Sunday, December 15, 2013

Reflect on the Novel's Ending

                The 1984 ending was somewhat predictable after Winston was released from the Ministry of Love. He was released right after he betrayed Julia. After he was released, Winston said he was better off than he was before. This led me to believe that he may possible have become part of the inner party. Also, he said he could get close to Julia now and it did not matter which again led me to believe he was upgraded in society. He and Julia no longer have a feeling of love for each other; everything is different when they meet up after they are released. Winston no longer has a sex drive. O’Brien succeeded in taking away part of Winston’s humanity from that point.
                Also, while Winston was in the Ministry of Love, he wanted to convert to the “other side” because he was suffering. He wanted to believe that 2+2=5 and into the party’s ideals, but he physically and mentally could not. At the end of the book when the narrator says, “He loved Big Brother,” it is because Winston was trained to love him. Winston’s mind was altered when he was in the Ministry of Love. This ending was very eye opening for me because it shows that with the right tools, a party or government can change a whole mode of thought. It seems that this formula to keep power that the Party contrived worked. It was even able to convert its opposition. Killing the opposition would not be enough because there will always be more, but changing the opposition can be successful. Orwell critiques that unless we change the way the world is going, this is a possible future. The novel shows that we must not let this happen, yet it will be hard to stop it from happening if a superior power has to ability to change the way we think. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How does “the book” affect your understanding of the Party/ Orwell’s critique?

Reading excerpts from “The Book” helped me understand the party in much greater detail. It also helped me understand the many paradoxes that affect our society even if they are not readily seen.
                “The Book” is written by Emmanuel Goldstein, the main opposition to the party. Yet, the book says nothing of how to defeat the party, it just explains the party in greater detail. As Winston said himself, the book did not tell him anything he did not already know. The book explains that since the three world powers are always at war, war becomes peace. War becomes a way for the party to keep control over its citizens because instead of spending money on consumer goods, money is always spend on war. It is war without victory though. Orwell critiques out society here. During war countries take extra liberties. For example, the US took away certain freedoms in speech during both world wars. Also, when war becomes so prevalent and constant, it is not really war anymore. It is just a force to be contended with that is always there. When war is constant, peace is never known. Yet also war becomes peace because that is all there is. It is a very interesting paradox that critiques our society for constantly being at war when we know no power will indefinitely over take the other.
                “The Book” explains that ignorance is strength because without knowledge and memories there are no contradictions or oppositions. With the process of doublethink the party can change and overcome history. Thus if the party is all there ever is they will have power forever. Orwell critiques our society because ignorance of a mass of people leads to power of government. In a totalitarian state, the state has ultimate power if the people are too ignorant to realize any issues with the injustice. Ignorance does give the government or the party more strength while taking the strength away from individuals. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

"The History Teacher" by Billy Collins

Trying to protect his students’ innocence
he told them the Ice Age was really just
the Chilly Age, a period of a million years
when everyone had to wear sweaters.

And the Stone Age became the Gravel Age, 5
named after the long driveways of the time.

The Spanish Inquisition was nothing more
than an outbreak of questions such as
“How far is it from here to Madrid?”
“What do you call the matador’s hat?” 10

The War of Roses took place in a garden,
and the Enola Gay dropped on tiny atom
on Japan.

The children would leave his classroom
for the playground to torment the weak 15
and the smart,
messing up their hair and breaking their glasses,

while he gathered up his notes and walked home
past flower beds and white picket fences,
wondering if they would believe that soldiers 20
in the Boer War told long, rambling stories
designed to make the enemy nod off.

Collins uses irony in the use of humor for the reader but he also subtly preaches the message that unless children are stopped from bullying they will grow up to create more wars similar to the ones we learn in history classes. Collins starts of the poem by stating that the teacher’s motive for shielding them from the truth of the past is “to protect his students’ innocence” (1). He tells them that “the Ice Age was really just the Chilly Age, a period of a million years when everyone had to wear sweaters (2-4). He also says the Stone Age was “name after the long driveways of the time” (6). The history teacher lies to his students and tells them that these harsh periods in history were far from hard times. He understates these events in a very comical way.
Collins then goes on the explain how he tells his students that the Spanish Inquisition was “an outbreak of questions” (7), “the war of roses took place in a garden (11) and the atomic bomb dropped on Japan was merely one atom. He continues to shield the truth from his “innocent” students. Yet we find out they are not so innocent because they torment “the weak and the smart, messing up their hair and breaking their glasses” (14-16). These students are bullies. This may be partly fostered by the fact that they do not know of the violence that is prevalent in history. The History teacher teaches that only good events happen, so they are unaware that bullying can lead to anything bad. Yet, children who bully grow into children who create conflict and start wars. These kids are following the patterns of history.
As the History teacher walks home he passes “flower beds and white picket fences” (19). This is ironic because the History teacher walks home in a perfect world, but history has told the tale that the world is far from perfect. This irony emphasizes that we need to teach our children the facts so that they will not repeat the history of violence and wars.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

