Stink Creek Book Club Meet Up

The Rose and I were home sick today, so Thelma, Louise, and gang are filling in for me. They're kind enough to share their adventures through the American Passages course on Annenberg Learner.

Them Puritans Mayabeen Uptight, but shew, they still got the Boobs In!

KWombles: Thelma sent me this transcript of some of the Stink Creek citizens participating in the discussion of Thursday's Anne Bradstreet/Doctrine of Weaned Affection group papers.

Thelma here at the Sisters' Subway, where we decided to meet up and talk about this latest assignment. I gotta do the posting because Edna's in a snit over my post concerning her waterworks issues. So much for the bonding. Says she's taking some time off to recover from my company and the left-over taste of Wild Turkey still in her mouth. So a bunch of us, even Edna, who sat some distance from the group, got together to try our hand at this here assignment, which we all voted on and agreed was a ball buster until Kim explained to us that basically it was sitting around and bullshitting about the whole thing. 

The best assignments are the ones where you get to go all sorts of places in your head and manage to get that out on paper. Anne Bradstreet, bless her, ain't too different from the long-suffering folks of Stink Creek who have their share of issues and look for a reason to get through it. Most of us turned to drink, I'll be honest, and found that to be an antidote with a might bit of a mixed blessing. Sure, we like our Bible-jawing and the majesty of the Lord. Louise can talk on that some. Why the first time I really met her and our friendship blossomed she was singing the Lord's praises with the preacher in a way I won't soon forget.

That Edward Taylor, though, I'm reckoning like the other preachers who thought they was the source of God's nourishment, the metaphorical nipples that the congregation sucked on might have been the source of some of the first fetishes. And I'm wondering, ifn that Philip Roth, who wrote a wicked novella that rewrote Kafka's TheMetamorphosis, might not have had them Puritan ministers as orbs of spriritual milk in mind with his The Breast. It might also be I done spent me too much time with my pal Louise, who'll say her spell when I'm done hoggin the limelight.

Bradstreet says that "the sincerest Christian, [has] the least self-love" in her... (Louise jumps in) Now hold on a minute there Thelma my gal! I had myself a bit of an issue with that Bradstreet gal sayin that. In my line a work-self love can sometime pay the bills iffen ya ken me? Hell! I even teach me a workshop on it down at the senior center "All dressed up an no where ta go? Self love for tha senior set" Most a tha folks in my classes is fine Christian people! Oh sure they may be havin difficulties gettin dates an such..what with their arthritis an what not. a little self love can go a long way. These are tha folks that is always helpin out at church functions, volunteerin, helping folks in tha community. They do it cause they is good people. Only age was slowin em down..So if I taught em somethin that put a little swing in their hip replacements..a spring in their walkers..Boy howdy it twas in the service a helpin my fellow man an woman! Wadn't it said that y'all could feed a man a fish an he'd eat for a day-but iffen ya teach em ta fish he ets for life? Hells Bells! don't it make tha same sense in teachin em about self love an whatnot? 

Lordy, now, I'm powerfully distracted from where I was going with that. Got all sorts of images in my mind. Self-love and old folks. Yup. Reckon that's an important contribution you make to the seniors, Louise. I've really enjoyed getting to hear Mamma H and the raisin practicing some of the lessons you gave in your other class, "Walkers: Not Just for Walking Anymore." Well, alright, I haven't enjoyed listening one bit, but they sure sound happy.

Bradstreet. In her meditation on self-love. No, that's not it. In her "Meditations Divine and Moral," there we go, she explains that people gotta keep their eye on the prize.

Willa (startling out of a nap): Prize? What prize? Did I win? Bingo!

Thelma: No, Willa. It ain't bingo. It's about how the Puritans used the whole boob imagery to suggest that God nourished his people through the preachers.

Louise-Whole boob? Is that like whole foods! Damn! with my orbs a glory I could feed a congregation!

Larinda-I just don't think that bosoms are an appropriate way to describe a preacher.

Louise-Oh Hell Larinda! They aint sayin the preacher was a rack a melons!

Larinda-Well, then if a preacher had himself some uhh feminine attributes I suppose they could be looked at as a gift from god.

Louise-it sure as hell would make it easy to pick out a Christmas gift for him an such. Just get him an 18 hour bra! Yeeha! Harness them little prosthletizers!

