Tag Archives: imagination

Visible: Cornell

22 Apr

Visibility, in terms of Cornell and the composition of a blox, in my mind centers around the imagination and the mind’s role in filling in the gaps of this story.  For me, the process of gathering images or icons to include in the blox for the quality of visible is simply a reflection upon what I have thought about in the process of reading The Giving Tree.

The Giving Tree is visible because of the careful craftsmanship with which Silverstein composes this story. I like to think that this story is visible through a kaleidoscope- it becomes a mixture of wonderful colors, even in its black and white illustrations, and is a constantly moving story, like that of a kaleidoscope. Also included in my blox for visibility will be a magnifying glass. Not only is a magnifying glass used to see things more closely and clearly, but I have personal memories involving magnifying glasses that relate to my childhood. I was always fascinated with them and often played with them outside trying to capture the sun and use it to further illuminate whatever was around. A picture of an eye is also appropriate. Not only for obvious reasons, but I am including it in the sense that it represents the mind’s eye- the eye with which we are allowed to see what the imagination fabricates for us. I am a visual learner and also have tendencies toward a photographic memory. Therefore, everything I see I can remember very well, and things that I do not see, I create mental images that help me to remember them. In that sense, my mind is also a sketch pad because it creates what it does not see explicitly.

All of these things come together to make a blox that is colorful and filled with things that represent images that are visible and that represent the ability to see them- visibility.

Visible: Adaptation

22 Apr

An adaptation of The Giving Tree in terms of visibility will be easy to achieve. Although there is not much to be seen on the pages of the book in terms of text or extremely detailed images, the imagination works to fill in these gaps. Seger’s recommendation is to keep the story simple when adapting, and this book is no challenge in terms of simplicity. The movement of the story arcs and specific dialogue of the characters allow for a great sense of visibility in the mind of the reader. In an adaptation, however, more background information will need to be filled in as an explicit demonstration of the beginnings of the boy and tree’s relationship. Because a book allows for the mind of the reader to wander, there is no explanation needed. However, in terms of a blox or short film, a visual foundation is required for the audience to understand the significance of their interaction.

According to Seger, the stories that are the most realistic are those that are most easily adaptable- or in this case easily visible. Because we can relate to the boy and his playful actions as a child, his experiences as a teenager, and his desires for a house and a family, we not only can relate, but can visualize the way these paths of his life would go over the course of a film. We can envision the conversations, the dates he goes on, the construction of his house and the development of his family, all because we relate as human beings. For these reasons, an adaptation would not be much of a challenge in the way of story development, it would just be a matter of translating the ideas of whoever is directing, to match and be approved by those who may also be working on this project of adaptation.

Quick: Cornell

22 Apr

My experience of Cornell in terms of being quick will be reflected in my blox as things that represent time, the passage of time, and other things that are relative to brevity.

Going along with my first aesthetic, I will include a clock, and this will be the basis for the content of my blox, for time is the basis of all being and the means with which we measure our lives. I will also include a picture of an old click camera. These cameras capture pictures with the press of a button and capture a moment in time that we would like to preserve. The instantaneousness with which these cameras function is an example of the speed with which this story passes, as well as the memories upon which the tree reflects in her time without her friend.

Also included in my blox to represent quickness I will include water. Water has the ability to travel at high speeds because of its liquid form and as a child I spend a great deal of time playing outside in the water- in sprinklers, the pool, lakes and streams in the mountains. As the boy has memories with the tree that come to him in an instant of quickness, so do I have these memories that are related to my experiences playing outside in the water. Finally, I will include a swing in my blox to represent quickness. Just like the boy who swung from the trees branches, I swung on the swings of the numerous playgrounds I played on as a child. This was one of my favorite past times because I felt free and felt as though I was flying like a bird high in the sky. Swinging was truly a magical experience for me as a child and I have a great deal of memories spending my time soaring back and forth, using my imagination to take me away to make-believe places, just like the boy.

Quick: Experience

22 Apr

Not only is The Giving Tree light and exact, but it represents the quality of being quick very well. There is no delay or hesitation to the story, no drawn out sequences of action that keep the reader from experiencing the true movement of the story in reasonable time. The book is  a concise, exact and quick read. This is another quality in which synchronicity is demonstrated. Although there are only a short 25 pages, most with only one line, the story spans the entire life of the boy in close to three minutes- if read leisurely. The reader is seemingly deprived of details of the in-between times of the boy’s life, however, I choose to see the gaps in story or the brevity of the content as an opportunity for the imagination. The mind must act quickly if it is to fill in the gaps between pages, as each sheet represents a number of years passing between one’s fingers.

This is the kind of book that is over quickly and that one wants to read again, but the feelings caused by reading this story remain for such a period that the soul and emotional palette need a time for recovery and to process what just happened in such a short amount of time. My personal experience with The Giving Tree in terms of quickness is such that it has forced me to think about the speed with which life passes us by. In so many ways, our lives are long and take thousands of days to pass us by. However, all those of older age express to the younger generations the speed with which time flies and the way one wakes up one day and realizes the majority of their life is behind them. In reading this story, it can be understood that the boy’s life seems to pass him by a great deal faster than does that of the trees. The tree endures a life of waiting for her friend to return and enjoy her happiness which in turn provides the tree with happiness. It does not require a great deal of time to understand that this is the basis for their relationship, and this brevity or quickness is a huge contributing factor to the success of this story- such power and emotion evoked with the definition of conciseness.

