Author Archives: Shannon Thornhill

Jay-Z and Elvis

“The first time I heard our voices playing back on tape, I realized that a recording captures you, but plays back a distortion-a different voice from the one you hear in your own head even though I could recognize myself instantly. I saw it as an opening, a way to re-create myself and reimagine my world. After I recorded a rhyme it gave me an unbelievable rush to play it back, to hear that voice.” (5)

 

After reading this I could see how Elvis must receive the same kind of rush when he is doing his impersonations. For Elvis to do his impersonations he has to change his appearance, but if he were to still look in the mirror he would still recognize himself. The same way that Jay-z can recognize his own voice but knows that something is different. Jay-z gets a rush from trying to re-create himself and Elvis gets a rush from trying to recreate someone else. I think that for Elvis the only person he saw that could dance with the same passion that he had was Elvis. He didn’t have a buddy to practice moves with or to challenge his craft. He was always discouraged to dance, because he needed to find a real job. I wonder if Elvis was videotaped doing his routine if he would feel the same way> I wonder if he would be inspired to re-create himself or if he would feel discouraged and see what everyone else sees when he dances.

Sunday’s Bedroom

“He had only been inside his father’s bedroom a few times, and then only to clean, which was in itself an invariably bittersweet experience. Tins of smoked kippers, baked beans, corned beef, and exotic fruits all sat stacked, unused, unopened. Some, contoured into tortured shapes were well past their use-by dates. Bought for some special moment that never seemed to come, they were eventually thrown away. Shirts, still shrink-wrapped, mocked the holed one he wore. Vitals of holy water, collected from every gifted Catholic bishop or priest between home and Timbuktu, stood in a shaky pyramid in the corner. A sip, taken with a couple aspirin, worked miracles on headaches, his father swore. In the corners, ornamented tea services leaned against stacks of Reader’s Digests and newspapers.” (144)

This passage for me really showed me the relationship that Elvis had with his father. Throughout the book up to this point we see them have verbal exchanges that would not be characterized as being loving. We also have Elvis tell us that his father treated him poorly after his mother died. He even told Comfort that his father did not love him. But this scene really proved that to me. The narrator tells us that Elvis has only been inside his father’s bedroom a few times, and those few times were only to clean. I can’t imagine not going inside my parent’s bedroom and we live in the same house. I am inside my parent’s room all the time, having conversations, watching television, or a movie. I even get ready with my mom before we go out sometimes. So for a child to say that they have only been inside there father’s room a few times to me really shows the strain on their relationship, if it can even be called a relationship. From this passage it seems more like a servant and master than a father and son. He says that the experience of being in the room is bittersweet. This is probably because Elvis remembers when he used to go in his mother’s room at night and sleep with her when he was afraid. It also is probably hard to see all this spoiled food that is going to be thrown away, when they are struggling to survive. It is probably a slap in the face to see this food saved for a special occasion that has never come.

This passage also shows me more of Sunday’s personality. He is the last person that you would expect to be saving food for a special occasion. He seems more like the one to celebrate a drink at the bar than anything that has to do with his family. Also he is not the type of person you would expect to have holy water. I guess this is the irony showing in his name, that he would have holy water from priests and use to cure a headache and most likely a drunken headache. This was just eye-opening for me to really understand the relationship between Sunday and Elvis, and show Sunday’s personality.

Have I Ever Loved?

“He thought of how she who lay beside him had locked in her heart for so many years the image of her lover’s eyes when he had told her that he did not wish to live.”

“Generous tears filled Gabriel’s eyes. He had never felt like that himself towards a woman but he knew that such a feeling must be love.”

“A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”

I choose this last paragraph because to me it really showed Gabriel understanding the meaning of love and realizing that he was not in love. Gabriel is gazing out of his hotel window, watching the falling snow and reflecting on his wife Gretta’s recent confession about her childhood love, Michael Furey. Earlier in the story, Gabriel had been intoxicated by Gretta’s preoccupied mood, which reminded him of their courtship, but her outburst of sobbing had seemed to undermine his self-assurance. This quiet moment of contemplation portrayed Gabriel’s hushed acceptance that he was not Gretta’s first love, and that in fact he has never felt love at all. The blanket of snow suggests this sense of numbness in Gabriel’s character he is literally frigid to emotion. The snow does not fall only outside of Gabriel’s window, but, as he envisions it, across the country, from the Harbor of Dublin in the east, to the south in Shannon, and to the west. In other words, everyone, everywhere, is as numb as he is.

I believe that for someone to come to terms with the fact that they have not experienced love can be detrimental. When you have been living your life especially being married and you find out that your wife has loved another man more than you it makes you want to question your self-esteem. When you find out that a man has killed himself and that your wife is so distraught and you turn it around and know that you have not felt that feeling so you must not be numb would cause anyone to become numb. This passage here is very instrumental in showing the emotional rollercoaster one goes through when discovering the truth about “love.”