View Post

How WPA guidebooks gave Arizona and South Dakota a Sense of their own Statehood

In The Travel Habit, WPA guidebooks by KirilLeave a Comment

I find myself quite interested in the notion of how the writing of such guidebooks might have not just provided the nation with directions on how to travel, but indeed given a nation so rife with strife a better notion of itself; and not only that, but provided individual states with a sense of what was great about their state, …

View Post

The American Dream is just a dream

In The Travel Habit, West (2) by Kiril1 Comment

I wrote in my first post on Lemuel Pitkin that his optimism is meant to be parodied in West’s novel, but that I was not entirely convinced—that I still found it somewhat inspiring to witness such a character be so optimistic throughout such trials and tribulations. However, it is worth noting that aspect of Nathanael West’s writing which intended to …

View Post

Rose of Sharon’s Smile

In The Travel Habit, Steinbeck (2) by Kiril1 Comment

I find it particularly striking that, by the time the reader reaches the end of the book, there is little or one could even say nothing to look forward to. There is no apparent resolution to anything in the book. Grampa and then Granma Joad died. Noah left the family. Connie fled, afraid to be a husband and a father. …

View Post

Granma and Grampa

In The Travel Habit, Steinbeck (1) by Kiril1 Comment

The deaths, in rapid succession, of Granma and Grampa Joad, would seem to be particularly heart-breaking—they are the first to leave the family (though others, such as Noah and Connie, later leave of their own volition) on their journey to California, and in many ways it is difficult to gauge the reactions of the family. There are no tears, and …

View Post

Optimism of the American Boy

In The Travel Habit, West (1) by KirilLeave a Comment

I find it amusing that I scrolled through parts of the book prior to knowing that it was parody; though it is abundantly clear once one knows that fact, it is jarring to read over some of the heavier lines about rape and prostitution—for instance the paragraph describing Wu Fong’s belief that he’ll get his money back on the 12-year-old white …

View Post

Stream of thought exercise; several things I found interesting

In The Travel Habit, Travel Fiction by Kiril2 Comments

These were the first readings where it really struck me how badly we romanticize suffering, and poverty, and living life that way constantly. But more than that—that it isn’t completely our fault. Of course writers and movies and other media will tend to romanticize these things—but as far as I can tell, even the people living or who have lived …

View Post

Understanding more from simpler language

In The Travel Habit, Kromer by KirilLeave a Comment

What piqued my interest most particularly in this time around’s readings was the simplicity of the language. In Kromer’s “Autobiography,” he writes, “I had no idea of getting Waiting for Nothing published, therefore, I wrote it just as I felt it, and used the language that stiffs use even when it wasn’t always the nicest language in the world.” Personally, …

View Post

Nowhere to go but up

In The Travel Habit, Writers on the Road (2) by KirilLeave a Comment

Pyle does an excellent job describing the troubled circumstances of the era during which he is traveling. But I found that there was a surprising amount of overlap between the descriptions of the troubles themselves and the sort of hopeful overlook with which he regarded them. As depressing as things get, as much and as often as his descriptions turn …

View Post

The “Trip of Inconsequential Value” in the Modern Era

In Writers on the Road (1), The Travel Habit by Kiril1 Comment

Did the Great Depression instigate commercialized travel? I won’t bother reading up on the history of it, but the themes Erskine Caldwell discusses in her short piece “Advertisement” ring painfully reminiscent of the hollow commercialization of present-day travel. “See America First” might not be a national slogan any longer, but only because our priorities have changed; and it isn’t just …