Is Your GPA affected by Where You Live?

ImageAs a student at USM, I lived both on and off campus.  I created a survey that asked whether or not students thought living on campus played a role in their success as students.  I asked if students lived on or off campus just to have something against which I could measure the responses that followed.  I asked whether or not students believed that living on campus for the first two years gave them a better college experience.  I asked this question because there are several scholarship programs such as USM’s Honors College and the Luckyday and Leadership Scholarships that require students to live on campus for the first two years of their college careers.  I then asked how many total years students will have lived on campus upon graduating from USM.  I also asked whether or not students believed that their GPAs were affected by their living situations, and finished the survey by asking into which category students’ GPAs fell.

I found that 8 out of 10 students currently lived off campus.  Half of the students strongly agreed that living on campus for the first two years had a better outcome as far as college experience is concerned.  Several students had never lived on campus, and the majority of them had lived on campus for at least two years.  Most students did not feel that their GPAs were affected by their living situations.  Most students did not feel that students living off campus had better GPAs.  Also, a majority of participants had GPAs that fell into the 3.1 to 4.0 range.

This survey was very enlightening as far as gathering opinions about student housing.  Questions could be more specific.  I could have asked how many roommates students had or currently have and whether or not they felt that had an effect on their GPAs.  Perhaps I could even ask specific households to take the survey.  This survey might prove even more useful in determining housing requirements by asking only Fraternity and Sorority housing to participate.

Typology and Narratives

thIn colonial America, racial and religious differences were the guidelines by which people determined if other individuals were friend or foe.  For instance, the “savage” practices of the Native Americans were viewed by early settlers as barbaric, and thus sub-human.  Later in the course of human history, individuals like Carl Linnaeus would develop taxonomies of human beings, classifying them as Whites, Negroids, and Mongoloids, for instance.

In The Interesting Narrative of Oladauh Equiano, his sense of self changes with regard to his education and entrepreneurship, and ultimately leads to his freedom.  He notices that he receives different treatment than other black slaves who are beaten, tortured, burned and lynched.  He still remains aware of his difference from whites, but also of his difference from one female black slave who has a torture device called the “Iron Jaw” attached to her head.  He is treated more kindly by whites, but is still marginalized.  He is not equal, but is not treated the same as other blacks.  He capitalized on this subtle difference.

As far as religious difference is concerned, Equiano begins to pray to God for blessings on his capitalist endeavors, but this may have been an acquired social tool.  Mary Rowlandson, however, in her captivity narrative, felt that God was actively working upon her, through her, and through others.  She and other Puritans, at the time, felt that the Bible was the ultimate source of wisdom and knowledge of both the past and the present.  Through “typology”–the interpretation of the Bible in a literal sense, and applying it to one’s life–Rowlandson and other Puritans believed themselves to be God’s chosen people.  Their separation from the Church of England was their proverbial Exodus, and marked their religious difference.  They indeed became a then-modern-day Israel.

Yes, I’m Still Going On About Hemingway TMBTM7

We can find Hemingway’s two distinct personalities in The Sun Also Rises; they are found in Jake and Robert.  Although Jake (“the weaker man”) and Robert (“the robust”) have unique metaphysical qualities in separate spheres, as in a Venn diagram, the places at which they overlap are in the physical text and within the mind and body of Ernest Hemingway.  For example, at Hemingway’s best, “he was good tempered, high-spirited, ambitious, confident, and courageous.  He awoke each morning eager to face life.  He invariably saw the humorous side of things and made fun of himself and others, displaying a talent for repartee” (Brian 318).  We see in Jake the same ability to draw humor from otherwise depressing situations, such as when talking to Brett about his injury: “Besides, what happened to me [the “accident”] is supposed to be funny.  I never think about it” (Hemingway 34); “It’s funny,’ I said. ‘It’s very funny” (35).  Again, while looking in the mirror of an armoire, he finds a dark humor in his situation: “Of all the ways to be wounded.  I suppose it [the “accident”] was funny” (38).  Jake also finds humor in the liaison colonel’s visit to his bedside; however, this is a humor that is apparent only to Jake, but not yet made apparent to the reader:  “That was where the liaison colonel came to visit me.  That was funny.  That was about the first funny thing” (39).  These seemingly light moments from Jake are congruent with Hemingway’s sometimes passive and humorous approach to life (that is, unless Jake means “funny” as in “strange”).  However, there are also darker parts of Hemingway that we find concealed in the text, yet these are attributed to an entirely different character, i.e. Robert Cohn, so as to make them appear to be unrelated to the other characteristics.

