Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fishbowl #3: "William Wilson"

Great job using the threaded discussion with your "Minister's..." discussion.  Keep up the good work with this as well as your terrific, text-based questions.  As always, I also enjoy that you take the time to compliment one another's great thinking.

A couple of reminders from last time:
1.  Avoid "I thinks" and "I believes".  Remember, "brevity is the soul of wit". :)

2.  Avoid closed-ended "does" and "do" constructions in favor of more open-ended ones that allow a multitude of responses.

Happy blogging!! Keep up the great work!

85 comments:

  1. What characteristics show that William Wilson is a dopelganger of William Wilson?

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    1. The fact that they were exactly the same except for their voices shows it. They walked the same, dressed the same, attended school at the same time, and all those other creepy similarities.

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    2. Not only is it creepy, Ruth, it is uncanny. Since the doppelgänger pulls the real person out of these situations, the change in voice shows that these characters are eerily different.

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  2. I know that we talked about doppelgangers today, but so far this is the third set of "twins" that we have encountered. We saw Roderick and Madeline, the twin girls in the picture for "The Shining" and now the two William Wilsons. Why do you think that twins are used so often in dark romanticism?

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    1. Twins are a more physical form of doppelgangers. It's easier for a reader to visualize the good and the bad of a character instead of the character thinking he's seeing himself. It also helps makes the story a little more real.

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    2. You know the saying evil twin? Well they probably used twins in the stories to accentuate the differences between the good and the bad side of people. This is like personifying their conscience.

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    3. Twins have more of a mental and emotional connection than other siblings or friends so this adds a deeper level to the story. It makes it a little more creepy because of this intense connection.

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    4. The "twins" or doppelgangers seem to be used often, and it goes back to the Gothic texts using the uncanny, so the doppelgangers are inherently similar but different from each other. It adds to the feel of the text.

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    5. Twins are so connected in facial and many times emotional context so sometimes they're hard to distinguish even if you see 2 separate people. Likewise the doppelgangers are presented as 2 separate beings but they're so similar they blur together.

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    6. Doppelgangers come in sets of 2. There is one normal, and the other is brought up to represent evil. The twins are not so much doppelgangers in "The Shining" as you mentioned. They are there to represent familiarity along with a feeling of unsure in our minds that worries us.

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    7. Twins and doppelgangers are prevalent in the Gothic Movement for the same reason as the uncanny. I know many people fantasized as children about having a twin or a relationship with someone just like you and that continues to carry on in our subconscious to maturity. The notion of have a twin is an exciting one and, in the instance of doppelgangers, a dangerous one. On one hand, a doppelganger's presence may seem desirable because it's someone that thinks and acts just like you. On the other hand, one does not have control over their doppelganger like they do themselves and the damage that this can cause is massive for obvious reasons. I think of William and William like ego and id. The "real" half of a doppelganger (ego) may think some of the things that the doppelganger may, but they would most likely not act out based on these thoughts and instincts while the doppelganger (id) has no sense of guilt or self-control in relation to their internal desires. They act out in a way that the real person may want to, but has enough decency not to.

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  3. " What say of it? what say (of) CONSCIENCE grim, That spectre in my path." - Chamberlayne's Pharronida

    How did this quote connect with this story? Especially with the end?

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    1. The most outstanding feature of that quote is the capitalized word "conscience" connects with the story because William Wilson is not always conscious of this "second character" living within him?

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    2. Yeah. When he left school, he didn't see him on a regular basis. He didn't see him until he was about to do something that he knew he shouldn't.

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  4. Through the idea of this doppelganger of William Wilson, what does it seem like this doppelganger represents to William Wilson in connection?

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    1. That he was a person with split selves. He knew, at least sub consciencely, what was right and wrong. But his selfish half didn't want to listen to the good half. Of course to his annoyance, the good side would foil his plots.

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    2. Like Colin said in the inner circle, the doppelganger William Wilson seems to be his subconscious or inner voice, almost controlling certain aspects of his life.

