Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

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Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
Use this thread for discussion among your Committee.  After this first week, there will be more serious discussions but, this first week, to get started, introduce yourself and try to get to know one another. Over the next sixteen weeks, you're going to be reading and discussing one another's work.  This will be easier if you know something about the folks who will be reading and commenting on what you have to say.  

Begin by letting your committee members know something about yourself in terms of what your plans are for when you finish up the course or finish up at Reynolds.  Where are you in your program of study?  

Are you looking forward to the course?  Why, or why not?

It's OK if you aren't.  Too many students have flashbacks to horrible literature classes where they'd read something great, got into discussing it, only to find out that no matter what they thought the lit was about, it turned out that the important meaning was hiding somewhere in the teacher's head.  This class won't be an exercise into getting at what I think the lit means.  

This also won't be one of those lit classes where any interpretation is as good as another.  Authors write because they want to accomplish something and, usually, because they want to be understood. Most of this course will be about your learning how to put yourself in the author's place and ask, "If I wrote what I just read, what would I be trying to do and how would I want to be understood."  

Just as in everyday life, understanding others is a complicated process.  However, it's how we learn about others and one means we learn about ourselves.  Because it's complicated, understanding others (and ourselves) is often a process we get wrong.  If we didn't ever get an interpretation wrong, there would never be any misunderstandings and we'd never make decision that later turned out to be wrong on a "gut" level.  Worse, understanding others often involves us taking the risk of others getting to know us and taking a long look at ourselves.  We have to really understand ourselves well if we're going to understand why we'd do or say something we didn't do or say.  We have to risk sounding silly or getting an interpretation wrong, that is, if we're going to discuss our interpretations with others and learn from their interpretations. Take it from a teacher who does it every day, taking the chance of sounding silly in front of a group of relative strangers can be scary, but it's one of the risks involved with a greater joy.  It's sort of like asking someone out the first time.  Yes, you might get shot down.  Yes, you might sound silly, but the risk is sooo worth the joy.    

The bottom line?  One of the main reasons we study lit is to practice understanding what others mean in a low stakes environment.  Let's face it: if you get Poe or Emerson wrong, chances are there aren't going to be huge consequences.  It's not like misunderstanding your boss or significant other and getting fired or getting dumped. We read lit to practice how to get higher stakes, critical readings right, and we study lit to learn how to share our interpretations with others and--in the process--learn to take the risks involved.

Very few of us are really, really good at reading and understanding ourselves and others.  I do it for a living.  I've been getting paid to interpret for a couple of decades.  I've got a doctorate in reading and understanding literature, myself, and others.  All this means is I can successfully get into someone else's head with more success than not.  No one gets it right every time, and the world wouldn't be much fun if people didn't do or say things which just don't seem to make sense, that is, until you get to studying and get to know them.  The bottom line is that you're a sophomore in college.  By definition, you're just getting started and learning the tricks involved in learning to know yourself and others.  Worse...many of you have had horrible experiences, some of them in literature classes, which turned you off to the joys of really getting to know others.  The upshot?  Many come into our course expecting not to like it.  You'll have to take my word for it, but the folks who stick it out--most do and earn a high grade--end up enjoying literature more, and most report really enjoying the class.

So, quit reading me and introduce yourself.

Steve
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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

tcason24
What's up my North Carolina Committee!
My name is Terrance Cason and my plans after this course is to get a better understanding of Literature in general and have fun at the same time. After Reynolds, I would like to transfer to VCU and continue my double curriculumn of Social Science and Business to the majors of Mass Communications and Business: Finance. I am in my second semester of my sophomore year with previous courses taken at Norfolk State University. I am definitely looking forward to the next 16 weeks with Dr. B because I feel much comfortable than the previous Literature experiences I have had. He seems to be very cool and stresses the fact that he "wants" to help us throughout the course by giving more than one option of contacting him for help. Let's get this semester started and it is nice to meet my North Carolina Committee!
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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

scarver
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hello NC Committee.  I'm S. Angel Carver and I'm in my third semester here at Reynolds.  I plan to transfer to ODU once I get my AS in Business her at Reynolds.  I'm not very fond of literature; to me it's just another name for history...which I don't like either.  I am counting on Dr. B to make this a very enjoyable and exciting class.  I have to take English 242 when I finish this class.

I'm not your average student.  I'm the mother of two young adults, I work full time and part-time and I'm a full time student.  I like getting out of the house so if anyone ever wants to take a day trip for extra credit let me know.  I learn better from hands on than I do reading.  I look forward to working and learning with you all.
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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
In reply to this post by tcason24
Terrance,

Welcome to the class.  Your choice of major sounds fascinating.  Mass communication began during the time we'll be covering.  Until the 1820s or so, all books and paper were produced with a lot of hand labor.  In the 1820s and '30s there were a series of inventions which allowed paper to be mass produced by machines and then, later, roller printing presses were invented, which saved each page from having to be printed by hand.  The upshot was that there was a huge decrease in the cost of printed books and reading material.  

