Talons English 10: Blog Response #3 – 10/16/17

Often, a story will seem to be deprived of beauty or meaning by the changes made in a film adaptation. On other occasions, watching a film version will enrich the experience of the written story. In response to both Kurt Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” AND the film 2081, write a well-developed paragraph, answering the  following question:

 

In your opinion, what is the most effective medium for telling the “Harrison Bergeron”  narrative: film or text? Explain your answer with using specific details that relate to each version, as well as thoughtful reasoning.

 

Due, for completion on October 20th, 2017.  

Remember to make a clear point by crafting a concise topic sentence, provide evidence directly from the text to support your point, and argue for the significance of your evidence by explaining how your chosen quote(s) helps to support your point. In other words, remember to PEE in your paragraph!

Scene 2 of IDNS

Over these last couple of pages and chapters, Ralph has grown very much.  As we know Ralph has been elected Chief.  As chief he has had to make some tough decision and lead a group of children while they navigate this island.  One of the challenges he has to encounter is sorting everything and everyone out.  Another thing Ralph has to do is call assemblies when needed.  He tries to tell them want he is going to do at every assembly, “We need an assembly. Not for fun. Not for laughing”(page 86).  He starts off getting to the point right away.  He makes it clear that he wants to talk about a serious matter.  He continues on telling the group how serious this matter should be taken.  Ralph also says “And first of all, I’m speaking”(page 86).  He states that this is not a time to interrupt him, as he has been in the past.  He tells the group what should be their first priorities and what should not be.  He does an excellent job at discussing what he wants done without being to forceful about it.  He has clearly grown into the role of leader the group has given him.  He calms himself before speaking, most of the time, and he tries to listen to everyone’s point.  He is trying to be as responsible as he can; socially, mentally, and physically.  In my opinion this is a very hard thing to do, especially when you have a bunch of little boys running around wanting to play all the time.  I do not think I could handle it as well as Ralph is.  I cannot wait to see if he can keep up this great leader role or if some other twist occurs later in the book.  

English Novel Study: The Night circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus

Summary:

“The Night Circus” is a tale of forbidden love, intertwined with a unique world of magical abilities and illusions. the two lovers are destined to compete in a game that can have but one left standing as they are plunged into a series of occurrences around a circus, full of mystery.

Scene 1:

Celia, the main character of “The Night Circus”, has a fairly static character persona, and is relatively flat. She shows a sense of cowardice, mixed with the stereotypical characteristic of ‘hidden power’. This character show independence once her father passes, and develops the only change in the first third of the book, the ability to think for herself. The character, again and again is tortured ‘Her father looks up, annoyed. He lifts a heavy glass and brings it down hard on her hand, hard enough to break her wrist with a sharp crack’(p.50). This sets up a second layer, not quite making her round, but showing that she has another side to her entirely.The main fear she has is who she is ‘competing with’ would be the person she is ‘competing’ with, as they are unknown as well as threatening, using the father as a cross reference point to identify what this challenger might be like. To make this even more memorable, it is shown with a scar made from a ring put on her finger when she was quite young. They way she handles her battles are passive, and are in no way close to how I would react, given the abusive scenario she is placed in “‘And for Christ’s sake, stop crying,’ her father calls after her” (p.50).

Scene 2:

During the middle of “The Night Circus”, Celia develops more independence as her father has left their plane of existence, even though she was being “Haunted by her father”(360). We see her have full control over her natural inclination to influence objects around her, but still struggling to do so with animate objects, showing room for improvement. Her competitor, Marco, has also been steadily increasing in his abilities, specializing in the more illusion based magic. The two are eventually both accepted into the circus, both as featured performers, but Celia, without the frequent hatred brought upon her by her father, begins to stray from the whole competition, and just have fun. She shows kindness towards others, showing Poppet and Widget how to do new things with magic, and sharing her secrets with those who could prosper from their power. Her main goal has now switched from pleasing her father to being her own person, learning what she will want to do with her life and what she really enjoys. “Which tent is your favourite?” he asks.”The Ice Garden,” Celia answers, without even pausing to consider.”Why is that?” Marco asks.”Because of the way it feels,” she says. “It’s like walking into a dream. As though it is someplace else entirely and not simply another tent…”(288). This specific quote is a great summary of Celia’s transformation from the abused little girl into a love struck, independent young woman with her own ambitions, morals and ideologies.