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    3. The doppelganger shows the part of William Wilson that is haunting him against his will. I think the reoccurance of the doppelganger shows how whether he liked it or not, it would continue to come up.

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  5. How has William Wilson's "lying to himself" been detrimental to his character and his overall sanity?

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    1. This is repression where he is denying himself of what is really happening in his world. His addiction to alcohol and gambling made him push aside everything that he didn't want to happen. This percolated in the form of another person who was following him and trying to make his life miserable.

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    2. Wilson lying to himself probably led to his sickness. He was denying that he was a bad person so then at the peak of his lie his subconscious couldn't take it and the crazy side came out.

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    3. By lying to yourself, you corrupt the one person who is always on your side. If you can't trust yourself, how are you going to trust other people. You don't know who you are and aren't close enough to other people to have them help you. It's a downward spiral.

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    4. Lying to yourself causes a state denial that is much harder to pull yourself out of than get yourself into. By doing this to himself, Wilson could not regain his former sanity. It's cyclical in that to cope with this, more and more lies are created until Wilson finds himself believing them and leads to his insanity and ultimately, his death.

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    5. Lying to yourself is worst than someone lying to you because you know what the truth is whereas someone lying to you, you may not know the truth. It affects you because you lied which is morally wrong with our conscience and you can't undo it so it stays with you and you become crazier and crazier as you go along with this lie.

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  6. How do you think William Wilson relates to people today?

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    1. People are competitive and always will be competitive. When someone comes along that you can't beat you're going to get mad and do things you're going to regret. That's exactly how William feels with his nemesis.

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    2. In today's world there is a lot of mental illness that goes undetected. People tend to also be more oblivious and in denial, which is what William Wilson was along with his mental illness. His subconscious was in denial of what was going on, until the very end. In today's society, we sometimes refuse the truth because it's not something that we want to hear.

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    3. William Wilson does not show a good representation of the people today. I would say that people have this subconscious voice in their heads that they cannot control, which is similar to William Wilson and the other William Wilson.

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  8. When reading I noticed how the doppelganger William Wilson always showed up when William Wilson was about to fall into dangerous behavior such as alcohol. What do you think the significance of this is?

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    1. I feel like he is often times dependent. He lives off the thrill off risky behaviors without even noticing it. This is clear sign of mental illness; he is not mentally stable enough to be independent on his own.

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    2. The significance is that it is his sub-conscience. It knew when something was going to happen when the 'real' William Wilson did not.

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    4. William Wilson (whisperer) seemed to be his conscience that protected him from completely falling into these dangerous behaviors. He was the voice/character inside his head that he wants to surpass or be better than which is why he fears him. This fear is what kind of keeps him in line to an extent.

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    5. It's kind of like in the cartoons where the character has a devil of himself on one shoulder telling him what to do and then and angel of himself on the other shoulder telling him what to do. In some of these situations, the other William Wilson seems like the angel. It shows how our emotions, brain, and conscience can conflict and we have to decide what is right and what is wrong.

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    6. It shows that he did know what was happening to himself. And he somewhat subconsciensly wanted to stop doing bad things. So he would hold himself back. But he would try to cover it up to himself by hating the other William Wilson.

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  9. Can the "devil" and "angel" inside your head get along? Is there a doppelganger in all of us in a way?

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    1. There definitely is a doppelganger in all of us. Most of the time we just mute the "devil" in our head and listen to the "angel". These two ideas will never get along because they are opposites. "Opposites attract" is not the case in this instance.

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    2. That's an interesting thought. To me, the angel and devil inside us all things like our wants , our alter ego and ego, which comes from Freud in psychology. Its not necessarily a little voice inside you, but the angel and devil are so opposite, and want such different things, that they probably will never get along, or cross paths. In other words, we just need to find balance within ourselves, the good and the bad, so yes, there is a doppelganger in us all, but we need to find the good balance between ourselves and the person we are under the surface.