1984 Evolving Impressions of Julia

                In the chapters 2.4-2.6 in 1984 Julia’s personality has become clearer. At the beginning of the novel before Winston and Julia started the affair, I believed her to be more political. Winston thought she was working for the Thought Police as a spy, but I always had the idea that she and Winston would team up to work against Big Brother. After Julia gave Winston the note saying “I love you”, Winston has gotten to know her personality. Although she hates Big Brother and the party, she is happy enough living under their government as long as she can break certain rules. Julia is extremely interested in the sexual relationship she shares with Winston. She rebels against the party rules and has affairs with many men, but those are the only rules she rebels against.
                As Winston points out she does not care that the Party falsifies enormous amounts of information and that basically everything she knows in her life is a lie. When Winston explains to her his work in the records department where he basically erases past facts, “she did not feel the abyss opening beneath her feel at the thought of lies becoming truths” (154). She is perfectly content living with Big Brother as long as she can have affairs. She does not want to risk her life being a political rebel. She says, “I’m not interested in the next generation, dear. I’m only interested in us” (156). She refuses to rebel politically, but is completely willing to do it sexually.
                Also, she does not understand the government. She does not care what nonsense she is yelling during Two Minutes Hate or other rallies because she believes the whole government is a joke. She hates Big Brother, but she does not understand the entirety of its lies. She does not believe its ideas, but she has no valid reason against them except the fact that she thinks it is dumb and dislikes doing the rituals. Yet even though she hates the rituals, she does not want to rebel because it is not worth risking her life. Julia hates Big Brother yet knows little of their deceptions. She is perfectly content going through the motions of it politically as long as she can have sexual relationships. Thus, we learn that Julia may not be so helpful in Winston’s quest against Big Brother because she ignorantly believes the party’s facts even though she despises the rituals and the party. I also learned that although she breaks the rules, she is ignorant in believing the ideas of Big Brothers like many other party members. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Predictions About What Winston Will Do Next

Winston just finished his journey to the proles live. He saw the girl from the fiction department and is now is positive that she is a spy. He just got back to his flat and is certain that soon Big Brother will come for him. Right before Winston falls asleep he thinks about O’Brien. Now that Winston knows he has been discovered by the girl in the fiction department, he may possibly approach O’Brien the next day before Big Brother vaporizes him. He could tell O’Brien the truth about what he feels about the party.

I believe that Winston is going to approach O’Brien. I also believe that Winston is correct that O’Brien is on his side. In addition, I predict that Winston will find a way to live in the apartment above the pawn shop. If Winston can sneak away to live there, he will be able to make some plans about how to overcome Big Brother because there is no telescreen there. Also, he will be able to learn more from the man who owns the pawn shop about the past. I believe he will do this because he had this thought on the back of his mind when he was talking to the man. He knows how dangerous it is, but I predict that he will find a way.

I do not believe that Winston will resume his daily life of hiding for two reasons. The author is starting part two of the book which means that there will be a dramatic change. Winston cannot go back to his regular life without hiding from Big Brother because the girl from the fiction department saw him in the proles neighborhood, which is extremely suspicious. Big Brother vaporizes anyone who looks suspicious for a second, so Winston feels the Thought Police will not continue to allow Winston to live. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Reflect on the Ministry of Truth. What is being critiqued about Orwell’s society? Our own?

Winston works at the Ministry of Truth which is responsible for making the news, entertainment and education. His daily job involves him rewriting history so that everything Big Brother says in the present matches up with the past. Winston has to rewrite history. This is his favorite part of the job. For example, in this chapter Winston fabricates a story about a comrade Ogilvy who has unwavering faith for the party. Winston fabricates a man and knows that this is impossible to do in his world: “It struck him as curious that you could create dead men but not living ones” (47). In this quote Winston states that he can fabricate a life from nothing, but he cannot create living ones. The living people are so robotic and already dead through their unwavering faith that life is gone from them.

By describing the Ministry of Truth Orwell critiques how the dystopian society constantly lies to its people and that there is no truth to be found: “Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connection with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connection that is contained in a direct lie” (41). The dystopian society has no truth to it anymore. The party simply makes up facts and the people believe it. This critiques how ignorant people will be likely to believe anything, even if that thing is as far from the truth as possible.

