The Presence of Vowell in Assassination Vacation

When reading a book, I cannot help but try to mimic the author’s voice in their heads while breezing through the pages. While reading “Assassination Vacation” by Sarah Vowell, one couldn’t help but picture a middle aged sarcastic woman with quick and clever lines just waiting in her arsenal. Upon attending Sarah Vowell’s book review at Lenoir-Rhyne University, anyone could see that the image pictured in the mind while reading, was blown away by the real presence of Vowell herself. She is a short confident woman who offers comedic relief to even the most serious of topics. Vowell has a very unique voice that gives aid to her attention grabbing methods of comedy as they provide an almost serene background. If one were to look closer at the book, then they would see evidence of Sarah Vowell transferring her own experiences and personality directly into Assassination Vacation. Vowell’s implementation of herself into the book changes the feel and tone of the book overall.

Vowell Implements her real life experiences into the book on several occasions. On page 99 she comments on one of her personal relationships with the dead.

”I see Edwin’s statue almost everyday. He’s so familiar and homey I would almost consider him my mascot but for the fact that he’s fenced off in Gramercy Park and I’m one of the 7,999,900 New Yorkers who don’t have a key”(99)

The Edwin she is referring to is John Wilkes Booth’s older brother. It’s actually enlightening to see her put a positive spin to the brother of one of history’s most famous killers. The book is transformed by Sarah Vowell’s presence as it changes the thought process of the reader as they now have a lighter feel to a series topic.

On page 192 when discussing President McKinely’s assassination, Vowell places herself in the shoes of his widow Ida Mckinley. “I think about Ida, the constant looping of her hook through the yarn, overtime I play with my souvenir from the museum that I keep on my desk-The McKinley Memorial yo-yo.”(192-193) Her taking of a serious incident, Ida being taken over by despair, and retorting a comedic toy like a yo-yo keeps the readers spirit afloat even when discussing tragedy. The yo-yo can be referenced to Ida’s and Sarah’s constant bounce backs in time, Sarah thinking of historical thought processes and Ida thinking about McKinley.

Sarah’s implementation of herself into the story not only ads realism, but a comedic relief that keeps the reader’s spirit lifted and ganged when even discussing assignation. It’s a rarely seen strategy by writers who discussing tragedies, but like Vowell’s childhood radio show, she developed the skills needed to make her work flow. When talking about her writing process in the book review she mentions the journalistic adventure, “I see myself as a writer and when I write my books I think like a journalist and take the reader along with me.

Works Cited

Vowell, Sarah. Assassination Vacation. London: Simon & Schuster, 2006. Print.

The Vising Writer Series, Sarah Vowell. Lenoir-Rhyne University October 13th, 2016



A Thorn in the Foot

A Thorn in the Foot

“An in-depth look of Susan Snyder’s “A Modern Perspective” of the book “Othello” by William Shakespeare”

Susan Snyder, the author of “A Modern Perspective” of “Othello” written by Shakespeare, highlights the important factors that resulted in the marital breakdown between Othello and Desdemona. Othello, the play’s main protagonist and hero undergoes significant inner struggles, while not knowing the source of the struggles themselves. Snyder bridges the gap of the possible outcomes of the split between Othello and Desdemona. Desdemona, Othello’s secret wife and the daughter of the Venetian senator Brabanzio, a loyal and determined companion is used as a tool of the Villain’s plan. Snyder mentions how Shakespeare intended this marriage to be a union of two opposites.

“he is black, she is white. he is Middle aged. She is young.” (Snyder, 293)

Snyder offers several reasons as to why Othello and Desdemona’s relationship is falling apart but one in particular that makes the most sense and that is Iago.img_2926

(By: Hunter Haire)

At the center of all of this turmoil there is Iago, the thorn in the foot of the marriage. Iago seeks revenge on Othello for promoting Cassio, an inexperienced lieutenant, who he believed to be undeserving of the position he wanted. He wants to get to Othello by turning Cassio against him. He uses peoples closest allies against them and ultimately causes Othello to kill Desdemona. because of a false suspicion.

Roderigo, the rich man who desires Desdemona’s love is manipulated by Iago to use any means to obtain her. While persuading Roderigo, he reveals his true character, “But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve for daws to peck at. I am not what I am.”(1.i.64-65) Iago is telling Roderigo that only a fool acts as they appear. Iago knows the importance of deception when creating this split.

