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A List of the Delusions of the Insane: What They Are Afraid Of – Blog Post 2

I read “A List of the Delusions of the Insane: What They Are Afraid Of” by David Antin.  This work is a list of things that the insane are afraid of, and it looks to be in poetry form; with each line being very short. David Antin got this list from Thomas Smith Clouston, who wrote “Actual examples of delusions of about 100 female melancholic patients.” The work sounds poetic, and when one thinks about the fact that this is an actual list of delusions that people have had, it becomes interesting.

One can feel sympathy for the people, for the list makes it seem like they have many delusions and fears. Some of the delusions are “the police, being alone, being killed, being dead, and being lost in a crowd.” Some of the delusions are a bit strange, such as “having no stomach, that they will be boiled alive, that they will be fed disgusting things, that evil chemicals have been placed in the earth, and that it is immoral to eat.”

The insane seem to be preoccupied with death and murder according to this list. There are five delusions related to being murdered in a row, such as “they will be murdered when they sleep, they will be murdered when they wake.” I wonder why the first delusion is “the police.” This list is either in a random order, or the insane have a strong fear of the police.

None of the words are capitalized, and there is no punctuation. The further down the list that you go, the stranger it becomes. Here are some delusions, “that insects are coming out of their body, that their blood has turned to water, that they have no brain, that they are covered with vermin.”

Some of the delusions are really sad. They include, “being unfit to live, that they will not recover, and that their children are being killed.” One that really stands out to me is “that they are in hell.” It makes me think, if they are picturing themselves in hell, and are having realistic experiences with it, than what if they really are in their own version of hell? Another one that stands out to me is “that they have too much to eat.” I wonder how that delusion plays out in someone’s mind. Another reoccurring delusion is burning. They see houses, children, and people burning around them.

Putting the list of delusions in poetry form makes one think about it more. Poetry is for reflection and contemplation after all, one could argue. I wonder why the author did not try to organize the delusions better, for example some of them seem related, but they are on different sections of the list. This is not an exhaustive list, though I wonder how an exhaustive list would look like. What key fears are missing from this current list?

The conceptual medium works for this text. The list is just a list, and the author did not seem to change it too much. Or if he did, I could not tell the difference. Perhaps if the author organized it in a certain way, or made it more coherent, than his poem would have made more sense. However, since the topic is about delusions of insane people, the loose structure works. This list is a bit incoherent, and makes little sense without the title or the explanation behind it. Though being incoherent and confusing is probably what actual delusions are like, so this text succeeds in pulling the reader closer to the actual experience of having a delusion.

Most of the delusions start with “that.” The rest start with “being”. The first one starts with “the”, and is the only one that starts this way. Is “the police” that important of a delusion to denote distinction, or did “the” simply make the most sense grammatically? And even if “the” was the only word that made sense, wouldn’t saying something such as “that they are afraid of the police” make this first line fit in better with the rest of the poem? Or is the author trying to convey something by making the police stand out?

I feel like this is an informative text and that if anyone else reads this that they will gain actual knowledge into how an insane person’s mind works. Some of the delusions are unpleasant to read, but they must be even worse to experience. Perhaps putting some things in poetry form can be a good thing for awareness. After all, before reading this poem, I did not know much about the different types of delusions that people had.

Flarf poem

“encourage alphabet”

 

Tied Up in a Rainbow

color-coded rows

need to save up 60 candies

Candy coated raindrops

underwater cave

waterproof rubber material

Soft cushioned footbed

fashion fix

 

I did three Google searches to make this poem.  I typed in “funny money rainbow”, “candy computer rain”, and “class space rug”. It was kind of hard to come up with a decent, cohesive poem with these searches. I arranged the lines in a way that would make the most sense. I kept the original capitalization. The title is a line that I liked but did not know where to place.