In our own society there are many ignorant people who believe anything that is told to them once. In political elections the candidates take advantage of people’s ignorance and try to sway them one way or another based on their opinions that they deliver as facts. The real truth does not lie in one source.  Orwell critiques how people believe everything they hear if it is from a “reliable source”. Yet, even reliable sources do not always contain the truth. Orwell believes that people should be less ignorant and impressionable. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick

Gather ye rosebuds which ye may, 1
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the Sun, 5
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be fun,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst 10
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time;
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime, 15
You may forever tarry.

                Herrick describes a maiden’s life as one to be cherished and used wisely otherwise she will grow old without a husband; he intensifies this position by symbolizing the maiden or virgin’s life with a rosebuds. In the first stanza Herrick describes that a maiden must “Gather ye rosebuds which ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying; And this same flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying.” He describes both the life of a rose bud and the life of a maiden here. Rose buds will die so you have to gather them quickly. Yet, he speaks of a virgin/ maiden here too, because if she does not act, tomorrow this beauty will die.
                In the next stanza the speaker uses the path of time to describe how a virgin must hurry to marry. He describes “this race be run And nearer he’s to setting.” The speaker describes this path of time for both the rose buds and the maidens. The rose buds will come and go with time, but the virgin will not. The virgin will not be able to rebirth like the rose buds. The virgin needs to marry quickly before time runs out.
                The speaker then goes on to say how young age is so important and that being older will change the situation. He explains the rose bud connection here. He says, “That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer; But being spent, the worse, and worst Times still succeed the former.” Young age is the best for marrying, and this option dies with time. Time will succeed the maiden. The youth and blood of the maiden are compared to the rose buds because rose buds are red and young.

                The speaker sums up his advice in the last paragraph. He says that the maiden must hurry and marry “for having lost but once [her] prime, [She] may forever tarry.” Once the virgin grows old she will not be desirable anymore. She must act now. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"Mind" by Richard Wilbur

Mind in its purest play is like some bat 1
That beats about it caverns all alone,
Contriving by a kind of senseless wit
Not to conclude against a wall of stone.

It has no need to falter or explore; 5
Darkly it knows what obstacles are there,
And so may weave and flitter, dip and soar
In perfect courses through the blackest air.

And has this simile a like perfection?
That mind is like a bat. Precisely. Save 10
That in the very happiest intellection
A graceful error may correct the cave.

Wilbur describes the mind as a lonely, dark, entity with hope for change. Throughout the whole poem he compares the human mind to a bat. This furthers his argument that the mind works alone with boundaries, but has the possibility of escaping.
He starts off the poem by stating blatantly that the “Mind in its purest play is like some bat” (1). Without any schooling or changes to the mind, it acts like a bat. He goes on to explain that this is because it “beats about it caverns all alone,/ Contriving by a kind of senseless wit/ Not to conclude against a wall of stone (2-4). The mind goes around in the same place. It encircles the same ideas as a bat encircles a cave. Also, he speaks as the mind as using a senseless wit. This oxymoron explains that while the mind is intelligent, we encircle ideas that are meaningless to our lives. Also, he believes a mind is like a bat because we stay alive inside the dangerous cave.
In the next stanza, Wilbur continues this comparison. He says the mind “knows what obstacles are there” (6). The mind stays inside its comfort zone with fear of the unknown. Although it has “senseless wit”, the mind does not use this attribute to be imaginative because it is too aware of boundaries. This relates to a bat because a bat knows his boundaries of a cave. It could be dangerous for the bat to leave the cave, but why is it dangerous for the mind to leave its comfort zone?
In the last stanza, Wilbur defends this simile by addressing it to the reader directly. He goes on to elicit hope, about both the mind and the bat. He says that “That in the very happiest intellection/ A graceful error may correct the cave (11-12). He says that if the mind or the bat takes a risk, things will change. The cave and the world can be corrected. He believes if the mind makes a graceful error or takes a risk, new knowledge and imagination will come. Also, if a bat leaves the cave, nothing horrible will happen to it either.
Wilbur passes many ideas to a reader quickly with this simile than he would have if he did not use figurative language.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

King Lear Act IV. Who is the most villainous character and why?