Scene 3:

Celia realizes that her love with Marco was foolish, as the game’s true rules are revealed, and a series of unfortunate events befall their relationship, endangering those near them, even killing one of Celia’s closet friends, Herr Friedrick Thiessen “Mr AH— lowers Herr Thiessen to the ground, speaking a constant string of words over him in tones to low to hear.”(374), who was caught in the crossfire of an attempt on Alexander’s life (Marco’s teacher). They realize that their refusal to play the game has caused this, but their love for one another stops either of them for wanting to end the other to win the game and carry on with their own life. As  result, the two have one last date, and they each try to kill themselves to save the other. Marco had been talking to Tsukiko who had also partaken in the game before, and promised to end his life to spare Celia’s, and as Tsukiko’s lighter is tossed into the bonfire, or the heart of the circus, Celia grabs Marco, and takes both him and her into a limbo, outside of the real world. They are then bound to the circus, together. Celia has chosen love over a real life, and even though those in the real world can still move outside of the circus, they are bound to it forever, and should it collapse, they will to. Thus Celia, to live with her love, she tells Bailey “we need you to take over the circus” (478).

Character Appraisal:

Celia Bowen is a highly dynamic character, as well as round. She is shown to be human, to be able to feel and interact with her environment as well as adapt to different scenarios and lifestyles. Her general abilities are original, and remain fluid throughout the entire novel without making it difficult to comprehend. Overall, Celia is a kindhearted, likable and very much human character whom makes the entire story worth reading at least twice.

Themes:

The most dominant theme throughout the story is that people can make things work with enough will and commitment to their task. This is most prominently expressed by Celia’s intent to master her powers, aid the circus and maintain her love with Marco. Erin Morgenstern shows clearly that things will get in the way of our happiness, and goals, but she also shows that they can be overcome.

Evaluation:

I would definitely recommend this novel to people whom are fans of the genre as well as those who enjoy a unique story line and cast of characters. The novel introduces ideas that are both captivating and thought provoking as well as enjoyable. Erin has a particular voice when telling her story that can make the novel something to invest in. Overall, “The Night Circus” has everything I see in a good book, a good cast, story line, voice and conclusion.

Rating

4.5/5 stars

This novel was truly enjoyable and captivating. Erin expressed a story of two whom were never meant to be together, unless it meant the other’s destruction. She takes a new spin off of the Romeo and Juliet story and breathes new life with a rounder set of characters and a more detailed series of events as well as a satisfying ending. She shows great description in the prominent objects in her world as well as intricate details to help us understand the characters.

One Hundred Years of Solitude: Finished Response

Summary

“One hundred years of solitude” tells the story of youthful motivations, solitary confusions, and eventually unequivocal destruction of the Buendia family. From the founding of the town Macondo to the wind that blew its existence off the face of Earth, Garbiel Márquez explores the nature of loneliness and repetition of fate.

Scene 1

As strange as it may sound to have the execution of our main character in the first scene, this event reveals much about Colonel Aureliano Buendía’s impressive solitary character. Aureliano Buendía, an advocate for the Liberal party, is made prisoner by Conservatives, which is an external conflict, as very little emotional doubt is shown in this scene. After his capture, he wishes for his sentence to be carried out in Macondo. However, once he is brought into town; instead of fearing his execution, it almost seems like he fears to see himself, the great Colonel Aureliano Buendía, associated with affection. To expand on this trait, he asks his mother to burn all his sentimental poetry, making her promise that no one will read them. This further reveals that Aureliano wants to leave behind only the legends of his pride and legacy, fearing that his personal image will ruin his dignity. The maturity upon death is a splendid development of his childhood solitude, as illustrated by his speech during Úrsula’s visit: “‘Don’t beg or bow down to anyone. Pretend that they shot me a long time ago’” (128). However, the author made sure that his stoicism is not to be confused with complete heartlessness like a flat character. He still experiences emotions, such as “an intestinal rage at the idea that this artificial death would not let him see the end of so many things that he had left unfinished” (130), which illustrates delicate characterization. Aureliano’s reluctance to demonstrate feelings significantly speaks to my life. Many close friends and family members assume that I don’t have positive relationships with them because I do not show signs of vulnerability, even though this is often untrue. As a result of his defense towards greater equality, Aureliano excels in “valuing diversity” of the BC curriculum. He takes extreme actions to support diversity and defend rights, viewing it as important.

