Prufrock – The Sirens’ Song

Reading this poem, I could not help but notice the progression it seemed to follow, beginning with adolescent lust and visits to “one-night cheap hotels” moving to a more sophisticated lifestyle with toast, tea, cakes, and the loss of the speaker’s hair then progressing to a period where the speaker becomes much more philosophical about his life experiences and feels misunderstood by repeating the lines “That is not it at all, That is not what I meant, at all.” To conclude the poem, the speaker seems to become detached from reality, almost schizophrenic.

To summarize, the theme of this poem is the different periods of a person’s life. Starting with youth, then adulthood, then feeling out-of-touch with the next generation, finally ending up old and having given up on trying to relate to the younger generations.

The part of the poem which stuck out the most to me was the final four stanzas. The speaker is focusing on describing the sea and the “mermaids” therein. I do not fully understand what they are intended to represent. I am thinking they could represent death. They sing their sirens’ song to attract the old man to come closer to the sea in a hypnotic way. He cannot pull his eyes away from them “till human voices wake us, and we drown.” I would be interested if anyone else has any different interpretations for what Eliot is intending for the mermaids and sea to represent in the piece.


Final Project: Archaeology and the Age of Technology

Hello Reader,

The following post is part of my final project assessment in my Digital Humanities course; it explains my reasoning for creating this blog in the first place.

For my final project in Intro to Digital Humanities I created a blog through WordPress dedicated to my major, archaeology. I chose to create a blog because I thought it would be interesting to discover whether blogging could be found beneficial within my field. Also my field has the reputation for being conventional, mostly consisting of book work, boring, and out dated. My ambition with this project is to dispute those claims and increase interest into archaeology again. As human beings I think it is essential that we are aware of our heritage and strive to preserve the achievements humanity has accomplished, not only to remember where we have been, but to learn from ourselves and better humanity in the future.

“If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development.”

In my blog I focused mainly on incorporating the use of technology, various forms of digital media, and several other topics discussed in class. Furthermore I wrote about my current research, archaeological topics that interested me, excavations and archaeological surveys I am involved in, and several other projects I am working on. To my surprise I found blogging to be beneficial. Before hand I did not regard blogging in an academic sense.

However I found the most innovative features that blogging possessed were receiving/sending feedback and gaining mass exposure. It was flattering to receive feedback and “likes” from fellow archaeologists, professors, researchers, and other individuals from across the globe. Not only was it flattering, but the mass scale of exposure was astonishing. To further increase my blog exposure I posted links and attention grabbing prompts within the Archaeology Page on FaceBook. It was intriguing to witness how instantaneously I received responses. Even more surprisingly once I really got into blogging I had accumulated 93 homepage views in a single day, a current amount of 14 Word Press subscribers, 1,625 FaceBook subscribers, and an unexpected total of 737 total homepage views within only two months. After viewing these statistics it was clear to me blogging can most definitely be used academically and benefit any individual in any major.

I found the responses to be additionally useful and encouraging. I was offered guidance, given encouragement, suggested solutions to my questions, provided other people’s opinions and I found it rather entertaining to tee off controversial debates. Blogging made it possible to further expose my mind to new thoughts and ideas that I otherwise wouldn’t have come across. I think it is important that individuals in all fields of study take advantage of technology and what it can offer. Technology such as blogging encourages interaction and compels an individual to acquire knowledge through additional means and further expand one’s thought process.


About Author
Site, Ayn Abu Nukhaylah: TU Page
Digital Humanities Course
Archaeology FaceBook Page

Blog Posts (beginning from oldest to most recent)

Hello World
Multimedia and Archaeology
Archaeology Podcast
What’s Your Archive?
Mapping & Social Network Analysis in Archaeology
Archaeological Humor
New Manners of Thinking
Digitalization of Text
Reading & Textuality in Archaeology
Archaeological Survey in Hominy, Oklahoma
Archaeological Time Machine?? Think POSSIBLE

Thanks for reading and THANK YOU to all of my followers and those of you who responded to my posts! You all made this a very positive experience and I look forward to bettering my blogging potentiality. 🙂

Ashley Brown

The Nature of Text

I was particularly interested in the website, Dreaming Methods. The Digital Fiction Projects were impressive and innovative in presenting text in a nontraditional way. I first viewed the project called, The Diary. It is a fictional diary based on an eight year old girl named Anne Sykes. I found the presentation to be rather depressing in nature. The media attached along to the text contributed to the perception of depression. I found the images to be rather dark and creepy; the music full of rage, anger, and suspense. Unlike a physical book the text is presented in an extremely alternative manner. The text is out of order, is presented to the reader at various different paces, and the reader can interact with the various objects within the project. Moreover I found it rather difficult to follow along with the story line, I was distracted by the music and various interactions, and was not able to read all of the text because it simply vanished before I could. However I think that this text presentation technique can be useful and ultimately bring alive a literary work in an effective way. After further analysis of The Diary I came to the confusion that it was the author’s intention to present this text in such a contradictory manner. The contradictions I had with the lab created feelings of confusion, annoyance, and so on. These emotions put the reader in the place of the character by causing one to feel a taste of the emotions that the character does. Along with the obvious interactions the metaphysical ones are the most effective and bring the literary work to new potential.