Light: Experience

21 Apr

The Giving Tree offers much that represents the characteristic of being light and most of this lightness is in an aesthetic sense in terms of text and pictures. Each page is full of open, white space with the exception of a few words and lines that make the outlines of the tree and the boy. Not only is there a great deal of white space, but everything is in black and white- there is no color to be found, save for on the cover of the book. This lack of abundant text, art and color on each page leaves no option but to leave the reader with a sense of weightlessness- that this book is truly a light read.

Not only do the pages provide a sense of lightness, the quality of being light, but this book can also be read in less than three minutes- a “light” experience and not a cumbersome or daunting task. Calvino expresses what he feels to be light in terms of its antonym form- weightlessness. And while I do feel this book does provide lightness through its aesthetic attributes, it does weigh heavily on the heart in terms of emotions. This story is such that Silverstein ropes in the reader with just the right expression and wording in a most simple form. The connection developed between the tree and the boy, the boy and the tree and the reader and these characters is such a strong bond that one feels as though they are a part of the story. The reader experiences the sense of love, loyalty and imagination that is prevalent throughout the story through these relationships, and as these are some of the strongest emotions that humans can feel, an immense sense of weight, or heavy heartedness is felt when the boy is gone for such an extended period of time. When he comes back and takes and takes, multiple times, one feels a sense of empathy for the tree because we know that the tree cannot really be happy in her lonesome state.

From these observations, it is apparent that Silverstein has created a paradox through the juxtaposition of the sense of lightness prevalent in the aesthetics of the story and the great sense of weight from the emotional involvement invested by the reader. I feel as though the combination of these two attributes really contribute to the success of this story because of its ability to appeal to children as a story to which they can relate because of the boy’s active imagination and playful spirit, as well as the ability to appeal to adults because of its deeper meaning and emotional relevance to the characteristic of unconditional giving that we learn to develop as we love those around us.

Calvino’s Visibility

28 Feb

The fourth quality that Calvino introduces is that of Visibility.

He begins by introducing Purgatorio in which Dante is presented with scenes that act as representations or quotations of examples of sins and virtues. First they are revealed as “bas-reliefs” that appear to move and speak, then they appear as visions projected before his eyes, then as voices in his ear and finally as purely mental images. (pg. 81)

Calvino uses this example as a representation of the imaginative process, of which he says there are two types: (pg. 83)

1) the one that starts with the word and arrives at the visual image

2) the one that starts with the visual image and arrives at its verbal expression

The first of these processes, Calvino says, is what happens when we read normally. “We are brought to witness the scene as if it were taking place before our eyes….” He calls this the “mental cinema.” He is focusing on what happens to the reader when they experience literature. It is just that, an experience. The mind works in such a way that it paints such vivid pictures, that the reader is moved in some emotional fashion, be it to action or just contemplation. It is rare that we do not watch a movie, or even television show that we are not inspired or piqued in some way that a reaction is not elicited. In a day when we have an essentially free method of communication at our fingertips through social media and the internet, we are more inclined than ever to share our thoughts, feelings and reactions to works that exercise our imaginations and emotions.

Independent of, yet relative to Calvino’s second example of Visibility, Ejercicios espirituales, the book of Revelation in the Bible is a strong example of Visibility that elicits an emotional and cognitive reaction, regardless of religious belief.

In Revelation chapter 1, verses 12-16, John is explaining his experience to the Seven Churches. He says, “When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze  refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.”

With a parallel to Dante’s Purgatorio, John is relaying a message and describing in the greatest of detail what he has seen. Interwoven into this description are, what I feel to be, his feelings of overwhelmedness and awe. He explicitly states that he “sees” these things, and therefore this cannot but translate into the reader’s imagination as an image or picture.

No matter the piece of work, Visibility is a quality that is inherent in literature. Albeit that some provide more vividness than others, the beauty of literature is just that- its ability to vividly describe a scene and therefore project an experience upon the reader.

I feel as though I share John’s sense of overwhelmedness and awe. Both he and Dante describe their experiences in an awesome way- in the literal meaning of the word- and I cannot help, as a visual learner, having a stronger inclination for an experience when I can use all of my senses to do so because of the Visibility of the work at hand.

E-Lit Example

22 Feb

The E-Lit example I chose to demonstrate Visibility is “Entre Ville” by J.R. Carpenter.

This short narration is about what is assumed to be a group of children who live next toand play in an alleyway and have done so for eight and a half years. They own a dog who sniffs his way up and down the alley, chasing after and retrieving an orange ball. The way in which the story is told is through the most vivid of details to the point where a great sense of Visibility is achieved.

For example:

“Let’s say our dog walk us up and down this alleyway three times a day. That’s eight-and-a-half years up and eight-and-a-half years down. Nine thousand three hundred laps of toenails clicking on the cracked concrete. Tail zigzagging, long tail wagging, long tongue lolling, dog tags clacking. Ears open, eyes darting, nose to the ground.”

Just within this short excerpt the reader gets a sense for what this dog does every day, how he does it and what he looks like doing it. Almost every sense is employed by the reader because of the implied and explicit details. The smell of the ally, the sound of the dog’s nails clicking and tags clacking, the prance of the dog, and one can almost feel the wind blowing through the ally.

The aesthetic I feel from this piece of E-Lit is almost a sense of nostalgia. Memories can be so vivid that clothes, places, patterns, colors, scents, weather and any  number of other elements can be remembered because they are ingrained into our memories through their vivid presence and therefore represent Visibility in our mind’s eye or imagination.

http://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/carpenter_entreville/index.html