Dependence on Technology in The Machine Stops (1st blog essay)

The short story “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster begins with a character, Vashti, alone in a hexagonal room with the Machine. The Machine is responsible for people’s communication needs, entertainment, and practical requirements like getting the bed out. Forster describes the room being like a “cell”, which conjures up images of jails and being imprisoned. To what ends would technology make you dependent on it? Technology in the Machine’s world made the people so reliant on it that they literally died once it stopped.

Vashti, a mother, tries to communicate with her son Kuno. However, she seems to be more interested in getting back to the Machine than having a meaningful dialogue with Kuno. She says, “’Be quick!’ She called, her irritation returning. ‘Be quick, Kuno; here I am in the dark wasting my time.’” This is not the only thing that hinders their connection. Kuno wants his mother to come visit him, however she replies, “’But I can see you!’ she exclaimed. ‘What more do you want?’” Vashti is incapable of valuing seeing someone in the flesh as opposed to seeing them via the Machine.

Vashti got on an Air Ship to visit her son. She almost fell, however the flight attendant tried to steady her. She thought the action was “barbaric”, because people did not touch each other anymore. Vashti said, “’How dare you!’ exclaimed the passenger. ‘You forget yourself!’” The flight attendant just wanted to help, however even simple help was seen as hostile. The Machine had isolated people so much, that human contact was seen as foreign and was unwelcomed. This line is telling, “The woman was confused, and apologized for not having let her fall.” In this world it is a bigger offence to touch someone than it is to let them fall and hurt themselves. Technology has distanced people both physically and psychologically.

In this world the physical world outside the Machine is regarded as being unnecessary and uncivilized. Kuno tells his mother that he wants to visit the world outside of his room, and she replies, “’Don’t. Don’t talk of these terrible things. You make me miserable. You are throwing civilization away.’” Because of the Machine, nature and open spaces became obsolete. Kuno went to the outside in a way that was not permitted and he was going to get in trouble. Kuno does not like nor trust the Machine. He says, ‘”Cannot you see, cannot all you lecturers see, that it is we that are dying, and that down here the only thing that really lives in the Machine? We created the Machine, to do our will, but we cannot make it do our will now.’” The Machine used to serve the humans, but now the humans are servants of the Machine. The humans are now more limited by their technology, they are reliant on it and they have less freedom to physically move around.

After a while, going to the surface of the earth was not permitted. At the same time, first hand ideas were not seen as being valuable. Here is an interesting line, “’Beware of first- hand ideas!” exclaimed one of the most advanced of them. ‘First-hand ideas do not really exist. They are but the physical impressions produced by live and fear, and on this gross foundation who could erect a philosophy? Let your ideas be second-hand, and if possible tenth-hand, for then they will be far removed from that disturbing element – direct observation.‘” Direct observation is seen as a bad thing, and the further that one could get away from it, the better. At this point the mechanical, the Machine, was seen as the only proper thing there was for humans.

The world is really reliant on the Machine at this point. However, the Machine was starting to have some issues. Kuno tells his mother that the Machine is stopping, however Vashti had no idea what that really meant, she could not imagine a world without the Machine. Vashti tells her friend about the Machine stopping, and her friend replies, “’The Machine is stopping?’ her friend replied. ‘What does that mean? The phrase conveys nothing to me.’” The issues began with music, then they gradually got more serious such as there being mold on fruit. At first people complained about the issues, but after a while they got used to them. Here it says, “Time passed, and they resented the defects no longer. The defects had not been remedied, but the human tissues in that latter day had become so subservient, that they readily adapted themselves to every caprice of the Machine.” Even though the Machine was having issues, the humans were so reliant on it that they had to get used to the new problems, there was simply no other choice.

