another observation that I felt was insightful was Meaghan bringing up the possibility of God being female, a perspective that I overlooked myself. We were able to discuss both God and Stephen as artists and describe Stephen’s urge to create as a feminine quality because this point was brought up. The ambiguous gender of God led to the ambiguous nature of Stephen’s personality, how it constantly sways back and forth between masculinity and femininity.

Quan T 6 said...
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Quan T 6 said...

During the small group discussions, I focused on the defining British feminist critique and the analysis of Virgin and Whore essay. I contributed to the group discussion by explaining the ideas of British feminism. British feminists focused on the same topics as American feminists, but differed in opinions. My role in this group discussion was to explain these differences. After defining the different types of feminist criticisms, each member was split to read and explicate the different essays. In the discussion of the essays, I explained the purpose and meaning of the essay to my fellow group members. I analyzed how feminism was used in the essay and introduced it to the group.

I believe that my performance in the large group discussion was proficient. Since I did not actively participate within the first group discussion, I cannot say that I did exceptionally well. However, during the second discussion, I believe that I brought up some insightful topics including the idea of darkness and the analysis of darkness while Stephen was under the covers.

Out of all the discussions, the two most insightful observations are the ideas of “Man God” and the three different types of mothers which Stephen breaks away from. Benwit first brought up the irony of the “Man God”. Meaghan then further commented on Benwit’s idea by introducing the possibility of a “Female God”. I found this idea interesting because God is believed to be the creator of universe. In society, women are more inclined to be creators because of their biological ability to give birth. The irony in the gender of God was intriguing and can be further debated. The three different types of mothers which Stephen breaks away from were brought up by Meaghan. I had not interpreted Stephen’s isolation from the world as Stephen breaking away from his biological, ecclesiastical, and political mother. The idea was fascinating, catching my full attention during the discussion.

Kathy L. 6 said...

I was part of the Feminism Group 2. When we were our group we spit ourselves into 4 groups: 1. Mother and Child, 2. Virgin and Whore, 3.The Bird-Girl: Aesthetic Muse, and 4. Flight from the Mother so everyone will have a part to do. Every time when we come to class and get into our group each person will talk about their parts and explain what was that they had read and try to connect it to the book if they could. If they got stuck on a part, someone else in the group will help them out. I had the Flight from the Mother with Meagan. We took a lot of notes and help each other out when we’re discussing it to the group for them to understand what was going on. Not only that but we also took notes and find examples from the book that will support what we are saying and try to connect them together. Christina, Emily, and I also work together on the American feminist outline and discuss about it as well.

During the class discussion I didn’t talk as much as I should be because I didn’t really know what to say. The point that I brought up was about how Stephen rejected his biological mother. I took a quote from the Flight from the Mother about how he rejected three of the mothers, such as biological, ecclesiastical, and political. Then I say that he rejected his biological mother by pushing her away. I also took an example from the book to support what I was saying and that was the bully/kissing scene about how he kisses his mother at nighttime before he goes to bed. I explain why I picked it and how it connects with him rejecting his biological mother. After that I just say that it was when Stephen realizes that he have to learn to live life on his own and learn to protect himself since his mother was around wasn’t around to protect and comfort him.

The two most insightful observations that I gained from the discussion was one of the point that Elina point out. It was about the communication. It was about how he wasn’t able to talk to women because his emotion freezes for women and how his conflict is letting his emotion taking over. I never realize that until she told us that during the discussion. Then Brian brought out a point as well. It was about the eyes. He say that the eyes was an image of castration and Stephen doesn’t look into Wells’ eyes but he look down instead because he is looking for comfort inside.

michelle p 6 said...

As a part of the second psychoanalytic group, I feel that I was involved to the best of my ability. I did my best as far as trying to get the group discussing and ideas on how to break up different passages so that everyone had an equal amount of reading to focus on.
Together, we talked about the Freudian terms used in the essays and a better way to understand them such as the oedipal stages and id, superego, etc.
I took notes while Jessica typed up the notes and re-organized them. Others in the group helped with their comments and ideas. Overall, though quiet, I feel we did a decent amount of analyzing and as a group, we stayed focus.