King Lear is an extremely bleak play that seems to show no hope for the future. Picking the most villainous character is an extremely difficult task because there are different kinds of evils in this play, and some villainous characters have excuses for their treachery.
In my opinion, Goneril and Regan are the most villainous characters because they are so malicious without a reputable cause. They trick their father, who raised them graciously, into giving them reign over England. Then, even though Lear is weak, they seek his death because they believe him to be an annoyance in their lives. Lear asked for absolutely nothing from them except to travel and stay with his knights. He may have caused a ruckus when they would not allow him that, but that is his only offense, and it is completely justifiable. They force him out into a storm and then order his death. Lear may be growing old and losing his wits, but he was never malicious to his daughters. They have no legitimate reason to kill him. Also, what will they receive once the deed is done? Absolutely nothing because he has no power anymore. These sisters are so evil that they will set out to kill their own blood for the fact that he proves to be a small annoyance in their rise to complete power.
Also, Goneril may prove to be more villainous than Regan because she seeks her husband’s life. She wants to kill him to be with another man, Edmund. Albany, her husband, proves to me no aid towards her hunt for power because he condemns her for her actions against Lear. This is reason enough for Goneril to seek his life.
Edmund is high up on the list of villainous characters, but I am able to sympathize with him more than Goneril and Regan. Edmund deceives his brother, his father and basically everyone he comes in contact with. Yet, he has a reason to be bitter towards the society he lives him because he is excluded from it for being an illegitimate child. Also, Edmund deceives others to rise in power. This is extremely villainous, but it is a motive. I think Goneril and Regan to be more villainous than Edmund because at least there is a reason for his evil. What is Goneril and Regan’s reason?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Explication of "Gathering Leaves" by Robert Frost

Gathering Leaves
Spades take up leaves 1
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.

I make a great noise 5
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.

But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace, 10
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.

I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed, 15
And what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color. 20

Next to nothing for use.
But crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?

Robert Frost describes the process of gathering leaves as a part of the harvest which gives him no gratification. The poem takes us through the time consuming process of gathering leaves. At the end of the poem, the speaker is left with nothing but a shed full of dull, weightless leaves. Yet, the speaker knows that gathering leaves is essential for the harvest.

The speaker starts off the poem by saying that it is a difficult process to gather leaves: Spades take up leaves no better than spoons, And the bags full of leaves Are light as balloons” (1-4). The spades used for gathering leaves are inefficient if they take up leaves as well as spoons. Also, the bags full of leaves weight nothing, yet it took a long process of using inefficient tools to get the leaves in the bags. Thus, even though the speaker spent precious time gathering leaves, he only has a weightless bag to show for it.

In addition to having no product to show the work done, the leaves are extremely uncooperative. The speaker says, “But the mountains I raise Elude my embrace, Flowing over my arms And into my face” (8-12). Frost personifies the leaves here. He says they avoid his embrace and care and instead they fight back, making the job of gathering leaves even harder. Frost uses interesting diction here when he refers to the leaves as “mountains” when he previously described the leaves as weightless. Although the leaves are weightless in measured weight, they feel heavy when they are gathered because they do not stay in the bag.

The stanza relates to the emotion that King Lear shares with his daughters Goneril and Regan. Lear raises his daughters with care and gives them everything they ask for, yet they show absolutely no gratitude. Instead, they intend to take away the little power he has left. This relates to the leave because the speaker does so much work harvesting the leaves, but they fight back and are unyielding.

Furthermore to the leaves being uncooperative, the end of this process does not leave the speaker with some sense of accomplishment or happiness. He is left with “nothing for weight” and “nothing for color”. Gathering the leaves gives him nothing. This related to the emotion in King Lear. Lear gives his heart and soul to his daughters and they return this kindness to him with greed. Lear gets no gratification or help.

The last stanza exemplifies the overall theme well. The speaker describes the leaves as “Next to nothing for use. But a crop is a crop, And who’s to say where The harvest shall stop?” (21-24). The leaves are useless once they are brought into the shed. Yet, the speaker must continue this necessary process. He says a “crop is a crop” so it must be gathered. There is no escaping the process of gathering leaves. The speaker wishes the harvest and task of gathering leaves would stop, but he knows that is a mere dream. This relates to the emotion in King Lear of growing older. Lear wishes his aging would stop, but it is inevitable and part of the circle of life. Gathering leaves is an inevitable and ungratifying , but there is no escaping it. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

King Lear's and My Relationship with Nature

                King Lear’s life is falling apart. Once he gives away his powers to his two daughter, Regan and Goneril, they strip the king of everything he has including his knights. Lear believes that having his knights helps separate himself with the animals in nature: “Allow not nature more than nature needs,/ Man’s life is cheap as beast’s” (2.4.307-308). Lear understands that a man without anything superfluous is no different than a beast. He wants to be more than just an animal in nature.
                After Goneril and Regan continue to refuse King Lear a place to stay with his nights, he gets trapped in a dreadful storm. Lear believes that this storm is caused by his daughter’s ungratefulness. He thinks that nature will punish those who sinned. He says that nature should “Find out their enemies now” (3.2.54). He wants Goneril and Regan to be punished by nature. Lear knows he has been sinned against more than he has sinned so he is confused as the why nature is taking its wrath out on him. He also believes that nature makes man fearful: “”The wrathful skies/ Gallow the very wanderers of the dark/ And make them keep their caves” (3.2.45-47). He believes that nature not only terrifies man, but it also punishes sinners.

