A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 339: Dragon Haven, Chapter 7

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series

Following another part of the ongoing exchange among bird-keepers, “Rescue” opens with Thymara assessing her situation, which is described in detail. The losses the keepers have suffered begin to tell upon them, fatigue setting in, and Thymara goes out to forage for food. Her efforts yield some success, and she brings a small load back to her fellow keepers, who are themselves at work ensuring food is available for them. Thymara does have a tense exchange with some of her fellows as she goes about her business, and arguments about how to divide what provisions are available ensue. Greft attempts again to assert authority and is met with stubborn resistance by some. Distraction from the conflict is welcome, and Alise suggests asking the dragons if they know the whereabouts of their fellows as some keepers anguish over not being able to feel their dragons.

A comfort amid the chill damp.
Photo by Oussama Elhaidi on Pexels.com

Alise assesses herself and her situation as she remains among the keepers in the wake of the flood. She eats and frets about what has been lost, but she takes some comfort from conversation with Thymara. Others join in on the conversation, and the group begins to take stock of how it will proceed. Various alternatives are proposed, and the decision is set aside in favor of attending to immediate needs. More tension emerges over who will accompany Thymara as she goes out to forage again, and Alise becomes aware that more is going on among the keepers.

Elsewhere, Jess presses upon Sedric for aid in slaughtering and processing Relpda. Sedric decides to aid the dragon, and melee ensues. Sedric acquits himself ably for one with limited experience, but Jess soon gets the better of him and begins to throttle him. Relpda saves Sedric, however, eating Jess and delighting in the meal.

As Thymara stalks out to forage, she considers the romantic entanglements at work among the keepers and assesses her own feelings toward those involved. The pair return to where the keepers, rejoined by the dragons, are bivouacked for the night. Accommodations are described, and in the night, Greft approaches Thymara again. He broaches the topic of who she will take as a lover, brusquely explaining his reasoning and noting that he and Jerd are expecting. Thymara rages at the implications, but Greft presses, on citing ostensibly biological justifications for his policies as he proposes founding a new settlement where the flood has marooned them. Sintara, however, commends Thymara’s thoughts on the matter.

As happens so often, I find myself reading with current events in mind. The exchange between Greft and Thymara at the end of the chapter is…chilling in light of putative evolutionary psychologists and the incels who idolize them. It is the kind of rhetoric–coercive if not outright threatening, and presented as a “natural” inevitability not far out of line with Hobbes–that is all too frequent among execrable groups and people. It is the kind of rhetoric that points toward (young) men being owed sex, an attitude that is unfortunately common and all too often reinforced by the works of media consumed and held up as being worth consuming.

Given what else is in the chapter and what else is in Hobb’s work, and given the usual separation between authors and the narrative personæ they necessarily adopt, it would be folly to ascribe to Hobb the kind of belief Greft presents. (More indication of that incorrectness will emerge as the reread continues, as well.) But it is also the case that many who make arguments in favor of the kind of rhetoric and underlying beliefs that Greft voices refuse to recognize larger contexts; it doesn’t matter that the next sentence is “And that is wrong,” only that the present one is something they can use. They’re not alone in such things, certainly, but the fact of prevalence isn’t proof of correctness. Nor is it proof of goodness, maugre the heads of many who would say otherwise.

I’m happy to write to order. Let me know what you need below!

If you’d rather just contribute to my efforts, it’d be appreciated!

A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 338: Dragon Haven, Chapter 6

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series

After a missive that remarks on the flood and its effects, “Partners” opens with Sedric coming to his senses in the mouth of the dragon Relpda as she swims upon the swollen, caustic river. The two continue their mental communion, and Sedric begins to despair as he assesses their situation. Sedric prevails upon Relpda to put to shore, albeit with some difficulty on both their parts, and as they struggle to reach land, Relpda presses upon Sedric for more, effectively making him her keeper.

Source is in the image, I believe, but just to be sure, it’s from the blackandwhitemotley Tumblr feed, here, which I’ve used for commentary before

Aboard the Tarman, Leftrin gives orders to secure against the results of the flood and maintain both a vigil and a signal for survivors not yet recovered. Assessing the losses–which appear to include all the keepers and Alise–his thoughts darken, and Carson offers to assist in the search for survivors. Carson heads out to search, and Leftrin and his crew continue their efforts, Leftrin berating himself against the flood and its effects.