Iago later in the play is talking to Othello about Desdemona’s handkerchief that was found in Cassio’s room. Any moral person would try to be understanding in this situation. Iago on the other hand, takes full advantage of Othello’s current emotional state and begins to plant ideas into his head to split his and Cassio’s relationship. After finding the handkerchief in Cassio’s room Iago consults Othello, “If they do nothing then, ’tis a venial slip. But if i gave my wife a handkerchief’, Othello replies ‘what then?’ why then, tis hers, my lord, and being hers, she may I think bestow ‘t on any man”(IV.1.11-15) Iago can be seen here causing a split not only between Othello and Desdemona, but also Cassio.

In conclusion, Iago is so consumed with rage over Cassio’s success that he is willing to completely destroy Othello’s life and anyone connected to him including in particular Othello’s and Desdemona’s marriage. Iago can be seen being the villain from the very start where he got Cassio drunk enough to fight Riderigo and ultimately get demoted, to the confrontation with Othello and Desdemona concerning the handkerchief, and ending with the blaming of another for his crimes, Iago is simply the most viable reason that Snyder points out that results in the devastation of Othello’s and Desdemona’s relationship.

Works Cited

Mowat, Barbara A. and Paul Werstine, eds. Folger Shakespeare Library: Othello by William Shakespeare. Simon and Schuster, 2009.

Snyder, Susan. “Othello: A Modern Perspective.”Folger Shakespeare Library: Othello by William Shakespeare, edited by Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine, Simon and Schuster, 2009. 287-98

Assassination Vacation Book Review with Sarah Vowell


Mike Colin’s (head of radio show)
Sisters sound the same

Radio talk show(music playing) jazz
where were you before book
Sisters sound the same
“Before that I worked in weekly news papers,  listing to the radio 1985.”
“64 drafts for every piece put on air”
“Didn’t put the contributors into boxes, stories could run anywhere”
“Listing to the radio had an effect on my mental health 1995”
Because of your unique voice did you ever feel that it was hard to be on radio?
“I had my own talk show when I was 18 and just got comfortable and developed the skill”
You came from a punk background, how did you make that leap?
“I was Protestant, during church I would pray in church that it would be over so I could watch Charlie’s Angeles…mom said you are responsible for your own soul, I was 7 (joking) “
I treated in playing the trumpet
You’ve always had a trouble with dealing with the darkness of America what is the difference between us and other countries
“All the other countries don’t talk the talk, not saying their the last hope of earth…that’s what saves us from everyone else”
“I see myself as a writer and when I write my books I think like a journalist and take he reader along with me”
 Masters degree in art history
Brad burr (director for the Incredibles) heard one of her talk shows and went to Pixar and met him.i initially said yes because I was a journalist and wanted to see how everything worked.he had so much confidence in me and he say how much I had in common with the girl”
It’s about me and my friends visiting those popular sites”

The Comedic Interpretation of the Big 2

There are only a few speeches in the history of man that the majority of people can recolonize, two of these in particular are produced by the same man. New York Times Best Seller, “Assassination Vacation,” written by Sarah Vowell takes the reader on a comedic chronological journey through three of history’s most famous deaths and the in-depth look at the personality at one of America’s most profound individuals, Abraham Lincoln. Vowell starts the work of nonfiction by informing the reader of the details surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln at Forde’s theater. She highlights the important evidence while at the same time keeping a comedic yet ironic presence. Vowell then takes the reader on a reminiscence of her visit to the Lincoln memorial where she read his most popular speeches, The Memorial Address and the Gettysburg Address. She uses these as platforms for the rest of her conversation concerning Lincoln. Vowell uses these speeches to underline the sarcastic and comedic side to Lincoln and the story of the most well-known assassination in American history.

Early in Chapter 1 Vowell begins by mentioning key phrases from the speeches that would support her comedic standpoint. The first being the Second Inaugural Address where he opens up with the re-visiting of his first address and the circumstances at that time. At that time the war from the Union’s perspective looked like it was going too be a quick and decisive victory, but that changed into a four year long stalemate with no clear victor in sight. Both the Union and Confederate armies were converging on a town in Pennsylvania called Gettysburg. It was here that Lincoln made his most famous speech which Vowell catches a phrase which expresses Lincoln’s comedic side. Lincoln summarizes the four years with four words, “And the war Came”(Lincoln 1863)

This quote shows how Lincoln recognized his flaw in his first Inaugural address by estimating the war length and uses comedic relevance to use it again. Vowell even mentions, “Hes a writer. And in his sarcasm and his writing, he is who he was”(Vowell,26) Like all of us, writing shows Lincolns mental state and the comedic realization that surfaces.