                I personally have an ambiguous relationship with nature. I love taking walks outside and hiking, but I am fearful of some parts of nature including bugs, animals and other elements. I love the beauty in nature but I do not embrace all parts of nature. Since I do believe in the idea of karma, I can relate to Lear’s theory that nature punishes those who have sinned. Yet, I do not agree because this idea does not hold true in reality. Sinners are not punished by nature. Also, I definitely agree that nature scares man forcing him into shelter. The elements such as rain, lightning and animals are not friends for humans. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

King Lear Blog about Edmund's deceptions

What do Edmund’s deceptions reveal about him and those he deceives?

                Edmund’s deceptions reveal that he is malicious, but believes he is worthy. He believes it is acceptable that he deceives others because he deserves more in life even though he is a bastard: “Edmund the base/ Shall [top] th’ legitimate. I grow, I prosper./ Now, gods, stand up for bastards!” (1.2.21-23). Edmund does not understand why his brother Edgar, the legitimate son, should get his father’s estate. He justifies his deception by the idea that he deserves the land as much as Edgar does.
                Edmund deceives his father, Gloucester. He fakes a letter from Edgar which implies that Edgar will kill Gloucester to have the estate sooner. Gloucester immediately believes Edmund and shuns Edgar. Gloucester ends up condemning Edgar to death and taking Edmund as his heir. This shows that Gloucester is extremely paranoid of anything happening to him and that he does not value his son. He does not address his son personally about this situation before condemning him to death. Gloucester says, “That the which finds him shall deserve our thanks,/ Bringing the murderous coward to the stake” (2.1.71-72). Gloucester does not value his son. He immediately believes Edmund’s lie and is out to get Edgar.
               Edmund also deceives his brother Edgar and tell him to flee from Gloucester. Edgar takes Edmund’s advice immediately. In addition, Edgar thanks Edmund for his advice. Edgar does not say much of anything when Edmund tells him this. Yet, Edgar listens. He values Edmunds advice and does not suspect Edmund set him up. Edgar believes that “Some villain hath done me wrong” (1.2.172). Yet, Edgar does not believe that villain is Edmund otherwise he would not have taken Edmund’s advice. This shows that Edgar and Edmund have a good brotherly relationship. Edgar does not suspect Edmund to be the villain, and he immediately takes his word as truth. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Explication of "The Widow's Lament in Springtime" by William Carlos Williams

Explication of “The Widow’s Lament in Springtime”
The speaker of the poem describes the harsh changes of spring in opposition with her feelings of grief. She wants to join her husband in death. The speaker, a widow, describes her yard where “new grass flames as it has flamed often before but not with the cold fire that closes round me this year” (2-5). The grass always comes in at springtime. It is different this year though because he husband is not with her. The brightness and beginning of spring is in contrast with the widow’s grief. She feels the “cold fire that closes round [her] this year (4-5). This fire consumes her this time of year because spring describes a happy time, but the widow is not happy. The coming of spring just reminds her of the happiness she once had.
The speaker then goes on to describe the colors of the flower on the “cherry branches” (11). Some of the bushes are yellow and red “but the grief in [her] heart is stronger than they” (14-15). Although the speaker used to enjoy the blooming of spring and these bushes used to be her joy, grief now consumes her. Her grief is stronger than the blooming of the trees. Nothing can make her happy anymore.
The speaker son tells her “that in the meadows, at the edge of the heavy woods in the distance, he saw trees of white flowers” (20-24). The son describes this tree with white flowers as in the meadow, in the distance, in the heavy woods. This tree is far away from the speaker whereas the trees with yellow and red bushes are right in the speaker’s yard. The white tree that is far away represents death. The speaker is close to life with the red and yellow bushes, but she wants to go the white tee. She wants to “fall into those flowers and sink into the marsh near them” (27-28). The speaker wants to join her husband in death.
Spring has a positive connotation and is a beautiful time, but the speakers emotions are in contrast with the season. She wants to go to leave the color in her yard for the white tree. She does not fit it with the color and happiness of spring. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Rank of Hamlet Characters based on Performance

Rank of Hamlet Characters based on Performance:

Gertrude: She has stayed true to her role the whole play. She is Hamlet's mother and Claudius's wife. Yet she becomes very interesting at the end of the play. Did she want to kill herself with the wine or not? If she did she put on a great performance because none of the characters believe she deliberately killed herself.