Unfortunately, I was only in class for one of the psychoanalytic discussions and it being the first, it was hard to get the discussion going, though I think I did an okay job of bringing certain points and analysis up. My group and I used the passages we focused on in our smaller group in the larger discussion, mine being the fetishistic symbols in Stephen's life. Otherwise, I had smaller points, but did a lot of listening to the other psychoanalytic group. Having the first discussion be a bit quieter, I think I did my best to try to start/keep it up.

Overall, I think what influenced me the most, as far as my perspective of the book in hindsight, were the bird girl references and Stephen's way of looking at women as desirable versus honorable, though I can't remember who pointed it out.
I also found it very interesting that in the feminist criticism discussion, it was pointed out that men, especially Stephen Dedalus, not having the ability to reproduce, use different means such as in Stephen's case where he uses art. This point, made by I can't remember who, really got me thinking about the rest of Stephen's actions in light of his desire to create like his exemplar, Daedalus.

Edmund H5 said...

I was in group one of the psychoanalytic group discussion. The discussion dealt with the unconscious meaning of the author’s choice of words and also of the characters. The group discussion was very quite at first but luckily one of the group member broke the silence with an off topic discussion but it was quickly directed back to the psychoanalytic essays when Mr. G arrived.
During the conversation I would add examples when a speaker was making a point of view that he could not provide. The examples come from the essays or from the novel itself. When the group discusses about topics that relates to psychology I was able to give the group some insight about certain terms like the Oedipus Rex Complex or tabula rasa, as well as some theories Freud had that people disagreed upon. As I give my ideas I could not help but feel that I was not giving any topics to discuss about but only examples to back up the speaker. But when I give examples that goes against someone’s idea that is when I feel like I am adding to the quality of the group discussions. The job my group tasked me with is to read passages or to look up words in the dictionary that the group did not understand which made me feel more useful to the group.
In the large group discussion I felt extremely nervous before and during my part of the discussion. I can not help but feel that what I am saying is not useful information and that what I am saying does not add to the quality of the discussion. I would have to say that I would prefer to be in a smaller group setting because it is less intimating to prove my points of view. I feel that I had a symbiotic relationship with the speakers of my smaller group as when a topic was presenting by the speaker I would give back my knowledge of what they said. I feel that I am a leech during the big group discussion, only adding a few tidbit of information to the group and taking a huge portion of information out from it. If I would have to rate my performance I would to give myself as “could do better” but with the courage and bravery I have to muster up in me to speak to such a large group I would have to rate myself as “exemplary!” Not only do I rate my bravery but also my ability to keep myself together and to stay on topic.
I enjoyed the small discussion very much for it is preparation for the larger discussion. The smaller group allowed me to formulate topics I would have like to talk about during the big discussion bust luckily other people brought it up so I guess lucky for me. Overall if I have to name names I would have to say Derek, Kristin, and Ronald are the ones who added a lot of sight into the psychoanalytic discussion and kept the conversations going. The best one I can remember clearest in my mind is about eyes representing castration and Stephen’s treasury of vocabulary.

Emily T 6 said...

I was in a feminist group for the group discussions. Within the small group our group spilt up into pairs to discuss the different sections of the essay. My partner and I had the section Flight from the Mother. Our job was to take notes on the important parts of the essay and highlight passage that we could bring forward to the group and discuss and analyze. I was able to highlight the way a male uses the text to control women. This is because a man is threaten by the control women have through nature and search for ways to control the image of women through the text.

In the large group discussion I was able to highlight the idea of the “body/text” through a women to the class. I was able to give insight from what our small group discussed to the class and try to come to an understanding of the meaning of the passage. Overall I did not speak a lot. But I was able to give some insight.

One of the parts of the discussion that interested me the most was the part during the feminist discussion. I am not sure who stated it but Stephen tends to find comfort in women or search for comfort in women. But at the same time he is reluctant towards women and blames women pinpointing them as a distraction. Also another moment in the discussion that interested me in the discussion was the connection of the hands of Stephens eyes which represented phallic imagery and the loss of sight connecting to castration.