Sedric and Relpda continue to struggle together, Sedric realizing that the effort of preserving him is costing the dragon dearly. Sedric shunts aside thoughts of returning to Bingtown and bends his mind to how he might help his benefactor, making some headway to that end despite his overall physical ineptitude. As he does, however, he is surprised to be encountered by Jess. The two assess their improved prospects, and Jess discusses killing Relpda to sell her parts–alongside Sedric. Sedric takes some time to realize the proposal being made to him, and when he does, Sedric considers the offer, moving to pacify Relpda as Jess approaches.

The present chapter certainly makes much of pathos, emphasizing it through the burgeoning connection between Sedric and Relpda. As I reread, I find myself in mind of animals being led off to die, and the thought occurs to me that the present text might well be read as a musing on animalism or sentientism. As with many, many things, however, I am insufficiently versed in either philosophical approach to do more than recognize that they might apply; I must leave to others the work of explicating any such thing.

More and more, such is the case. I am some time away from academe at this point, and it is increasingly clear to me that I should be away from it. Even recognizing as much, however, I am called to continue such projects as this (even if with some pauses and hitches and false starts). I know there are still things for me to say about these works and about works like them, things that I can recognize and point out to others so that they can build upon what I find to learn yet more about the works and about the worlds they depict and in which they exist.

Such action, looking at what people make to better understand the made, the maker, and the world, is a goal of literary study, generally. Even though I no longer participate in that field professionally, I still think it is a worthwhile thing.

Need something written? Reach out below!

Or simply send support my way!

The War Resumes More Quietly

Year after year
The call came
Claiming with increasing dudgeon that
Our way of life is under attack
Although never saying whose it is
Making sure we all already knew

Shots fired…
Photo by Nick Collins on Pexels.com

This time
The thunder of the guns is muted
And the banners not unfurled so often
Propagandists not hawking the tawdry wares
They have been paid to sell

Is it that there are no buyers for them anymore
Those who would purchase already owning
“We’ve got it at home already; we don’t need another”
Those who would not being unconvinced
They will ever need to lift up arms in the war
Some have claimed has been on since
They got ideas about what they deserve?

Or is it the case
That the front has crossed me too far now
And I am so far back that
Struggle is but rumor?

Remember, custom writing is a fine gift!

And a fine gift would be most welcome!

I’m Nervous about My Writing

Despite how much of my life I have spent with
My hand wrapped around a certain cylinder
Leaving traces across the sheets from how my wrist moves
Repeating its course often enough that I am
Never quite not sore

Oh, I don’t do this well…
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Many have said that my words are
Hard to read
And when they do so from my typing
I know it is
I flaunt what I learned in years of study
Poring over others’ words in attempts to make my own
And delighting in seeing their traces spread around
Drinking them in deeply
A common enough conceit

That’s not always what it is
Even though I have been told
The tracing lines I leave behind are
Lovely and worthy
I have also heard from many mouths that
Eyes reject the work of hands
And so I am concerned

A custom poem would make a great gift, you know!

And I’m happy to receive a gift in turn

Hymn against the Stupid God 193

As croaks the one who gave the bullfrog’s name,
I propose words that call for rightful blame,
Though I to righteousness can make no claim.
Yet never does the pot err in the hue
I calls out for the kettle, though it, too,
Is of the color that it names, and who
Is absent fault? Yet failure must be known
If it will be avoided by those prone,
As many are, to it. ‘Tis thus I hone
The edge of tongue and point of quill to chide
The Stupid God, whom all ought to deride,
Yet in whose spreading shadow many hide
And fall into the hole where that God treads,
Emptying their hearts to match their heads.

Looks about right.
Photo by Alexey Demidov on Pexels.com

I’d be happy to put my talents to work for you; let me know what all you need written, and we’ll talk!

Not from the Archives: An Assessment Sample

I have remarked once or twice on having drafted assessment practices for a younger tutee who needed to get acclimated to testing culture. I may have remarked, as well, that a fair bit of the freelance work I’ve done has taken the form of writing assessment materials. In one instance, I was hired by a college to help write an end-of-course exam that every student would be expected to take. In several others, I drafted rafts of 180 or more multiple-choice questions, as well as 60 or more short-answer and 20 or more essay questions, focused on recalling and interpreting novels and other longer works. It’s not hard work, though it takes some doing.