Ophelia: I do not believe Ophelia goes mad after she discovers the death of her father. She instead has a wondrous method to her insanity. She gives out flowers to some of the characters for their traits. This is extremely introspective and reveals that she understands what is going on more than most of the other characters. Yet, again most of the characters believe she is mad even though it is an act. This makes her successful.

Hamlet: Is Hamlet really mad or not? I do not believe Hamlet is mad. I believe that Hamlet has too much emotion and rage bottled up inside himself which he does not know how to place. His motive for acting insane is unclear throughout the whole play. Most characters believe he is insane which makes his successful in his performance. Yet, since his motive is unclear, what is the point of his performance?

Claudius: Claudius does a lousy job at performance throughout the whole play. First off, he cannot keep his face from going white after watching Mousetrap. Secondly, Hamlet sees right through his plan to have the English king slay Hamlet. He is successful is pretending he is praying during 3.3, but he was not acting then. He was simply being himself and thought he was alone.

Rosencrantz/ Guildenstren: Hamlet sees right through their perfromance. They attempt at being Hamlet's friend but fail miserably. I will give them the benefit of the doubt that Hamlet is suspicious of most and sees right through many lies though. They do not succeed one bit in convincing the Hamlet they are not working with the King.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Explication of 35/10 by Sharon Olds

The speaker is a mother of a child. The speaker laments about her aging and acts jealous towards her daughter’s aging. While the mother develops a “fold in [her] neck” the daughter’s “fine bones of her hips sharpen” (6-8). The mother seems jealous of her daughter’s aging. Her daughter is growing into her prime stages, while the mother is leaving that stage.
The mother describes her skin as “dry pitting” (9). Pitting has a negative connotation. She describes her daughter’s skin “like a moist precise flower” (9-10). The mother describes her predicament as an end while the daughter is opening like the petals of a flower. This comparison between the mother and daughter’s skin has emotional weight. It tells the story of the circle of life; as the mother grows older so does the daughter, but the daughter is growing into her glory days while her mother is moving away from those days.
The speaker than compares the eggs of the mother and child. The speaker goes so far as saying her eyes are “duds”. Duds has an extremely negative connotation. This expresses a blue feeling because the mother describes her aging as wilting away. She will soon no longer be able to bear children. In contrast the daughter’s eggs are so young they are about “to snap its clasp” (15). In addition she describes the eggs as “firm as hard- boiled yolks” (14). Hard boiled is an interesting choice of words. Hard- boiled describes an egg that is firm from being cooked for a period of time. Hard boiled eggs are firm but cooked as well. Hard- boiled may also describe the mother’s eggs because they have been cooked, if you will, for a longer period of time.

In the last stanza, the speaker describes this juxtaposition of her and her daughter as replacement. She calls it an “old story” because it has happened many times before. Yet, even though it is an old story, it still elicits emotion. Replacement is an old story in a world sense, but it is not an old story to the mother. It is still devastating for the mother even though it has happened to other mothers before. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Are you a thinker or a doer?

Thinking versus doing is the argument to debate about myself. After some contemplation I have determined that I have both qualities of a thinker and qualities of a doer. I am a very analytical person. I analyze the relationships with my family and my friends often. Although I analyze and think about them, I act as well. I confront the problems I have instead of just contemplating them.
Sometimes I do think more than do though. I constantly set goals for myself, yet many of these goals I do not achieve. Some of the goals are unrealistic in the amount of time I want them to be achieved, but that is the only excuse I have. I set goals to be a more peaceful and happy person. I want myself to not get caught up in the little things. I have acted and taken steps to achieve this such as taking deep breaths when I am stressed out and incorporating yoga in my life, but I have not achieved this goal. I have has this goal for about 2 years. Although I have taken steps towards it, I could easily take more. I could try harder to achieve my goal. Instead of thinking about more goals for myself, I could use that time to act of the small goals I have already set for myself.
My conclusion is that I am both a thinker and a doer. Sometimes I think more than I act though. Yet, I am not content with this aspect of myself. I want to act more instead of thinking so much. I know thinking problems through is beneficial with coming up with a solution, yet thinking too much can halt the process of action. Thinking too much can cause someone to continue thinking and never get to the point of action. That is another goal I have for myself, I want to think less and do more. I want to continue thinking, but not thinking over and over to the point where I will never get the action. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Explication of Break of Day by John Donne