It has been argued that Hemingway modeled Robert Cohn after a friend Harold Loeb; however, Loeb states in an interview with Denis Brian, “He gave an account of my marriage and my editing of a magazine, but then he gave me a character I didn’t recognize” (Brian 57).  Denis Brian expounds on this deviation:

When Loeb asked Hemingway why he had portrayed Cohn as a wimp who cried all the time, Hemingway denied the character was based on Loeb, saying that if Loeb was Cohn, then he, Hemingway, must be Jake Barnes. ‘Do you think I had my prick shot off?’ he asked somewhat rhetorically.  ‘And incidentally,’ Hemingway concluded, ‘you do cry an awful lot for a man.’  So did Hemingway. (Brian 57)

While this further supports the theory that Jacob may not have had his “prick shot off,” it also serves to highlight further emotional congruence between Hemingway and each of the main characters of The Sun Also Rises.  For instance, Hemingway “at times…apologized for his behavior and was easily moved to tears” (Brian 319), a similar behavior we find in Robert Cohn.  “At his arrogant, aggressive worst he went around spoiling for a fight,” which serves as another parallel we see by way of Robert’s frustrated attempts to woo Lady Brett resulting in a fight (Hemingway 194-195).  Whenever Frances, Robert’s fiancée, brings up the issue of marriage to Robert she says they “have dreadful scenes, and he cries and begs me [Frances] to be reasonable” (Hemingway 54), and “when I [Frances] tell him he just cries and says he can’t marry” (54).

These emotional responses overlap with Jake’s sudden breakdown when thinking about his “accident”: “I lay awake thinking and my mind jumping around.  Then I couldn’t keep away from it, and I started to think about Brett and all the rest of it went away.  I was thinking about Brett and my mind stopped jumping around and started to go in sort of smooth waves.  Then all of a sudden I started to cry” (Hemingway 39).  This is again part of his covert “necessity to hide or disguise what he was compelled to express” (Benson qtd. in Brian 5), which was a struggle with his masculinity and his emotions.

PTSD in The Sun Also Rises, Continued (TMBTM6)

61228_1422613047143_1385588_nWe can find two distinct personalities in the novel; they are embodied in Jake and Robert.  Although Jake (“the weaker man”) and Robert (“the robust”) have unique metaphysical qualities in separate spheres, as in a Venn diagram, the places at which they overlap are in the physical text and within the mind and body of Ernest Hemingway.  For example, at Hemingway’s best, “he was good tempered, high-spirited, ambitious, confident, and courageous.  He awoke each morning eager to face life.  He invariably saw the humorous side of things and made fun of himself and others, displaying a talent for repartee” (Brian 318).  We see in Jake the same ability to draw humor from otherwise depressing situations, such as when talking to Brett about his injury: “Besides, what happened to me [the “accident”] is supposed to be funny.  I never think about it” (Hemingway 34); “It’s funny,’ I said. ‘It’s very funny” (35).  Again, while looking in the mirror of an armoire, he finds a dark humor in his situation: “Of all the ways to be wounded.  I suppose it [the “accident”] was funny” (38).  Jake also finds humor in the liaison colonel’s visit to his bedside; however, this is a humor that is apparent only to Jake, but not yet made apparent to the reader:  “That was where the liaison colonel came to visit me.  That was funny.  That was about the first funny thing” (39).  These seemingly light moments from Jake are congruent with Hemingway’s sometimes passive and humorous approach to life (that is, unless Jake means “funny” as in “strange”).  However, there are also darker parts of Hemingway that we find concealed in the text, yet these are attributed to an entirely different character, i.e. Robert Cohn, so as to make them appear to be unrelated to the other characteristics.

It has been argued that Hemingway modeled Robert Cohn after a friend Harold Loeb; however, Loeb states in an interview with Denis Brian, “He gave an account of my marriage and my editing of a magazine, but then he gave me a character I didn’t recognize” (Brian 57).  Denis Brian expounds on this deviation:

When Loeb asked Hemingway why he had portrayed Cohn as a wimp who cried all the time, Hemingway denied the character was based on Loeb, saying that if Loeb was Cohn, then he, Hemingway, must be Jake Barnes. ‘Do you think I had my prick shot off?’ he asked somewhat rhetorically.  ‘And incidentally,’ Hemingway concluded, ‘you do cry an awful lot for a man.’  So did Hemingway. (Brian 57)

While this further supports the theory that Jacob may not have had his “prick shot off,” it also serves to highlight further emotional congruence between Hemingway and each of the main characters of The Sun Also Rises.  For instance, Hemingway “at times…apologized for his behavior and was easily moved to tears” (Brian 319), a similar behavior we find in Robert Cohn.  “At his arrogant, aggressive worst he went around spoiling for a fight,” which serves as another parallel we see by way of Robert’s frustrated attempts to woo Lady Brett resulting in a fight (Hemingway 194-195).  Whenever Frances, Robert’s fiancée, brings up the issue of marriage to Robert she says they “have dreadful scenes, and he cries and begs me [Frances] to be reasonable” (Hemingway 54), and “when I [Frances] tell him he just cries and says he can’t marry” (54).