Then the Machine disconnected everyone, then there was silence. Here it says, “She had never known silence, and the coming of it nearly killed her – it did kill many thousands of people outright.” People were so used to hearing the hum of the Machine, that not hearing it literally killed people. Then something happened that had not happened for a very long time. People finally got out of their cells and interacted with each other. Here it says, “People were crawling about, people were screaming, whimpering, gasping for breath, touching each other, vanishing in the dark, and ever and anon being pushed off the platform on to the live rail.” When the people got scared, they finally found their humanity. Kuno says, ‘”Quicker,” he gasped, ‘I am dying – but we touch, we talk, not through the Machine.’” At the end, they got to embrace each other and found the connection that had been missing. They did not need the Machine to communicate with each other anymore.

“The Machine Stops” tells a tale of a dependence on technology that leads to death. There are many instances of dependency on the Machine, such as it providing the bedding, food, and communication to all people. Because all of the people relied so much on the Machine to get everything done, when it broke down they could not survive anymore and everything literally came crashing down.

Mission Statement and Project Plan Alice Group

Mission Statement

Our premise is to look at the evolution of Alice’s character throughout history and to examine how culture has affected her portrayal.

The commonly-conceived Alice is not necessarily the “real” Alice.

How everyone’s conception of Alice is different depending on what version of Alice in Wonderland you studied.

 

Resources

Some of the resources for Alice that currently exist are Wikipedia and Wikipedia (film/tv).There are blogs that exist that discuss interpretations of Alice, but are not necessarily as in-depth as our analysis for our digital project. Our project encompasses greater variations within the Alice stories, whereas other resources just look at the story as a whole.

 

Group Organization Plan

Every other week we will compile our work to view progress we have made. We will discuss any issues/ideas and will go with what the majority of the group votes on. We will have a minimum standard for what everyone in the group must contribute. Everyone must contribute 3 sources of Alice that we will interpret as a group.

 

Tools

We will be using WordPress to make our site. We would have used Omeka to make the site because it is better for compiling to show collections, which is what we will be doing. However, as a group we decided to stick to working with a blog creator that we feel comfortable with using. We did not want to worry about  learning how to use the blog creator and wanted to focus on our content. Some group members are familiar with WordPress and they will help to familiarize the other group members that do not know as much. To chart the chronology of Alice, we will use the Neatline tool to make a timeline.

 

Detailed Plan and Timeline

Our components will be a chronology of Alice’s variations in different periods of history in a timeline format. Each component will look professional, yet visually-appealing. We will have a different tab for each period of history. If we keep with our plan then we should have a wide view of the the evolution of Alice. If, however, we do not complete our plan then we will only be able to show a view variations throughout history.

 

Timeline

March 23–Have 3 sources posted/annotated each; Meet w/ group

April 6–Have 3 sources posted/annotated each

April 20– Have 3 sources posted/annotated each; Meet w/ group and prepare presentation

April 21/23–Group Presentations

April 27–Meet w/ group

April 29 (10 pm)–Project Due

May 4 (10 pm)–Reflections Due

Alice in Wonderland

Allyson- Alice’s adventures in Wonderland : a pop-up book (Print) is intended to be read as a storybook for young children. It contains colorful, interactive images of the work that creates a connectedness to the story lost in a digital work. Due to the intricacy of the pop-up images, the book is very short, excluding some chapters and only summarizing the rest. Because the book is more about entertaining and reading to children, most of the story and its details are lost. Since there is the interactivity with pulling tabs on the images and the pop-ups, there is a personalness, and entertainment that would not be the same in a digital version.

Alice’s adventures in Wonderland (Print) is a second edition print version of the novel. It includes all the original illustrations from the original illustrator John Tenniel. If the text were to be produced in a digital format, these illustrations are probably the most important to preserve because they are the closest to Carroll’s vision of the story. In a digital format though, the book would lose some of its authenticity. Because it was published in 1866, it is closest to the way that Alice Liddell–the girl Carroll wrote the book for–read the book in 1865. The gold-edged pages, the red binding, and the simple images on the front and back covers are real to what Alice Liddell would have read, which adds some perspective to the reading of this print version as opposed to how it would be digitized.