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    3. No, I don't think that the "devil" and "angel" in you head can really get along because they're opposites. I guess it depends on what you would consider those two, but I feel as though its all good and all bad, no middle or compromise between the two. I do believe that there is a doppelganger in all of us. We may try to hide it our best in our subconcious, but sometimes it will show itself.

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    4. Kathleen, you said that it is all good and all bad but I think that is where we find the compromise. I think the extremes are what allow us to have a balance in making decisions.

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  10. Why did Poe use the voice as a prevalent distinction between the William Wilson's? What effect does it have on the story?

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    1. He uses the voice to show that no one can hear the whisper except William Wilson to show that this voice is William's inner voice, his conscience. It also adds an extra creepy factor to the story.

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  11. What is the significance of the second William Wilson always whisper? Why doesn't he talk normally?

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    1. This whispering shows that the real truth about William Wilson Two is not yet revealed, and that there is an underlying meaning for his character.

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    2. When a person whispers it conveys a sense of secrecy or communication with a specific person. So when he whispered it was as if he were trying to get a message across but uniquely to William Wilson (the first one). It foreshadowed the 2nd William Wilson being a sub-conscience character.

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    3. The typical idea behind this, is that the whispering William Wilson, is the subconscious of the original William Wilson, because the whispering one is telling him what's right and wrong, and the reason why William Wilson (original) can see his own subconscious is because he suffers from a psychological illness representing his way that only he could see and interact with it, since no others showed any proof of talking or interaction with the subconscious.

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    4. I get this feeling of the doppelganger representing a subconscious of a person. It is not meant to be a loud voice in you head, but rather something that is always there but never intimidates a person by "being loud" or trying to take over the mind.

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    5. "no others showed any proof of talking or interaction with the subconscious."

      In fact, they showed; the students of the senior classes believed they are brothers because of their identity of name and the same day of arrival to the school.

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  12. The text frequently refers to how William Wilson 1 inherited a lot of the family traits. What do you think these traits are and how do they effect the story?

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    1. As I was reading, the first thing that stuck out to me was the fact that the narrator said that he received certain family traits, and I immediately linked that to mental illness. William Wilson seemed to have a lot of family issues, which could have caused the mental illness. This effects the way William Wilson sees his subconscious, as Michelle was saying in the middle.

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    2. His family traits are having a quick temper, being self willed, and giving into the "most ungovernable passions" (pg 1). Him having these traits create the story. If he wasn't this self willed, tempermental man, there wouldn't have been the split in his personalities and the whispering William Wilson wouldn't have been born. Or at least to the extreme that he was.

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    3. I think because the narrator lost a lot of his family, he needed something to hold onto that reminded him of them to cope. The "William Wilson" (the one in his mind) inherited the family traits to help him not feel so lost without his family.

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    4. Wilson was incredibly susceptible to mental instability throughout the story, which indicates that he inherited hereditary mental illness from his ancestors.

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  13. I definitely noticed certain features of the organization and narration of this story that stood out to me and revealed things about the narrator's character. Did anyone notice similar things, and what do you think it could mean?

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    1. The only thing I really noticed were connections to Edgar Allen Poe. For example, he was an author that drank and had secrets to keep. Poe's parents died when he was young so he was sent away from his siblings to live with a rich family which the school could represent.

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    2. One more thing to add, Poe also turned to gambling in college and became desperately broke.

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  14. The narrator says he sees a different William Wilson when he is in the bedroom. He says it is a different face unique to darkness. Why does Poe add this to the story? And what is the effect of darkness?

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    1. This represents that when we are alone, in the darkness, without light or others' influences, we become a mix of the person people outwardly know and who we are under the surface.

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  15. What effect do the similarities between the real William Wilson and his doppelgänger have on the story? What about the differences?

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    1. It is uncanny. It is something that is similar but at the same time unsettling and it makes the reader feel uneasy and question everything.

