Monday, January 14, 2008

Otra Libro (Crucible)

Emotions are the reason behind every action. Therefore too much emotion toward something may result in conflict. Select a novel or play of literary merit in which a character(s) possess too much emotion Then write a well-organized essay in which you describe the over abundance of emotion and the conflict it causes for the characters and explain its relevance to the work as a whole.

"The Crucible", by Arthur Miller, seethes with emotion. It is the basis for the play as a whole and it is what drives not only the novel but also the period and true events of which the play is based. This overly convicted people and their emotions and beliefs are what set the events into motion. They drive the chaos and the conflict. Most, if not all the characters present in the play are overly committed to what they believe to be truth.

Abigail Williams is the most convicted of them all. But she is unlike most of the more respectable characters. She does not believe what she claims so fervently to be true. It is simply the need to be innocent of everything drives her to both do and claim what she does. Soon the power her lies hold is enough to keep her lying and deceiving, and lead her to one of the greatest conflicts of history. Her emotions and convictions are essentially what cause the horrific trials. As a result to stay innocent and gradually to keep the power the town so willingly hands over to her, her lies cost 19 their lies.

The town as a whole is full of emotion. While Abigail is full of resentment, hatred and power, the town feels fear, submission and vengeance. Those citizens of Salem have accumulated so much suppressed hatred, frustration, and anger that it leads them to become rash in their actions. They commit to things that have otherwise been unthinkable. Their rash actions and beliefs soon become foolish attempts at revenge and personal gain. They feel so strongly to these emotions that have been repressed for so long that it emerges into a chaotic murder crusade.

Lastly, the convictions of the selective accused that do not feel as the town of Salem do. They are in fact in complete opposition. They hold feelings of unjust, faith, and courage that it leads to their death. They are not unlike the rest in that their convictions lead to conflict. It leads them to conflict the town, the people, but also a choice between their own life or dying a martyr, perhaps saving other lives. Many lacking this surplus of emotion simply claimed a lie to be truth. They said that they were indeed witches, and thereby saved their own lives. But those who did not contain the normal amount of feelings, but took their emotions and beliefs to another level led themselves to their own deaths. Their unwavering faith in the truth and justice led to their demise, without so much conviction, so much love and faith, they might have survived.

If each of these characters and their emotions were in moderate portions then these horrific events depicted by Miller in “The Crucible” would never had occurred. But their committed and faithful attendances to these emotions cause events that spiral into chaos. These over abundance of emotion are what cause this conflict to occur and therefore are greatly meaningful and affective to the play as a whole.

[Authors Note: Despite my valiant efforts I award this response a respectable 5)

Sanguine At Its Finest

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart." (Robert Ingersoll). Loss often appears in literature, and affects a character in a life changing way. Select a novel or play of literary merit in which the loss of something greatly (positively or negatively) affects a character in the novel. Then write a well-organized essay in which you describe both the loss and the change and explain its relevance to the work as a whole.

Loss is a word well known to the main character in Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston. Janie Crawford starts losing things starting at a very young age, and it does not seem to stop as she gets older, simply worsen. She “loses” her parents, her youth and freedom, her second husband and ultimately her one true love.
Yet, despite these constant emotional trials and misfortune, Janie not only stays sanguine, but she becomes more so because of them. She does not wallow in her misfortune, or in what “could-have-been”, but she keeps moving forward. She not only keeps her youthful optimism, but also gains newfound love for life and a hope for better things. These losses do not hinder Janie, but empower her.

It is said that when one loses something, they also gain something; any action has an opposite and equal reaction. Others simply recite the proverb “when a door closes, a window opens”. No matter which form it takes, both essentially mean the same thing; with any loss, some form of a gain accompanies it. This fact of life does not shy away from the literary world, and has an undeniable presence in Their Eyes Were Watching God. Each time Janie loses something she gained something in equal value. First, she loses her youth. When her grandmother forces her to marry Logan Killicks her youth, innocence and part of her freedom are also stricken from her. But with it she gains a new life, a new outlook. She had been begging for a change, and she got one. She no longer has her innocence, but she begins to grow up, to learn and experience life even though it was not quite as she had expected.

Secondly, she loses her second husband. After leaving Logan she marries Joe Stalks. She expected a life very different than what she gets. He gradually comes to control her, restricts her from everyday life, and with it he takes her freedom. For twenty years she lives by his rules, unable to casually converse with others, wear her hair as she pleases, or live. And yet, with his death and her losing him, she gains a newfound freedom. We realize that he did not take it, she simply stored it away. Once he dies she brings it out of hiding and embraces it. Once again she is able to live the life that she had always imagined, dreamed of, needed.

Lastly, and most importantly, she loses her only true love. She meets a man named Teacake, and falls in love. She learns of passion and what it means to be loved and treasured. But just as quickly as she finds it, it is stricken from her. Teacake dies as a result of that love and selflessness. She loses her one true love. Yet, most importantly, with it she loses all criticism and cynical ideas of the world. She does not live her life vengeful or angry, but comes out of it with a greater optimism and faith toward life. She is more grateful that she had the opportunity, despite its short life, to experience true and unconditional love. She does not feel regret, but honor and happiness. In this last trial she gains something more important than she ever had. This loss proved life changing.