Milo-chickens don't have bosoms. I guess thats why they don't go to church.

Louise-oh but they got some juicy breasts!

Larinda-I wonder if the colonel was a preacher?

Milo-He was a murderer!

Louise-Hush up now milo! We aint talking chickens! Larinda, darlin-the puritans considered the preacher as the nourisher of tha flock. They used bosoms as one a them metaphors..cause they is big, they is beautiful and on account a the fact that they didn't have no Budweiser long necks.

Edna (still in the corner, pouting): We're supposed to give these folks an idea of how they might answer the questions. Y'all yipping about breasts and chickens ain't the assignment. We're supposed to discuss the "tensions [that] arise as a result of her love for her family and for her material possessions" and y'all ain't even close to that. Woman's house burns down. She loses all her stuff. How's she handling that? Don't y'all get it?

Lord, Edna, thankya.If'n y'all could quit fighting over your chicken sub there, Milo T and Larinda, we can get down to work. So, in the house-burning poem, she writes
"In silent night when rest I took,
For sorrow near I did not look,"

Luther: They obviously ain't got no chickens, ifn it was a silent night. Wonder where they lived? Getting quiet rest? Must not have been near the highway. 

Edna: Weren't no highways back then, Luther. 

Luther: Then how'd the fire engine get to em?

Edna: Well, it didn't, Luther. Doesn't she say she lost it all? Ain't she mourning over what she done lost?
"Under the roof no guest shall sit,
Nor at thy Table eat a bit.
No pleasant talk shall 'ere be told
Nor things recounted done of old.
No Candle 'ere shall shine in Thee,
Nor bridegroom's voice ere heard shall bee.
In silence ever shalt thou lie."

Edna: See, here she's all upset about what will never be. But then she brings it back to God; she don't wanna piss him off any more than she already has.
"Raise up thy thoughts above the sky
That dunghill mists away may fly.
Thou hast a house on high erect
Fram'd by that mighty Architect,
With glory richly furnished
Stands permanent, though this be fled."

See, she's got another home waiting on her, and she's gotta deal with this home. God gives and he takes. It's his business. Asking about why just makes God mad, like Luther when you take his chicken away from him. (Edna makes a play to take the stuffed chicken Luther carries with him away)

Louise-Edna! What all are you wantin with Luthers chicken?! Ooh-I think all this talk a erections an such is turnin Edna on! High ERECT?? Stands Permanent?? Boy Howdy!! She done got her herself a house on Viagra! I'm thinkin Edna NEEDS ta take my course on "self lovin" Yee Ha! Edna Burns house down-news at eleven!
Thelma (wading in to separate Edna and Luther and giving Luther his stuffed chicken back): Well, on that note, I think we're done here. Milo T, you can take Willa and Luther back on up to the Sisters. Edna, we've already told you, you don't mess with Luther's chicken. It's a wonder he isn't still wandering around grabbing the live ones and sticking them in the freezer.

We're done here. That's about as much edifying as we get. It all devolves into chickens fighting, folks pouting, and me and Louise grabbing a fresh bottle of Boone's so we can watch old Bobby Blake. Now, that's edification.

The American Literature class is doing the following assignment:
Homework assignment; agree on a partner before leaving class; read the above material and the three Bradstreet poems in this assignment. Consider the questions, and write notes supporting your point of view. Thursday, come into class, break into the pairing you have chosen and write a one page paper answering the question, using your notes. When you are done, trade your paper with another pair of students, read each other’s pieces, and then offer a paragraph commentary on the other pair’s paper. When you are done, hand in the paper with the commentary. Make sure that the original paired group has their names on the one page paper and that the second group has their name on the commentary. Each individual will also hand in his or her notes. There are three grades involved in this assignment.
Context: How does Anne Bradstreet deal with the doctrine of weaned affections in her poem “In Memory of My Dear Grandchild Elizabeth Bradstreet,” “A Letter to Her Husband, Absent upon Public Employment,” and “Here Follows Some Verses upon the Burning of Our House”? What tensions arise as a result of her love for her family and for her material possessions? To what spiritual use does she turn the experience of losing grandchildren and her home? Is she entirely resigned to the notion that “my hope and treasure lies above”?

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