In elementary school, my class would take field trips each year to the multiple museums in North Carolina and it was always my favorite part of the year. Therefore, going to the Ackland Art Museum was such an enjoyable experience. The first piece of art my group observed and my favorite from the trip was, “River Landscape with Fishermen.” At first glance, I was amazed by the detail of this piece. The water was peaceful enough it reflected the trees in the background, and the people in the sailboat had no look of fear. It took a minute for me to notice the grey clouds in the sky that could be leading to a storm or some other danger. I saw this piece as the “calm before the storm,” but it was interesting to hear my classmate’s ideas about this painting as well. Viewing art with other people is a thought-provoking experience as you get to see and hear how someone else sees the same piece of art.
When we had finished looking at that piece of art, we moved on to a piece called, “The Batture Ritual.” I had personally never seen a piece of video art before, so this was intriguing to me. As we watched the video, I realized that I was not as fond of this type of art. I think that although the idea behind the video was interesting, I did not enjoy watching it. Different from the first piece of art I observed, this one was almost eerie. I felt as though I was on the edge of my seat while watching the clip because it seemed as if someone was going to jump in front of the screen. This piece was definitely more modern than the other considering it was made in 2017, and the first piece I saw was made in 1812. I think that the look of the first piece makes me believe more thought and detail was put into it, although I know the video took a great amount of time also. Making sure the angle, the background, and much more are perfect before recording would be a tedious process. I think that in the future I will watch different video art, and see how my opinion differs when the video is more appealing to me.
After seeing these two pieces, I was also able to observe a few more. Personally, “River Landscape with Fishermen” was my favorite, and “The Batture Ritual” was my least favorite. Going to the museum and being able to analyze the stories and details of each piece was an awesome experience that even brought back old memories!
In my opinion, our trip to Wilson Library was well worth the time. Throughout my high school career, I was never introduced to the complex ways in which a book is made. Of course I knew the basics, but I did not think about why the particular fonts and bindings were chosen by the author for each book. It was very interesting to learn about the various books and materials that were on display, and to understand why they are so important and still learned about today.
My group was able to look at three books that we thought were appealing. Out of the ones we looked at, my favorite was Frankenstein, the Paperback 472 version. The first question we answered about the book asked about how the front and back covers of the book represented Frankenstein visually and textually. As I compared the cover of this version of the text to the one we just finished in class, I realized how much more intriguing this book appeared. The cover showed the part of the story where the Monster kills Elizabeth and she is sprawled out on the bed. In the background of the cover, the Monster was looking down at his hands with an expression that made it look like he was sorry for what he had done. This graphic could make people view the Monster differently before reading the book. As we read the 1918 version of Frankenstein in class, I understood it as that the Monster was not at all sorry for killing the people Victor loved. From looking at the cover of the Paperback 472 version, I would not have gotten the same feeling about the Monster. It was really interesting to compare these two editions, and understand why the authors chose the covers and how they wanted people to view the Monster itself.
The other document we looked at was the Sherlock Holmes comic book, called Hound of the Baskervilles. Growing up as a kid, I only knew Sherlock Holmes as a detective. Although I did not watch any of the Sherlock Holmes movies, there were always allusions to Sherlock Holmes on other TV shows when someone acted as a detective. With this in mind, it was different to see the pictures of Holmes in the comic book holding a gun. I have never thought of a detective as someone who “fights off the bad guys,” so this put a completely different image in my head of who Holmes was. I personally think that this comic book’s depiction of Holmes could seem more compelling to people, and especially young children. I even enjoyed looking at all the graphics and fonts that were used, and seeing how the pictures of Holmes would change how he is viewed.
Overall, I was well pleased with the experience at Wilson, and how well everything was explained. It has definitely changed the way I look at the fonts, bindings, pictures, and much more that go into making a book. I never realized how tedious of a process it must be for authors to choose the perfect art or material to use, and I now understand how proud they must be when finally finishing their book.
Since we have already read “Robinson Crusoe,” we know that Friday does not have a tongue. While reading that book, I did not think too much on who, when, or why someone would cut out Friday’s tongue. But as I started reading “Foe,” I realized that Susan was going to change how I thought about the issue. It is only in the first few pages of “Foe” that Susan is introduced to the fact that Friday’s tongue was cut off. She was immediately confused on why someone could do that to young Friday, and soon started to realize she was shuddering at the sight of him. She says, “Indeed, it was the very secretness of his loss that caused me to shrink from him.” Susan started to treat Friday as if he were disgusting, even though it was not his own fault he did not have a tongue. She could not stand to look at him knowing what he was missing. What Susan says about Friday is seen among many people then and today. People look upon others with disgust if they have a disability. This is not uncommon in the world we live in today.
For the remainder of the time on the island, Susan thought about Friday’s tongue, but stopped asking Cruso questions about it. Cruso did not want to discuss about Friday’s tongue like Susan did. Any question she had was answered with a short sentence. But when Susan and Friday were in England, she began to wonder if not being able to speak had caused him to lose the meaning of words. She could not stand to not know what happened to Friday, but the only person who could tell her what happened, was Friday himself. Susan’s drive to know Friday’s story was interesting to me. Although she looked at Friday as if he was not right, she still cared to know who had done this to him. As her obsession grew, Susan started to think that maybe Cruso cut off Friday’s tongue. This belief that Susan had made me question how she really felt about Cruso. Why would Susan think that Cruso did this?
Susan started to come up with scenarios of Cruso cutting out Friday’s tongue. She asks, “Did Cruso bind you hand and foot and force a block of wood between your teeth and then hack out your tongue?” As a reader, this envision Susan has sounds ridiculous, but makes it clear how disturbed she is by Friday’s tongue. Susan began to try and get Friday to show signs of him understanding what she was saying, but he was unwilling. She even tried to teach him to write letters, but he would not do this either. Susan realized that Friday was capable but simply did not want to respond to her. This was torturous for her because all she wanted to know was Friday’s story. How did he lose his tongue, and who did it to him were her questions.
I think that as a reader, it is intriguing throughout the book to understand how Susan feels about Friday’s tongue. At first, it is hard to believe that Susan would be this bothered by a tongue. The isolation between her and Friday caused her to have such ideas in her head. If I was in Susan’s position, I would probably have some of the same thoughts as her. Cruso did not want to talk about Friday, and maybe it is because he did it himself. I will not say Susan was crazy for being obsessed with his tongue, as it was interesting to read, but she did take it too far trying to get Friday to show responses.