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    2. This goes back to Freud's theory about the alter ego. William Wilson mentally splits himself in two and the doppelganger represents the narrator's attempt to project an inner evil on the outside world. It is also shows love and hate. The narrator cannot help initially feeling affection for his rival but then it turned to hate and lead to an effort to reject and repress his emotions.

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    3. Going off of what Baergen said, the uncanny elements are very similar to where the "William Wilson" inhabited traits of the family like Paige mentioned earlier but at the same time they were very different because they couldn't agree with eachother and got into fights. The two William Wilsons were also always really far at first then they were suddenly really close together. The contradiction between the doppelgangers create the effect that the William Wilson is haunting the narrator is a figment of his subconscious.

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  16. The quote “In me didst thou exist—and, in my death, see by this image, which is thine own, how utterly thou hast murdered thyself.” It signifies that he is blaming himself but yet also forgiving himself as he dies.

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    1. I agree. It seems like, though he has never fully enjoyed this doppelgänger with him for all his life, he has come to terms with it.

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    2. It was interesting how he realized that this second William Wilson was the himself, I wonder what he thought to himself about the feelings he had towards William Wilson. He feared him for being his equal if not better but he also found it hard to hate him. Poe could be trying to say that people many times need the qualities they hate the most about themselves to do certain things or to refrain from doing them.

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    3. Also, someone's alter ego will refrain them from noticing their own flaws but as William sees 'himself' he hates him because of the flaws that he has.

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    4. Going off of what Abby said, he found it hard to hate him because people thrive off of the elements or aspects of themselves that they want to repress.

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  17. On page 3, why does the narrator announce the saying of "Oh, le bon temps, ue ce siecle de fer!", and why does it show importance to the story?

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    1. It means "Oh! What a good time this Iron Century!" I think he was excited to be there at first but then this became sarcastic and he wanted nothing more than to get out of the constricting time and place.

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  18. So at the beginning of the text the narrator says "let me call myself, for the present, William Wilson." So if his real name is not William Wilson, and the second "William Wilson" is part of his imagination, where do you think that name came from?

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    1. Well, mind blown. Good question, it seems as if the narrator seems to inherit this title in order to create a sense of uncanny feeling to the reader, and further investigate the idea that this man is an implication of further dishonesty and the lack of trustfulness from the view of the narrator and the first William Wilson.

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    2. Maybe the second William Wilson was an actual boy in the narrator's school as a boy that the narrator never really liked but as he left his childhood, this actual boy turned into a figment of his subconscious who showed up so often in his life. The anonymity of not using his real name makes the story not as grounded and as sane as it could have been with an actual person that we can relate to telling the story.

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  19. Does the idea of fate hold any relevance to this story?

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    1. Maybe... It very was probable for him to have his "family traits" or mental illness. Perhaps it was his fate to become crazy and find redemption in himself by forgiving himself when he died? I'm not entirely sure! Great question though!

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    2. Fate can be changed by listening to your "devil" or listening to your "angel". The narrator is also in denial which affects fate. If you come to terms with something then that will also change fate.

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    1. With the narrator saying his real name he thinks he is also talking about the other William Wilson whom he hates so its almost like he's hating himself and nobody wants that.

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    2. I had a question about his names aswell - I feel as though maybe it's because he viewed himself truly as "William Wilson". In his head, his "alter-ego" or doppelganger had that name. So maybe its because he truly sees himself as this figment (maybe) of his imagination.

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  21. What part does denial play in this story?

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    1. As I said before, William Wilson denies the fact that the other William Wilson is his conscious. The reader then does not even consider the idea that William Wilson could be William Wilson's subconscious. It causes the perspective in the story to change.

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    2. Denial caused him to kill himself because he refused to accept everything that was happening.

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  22. Why is the doppelganger competing with Wilson if he is his conscience admonishing him for bad behaviour? Why does he appear so early in Wilson's life?

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  23. Why the doppleganger does not wisper anymore after he is killed?

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  24. Why do others not notice that the two Wilsons look and dress the same?

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