The fact that she becomes so hopeful and grateful for life instead of regretful and bitter is admirable. It is what separates her from most other literary characters. As a result from her loss and tribulations she gains more faith in life, faith in reality, and faith in love. She not only learns from her experiences and situation but becomes more grateful for what she is left with. After the loss of her second husband Joe Stalks she is grateful for her newfound freedom. She does not sulk over her lost years, but rejoices that once again she is free. Then, after her hardest loss and most trying obstacle, the loss of Teacake, she comes home grateful with the knowledge that she had the opportunity to experience true love. Janie is not one to stop life, but one to keep living it, all the better having overcome the losses life has thrown at her.

“The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart." (Robert Ingersoll). Janie bears both loss and defeat many times in Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. She feels a sense of defeat when Joe begins to take hold of both her life and her freedom, but these losses she experiences, these obstacles in her life do not keep her from losing heart. After each trial, each test of life, she comes out with a bigger heart, a bigger sense of hope and optimism. This admirable characteristic held by Janie is the reason she is one of literature’s most influential character. Her trials and losses threatened to defeat her, but they merely strengthened her heart and her drive.

[authors note: I believe this piece of literary mastery deserves a 7; then again, I'm a litle biased. ]

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Dead Poets Society

I would rate The Dead Poets Society a solid diez [10].

I mean, what else would you like in a movie? You've got Robin Williams, a whole school of over privileged boys, chaos and turmoil, and an underused ideal. This movie, unlike many that have graced us on the big screen, has not only a point but forces us to look at the world "atop a desk". It preaches not only a rarely used state of mind, but an ideal to live by. The idea of "carpe diem" is so simple, live for today and sieze the moment. This film did not need drugs, affairs, or inapropriate language to hold our attention, the ideas it presented were just enough. To say the least, I did not expect what I saw. And I do not expect the movie to influence or inspire others exactly as me, if at all. But I must say that this movie is one for the books. It did not have a traditional hollywood ending. I guess, in a way it did. I mean the events culminate in a defiance against traditionalism and wrongdoing but it was not as grand or as dramatic as some Hollywood endings. I believe the subtle act of standing on a desk instead of all the boys yelling "screw administration" gave it a much better and more respectable ending.

This movie greatly relates to poetry and I believe it was a great way to introduce it to our class. We are all raised with this pre-established notion that poetry is simply a bunch of old queer idealists and untouchable great thinkers who sat down and wrote some lines down. I believed that to study it we merely had to read a sonnet and take it apart. But Robin Williams made me realize that it is much more than that. It is a part of life, a way of life. This movie got me to think outside of the normal assumption, and i believe that it would have been impossible for me to realize this by simply a teacher telling me so.

The Dead Poets Society should be allowed if not advised to be shown in an AP class. We are not some general class to be fed sonnet after sonnet. We must look deeper, not only into poetry already written, but the idea behind poetry. And this movie perfectly demonstrates that.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Poem/Song lyrics

by Falling Up

It's like a breath before the dive
It's like the truth after a lie
This flight is taking over
Searchlights in every corner
Like I love you when you're gone
Escaping in the dawn
I swear we'll flood your city
No choice it's what you're getting

If you want to breathe will you just let me know
If you want it, then you'll see it, let me know
Wash away the tears, will you just let me know
Need to see it, then you'll want it, let me know

The secrets in the wind
The rumors now begin
You want to hear the silence
You want the quiet sirens
His blood is like the break
The love you will not take
I swear we'll flood your city
No choice it's what you're getting

If you want to breathe will you just let me know
If you want it, then you'll see it, let me know
Wash away the tears, will you just let me know
Need to see it, then you'll want it, let me know

No one can breathe, no one can see
They are asleep, they will be seen

Breakaway the voice is calling
Wake up you're asleep and falling
Not to late to open up your heart
He will heal the shattered hopes
And fly away the broken souls
It's not too late to find out who you are

If you want to breathe will you just let me know
If you want it, then you'll see it, let me know
Wash away the tears, will you just let me know
Need to see it, then you'll want it, let me know

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


My first reaction to all the songs by Wilco as a whole was that they sounded a lot alike. There was an occasional more upbeat song thrown in there, but for the most part each song sounded passionate, but mellow and slower. Each song also had the same underlying theme heartbreak, hope, and the lack of hope.

The first song was “Either Way” and started out a lot like the others. It started out slow and gained tempo further into the song but never lost its mood. I feel that this slow and somewhat sad mood helps in the song and how it is reacted by the listeners. This song sounded like it was full of a sad hopefulness. He kept repeating the words “maybe” and “you”. The over usage of the word “maybe” supports the hopeful meaning. And the use of the word “you” in pretty much every one of the Wilco songs makes the songs not sound like they are focusing on the listeners life or experiences but like he is speaking directly to his loved one and kind of like the he isn’t aware of the listeners. In this song he hopes that things will get better.