 

 

Erin- The Annotated Alice (Print)

The Annotated Alice has undergone a series of transformations. Originally published in 1960, the publisher, Potter, refused to allow Martin Gardner to update the book with new notes. These he used in a sequel, More Annotated Alice, published in 1990 by Random House. In 1998 an editor at Norton approached Gardner to combine the two works into a “Definitive Edition.” Published in 2000, this is the most recent edition.

           The beginning of the work includes a Preface to the Definitive Edition as well as both introductions from The Annotated Alice and More Annotated Alice. These introductions provide an historical context for the Alice books, including biographical and cultural backgrounds.

           Then follow the complete texts of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, including the original John Tenniel illustrations. Throughout the margins are annotations made by Martin Gardner. These include information and observations either culled from others’ published research or submitted by readers of the original The Annotated Alice and More Annotated Alice. Gardner believes the texts cannot be fully appreciated without some knowledge of Oxford in the early 1860s, as there are many contemporary allusions with which modern readers are unfamiliar.

           After the annotated texts are various related materials. First is The Wasp and the Wig, preceded by a Preface and Introduction which explain the episode’s absence from Through the Looking-Glass and a facsimile of Tenniel’s letter to Carroll urging the writer to remove it. From this follow a Note About Lewis Carroll Societies, an extensive section of Selected References, and a list of Alice on the Screen.

 

Alicewinks (Electronic)

The version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland commonly referred to as “Alicewinks” is the 150th Anniversary Animated Edition for Tablet Computers. Available for both iOS and Android through the App Store and Google Play, the Android download was updated February 25, 2013 to version 1.2 and is 1.8G. Developed by David Neal, William McQueen, and Brittney Owens, the eBook integrates text, video, and animations in a portrait orientation, including the illustrations of 12 post-Tenniel illustrators.

 

David-Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Gutenberg Ebook (Electronic)

This digital version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is the one I have been using to read Carroll’s work, and it is “a hypertext formatted version of the Project Gutenberg edition.” The etext was put together by Robert Stockton at Carnegie Mellon, and is very easy to use, complete with a table of contents with links to the corresponding sections. This version features illustrations from John Tenniel, so that gives it some valuable similarities with the experience of reading a print edition, but the shortcomings of the digital version are numerous. First of all, a digital version is necessarily represented on a screen, which causes slight eye fatigue over long periods and is generally less aesthetically pleasing than a real page (Stockton’s page features a particularly basic/ugly site design, with literally nothing but the text, occasional pictures, and links on a white page). Similarly, the entire experience of sitting and looking at a laptop, which is full of various applications and distractions, will never compare to the experience of dedicating time to turning the pages of a novel and immersing oneself very exclusively in the world of a story in that way.

https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~rgs/alice-table.html

Alice in Wonderland 1951 Film (Electronic?)

The 1951 Alice in Wonderland film is an extremely popular way to experience Carroll’s story. This film of course loses some of the elements of the original plot, and also features parts of both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, so it is not the truest interpretation of our main text. It is, nonetheless, very interesting to see how Carroll’s story was interpreted at the time, and why it was so popular. The other interesting thing about the film is that it is now so commonly watched in childhood that the film starts to determine how readers see Carroll’s world when they read his original text, so, as is true for a lot of movies, it has begun to reshape the text it originally came from. The experience of watching the film is obviously very different from reading a novel, as it requires far less time commitment, no actual reading, and leaves nothing to the imagination of the viewer.

Marta- Alice’s adventures in Wonderland: a critical handbook, 1969 (Print)

What was intriguing about this critical handbook is that it also includes Alice’s Adventures Underground, which was the manuscript that would eventually be published as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I think what makes this version particularly interesting besides the fact that the storyline is a bit different, is that it is handwritten. It does not make the text any harder to read because it is written with beautiful and clear penmanship. What it mostly adds is more life to the text, just like the illustrations do. It reflects perfectly the personality of the text. This characteristic is also what I think would be most important to preserve when offered in a digital version. It needs to photocopied because if it is just typed up with a font that imitates the handwriting, I think there would still be a lot lost. All the letters would be too standardized and identical to one another.

