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Thanksgiving Day….in New Journalisitc style September 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hvandolsen @ 2:42 pm

It’s Thanksgiving day. My favorite day of the year. There’s something about the smell and the noises that can make me feel like it’s Thanksgiving any day of the year. If you’ve had a classic family Thanksgiving…you know the smell. Mashed potatoes….warm butter mixed in a crisp red bowl…my mouth begins to water. I walk down the stairs still half asleep but already ready for the feast later that day. Apple pie…warm mixed with Breyer’s vanilla ice cream. The perfect balance of hot and cold. Orange, red, and yellow candles dimly light the living room. And the unmistakable sound of the doorbell…my realitives have arrived. The laughter and hugs hello. Exchanges of “Happy Thanksgiving!” and the smallest of compliments….”You look great! I’ve missed you, hun.” As always, I’m asked to hang up the coats. Everyone moves to the living room and the feast begins.


Wolfe’s use of style to reflect the stream of conciousness September 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hvandolsen @ 12:57 am

“Anyone who travels very much on airlines in the United States soon gets to know the voice of the airplane pilot…coming over the intercom…with a particular drawl, a particular folksiness, a particular down-home calmness that is so exaggerated it begins to parody itself (nevertheless!- it’s reassuring)…the voice that tells you, as the airliner is caught in the thunderheads and goes bolting up and down a thousand feet at a single gulp, to check your seat belts became “it might get a little choppy”…” (p. 33)


I chose to explore Wolfe’s use of specific style to reflect a stream of conciousness or feeling. In the above excerpt, Wolfe is able to convey such a relatable feeling just through use of style and structure. One of the major tools of style that he implements is the ellipsis. The ellipsis is a simple way of showing a person’s way of thinking. It is the pause in between different and irratic thoughts. I thought that this was really effective in discussing the commerical airplane pilot because it allowed for the pause that one would actually hear over the intercom. That relatable static sound that comes over the intercom mid flight. In addition, Wolfe uses exclamation points to first show the excitement and impulsiveness of a thought, and then follows up on this excitement with a dash. The dash acts a digression to this once impulsive thought, it expands on the thought more fully. I thought this use of punctuation was effective in actually showing the way a person thinks. This passage is also an example of inserting dialogue in the middle of a sentence to make it more organic and free. In this instance, being particular and grammatically correct in using dialogue would not be as effective in conveying the way a person would think of the airplane pilot. The way in which Wolfe develops this passage is presented as if a person is actually hearing the pilot’s voice. It brings a sense of emotion and an ability to relate to this idea.


The Right Stuff September 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hvandolsen @ 2:29 am

“That unmentionable stuff, after all, involved a man hanging his hide out over the edge in a hurtling piece of machinery. And such unmentionable payoffs it brought you! One, which he had started receiving even before this morning, was a look. It was a look of fraternal awe, of awe in the presence of manly honor, that came over the faces of other men at a base when a test pilot or combat pilot headed for the aircraft for a mission when the odds were known to be evil.” (p. 197)

I found this excerpt from the book to be a very good representation of Wolfe’s overall theme of this “unmentionable stuff.” It resonated with me because what it seems like most of the men (be it the test pilots or the astronauts) were working for during their careers was this “look.” The power and glory that Shepard felt at this moment in the book is what all of them men were searching for throughout the whole process. Wolfe’s use of italics helps to emphasize what truly makes this look so special. He describes it as a “look of fraternal awe” and of “manly honor,” something that makes an individual feel special and important. When I was reading the book I kept thinking to myself what would be the true benefits out of participating in such a risky endevor, and this description made it very clear to me. Wolfe dicusses how there is a pact of sorts between the men that links them together. No one besides a real pilot could really begin to understand the feeling of power and greatness that flying provides. Wolfe is able to convey this feeling so well through this passage.


“The very top pilots, with the most righteous stuff, were content to recieve that unmentionable glistening look from aviators and support personal at their own base. Shepard had already had it beamed upon him by every sort of congressman, canned-food distributor, Associated florists board chairman, and urban-renewal speculator…He had already accepted the payment…up front!– and millions of wide-open humid eyes were now upon him.” (p. 198)

Wolfe continues on to describe why this look is so special to Shepard. He describes this look as the astronaut’s “payment.” Out of all of the benefits that becoming the first person into space provides, Shepard feels fulfilled and as though he has earned it just by seeing all of those people looking at him and respecting him. This respect is all that he seems to need in order to feel content. Wolfe’s use of punctuation adds to the emotion involved in this feeling. He uses exclamation marks after the italicized “up front” in order to show the excitement and awe that Shepard feels. I loved this portion of the book because it describes a true and relatable feeling that made all of the fears and uncertainties about their lifestyle worth it.




September 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hvandolsen @ 2:49 am

“No air moves in or out of the room, yet I am curiously affected by emanations from the immediate surroundings. I am twenty-two blocks from where Rudolph Valentino lay in state, eight blocks from where Nathan Hale was executed, five blocks from the publisher’s offic where Ernest Hemingway hit Max Eastman on the nose…”

In this section of “Here Is New York,” White is able to convey one major aspect of New York that makes it so unique. White is discussing how everywhere in New York it seems that there are marks and feelings from the past. White is able to express this idea through specific individuals or circumstances. He uses the close proximity of famous events and moments in time to explore the feeling of perpetually being linked to the past in New York. It is amazing to think that so many things could have happened just steps a way from where you could be sitting in New York. In reading this portion of the essay, the reader is captured by all of the famous names and moments in history.  White’s use of lists and run-on sentences help to create the sense that the list of people and events that occured is endless.


“The city is like poetry; it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal concentrate on earth, the poem whose magic is comprehensible to millions of permanent residents but whose full meaning will always remain illusive.”

In this excerpt, White is so effortlessly able to connect New York City to the beauty and simplicity of a poem. I found this portion to be absolutely beautiful. White discusses how like a poem, NYC is able to maintain so many different walks of life in one small island. A poem is concise and subtle just as New York is to White. Although there is so much going on at once in New York, there is a unity in it at all. White’s first sentence explores how this unity is created and found in NYC. Further on in this passage, White discusses the “full meaning” of New York that many will never truly get to understand. By starting out broad and saying that NYC is almost like the great equalizer and that one is able to find pieces of all different types of people amongest its burrows, White is expresses how much people do love New York. However, by continuing on to explore the true meaning of New York, White is able to add to his theme of the wonder and secrecy of real New Yorks. The people who live and breathe New York, those who don’t get to go home at night.


If you could be anyone from one day who would you choose to be?

Filed under: Uncategorized — hvandolsen @ 1:05 am

September 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hvandolsen @ 1:25 pm

“Blame it all on a simple twist of fate.” -Bob Dylan

Above is a picture of me in Peru. It is one of my favorite places in the world, and I can’t wait to go back. I am probably the happiest when I’m traveling and experiencing other places. One of my dreams is to teach abroad after college.


Here is a link to one of my favorite songs: Led Zeppelin’s “Over the Hills and Faraway”



Hello world! September 8, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — hvandolsen @ 11:07 pm

Welcome to WordPress.com. After you read this, you should delete and write your own post, with a new title above. Or hit Add New on the left (of the admin dashboard) to start a fresh post.

Here are some suggestions for your first post.

  1. You can find new ideas for what to blog about by reading the Daily Post.
  2. Add PressThis to your browser. It creates a new blog post for you about any interesting  page you read on the web.
  3. Make some changes to this page, and then hit preview on the right. You can always preview any post or edit it before you share it to the world.