All this happened as the Industrial Revolution was getting started in the Northeast, so more people had buying potential, and all coincided with the raise of the public and Sunday school movements.  The upshot was that there were cheaper books and a greater "mass" market for newspapers, magazines, and novels starting around 1820.  Franklin, who was a printer and our first post master, had made sure that printed material moved at free or very cheap rates, and steamboats and railroads opened up relatively easy transportation to more markets in the US.  

All this allowed new professions to begin, namely, publishers and professional authors, to fill the demand.  It also changed how we read.  When printed material was inexpensive, folks tended to read slowly, out loud, and in groups.  They discussed each detail, and authors left little to the imagination.  A book could cost as much as a few week's salary, so they only bought the books which were really important to them.   After 1830 or so, all this began to change, and you see novels, poems, and popular writing beginning to emerge.  There were more subscription magazines and libraries opening up.  Folks could read something and expect to throw it away for other more "novel" literature, so tastes in what we read began changing more quickly and what was written became more sensational and appealed less to the head and more to the imagination.

In any event, you'll get to see this movement from slow, close reading to faster, imaginative reading first hand, and you should also gain a better appreciation for how the costs of production help determine how and what is read in terms of mass media.

Steve
Stephen Brandon, PhD
Associate Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)


On Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 5:55 PM, Terrance Cason [via General Assembly Online Discussion Forum, ENG 241, Spring 2011] <[hidden email]> wrote:
What's up my North Carolina Committee!
My name is Terrance Cason and my plans after this course is to get a better understanding of Literature in general and have fun at the same time. After Reynolds, I would like to transfer to VCU and continue my double curriculumn of Social Science and Business to the majors of Mass Communications and Business: Finance. I am in my second semester of my sophomore year with previous courses taken at Norfolk State University. I am definitely looking forward to the next 16 weeks with Dr. B because I feel much comfortable than the previous Literature experiences I have had. He seems to be very cool and stresses the fact that he "wants" to help us throughout the course by giving more than one option of contacting him for help. Let's get this semester started and it is nice to meet my North Carolina Committee!



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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
In reply to this post by scarver
Angel,

You are far from alone in have kids, working, and going to college.  I suspect you'll get several folks in the class to pipe up with similar stories.  If it helps any, I live in awe of students like you.   You must have super-powers when it comes to time management, and it will all pay off in the long run.  In particular, you are setting a great example for your young adult kids and creating the potential for a better life for yourself and your family.

I'll try to make the literature and the history as easy to swallow as possible.   It could be you just haven't been introduced to it right.  Both literature and history are all about people, lives, and ideas, and the real stories of these make what you see in the movies or on TV seem tame.  Of course, with work, kids, and college, you probably aren't watching much TV and movies cost a bundle.  In any event, make sure to ask questions and let me and your committee help make the class as easy and fun as possible.

Steve

Stephen Brandon, PhD
Associate Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)


On Tue, Jan 11, 2011 at 8:33 PM, S. Angel Carver [via General Assembly Online Discussion Forum, ENG 241, Spring 2011] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hello NC Committee.  I'm S. Angel Carver and I'm in my third semester here at Reynolds.  I plan to transfer to ODU once I get my AS in Business her at Reynolds.  I'm not very fond of literature; to me it's just another name for history...which I don't like either.  I am counting on Dr. B to make this a very enjoyable and exciting class.  I have to take English 242 when I finish this class.

I'm not your average student.  I'm the mother of two young adults, I work full time and part-time and I'm a full time student.  I like getting out of the house so if anyone ever wants to take a day trip for extra credit let me know.  I learn better from hands on than I do reading.  I look forward to working and learning with you all.




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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Courtney DeLong
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hey everybody! My name is Courtney DeLong, and I am currently enrolled in the Associate of Science in Social Sciences here at J Sarge. I only have seven class left until I receive my Associate's Degree...yay!!! When I get done here, I will be moving to NC and hopefully attending Appalachian State University. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to major in, but I figured that I still have a little bit of time to ponder. I am looking forward to this class for several reasons: I enjoy reading, and I find American Literature interesting. Good luck to everyone!

*Courtney*
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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Courtney DeLong
In reply to this post by scarver
Hey there! Good luck with this class. I used to hate reading literature as well, but when you sit down and apply yourself, it's really not that bad. A little pep talk never hurt anybody. Hope you do well!

*Courtney*
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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Courtney DeLong
In reply to this post by tcason24
Hey Terrance! Way to go on a double major! That is not exactly the easiest thing...best of wishes. I am majoring in the Social Sciences and Science for now, and will eventually pick one of them to go further in. Good luck in this class! I have a feeling that we are all going to need it. If I can be of any help, just e-mail me.