          This poem tells a story of a woman who is in love with a busy man. The woman wakes up in the morning with a man by her side. Yet, the man cannot stay because he is busy. The speaker says that business is the disease of love. The theme is that a busy man may put his business above love.
Donne starts the poem by describing the day, “’Tis true, ‘tis day, what though it be?” (1). The woman knows it is the day. She does not yet know what this day will bring though. Will her husband stay or go? Donne presents us with a mindboggling thought next: “Why should we rise because ‘tis light” (3). Why does love have to part when the day breaks? The woman wants to stay with her loved one all day, but that is not what her husband will do.
             Donne contrasts love and light: “Love which in spite of darkness brought us hither/ Should, in despite of light, keep us together” (6). Donne states that just because the sun is up does not mean the couple has to part. The contrasts here are very interesting. Donne uses the words love and darkness together positively because love and darkness brought the couple together. This is against darkness’s usual association with a negative connotation. In the next line light is compared with keeping the couple together. The break of the daylight brings the couple apart because the husband has to go to work. It is an interesting contrast because the light, which is associated with positive words and feelings actually brings the husband and wife apart. While the darkness brings them together again.
                In the next stanza Donne goes into a deeper description of light. He says that it has “no tongue, but is all eye” (7), and “If it could speak […] This were the worst that it could say” (8-9). The husband leaves the love that he and his wife shared in the night. This is the worst that light can say because it takes the couple apart. It is interesting how he first says that light has no tongue, but then he states what light would say. I believe he does this to dramatize that this is the worst thing light can do.

                The man’s business keeps him from staying with his love all day. The speaker calls business “the worst disease of love” (14). He uses disease here to show how business breaks apart love from the inside out. Business seems beneficial in words, but in actuality it slowly breaks down love. The speaker goes so far as saying a mean is business is as “wrong as when a married man doth woo” (18). This is an extreme comparison. The author states that business is as wrong as cheating. He does this to state that since business takes away so much time from love it takes away the unity in the marriage. Business may make a man forget his wife which is compared to what cheating does to a man. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

To be or not to be Debate Twist

To study or not to study--that is the quesiton.
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to learn
The ins and the outs of subjects through flashcards,
or to take arms against the sea of notes
And, by opposing, end them. To fail, to sleep--
No more-- and by failing to say we end
The heartache and the stress of the mind
That homework is heir to-- 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished none. To fail, to sleep--
To fail, perchance an unknown entity.
For in that failure of tests what dreams may come,
When we have stopped to study,
Must give us time.

There's the respect
That makes studying beneficial.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of ignorance,
and unintelligence.

Laziness is wrong.
The pangs of Facebook, twitter and the television
Distracts us from making the decision.
The patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself has neglected to study.
Who goes through everyday life,
Without the dread of failing and report cards.

Yet the undiscovered overachiever.
Who takes notes diligently.
His conscience does make cowards of us all.
And thus gives us much to think about.
What is the resolution?

Be all the times I neglected to study remembered.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Appropriate Parental Spying

              In Act II of Hamlet there are two instances of parental spying. I do not believe either of these are appropriate for two reasons. First I believe that parents should confront their kids instead of spying on them because there is a huge chance for miscommunication, and spying is hardly effective in fixing problems. Spying may be appropriate if it is well intended to help the children through something. Also, both of these instances were not done out of care for those being spied on. Yet, in these instances spying was not done out of care for the children.
                Polonius sends a servant Reynaldo to go spy on Laertes while he is in France. Polonius wants Reynaldo to insult Laertes to his acquaintances as a way to get information. I do not know what Polonius is expecting to gain by spying on his son. It seems as though he wants to see Laertes fail at school, and he sets this up by giving Laertes’s friends information that does not look well upon him. Polonius seems jealous of his son at school, and he feels he is in competition with him. This spying would be more appropriate if Polonius had good intentions.

                As Act II continues, Gertrude and Claudius send two of Hamlet’s old friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on him. They want to find out the cause behind Hamlet’s brooding and sorrow. Claudius explains to Hamlet’s friends that he wants to help Hamlet recover from this sorrow from whatever “unknown afflicts him thus” (2.2.17). Claudius is putting on an act here. He wants to keep a close watch on Hamlet so that Hamlet does not find out that Claudius murdered King Hamlet. Claudius wants Hamlet to forget about his father’s death and move on so that Claudius can be king without that threat. The Queen wants Hamlet to return to his old self before she married his uncle. She is not concerned with his emotions, she just wants the tension between Hamlet and Claudius to end. Again this spying is not well intended. Claudius just wants to know what Hamlet is thinking so that he can stay one step ahead of Hamlet. Claudius does not want Hamlet to find out his secret. The Queen seems to be oblivious to this whole situation while she follows the King’s lead. This spying is not appropriate parental spying because Claudius and Gertrude have no motives to help Hamlet through whatever he is dealing with. Claudius simply wants to rid the threat Hamlet poses to his new kingdom.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Analyzing the Balad of Birmingham by Dudley Randall