Scene 2

Ever since he returned from the war, Aureliano Buendía remains confined in his final years, until the banana company brought outside disturbances into Macondo. The colonel no longer engages in the external conflict of rebellion, but feels rather a strong internal rage as he watches his efforts crumble when the banana company moves in. Aureliano suffers an intense bother of the newcomers at Macondo, to a point where he wants to start another war. As Úrsula had predicted, such rash thoughts are “not out of idealism, as everyone had thought, nor had he renounced a certain victory because of fatigue, as everyone had thought, but that he had won and lost for the same reason, pure and sinful pride”(254). Through this scene, the author further reveals the impact of pride on Aureliano, ” he did not have a feeling of sorrow but a blind and directionless rage, a broad feeling of impotence”(246). Garcia demonstrates that Buendía fears the misery of powerlessness: the ultimate source of motivation behind his grandiose rebellions. By introducing the banana company, the author intelligently contrasts the unpredictable passage of time to Aureliano’s consistent solitude. However, Aureliano’s old age prevents any further actions, leaving them unfulfilled upon death. The carefully planned characterization deems effective even after Aureliano passes away, casting a long shadow in the family line. On a personal level, the story of Aureliano Buendía resembles my grandfather, who is a veteran of the Navy forces in China. Due to revolutionary conflicts, he had to retire from the army, living a humble life ever since. He often tells me how much he wishes for reformation, but alas, there’s is not much he can do now. Although the colonel is capable of identifying problems, he does not try to solve it in peaceful ways as outlined in the BC curriculum. He is quite aggressive and unsympathetic towards conflicts.

Scene 3

Although Colonel Aureliano Buendía has passed away in the last scene, his ghost continues to haunt his descendants in the form of his solitary behaviour and his war experiences. His great-nephew, José Arcadio Segundo inhibits his solitude, albeit in a different calibre. In this scene, José Arcadio Segundo leads a protest against the poor conditions of workers by the banana company— an example of external conflict. After experiencing a massacre of more than three thousand workers by the government, “[José Arcadio] thought about the tension of the past few months, the misery of jail, the panic at the station, and the train loaded with dead people, José Arcadio Segundo reached the conclusion that Colonel Aureliano Buendia was nothing but a faker or an imbecile. He could not understand why [Aureliano Buendía] had needed so many words to explain what he felt in war because one was enough: fear ” (318). However, Arcadio attempts to stupefy this fear by absorbing himself into an unrested job of deciphering the ancient parchments left by Melquíades the gypsy, wanting to cover his misery with work, much alike Aureliano with his craft of goldfishes. Úrsula, the oldest member of the family, notices the striking similarity between José Arcadio’s strike and Colonel Aureliano Buendía’s wars. When she talks José Arcadio, “she realized that she was giving the same reply that Colonel Aureliano Buendía had given in his death cell ” (341). By building José Arcadio Segundo on top of the Aureliano Buendía, the author cleverly reuses the colonel’s life as a contrast point for new characters. At first the similarity is quite subtle, but through the narration of Úrsula, the solitude through generations is hinted “as if the world were repeating itself'” (303). The readers experience a similar theme throughout the one hundred years of solitude. Personally, I cannot relate to José Arcadio Segundo’s fear of war, because I, fortunately, have never experienced its horrors. However, I relate both him and Aureliano’s desire to use work as a channel of distraction for unfortunate mishaps in life. José Arcadio Segundo takes steps to help the workers and build relationships with people from all generations, as outlined by the BC curriculum.

Character Appraisal

Despite the thirty-two wars and the arrival of the banana company, Colonel Aureliano Buendía responds similarly to all changes in his life, making him a static character. He shows the same lack of love for all subjects, even his own mother. Ever since his birth he possess a clairvoyant air. Born weeping in his mother’s womb, his belief at the misery of memory remains unchanged throughout his life.

