Contemporary Literature Notebook/Journal

In my last semester of college I have decided to take a contemporary literature class to fulfill a requirement. I am not exactly sure what requirement it is filling, but I am somewhat excited for the class. I like reading, I really like thinking, and this class seems to be geared towards making me do both.

It is likely that I will be reading everyday to prepare for the class that will take place three times a week (MWF). Our instructor has asked us to write a journal entry about our feelings of our readings, and then another after we discussed the section in class.

I thought that it would be a good idea to just go ahead and publish my thoughts here on this blog. Lets keep track of my thinking and some of the developments throughout the semester.

We will be reading two novels this year. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston ( I actually read this book in the sixth grade…) and The Road by Cormac McCarthy (haha)We will also be reading experts from Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. Fourth Edition. Edited by X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia (That was taken straight from the syllabus).

Our first assignment was handed to us however. It was a short three page piece about happy endings. (Witty short happy ending joke here).

Description of reading: 

It starts off by clearly indicating categories. Bold A hovers above the first part and it tells of a story of a man named John and a woman named Madge falling in love, getting married, having kids, and living an almost perfect life. Everything from their job to their family is fulfilling. They eventually die of natural causes (assuming). Bold B takes a dark turn. It tells of a woman named Mary who falls madly in love with John, before he met Madge. Mary gave everything to John while John gave nothing to Mary. Mary makes him dinner and has sex with him twice a week. John is doing nothing but using her. John never takes Mary out to dinner, but does take Madge. When Mary learns of this she attempts suicide hoping that John would come to her rescue. He never does and John and Madge lives their happy life together.

Bold C shows us a plot twist that Mary actually comes in after John is married to Madge before meeting Mary, who is much younger than John. John uses Mary in a way, but seems to have more feelings for her this time around than when they were just having sex. So much more feelings that when he learns that Mary is having a relationship with someone more her age, he shoots her and her lover and then himself. Madge goes on to live a happy life with a man named Fred.

Bold D corrupts their life. a tidal wave takes out their beach side home and they must rebuild from scratch. Bold E gives the option that Fred dies from a bad heart and Madge can go on to live a peaceful life working with charities and what not. And the final Bold, point F, gives us a twist that John and Mary are secret spies working against each other.


There are different scenarios that a write can take with his or her story. However each scenario is eventually going to lead to its characters dying. No matter how much adventure and success the author can give his or her character, it will die. Keeping this idea that the character is mortal and not forever is essential to a good story. No one wants to hear about a everlasting character that will never die and can take their sweet time doing anything. Tuck Everlasting was more about the struggles of everlasting life of course. 

I feel that at this point this excerpt was to demonstrate how much freedom a write has. However how humble he or she must be with them. Killing a character is forever in most cases, but keeping your character safe is boring. Finding that nice groove of reality is how successful novels are written.


I feel that I am on here. But it is possible that the reading went right over my head. I will report back Wednesday to see if anyone else took from the passage what I did.


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