That work is proprietary, though, and the passages that underlie the earlier assessment examples were drafted with assessment practice in mind. It occurs to me that an example taken “from the wild” might be in order–and, since I do occasionally write some things that I do not initially intend to put to that purpose (for whatever value my intent might have), using one as such an example suggests itself. Thus, the following.

Read “Hymn against the Stupid God 192.” Use that text to answer the following questions, selecting the best or most accurate response from among those provided.

Which of the following forms does “Hymn against the Stupid God 192” take?
A. Clerihew.
B. Roundel.
C. Sonnet.
D. Villanelle.

Which of the following occurs most frequently in “Hymn against the Stupid God 192?”
A. Couplet.
B. Triplet.
C. Quatrain.
D. Quintain.

Line 4 of “Hymn against the Stupid God 192” offers an example of which of the following?
A. Ekphrasis.
B. End-stop.
C. Enjambment.
D. Euphemism.

Which of the following does the narrator of “Hymn against the Stupid God 192” seek to resist?
A. Business.
B. Empathy.
C. Industry.
D. Laziness.

With which of the following does “Hymn against the Stupid God 192” conclude?
A. Couplet.
B. Triplet.
C. Quatrain.
D. Quintain.

Answers: 1, C; 2, B; 3, C; 4, D; 5, A

Maybe you or someone you know could use some help with this kind of thing. Maybe you’re in an instructional position and would like to outsource some assignment development. I’m happy to work with you, either way. Just fill out the contact form below, and we can get started!

Of course, you could send a holiday gift instead or in addition!

Say What It Is?

Throbbing inside my head, it
Presses against all my perception
I can even smell it
Taste it
Acrid to nose and tongue though
Neither have touched it, and
There is no relief to be found

Look, it’s a photo by Nick Bee on Pexels.com

Like the writing that I do? See what I can do for you!

I always enjoy contributions!

Hymn against the Stupid God 192

I far too often heed the siren call
That rings from in the Stupid God’s large hall
And holds more people in its dulling thrall
Than might be thought. I, too, must take my ease
At times. I must seek out a sweet release
From too much thinking, lest I grow diseased–
I know that such awaits me if I don’t,
Foul thought of which I might write, but I won’t.
I wrestle with so doing, seek to hone
Myself instead of letting myself laze,
But still I find that, on too many days,
I heed the call, it fills my mind with haze,
And I plod dully to that dim delight
Of Stupid God’s, who laughs throughout the night.

Ah, to have it so benign!
Photo by lil artsy on Pexels.com

Like the writing that I do? Reach out; I can do some for you!

Your kind support remains appreciated.

Another Rumination on Veterans Day

Once again, I find a past year repeating itself, with my comments coinciding with observances of one sort or another. Today, I look back a couple of years to an earlier rumination, finding it somewhat pompous. (No surprise, I suppose.) It is the case that I am not a veteran, although I did consider going into service at several points. I wouldn’t’ve done well, I know; I was a smartass little twerp who’d never been able to do a pull-up or a chin-up (still can’t, as it happens), and I’d’ve mouthed off before I could’ve stopped myself. (Also no surprise.) At forty, I still do it; at eighteen, I was far, far worse.

For the record, I never did this.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So what right have I to make any kind of extensive comment on this, save to note again the failed promise the earlier iteration of this observance betokened? As with much else, it is not for me, and it should not be for me. Although it might be nice if others who are similarly outside might note that they, too, are, in fact, outside it.

Far too many of us say far too much about things we probably ought to listen more about.

The Girls Are Playing

In the next room
Strains of some pop star’s licensed product ringing through the house
As they sing along and
Try to follow the images on the screen with their bodies
And I am trying to be grateful that that is what they do together
When there are so many other things and worse that could be

Maybe in another season…
Photo by Juan Salamanca on Pexels.com

They do so well together
And I sit at my desk
Pecking away at some small thing
Marveling at a friendship that sprang up suddenly
So easily

It is a blessing for the one
That such things happen for her
Time and again
I have never known how

I’m happy to write to order! Reach out below, and we can discuss what you need written!

Or maybe just contribute?