*Courtney*
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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Cynthia
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hi there,
I am taking this class because is necessary in order to finish my AS here at JSRCC. It will be necessary to take ENG 242 as well. I intend to transfer to U of R this coming fall and finish my major in Political Science. I also have plans to get my PhD and become a Professor, following the family line. Well, just plans!!
I can not deny I am a little bit concerned about my choice (this course) since I am Brazilian and all about American culture is still new for me. I took U.S. History last semester and for what I have been reading here, I hope/think it will help me.
I wish a good semester for all of us :D
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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
In reply to this post by Courtney DeLong
Courtney,

Among other places, I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina.  Why Boone?

Steve

Stephen Brandon, PhD
Associate Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)


On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 6:54 PM, Courtney DeLong [via General Assembly Online Discussion Forum, ENG 241, Spring 2011] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey everybody! My name is Courtney DeLong, and I am currently enrolled in the Associate of Science in Social Sciences here at J Sarge. I only have seven class left until I receive my Associate's Degree...yay!!! When I get done here, I will be moving to NC and hopefully attending Appalachian State University. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to major in, but I figured that I still have a little bit of time to ponder. I am looking forward to this class for several reasons: I enjoy reading, and I find American Literature interesting. Good luck to everyone!

*Courtney*



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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Brittani Fleming
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hey NC Committee!

My name is Brittani and I am a Science major here at Reynolds.  I am hoping to graduate next Spring, and then transfer to VCU to possibly study Forensic Science. I have taken a lot of Distance Learning Courses and it is nice to take a break from the usual Blackboard format. I like this websites' format much better.  Initially I was very nervous about taking this course because I sometimes tend to struggle with interpretation.  But after reading Dr B's comment about this NOT being a course where the meaning of the literature we read is "hiding somewhere in the teacher's head," I feel much more at ease. I really like the Committees of Correspondence idea because it is so easy to get lost in a Distance learning course.  Good luck to everyone in this class :)
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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

scarver
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Thanks alot for the encouragement.  Please keep an eye on me.  So far I am totally lost on this site.  I am just learning to get around on Blackboard with confidence.  So if I happen to post something in the wrong place...somebody please tell me.  I will not be offended.  I know technology is slowly passing me by.  For christmas my daughter broke my cell phone to force me to get an updated phone with a key board and camera.  So I know I'm a little old school
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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Ebony Archie
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
Hello everyone i'm Ebony Archie. I'm not super stoked about this class. Its required for me to obtain my degree so here I am. I just want to get this over with. I wish everyone the best of luck this semester.
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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
In reply to this post by Brittani Fleming
Brittani,

Welcome to the class. Majoring in forensics sounds fascinating.  I did a stint at the NC SBI training to be a Questioned Documents Examiner, and I came very close to being a special agent.  It's good work that helps people.  Think of the course as training in interpretation and communication. A *lot* of what you'll be doing in Forensics is interpreting stuff from a crime scene or connected to a crime.  This "stuff" constitutes texts it's your job to read, fitting together little clues as to what is important, what isn't, and what it all means.  In your case, it won't be about figuring out what's in the head of the professor; instead, it will be figuring out how and why crimes were committed.  Knowing how to slow down with a text, knowing how to come back to a text to re-consider it, knowing how to look at it from different critical perspectives, knowing how to build a good interpretation, knowing how much confidence in an interpretation, and knowing how to communicate and discuss your interpretation is just a short list of the critical thinking, reading, and writing skills you'll need in Forensic Science.  Instead of thinking about lit as just another, well, lit class, try thinking of it as training in reading, thinking, and writing about texts.  I'm betting your motivation in the class will improve.

Steve 

Stephen Brandon, PhD
Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)



On Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 7:01 PM, Brittani Fleming [via General Assembly Online Discussion Forum, ENG 241, Spring 2011] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey NC Committee!

My name is Brittani and I am a Science major here at Reynolds.  I am hoping to graduate next Spring, and then transfer to VCU to possibly study Forensic Science. I have taken a lot of Distance Learning Courses and it is nice to take a break from the usual Blackboard format. I like this websites' format much better.  Initially I was very nervous about taking this course because I sometimes tend to struggle with interpretation.  But after reading Dr B's comment about this NOT being a course where the meaning of the literature we read is "hiding somewhere in the teacher's head," I feel much more at ease. I really like the Committees of Correspondence idea because it is so easy to get lost in a Distance learning course.  Good luck to everyone in this class :)



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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
In reply to this post by Courtney DeLong
Courtney,

You'll enjoy Boone, and congratulations on being so close to graduation.  I'm applying for the Kellogg Institute at ASU this summer, and I used to drive up to Boone with my wife and friends to go tubing, hiking, and camping.  Later, I went to study in their library collections. They have a good collection concerning mountain culture, including many hard to find texts on the Cherokee.

