Review: Child of God

Conferences and McCarthy

 
This has been a crazy busy week, and though I meant to blog Monday night after my Southern Literature class, I wasn’t feeling too well.  Laying on the couch and finished the first season of The Big Bang Theory made up the rest of my night.  I am now doggy sitting for my friend who is going to Ecuador till next Sunday.  He sheds more than my cat!!

My paper, “Magic: A Change and Belief and Persecution,” was accepted to the Kentucky Regional Phi Alpha Theta conference at Morehead University. I’m rather nervous!!!  We leave Friday at 11 am, and head up there.  We shall have dinner at 5:30 and then practice our papers.  The conference begins at 7:30, I present around 9:40, and then spend the rest of the day listening to other papers, lectures and eating. I should be back in town around 6:30.  I am very nervous, did I mention that?  Wish me luck!!!!

On top of that, I will also be presenting March 23rd at the WKU Research Conference, and I’m submitting to the History Undergrad Conference which shall be April 25th. The next two months shall be chaotic!  I’m also going to be taking my MAT test on March 11th, PAT has the three part lecture series, volunteering at the Humane Society, an outing to Mammoth Cave, movie night and our induction banquet on April 25th. I have to finish writing my personal statement for grad school, and gather all of those materials to send out. I’m way too busy my last semester!!!

On to other topics… for Monday night we read Child of God by Cormac McCarthy. I had read The Road before and it was a rather good book until the very end.  Child of God was … morbid and hilarious. Can those two coincide? This was one of our main topics in class.  Many of us felt terrible for laughing when we did during the novel, but you just cannot help it.  It is is full of great one-liners and the main character certainly has his ups and downs.  If you can stand things that are morbid, read the book.  I have decided to do a marathon this summer and read all of his works, because I am interested in quite a few.  I shall have to make a “Oh my god, I can read for pleasure again” list for this summer.

One of the topics we got into at the very end of class was rather or not the main character, Ballard, was a sociopath. For more on the book, click here. And, apparently, they are making a movie.  Here is a link on sociopaths.  I do not think he was a sociopath.  We do not know enough of his own thoughts or background to truly tell.  For one thing, he has to fully think through whether or not to take his first body.  For another, though he keeps killing, and I would say he is a serial killer, not all serial killers are sociopaths.  Perhaps if this was written from 1st person (which I would not like) we could tell.  However, we do not know if he feels guilt, if it is just rage, or a sense of trying to make his own community.  A case could certainly be argued for it though.

Sadly, this book does not really call for historic criticism. Which reminds me, did I post anything on To Kill A Mockingbird? Because I should.  I am so glad I reread that book. Ahem, so yeah, that shall be my next project…

The last topic we discussed in class was the use of “Nigger” within the novel.  I was not surprised by it, because it fits the time period and makes sense to have been used. Several people were shocked, which honestly surprised me more.  I do not remember exactly what one girl said but I believe it went along the lines of how the word needs to be taken from use, and how offensive it is.  I replied.  I hear that heard quite often from African Americans and my own viewpoint is that if you don’t want the word used by others, you should not use it yourself.  I do not like the work Fuck and therefore do not use it.  It makes sense to me.  She replied that she could call herself a bitch but when others do it it would upset her.  I understand this logic, but I think that if you are willing to be a bitch, you should expect the term applied to you by others, especially if anyone ever hears you pronounce it.  (I just used more profane terms in this paragraph that I probably have ever used in my life.) So since I started wondering here is the definition, and two articles discussing its origin:Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, and, “Real Origins of the word Nigger.” Personally, I think no matter what we do the term will always be around.  And honestly, the only way it is offensive is if a person intends it to be.  If a child grows up hearing its use they will not really know the meaning behind it except that which it is given.  I was taught it was offensive, and therefore never use it. It made me question it when I heard African Americans use it to each other. 

On this note, have you ever heard the term “Ratchet?”  It is what African Americans call umm…. unprofessional, slutty clothing (that is how I had it explained to me!)  We saw a poster for a lecture calling for the stop of “Ratchet.” We were rather confused, and finally asked a girl that we tutored.  She explained that many are trying to stop the wearing of pants around their knees, and other such clothing that has become so stereotypical. It surprised me, because I honestly never thought about it. This topic just reminded me of it.

Race has become such a problem.  So often now it seems that barely saying anything can get a person in trouble.  My friend took an African American studies class and it was taught by an African American male.  Everything in the class was colored to racism and how terrible they have always been treated and how society still puts them down. Today, offices have to be careful to keep a certain ratio (if possible) within their work force. There have been instances of a “black” person being hired over a “white” just so the company would not get sued, even thought the white person had better qualifications. Is that also not racism?  I think we toe the line so often over such a stupid issue that we start going backwards.  Children have the right idea, in thinking that nothing is different.  Along these same lines, I have a friend who has very colorful tattoos and one day a child came up and told her “I love your coloring book pictures” and she thought it was the sweetest thing ever.  People get so up in arms about some things that it is truly sad.  If we could forget the whole idea of “race” to begin with perhaps things could move forward. We are all human. Can we not leave it at that?

 
(This got me a comment from a random person — click and go see — http://historianprogress.blogspot.com/2013/03/conferences-and-mccarthy.html)
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