Simon M 6 said...

I was in the second psychoanalytical group and we covered how the Freudian stages linked to bits of Joyce’s writing. The small group discussion was rather quiet for the most of it. Sometimes a speaker would not be speaking loud enough to be heard over the noise emitting from the rest of the room. At times a good point is brought across and the whole group discussed it. I helped clarify key ideas to those who did not understand. Our group discussed the phallic stage and how Stephen deals with it after he differentiates female/male; mother/father. I also touched upon the importance of E__C__, a girl Stephen only describes the eyes and particles of clothing. I thought that my group could have done a better job if everyone spoke louder.

For the large group discussion, I would rate my performance with a “needs improvement”. I would say that the large group discussion helped broaden my insights on various parts of the essays. However, topics changed quickly from one to another making it hard to add my thoughts to the discussion, such as bringing the class to a point in the novel where the current topic exists. Other times I feel that my point would contribute little to the discussion. I barely talked and I feel that I should have talked more.

One topic that I thought was insightful was about God and women. Benwit brought up the idea of tracing Stephen’s thoughts back to the origin, God, the creator of the world. However, this God Benwit spoke of was a man—how could a man give birth to a world? As of today, only females could bare birth to offspring. Then a woman god was brought up, linking the discussion to mothers. Meaghan stated that the essay introduced three types of different mothers and how they were important to Stephen. I found this interesting because Joyce also implemented different types of “motherly” figures throughout the novel. Joyce used the prostitute, Emma, and the bird girl to portray this. I found these topics appealing during the class discussions.

thespina g 6 said...

I was part of the Feminist Group 2. During the small group discussions, my group was split into smaller groups which further analyzed the different kinds of Feminism. Each group chose a different kind and Meaghan and I chose French Feminism which we outlined and explained to the rest of the group in the second group meeting. Then, when we dove into the actual critical essays, Christina and I outlined and discussed Flight the Mother and Child section. We foud quotes int he actual text and also from the essay to discuss and when someone wasn't quite grasping a concept, we all worked together to clarify the meaning or answer the question.

During the class discussion, I spoke once or twice which I don't think is an adequate contribution but I got more out of the class discussion then I put into it. When I spoke, I brought up how Stephen envies a woman who can create and as a man, knowing he cannot naturally create, has a feminine soul. His feminine soul allows him to be the artist he is and gives him the ability to create. The passage I referred to is from the second feminist essay in the beginning of the Flight from the Mother section. During the discussion, I took many notes and paid attention to ideas that I thought could help my essay.

Two of the most insightful observations were those said by Quan and Meaghan. Meaghan brought up the possibility of God being female. It connected to what I was saying about Stephen's feminine soul feeling the need to create as an artist. Quan brought up the deeper meaning of darkness and how it is the absence of light and does not a;ways represent evil. Heconnected it to the imagery of the inside of a womb and how it provides shelter from the "blinding light" of being born. Those observations both helped me with my writng process.

sarah c 6 said...

For the group discussions I wsa in the feminist criticism group. In my group we split up the work into pairs. My partner and I took notes on our sections and discussed what we thought about our sections. WE had very interesting thoughts about one of our sections; mother and child. Amy and I were able to make some connections with Stephen's behaviors and his need for his mother. I found that section very interesting.

In the large group discussion I brought up a point about Stephen's femininity. I brought up a specific passage in the book and connected it to an idea of the feminist criticism. I talked about Stephen's soul being feminine and his appearance being masculine, therefore making the passage ironic because it made me think that a "bitch can be masculine" in Stephen's case.