The Second song was “You Are My Face”. Instead of focusing on a feeling of hope like the previous song, I got a feeling of hopelessness. Instead of the idea “things will get better” it is now “things are never going to get better, so why try?” This song also uses a lot of metaphors. Instead of stating straight out what is going on, he uses a lot of metaphors and literary devices to get a deeper meaning across, perhaps to allow the listener to interpret it the way he wants.
Then there was “Impossible Germany”. Now this song is unlike the previous two. This one instead of being either hopeful, or hopeless is more indignant. It seems to state, “this is how it is, it’s hard, but its going to happen”. This song is more “in your face” than the others. It is not sulking, but stating facts and the reality of it all.

Next was “Side With the Seeds”. This song uses personification and many more literary devices. It seems to be split between hopefulness and hopelessness. “No one wins but the thieves, so why side with anything”. This quote gives of a sense of giving up. It seems to be saying that the situation is impossible to change, its too frivolous, so why bother? Maybe it gives off a tone of one who has given up to the reality of it all. This is ironic because it uses many metaphors and literary devices to get the “reality” idea off.

Then “Please Be Patient With Me” played. I like this song because of the idea “you need to be patient with me”. This song seems to be more realistic in a real-world situation. Overall, I like not only the music but also the messages this band puts out with every song. It is not screamer or in-your-face opinions, but it does all that with a more artistic flare. I also like that, unlike much music today, the words mean so much. With this band, the words hold everything. It is not about having the craziest beat, but the words mean so much.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Metamorphasis promt #2

In Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie the title holds everything. In the novel glass menagerie does not only symbolize glass figurines loved by the main character, Laura, but it is also a window into her true character and personality. These glass figurines do not only give readers insight, but it also gives meaning to the novel as a whole.

Laura loves her glass collection of tiny glass animals. They are her life. But these glass figurines are not only objects but symbolize her. They represent her personality, her character, her dreams. They are small, transparent and boring figurines. No one sees their use or their worth; just like Laura. She is shy, crippled and alone. But once the right light is shown through them, a different world of colors appear, and it gains life. Once the right light, the right person and inspiration, shines through her she gains life. Jim is her light. Jim brings out colors, a personality, and a side of her that not even she has seen.

But these glass figurines also represent much more. They represent a different and fragile world. These menageries comfort Laura and provide her with a different reality. They represent an escape. But these glass figurines are also very fragile and can break at any time, just like the reality Laura lives in. These pieces of glass are so revered and never fully touched by Laura, mirroring her dreams.

One figurine in particular reveals much more about Laura, the unicorn. The unicorn is a mythological creature that belongs to a different world. It is also a unique horse that may not fit in with everyone else. This is exactly how Laura feels. She feels that she does not belong and so she escapes with her glass menageries. While Laura goes through a dramatic change with Jim in the living room, the unicorn's horn is broken off. This makes the unicorn just like every other horse. It's uniqueness is gone. Laura mirrors the unicorn, but in the end she decides to give it to Jim. She no longer feels attached to it because she has finally grown up and faced the true reality. And also because the unicorn no longer represents her and her individuality. The glass menageries symbolize Laura and the world she once relied on. These old, fragile, and unappreciated figurines give a deeper look into Laura more than any words Tennessee Williams could ever have written.

Symbolism is the most important device in literature, especially in Tennessee William's The Glass Menagerie. Without this symbolism the play would simply be a story. It is only when one looks underneath and deeper into the meaning that he finds the true story. Symbolism is able to give readers a deeper look into the lives, personality, and dreams of characters like Laura. So much is explained in that small glass figurine, and without symbolism that would be lost to both the reader and the story.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Metamorphosis Essay 1

Two conflicting desires and obligations tears at Franz Kafka in Steven Soderburgh’s Kafka. Both Soderbergh and Kafka explore differences between right and wrong, obligation and self appeal. Kafka was torn between living a life of ignorance and conformity and discovering the truth and fighting against what is wrong. In the end, he conquered both of these ambitions.

Kafka lived his life in solitude and never questioned authority. He did what was expected of him and nothing more. He was ignorant to the truth or perhaps he chose to ignore it. But once he chose to investigate his friend’s “suicide” this seemingly content life is challenged by the truth and Kafka is torn between truth or chosen ignorance. As he continues through the movie he discovers the truth but still has the choice to turn back. But Kafka chooses to venture on.

Kafka’s choice is between a life of solitude and a life or normality. He feels an obligation to himself to continue his life and an obligation to justify his friend’s death. But he later feels an obligation to society.

These two conflicting standpoints eat away at him. They wage a war and throughout the movie one threatens to win over the other. But, in the end both win, or rather they lose, leaving Kafka more ostracized than he was before.

Through the struggle Soderbergh is able to demonstrate not only the choice between what is right and wrong but also a conflict within a man and the aftermath of that internal war. Both Kafka’s struggles between comfort and conformity and his pursuit of the truth win. Kafka discovers the truth of his friend’s death and what is really going on, buthe also chooses to live and conform to his previous ignorance. Kafka was torn between two desires and two obligations, and in the end it did not matter whichone he choice. His fate was unaltered.