Steve

Stephen Brandon, PhD
Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)



On Wed, Jan 12, 2011 at 6:54 PM, Courtney DeLong [via General Assembly Online Discussion Forum, ENG 241, Spring 2011] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey everybody! My name is Courtney DeLong, and I am currently enrolled in the Associate of Science in Social Sciences here at J Sarge. I only have seven class left until I receive my Associate's Degree...yay!!! When I get done here, I will be moving to NC and hopefully attending Appalachian State University. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to major in, but I figured that I still have a little bit of time to ponder. I am looking forward to this class for several reasons: I enjoy reading, and I find American Literature interesting. Good luck to everyone!

*Courtney*



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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
In reply to this post by scarver
You're going to do fine.  Just read the assignment descriptions.  Stuff marked as being posted to an Online Discussion thread go here.  Stuff marked as being posted to your blog goes in your blog.  AND, you'll be following a very consistant pattern over a two week period, so once you've been through it once or twice, you'll do fine.

If you ever have questions, ask.  I'm here to help.

Steve

Stephen Brandon, PhD
Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)



On Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 7:49 PM, scarver [via General Assembly Online Discussion Forum, ENG 241, Spring 2011] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Thanks alot for the encouragement.  Please keep an eye on me.  So far I am totally lost on this site.  I am just learning to get around on Blackboard with confidence.  So if I happen to post something in the wrong place...somebody please tell me.  I will not be offended.  I know technology is slowly passing me by.  For christmas my daughter broke my cell phone to force me to get an updated phone with a key board and camera.  So I know I'm a little old school



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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
In reply to this post by Cynthia
Cynthia,

Your being Brazelian will bring some badly needed perspective to the course.  The US is seen very differently abroad than it is seen internally, and you can help the students from the US see the US as we are seen abroad.  Given your interest in Political Science, I suspect you'll get a lot out of the class.  Much of the course will focus on the role American literature has played in bringing about social change, and some of it will focus on the give and take of how literature influenced early politics in the US.

Steve

Stephen Brandon, PhD
Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)



On Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 12:34 AM, Cynthia [via General Assembly Online Discussion Forum, ENG 241, Spring 2011] <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi there,
I am taking this class because is necessary in order to finish my AS here at JSRCC. It will be necessary to take ENG 242 as well. I intend to transfer to U of R this coming fall and finish my major in Political Science. I also have plans to get my PhD and become a Professor, following the family line. Well, just plans!!
I can not deny I am a little bit concerned about my choice (this course) since I am Brazilian and all about American culture is still new for me. I took U.S. History last semester and for what I have been reading here, I hope/think it will help me.
I wish a good semester for all of us :D



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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

S. Angel Carver
In reply to this post by Dr. Brandon
First of all let me say...I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the write place.  I get a little confused, but don't worry I'm working on getting it together.  We were asked to give our thoughts on the following question.

why ghost stories, thrillers, and horror remain so popular and Poe used them to achieve his literary agenda.

I personally love a good horror/thriller story or movie.  You know it's not real but then it makes you wonder "what if".  Sometimes we read stories about horrible things happening to people and say good thing it was just a story.  But then that little something in the back of your mind says, yeah somewhere this or something close to it has really happen.  

I think horror stories are used to express things that we as "normal" humans don't want to face as a reality.  Sometimes they are just what they are..."stories"; created for our entertainment.  These stories remain so popular because they provide great entertainment as well as an escape from reality as we know it.  
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Re: Committee Cafe: North Carolina Committee of Correspondence

Dr. Brandon
Administrator
Angel,

You are posting in the correct place for the Online Discussion Thread for this week.  Keep up the good work.

Steve

Stephen Brandon, PhD
Professor, Composition and Rhetoric
J. Sargent Reynolds Community College
Richmond, VA 23221
[hidden email]
[hidden email]

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what
it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners
or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is.
-Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)



On Tue, Feb 1, 2011 at 8:57 PM, S. Angel Carver [via General Assembly Online Discussion Forum, ENG 241, Spring 2011] <[hidden email]> wrote:
First of all let me say...I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the write place.  I get a little confused, but don't worry I'm working on getting it together.  We were asked to give our thoughts on the following question.

why ghost stories, thrillers, and horror remain so popular and Poe used them to achieve his literary agenda.

I personally love a good horror/thriller story or movie.  You know it's not real but then it makes you wonder "what if".  Sometimes we read stories about horrible things happening to people and say good thing it was just a story.  But then that little something in the back of your mind says, yeah somewhere this or something close to it has really happen.  

I think horror stories are used to express things that we as "normal" humans don't want to face as a reality.  Sometimes they are just what they are..."stories"; created for our entertainment.  These stories remain so popular because they provide great entertainment as well as an escape from reality as we know it.  


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