                The Ballad of Birmingham by Dudley Randall moved me almost to the point of tears.
The speaker is an African American mother who wants to save her child from the violence and death of the protests. The poem is extremely ironic. The mother refuses her child to go to the Freedom March in Birmingham because, “For the dogs are fierce and wild, And the clubs and hoses, guns and jails Aren’t good for a little child” (6-9). The mother wants to keep her child away from the dogs which I believe can represent the cops. The cops are fierce and wild against the protesters. She does not want her child to be subjected to that. Also, the mother will not put her daughter in any danger.
                Instead the mother says that the child “may go to church instead And sing in the children’s choir” (15-6). The mother believes that her daughter will be safe in the sacred church. She allows her daughter to go to a safe place in the town that is far away from the cops and the riots. The mother dresses the child in white gloves and white shoes. The author writes that the mother dresses the child in white gloves and shoes because the mother was obeying and hiding from the white community. She refused her daughter to go to the march because she was afraid of the punishment by the white community. Now she dresses her daughter in white to show that she will accept their superiority as long as her child is safe.
               In the next stanza the mother believes her child is safe yet “that was the last smile To come upon her face” (24). This quote foreshadows what will happen in the next stanza. It was awful to read that the loving mother who would do anything to save her daughter is going to lose her daughter because of racial hate. The mother then “heard the explosion” and “Her eyes grew wet and wild” (25-6). Her child getting caught in the bombing of the church is so ironic because the mother sent her to church to keep her safe. The mother made sure she was away from any danger. It is also ironic how the mother’s eyes grew “wet and wild” because the dogs were “fierce and wild” and few stanzas earlier. The loss of her child caused the mother to become fierce and “wild” like the dogs. The burning brought her down on the whites’ level. She no longer will try to play it safe because she suffered the death of her beloved child. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

First Impressions of Hamlet, King Claudius and Queen Gertrude. Hamlet 1.1-1.3

     The reader is first introduced to King Claudius in Act 1, scene 2. He expresses his grief for the late King Hamlet. In this monologue King Claudius seems genuine, but as the scene continues, his grief and sorrow for his brother’s death can be seen as an act. When Hamlet expresses his extreme grief and annoyance that his mother does not take part in this grief, King Claudius tells Hamlet to move on from his sorrow: “But to persever/ In obstinate condolement is a course/ Of impious stubbornness. ‘Tis unmanly grief” (1.2.96-8). Claudius says it is a natural course to lose a father and that Hamlet should not continue to grieve. He says grieving at this point is stubborn and unmanly. King Claudius is unsympathetic towards Hamlet. He wants Hamlet to forget the death of his father so that the new King can move on with his rule of Denmark. Also, King Claudius refuses to allow Hamlet to go to the university in Wittenberg. Not only is he unsympathetic towards Hamlet, but also he does not allow Hamlet to fitful his wishes because Claudius wants to keep a watch over him. King Claudius is afraid Hamlet will ruin his reign as king. He wants to keep a close watch over Hamlet and ensure Hamlet does wreck his position in power. 
            Queen Gertrude is completely behind her new husband. She marries her late husband’s brother in less than a month. She moved on quickly from the death of her husband and wants Hamlet to follow suit: “Thou know’st ‘tis common; all that lives must die,/ Passing through nature to eternity” (1.2.74-5). She wants Hamlet to forget about his father’s death because it was the natural course of life. Like her new husband, she is unsympathetic towards Hamlet’s grief. She seems oblivious and unconcerned of the death of her husband and her new marriage. She evens appears somewhat unemotional in this scene.
            When the reader first meets Hamlet in Act 1 Scene 2, he appears suspicious and resentful towards his new father. Hamlet is uncomfortable with the marriage of his mother and his uncle. He states the relationship as unnatural: “A little more than kin and less than kind” (1.2.67). He believes their relationship, now as father and son, is twisted. He has not yet comes to terms with his late father’s death and the idea that his uncle is now his new father.
In Hamlet’s aside he expresses anger towards his mother for marrying too fast. She married him when King Hamlet was “But two months dead—nay, not so much, not two” (1.2.142). He is angry that she did not grieve and that she married his uncle. Hamlet also believes that his father was “So excellent a king” (1.2.143). He is in despair with his new life. He despises that his uncle is the new king and his new father. Hamlet seems to have the only reaction to this situation. He responds with anger and confusion to his mother marrying his uncle less than two months after his father’s death while Queen Gertrude and King Claudius act like nothing is wrong. Hamlet does not playing along with this strange logic. He shows that this is unnatural. Also, he is angry because none of his family expresses grief of King Hamlet that he is experiencing.