Marta- Salvador Dali’s illustrations of “Alice in Wonderland” (Electronic?)

Salvador Dali’s surrealist style is particularly interesting because it amplifies the psychedelic nature of the narrative. Unlike most versions of Alice in Wonderland, which have illustrations that are realist and cater best to children, Dali presents the dark nature with one image for each chapter. Although it would have been more interesting if he was able to illustrate more images throughout the book, I think with these cover pages, Dali is able to transform the reading experience through the use of imagery better than any other artist.

Ronnie – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1972 Film Musical) electronic – The 1972 musical adaptation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland brings Alice and the other characters to life, using music to communicate much of Lewis Carroll’s classic.  The edition retains much of the flavor of the novel, taking much of its wording directly from the book.  Additionally, the characters costumes were designed to closely follow the original John Tennial drawings from the first edition of the book.  Unlike many of the other film portrayals of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the 1972 film adds music to the visual and auditory elements.  The songs give this adaptation a whimsical feel in the spirit of Carroll’s novel.

Natalia- Alice in Wonderland (2010 Film) Electronic – This is a modern adaptation by Tim Burton and Disney. This film uses computer animation. This film has scenes from the original Alice book and Through the Looking-Glass. In this film Alice is a 19 year old adult instead of a girl. The film focuses on her trying to slay the Jabberwocky. The aesthetics of this film are typical of a Tim Burton movie.

Natalia- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Other Stories (Barnes and Noble Collectible Editions) Print – This is a modern 2010 edition of Alice. It also includes other stories such as “Through the Looking-Glass”, “Sylvie and Bruno”, “Sylvie and Bruno Concluded”, and “The Hunting of the Snark”. The volume has everything that Lewis Carroll ever published in it. It’s a leatherbound volume. It has a different cover on it than the original Alice. By having all of Lewis Carroll’s writings in one volume, one can more easily see the similarities and differences between each story.

Zotero

Zotero is a citation tool. It reminded me of Easy Bib. You have to download Zotero, which takes a minute. When I launched it, I found it more confusing to use than Easy Bib. The interface does not appear user friendly. I had to look at a tutorial video to figure out what was going on. There was supposed to be a blue book that appeared along with the website URL to use with Zotero, but I could not get that feature to work for me.

Zotero also  “collects all your research in a single, searchable interface. You can add PDFs, images, audio and video files, snapshots of web pages, and really anything else. Zotero automatically indexes the full-text content of your library, enabling you to find exactly what you’re looking for with just a few keystrokes.” Those features sound useful for someone doing research. Here’s someone commenting on Zotero from http://at.blogs.wm.edu, “I had also used Zotero off and on.  Zotero was the tool that I kept returning to, and what I use now for my dissertation research.”

Zotero has an iTunes like interface.  It has internet forums. You can also join and create research groups on Zotero. It also automatically synchronizes your data across as many devices as you choose to synchronize it with. Zotero claims that it’s “a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources”. While Zotero does seem like a useful tool to use, I had difficulty trying to set it up correctly.

Good time and fun

I looked at “fun” and “good time” on the ngram viewer and I had  interesting results. Overall the word “fun” is noticeably more popular than the term “good time”. However, from 1820-1840 the word fun plummeted in popularity. Around 1800 the word fun was at its peak. “Good time” remained steadily unpopular in usage compared to fun.

The term “good time” seems to have a negative connotation to it, since when I googled it had this as its definition, “recklessly pursuing pleasure”. The word “fun” had this as its top result, “enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure”. I knew that the term “good time” did not have a purely innocent meaning, however I was still surprised to see it described as “reckless”.

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