One thing that interested me very much in the discusions was from the feminist group. The fact that Stephen uses art as a form of reproducing because he physically cannot fascinated me. I think its really interesting to think of his creations of art in this way and it does make sense. God is the only man, if he is a man, that can create things, and nobody knows if he does it physically or not. Stephen can't reproduce, but he can create original art. Something else that was really interesting to me was Meaghan's point that God could be a she. I thought this was a great idea because there is no evidence that God is not really a woman. His gender is unknown to mankind. I think Meaghan's point is great because it can give a much different view on some of Stephen's behaviors and changes throughout the book. If God is a she, the fact that religion holds Stephen back connects to the fact that Stephen's mother holds him back. It could be concluded that Stephen wants to feel a closeness and need for comfort and phsicality from women, but they also hold him back from being himself. I thought the discussions were great, but I think I should have contributed a little more.

Mr. G said...

It is the morning after the assignment was due, I'm just making a note for myself.

Jessica S. 6 said...

My group discussion was on the psychoanalytic essay.Essentially I think everyone played a major part in contributing to the concepts of the essay especially Brian and Alex. The essay to me was a little confusing at certain parts. So as a member in my group I was the one to ask a lot of questions,in order to understand and help clarify the main points of the essay, because if I don't understand something, someone else might not either. And also keep track of the question that we were trying to answer.

I rate it a 7 in the large group discussion because it ws somewhat insightful but I think we were to repeative on certain things, or stating the obvious sometimes. But on the second day I thought there was a lot of progress. We connect with the topics from the Feminism Concept.

The most insightful observations that I gained from the discussion was when Quan talked about light and darkness. Light is almost considered as a bad thing to Stephen, the light is almost shocking to him where as darkness is a comfort to him which connects to the concept of the womb. And then there was Meaghan's thoughts about god, she questions whether god is a man or a women.

Nice Intellegente Noticable Ambitious said...
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Nina F said...

When we were in the small groups, my role was to read 2 pages of the criticism and to know these to pages like the back of my hand and also try to find connections to the novel. It was weird because at first we didn’t really talk and some people were talking but as we got used to seeing each other we got more comfortable and started talking more and we got work done even though sometime we were side track (as everyone does). The thing that I added was I know the time line and I just basically went back and found the instances where these females were shown and reread it and find what was symbolic.

I think I would honestly rate myself a like 4 because I didn’t really talk that much and I think I could have talked more but whenever I wanted to talk someone would take what I wanted to say. It’s funny because when I’m in a small group I always have something to say and I think I feel more comfortable but once we get in a big group its not that I’m shy but I feel like every good point I have everyone else has too. I just think that I should have talk more, but I don’t know what always stops me.


One point that I still remember is when Quan was talking about the significance of night and day. When he started talking night being a covering not necessarily meaning evil, I found it very interesting because I hadn’t really thought about it like that. Once he said that it makes a lot of sense and I began to connect other things that may have made things easier to undersand.

Luana said...

During the small group discussions, We broke up into smaller groups, which allowed all of to focus on specific individual parts. Kaitie and I tackled the section dealing with the French Feminist perspective. This was a fascinating section that dealt with the very different approaches of language of that of women and men. Women use fluidity, while men, without the capacity of creating, use art as a form to make up for it. Ws also discussed Stephen’s relationship with his mother and the constraints of that relationship because of his need to establish himself as a man.



I felt that my overall performance in the group at large was inconsistent. Out of a 10, I would rate myself between a 6 or 7. I feel like a did come up with insightful comments, however, not enough. I was interested in shedding some light on the whole aspect of Stephen’s almost disdain for women because of his lack of control with around them, and his demasculinizing need for comfort from them. I felt that I was able to achieve that successfully through the connection between Stephen’s encounter with the prostitute and the critical essays using Athena and Circe as the platform.


Of All the insightful discussions we had, I was really enlightened by Quan’s discussion of light versus darkness. It out a whole new spin on the stereotypical view of darkness. Quan pointed out that it did not have to necessarily mean evil, but rather a shield blocking him from those issues that made Stephen uneasy. I was also very intrigued by Jessica S. referral back to the passage in which Stephen is pushed into a puddle for admitting to kiss his mother. Jessica suggested that the puddle could be used as an image of Stephen returning back to his mothers womb. The womb is a place where a child is safe and protected. Stephen craves his mothers warmth and comfort and the womb can a representation of that desire.