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Post 14: Stereotypes and Observations

Filed under: Uncategorized — bipasha255 at 12:31 am on Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Reading Joseph Mitchell’s “Professor Sea Gull”, I was surprised at this eccentric character of Joe Gould. I would not expect a Harvard graduate struggling with hunger, hang overs and being homeless for the most part. However, throughout the essay I was confused because Mitchell also mentioned the way Gould dressed and that didn’t sound much like how a homeless person would dress. Wearing a suit and overcoat, and even publishing his own work, however, the shoes he wears are a size or two larger than his feet. That hits that he IS a homeless and he either finds or gets these clothes and shoes to wear. It all still left me confused, but I don’t think Mitchell avoids creating a caricature. Certain aspects about Gould truly do humanize him, I guess just the way Mitchell wrote the essay did not strike me the way he intended on the readers to interpret the essay.

Joan Didion does go deeper into the first impressions of the “missing children” a.k.a. hippies because she tries to break down, document and explain throughout her essay about their practice. She doesn’t solely focus on the stereotypes and write as she would if she were biased. She also incorporates her own opinion about the matter and that also initiates her going deeper into the issue and bypassing just the stereotypes. Both Mitchell and Didion reflect upon their pieces well, however, I was just left confused with Mitchell’s essay perhaps because of his writing style which was unclear to me or I missed picking up on something in the reading.

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