Lincolns Sarcasm is not limited to government affairs as religious sarcasm is used as a tool in his Inaugural Address. In the address Lincoln references the North and South’s religion by mentioning that both pray to the same god despite them both thinking that god is on their side. Lincoln recognizes this and states, “It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing out their bread from the sweat of another man’s face.”(Lincoln, 1863) Vowell acknowledges this thinking, “as if they were just a couple of football teams squaring off for the super bowl”(Vowell,26)

By analyzing these speeches in the same way Vowell does, the reader’s impression of Lincoln changes. A man who was once seen as an individual with little personality, is now revealed to have a comedic side. Vowells depiction of him allows any reader to feel more comfortable with his speech and therefore more willing to understand the emotions that he was feeling. With sarcasm comes comedy if used in the right way, which Vowell does. She not only gives the reader a better understanding of the historical events, but allows us as readers to better understand the inner workings of one of history’s greatest minds. Lincoln calls his country men to action in some of the final lines of his speech, “To do which all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace.” (Lincoln, 1865)

Work Cited

Vowell, Sarah. Assassination Vacation. Simon and Schuster. 2005.

Lincoln, Abraham. “The Gettysburg Address.” 19 Nov. 1863. Abraham Lincoln Online. 10 Oct. 2005


Textual Analysis of John Crow’s Devil

The novel, “John Crow’s Devil is the tale of the struggle of identity and the internal conflicts that a small town called Gilgamesh faces. Marlon James, the author had a concept that would be played out by the novels main characters, the Apostle York and the Rum Preacher. He not only reflects the inner devil that we all must face but also shows us how people react when chaos ensues. “Wilderness” depicts the conflict between the widow and the Rum preacher as he faces one of the most serious internal battles in the book. The passage shows the internal struggles and the conviction of people that the Rum preacher faces that results in the overall disconnection between him and god.

The Rum preacher had just been exiled from his church by the Apostle York who took it over by swaying the opinions of the majority in Gilgamesh. The Rum preacher found refugee with a widow who instances herself from the rest of the town. While taking care of him the Rum preacher begins to have mental breakdowns and locks himself in his room. The widow shames the Preacher, “I’m trying to save you, you ungrateful sum Bitch!”(James, 59) The widow tried to get the preacher to drink some rum as he was most likely suffering from a detox. This Irony of an alcoholic refusing a drink only proves to show the horrific state the preacher is in. The preacher reacts, “That’s whats killing me.”(James, 59) The Widow replies, “Maybe is the only thing keppin you.”(James, 59) Alcohol cannot create false perceptions in peoples heads, but it can alter the sensitivity of a person mental state.

The rum preacher has completely succumb to his fears at this point, “Please. I’m Begging you to lock the door. And don’t open it no matter what ya hear. Please. I’m begging you. Please.”(James, 59). The preacher can be seen hiding from reality itself and trying to bear with the internal guilt he faces added with the loss over his brothers wife. Fear of loosing his relationship with god himself comes into fruition, and what does a preacher have without his religion? On the following day the widow confronts the preacher, “I know what happend to you, God leave you.”(James, 59). In a passage from, the Rolling Calf, part 3” the conformation of disconnection between the preacher and the Lord can be made clear. “Blithe was beyond pride and self. The Lord had killed him… fear of the Lord was the beginning of wisdom, but humility before the Lord was evidence of it.”(James, 116).

Throughout the passage the preacher can be seen going through internal turmoil. With his sins piling up and the guilt of his brothers wife bearing down on his shoulders, leads him to question his own relationship with the Lord. The desire to be locked into a room only serves as evidence of his complete loss in ideology. raising a blanket up to his face and not making eye contact with the widow shows his rejection in himself, but more importantly, a feeling of shame of his past.

About Hunter

Hello everyone,

My name is Hunter Haire and I play football for the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears and hold down the position of place kicker. I love my job on the team because everything is usually put onto my shoulders when the game is on the line. I love dealing with pressure because it allows me to handle any situation that is thrown my way. After I graduate school i want to join the U.S Military in the hopes of becoming an Army Ranger or Paratrooper. My family comes first while my close friends come in second. I pride myself on my ability to take any situation and own it. Come talk to me anytime, I love talking to people and have been told I’m a great listener,