These emotional responses overlap with Jake’s sudden breakdown when thinking about his “accident”: “I lay awake thinking and my mind jumping around.  Then I couldn’t keep away from it, and I started to think about Brett and all the rest of it went away.  I was thinking about Brett and my mind stopped jumping around and started to go in sort of smooth waves.  Then all of a sudden I started to cry” (Hemingway 39).  This is again part of his covert “necessity to hide or disguise what he was compelled to express” (Benson qtd. in Brian 5), which was a struggle with his masculinity and his emotions.

PTSD, Hemingway, and Jake (TMBTM5)

60087_1421642102870_125943_nIt is said of Hemingway that after his injury, he “only survived the psychic and physical wounds [of WWI] by developing a robust public personality that overwhelmed the weaker man beneath” (Brian 316).  The weaker Hemingway is one that is emotionally rattled from the traumatic events of his life.  To be affected emotionally would be, in the cultural zeitgeist of post-WWI, a failure of masculinity.  Hemingway returned from war injured physically and emotionally, yet a lack of straightforwardness in dealing with these injuries likely resulted in an existential crisis that manifested in Hemingway’s development of a distinctly robust personality.  This is a deceptive behavior often seen in sufferers of dissociative identity disorder (DID)[1], which stems from PTSD.

Hemingway’s duplicity rears its head in The Sun Also Rises through Jake and Robert.  This is an evasive technique that “can no doubt be traced to [a] necessity to hide or disguise what he was compelled to express” (Benson qtd. in Brian 5).  Hemingway left a trail strewn with innuendoes, evasions, hyperbole, understatements and ambiguities (many of which are found in The Sun Also Rises) in order to further steer the curious clear of his secret self (Brian 320).  Brian states, “Some believe his he-man stance and preoccupations masked a latent homosexual and that his macho manner was the continuous, strenuous effort of a coward to appear brave” (5).  Jake would embody the weaker characteristics of Hemingway, while Robert would embody the robust characteristics.  To suggest Jake and Robert are two dissociated parts of one whole man, i.e. Hemingway, would be within the confines of Hemingway’s self-exploratory and experimental style of writing. “Over the years the mask [Hemingway] had created welded so closely that at times, it merged with the man.  Perhaps he couldn’t always tell them apart” (Brian 320).  This may explain why, at times, it is so difficult to tell characters’ dialogues apart from one another in The Sun Also Rises.

Consider the image of Jake resting “against the trunk of two trees that grew together” (125).  This tree is a hidden symbol of Hemingway’s mental state: the two separate trees are fused together at the trunk, just as Robert and Jake are facets of Hemingway’s two distinct personality behaviors that are fused together in the same mind and body.  If two people were to stand on the left and right lateral sides of the tree, the tree would appear to be one type of tree to each person.  To make the metaphor even more perplexing, and thus flexible, if the trees were of two different species, each person would be seeing the prevalent side of each tree, and would disagree on the classification of the tree.  However, if one were to stand at the anterior of the tree, one would see that the two trees share a common trunk, or source, and the illusion that they are two distinct trees would dissipate.  The metaphor of such a  symbiotic relationship is as close to a physical representation of dissociative identity disorder as there could possibly be.  Therefore, if we eliminate the illusion that Robert and Jake are merely separate characters in a novel, and turn toward the source, i.e. Hemingway, it strengthens the integrity of our “iceberg” argument…that is, the argument that lies beneath the surface.


[1] A clinical description of DID brands it as a malady that results from attempts to avoid experiencing emotions related to trauma, and in some cases, all emotions in general, sexual emotions included.  Barlow and Durand expand on the phenomenon of DID: “In some cases, the identities are complete, each with its own behavior, tone of voice, and physical gestures.  In other cases, only a few characteristics are distince, because the identities are only partially independent; many sufferers have at least one impulsive alter who handles sexuality and income, in other cases alters may abstain from sex;” Barlow and Durand 177

PTSD in The Sun Also Rises (TMBTM4)

60537_1421640302825_7893108_nIt has been suggested that Jake “seems to be attempting to reassemble the discrete pieces of a puzzle, to reconstitute his experiences, that is, literally to remember himself” (Bond 64).  I would argue that it is also Hemingway who is trying to remember himself through the characterizations of Jake and Robert.  In The True Gen Denis Brian brings attention to the fact that before Hemingway was twenty-two he “suffered three traumas which had an enormous effect upon his life, his work, and his character” (316).  One such trauma occurred during his World War I service as an ambulance driver; a mortar attack left him with an injured leg and a vague, incomprehensible recollection of the event:

There was one of those big noises you sometimes hear at the front. I died then. I felt my soul or something coming right out of my body, like you’d pull a silk handkerchief out of a pocket by one corner. It flew all around and then came back and went in again and I wasn’t dead any more. (qtd. in Cohen 159)

The hazy description of this traumatic event is as ambiguous as Jake’s patchy recollection of his traumatic event, and suggests that Hemingway dissociates[1] from the experience of the mortar explosion.  Thereafter, he describes his near-death and out-of-body experience in a beautifully spiritual and poetic nature, i.e., feeling his soul leaving his body to fly around, rather than as the gruesome and terrifying event that it likely was.  It becomes something that Hemingway does not want to remember as traumatic.  In a sense, the universe brandished Hemingway’s very mortality before him; still he could not and would not relinquish the role he played before the world, one “of a superman with almost magical powers of endurance and recuperation” (Brian 316).


[1] Trauma-induced disorders fall under the categories of somatoform and dissociative disorders.  Individuals with somatoform disorders are pathologically concerned with the appearance or functioning of their bodies.  In conversion disorder, there is physical malfunctioning.  Dissociative disorders are characterized by alterations in perception: a sense of detachment from one’s own self, from the world, or from memories.  Dissociative disorders include depersonalization disorder, in which the individual’s sense of personal reality is temporarily lost, and so is the reality of the external world.  In dissociative amnesia, the individual may be unable to remember important personal information; in generalized amnesia the individual is unable to remember anything at all; more commonly the individual is unable to recall specific events that occur during a specific period of time (localized or selective amnesia).  In dissociative fugue, memory loss is combined with an unexpected trip (or trips).  In the extreme, new identities, or alters, may be formed, as in dissociative identity disorder; Barlow and Durand 185

The Man Behind the Mask 3 (The Sun Also Rises)

download (2)Since the publication of The Sun Also Rises, there has been an ongoing debate regarding the nature of Jake’s injury.  Jake calls his accident “a rotten way to be wounded” and an “old grievance” (38).  Those extremely ambivalent phrases give no clarification as to the nature of the injury.  Scholars have speculated that he is castrated, impotent, or even completely missing the phallus.  However, during the same interview in which Hemingway presents his famous “iceberg theory” he gives a statement that clouds those theories:

Actually he had been wounded in quite a different way and his testicles were intact and not damaged.  Thus he was capable of all normal feelings as a man but incapable of consummating them.  The important distinction is that his wound was physical…but he was not emasculated. (theparisreview.org; emphasis original)

We, too, can only speculate as to the exact nature of Jake’s injury. While most scholars would have Jake as a eunuch, important and often-overlooked clues are hidden in plain sight in the text.  Jake’s time spent in the Ospedale Maggiore in Milano is first spent in the Padiglione Ponte, which is in fact the neurology ward of the hospital.  This is yet another similarity in the life of Hemingway, who, while “shellshocked” spent time in an Italian hospital.  This detail is conveniently left out in order to “work up into a mystery” the nature of Jake’s war-related “accident.”  In other words, Hemingway, through Jake, “[keeps] meaning from us by talking around the facts, by not supplying them, or by bridging those linguistic gaps with seemingly innocuous details that serve, through metonymy, to defer meaning” (Bak 93).

The nature of Jake’s physical injury should not be the focus, but rather the invisible mental disturbance that results, which is arguably posttraumatic stress disorder accompanied by amnesia.  An article in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry states,

Posttraumatic amnesia frequently accompanied [“shellshock”]…Both central and peripheral details of the traumatic experience were lost…soldiers manifested memory gaps from the moment preceding the shock to the point of hospital presentation…posttraumatic amnesia was often accompanied by memory loss for non-traumatic personal information. (van der Hart, Brown and Graafland 38)

Just as Jake lies down, he thinks of his war experience but has memory gaps consistent with post-traumatic amnesia in that they omit the most crucial and graphic details of the accident.  The moment preceding shock—“Well, it was a rotten way to be wounded and flying on a joke front like the Italian”—leads immediately to the point of hospital presentation: “In the Italian hospital we were going to form a society…That was where the liaison colonel came to visit me” (Hemingway 38-39).  This is the only accident-related memory that Jake shares in the entire novel.  As Lady Brett Ashley (the nurse who attended to Jake in the hospital) says, “A friend of my brother’s came home that way from Mons.  It seemed like a hell of a joke.  Chaps never know anything, do they?” (Hemingway 34).  As it pertains to the soldier Brett mentions, we must ask ourselves: In what way did this soldier return?  If one returned home and seemed not to know certain people or be able to recall certain events, then it would be one “hell of a joke”.