Ashley Brown

Interactive Poetry

I chose to do Daniel Benmergui’s videogame/poem “Today I Die.” It was very interactive and I had to use his cheat sheet to tell me what to do. Once I had instructions I was very capable of moving through the game. I did this by moving certain objects on the screen until a word appeared or glowed; I would then replace the new word with an old one in the poem at the top of the screen. Every time I replaced a word, the scene changed, and the main character of the story (the girl) was faced with new obstacles. Once I reached the end I had the choice of going with a boy that appeared, or ignoring him; my choice changed the last line of the poem.

The text in this poem accomplished things a regular poem could not. By replacing words in the poem, and thereby changing the meaning of the poem, a transformation not found in a poem on paper could be seen. I could see how different words changed the meaning of the poem and how it affected the scene. It changed from a dark, pessimistic tone to a light, optimistic tone and I got to be part of the makeover of the poem. With a more interactive poem than just words on a paper, the reader is drawn into the stanza and asked to look closer, delve into a deeper meaning, and let the words heir on a personal side by making the reader interact and forcibly move the words. This outstanding poem brings new life to the meaning of literature.

Reading & Textuality

What is hypertext and hypermedia?

According to Ted Nelson who coined both the terms in the 1960’s:

“Hypertext” has become generally accepted for branching and responding text, but the corresponding word “hypermedia”, meaning complexes of branching and responding graphics, movies and sound – as well as text – is much less used.— Nelson, Literary Machines, 1992

How can hypertext and hypermedia be incorporated into my discipline of anthropology and archaeology?

Subject matter in the field of anthropology is profoundly vast. Therefore any sort of technology that simplifies the effort of research would be most appreciated by those who are researching. Rather than lugging around a profuse amount of publications, hypertext and hypermedia enable a researcher access to even more information at their convenience and at their immediate demand. Not only does this benefit researchers of anthropology, but any field for that matter.

My focus in anthropology is in prehistory, near/middle-eastern archaeology. All of the cultures during prehistory did not possess a writing system; therefore there is no written record that exists to inform one on the culture’s way of life. Archaeologists have to act as if they were detectives at a crime scene and piece together the information to reconstruct what took place in the past. Hypertext and hypermedia could be very useful in my study. They allow me to search through an almost infinite amount of information as well as save time that it would have taken to find the same information in a library. This saved time can now be used to further work on my research and speed up the date in which the results are to be published. Also by using hypertext and hypermedia I can interact with others who are working on similar subjects. I can receive instant feedback, opinions, and advice from other researchers. This is something a physical book cannot provide, well at least to this extent and speed.

There are contradictions however. According to the article, Ancient History, Archaeology and Hypertext Publishing:

The first problem is one which you may well have already overcome. Reading papers on the internet is a very bad idea, unless you actively seek out a migraine. A slightly more spurious argument against internet publishing is that you cannot read electronic papers in the bath. This is both wrong (if you own a PDA) and irrelevant. The costs of printed journals are astronomical…The cynic will point out that any web page can be printed. The best argument for not doing so from the browser is that it often looks awful.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.

Additionally problems exist in the accuracy of the hypertext and hypermedia. Often times on accident, information is inaccurately recorded and this can severely hinder the intended interpretation and meaning of the information. Another problem with inaccuracy is that anyone can instantly publish information onto the internet and a researcher may come across the information believing the claims are true. This can be easily exemplified within the website of Wikipedia.

In conclusion:

Despite the contradictions I have mentioned I think hypertext and hypermedia can help those in my field and virtually any other. But when using these technologies one should be aware of these contradictions and take them into account when researching.

Ashley Brown

Reading in my field.

With the new forms of technology and databases there are many different ways to read, leisurely as well as doing research. Our parents generation would have spent hours in the library finding books to do their term paper. Now students want to use the web, teachers have to put a limit on what kind of resources we use so that not all of them are electronic.

In reading of math and science I need to realize that the published works is not the only thing I can learn from. This is similar to reading books vs. going to google. Every form of information is different and is presented to you in a different manner. Each gives us another view of the knowledge we are getting. These days too we have blogs which could help us get a different point of view than what we had in mind. Web learning is a lot different than spending time in a library but both are useful ways to learn and to me neither is better than the other. I think using both makes your knowledge more broad and ultimately gives you a better understanding.