Themes

The most prominent theme continously repeated through the book is the non- linear passage of time. By using the same names of “José Arcadio” and “Aureliano”, the author suggest that time is repeating itself through similar fates of the characters. The name of the character not only used as identification, but marks the personality and fate from the moment they were named. Another profound theme in this book is solitude. The characters, especially Colonal Aureliano Buendia, demonstrate an isolation from nostalgia and memory.

Evaluation

In the beginning of the story, I expected the book to centre itself around one main character, as most books do. However, the strange twists of fate and sudden decisions of each character reveals that this novel is not about the development of one single character; it is about the change of a whole family line in one hundred years. In order to enjoy the book, I had to ask myself a lot of questions as to why the author chose to include seemingly unnecessary and surreal details.

 

Rating
The incredible complexity that brings so many layers of meaning behind this book deserves a 4.5 out of 5 stars. Personally, I think that every reader of this book should keep in mind that everything written in this book has a meaning behind  them, otherwise the book would appear rather pointless and bland.  I would not recommend this book to anyone who is reading for plot or story, but for intensity and meaning.

 

 

Library Blog Post

             The field Trip to the Library greatly helped me grow both my personal research experience as well as my information on my eminent person. This trip put my dewy decimal system knowledge to the test and helped me grow an appreciation for the people who must organize all the books. Moreover, I now have an appreciation of all the hard work collecting and recording all the information I found would have taken. I feel that the enormity of all the information held on certain people has made me realize how much of an impact one person can make in the world. The trip helped me take more initiative in my project, and made an impact in my motivation towards learning in general. I feel that the trip made me realize how much my Eminent project could help me grow as a lifelong learner. As well as how fortunate I am to be in a program where I can have a say in what and how I learn. In addition to the information I found on my person I also feel that this trip brought everyone closer together through the incredible task of finding certain books in the huge building.  The Library trip was an amazing way to grow as a TALONS learner.

Blog Response #2

What is the thesis of David Suzuki’s “Racism”? This letter could be a letter to you. What did you learn or ‘take away’ from his experiences? Do you appreciate his message? Why?

David Suzuki’s ‘Racism’ is a letter to his grandchildren where he describes the hardships and discrimination he and his parents faced in Canada during World War 2. However, Suzuki not only directs this letter to his grandchildren but rather the entire population as a whole. The only way we can solve a problem is if we acknowledge that problem in the first place and that’s what ‘Racism’ alludes to. Learning from our mistakes is the best way to start finding solutions. After reading the letter, I realized how much Canada has changed for the better since Suzuki’s childhood but also how much more we have to change to before we can call ourselves accepting, empathetic, and diverse. This change doesn’t just start right away; it starts with the youth, and this brings me the thesis I pulled out from this story. Before I do so, we need to understand what a thesis is and how it’s different from a theme. The dictionary definition of a thesis is “a statement or theory that is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved.” So, the thesis I pulled out from ‘Racism’ is that children aren’t born with hatred; rather, others tell single stories that develop hatred inside of them towards people at a macro level. “’But he’s a [c****]!’my friend blurted out …he must have been told something bad about ‘[c*****]’” (17). In this quote, Suzuki describes how his friend reacted when he realizes David’s dad is Asian. As they played together, race made no difference but somewhere, his friend heard negative things about East Asian people. This shows that the messages family, friends, and media convey directly shape the way youth think. Then, as they grow older, they pass on this information to the next generation of children and the cycle continues, infringing upon the innocence of children. I appreciate how Suzuki brought light upon this problem because as I said before, the only we can find a solution is if we address and learn from the mistakes we made.

Blog Response #1 and #2

Blog Post #1

What might you ‘take away’ from our discussions of Stuart Mclean’s “Emil” or “Safe Places,” Chamimanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story,” or Budge Wilson’s “The Metaphor” this week? How might you apply this ‘take away’ to your life or passions, learning you have done in other classes, or significant events or ideas taking place in the world as a whole? 

 

Often enough, we judge others based on their physical appearance. Race, wealth, and gender are all factors that contribute to swaying our beliefs on how we view others. In Stuart McLean’s Emil, Morley’s first impression of Emil was not the greatest. “He looked frightening like Rasputin–bearded and dirty, wild and crazy.” (109). This reveals that, based on Morley’s description of Emil, he’s none different than the other homeless people. Furthermore, Dave says, “Why would you give [Emil] money so they can throw it away on lottery tickets they are going to lose?” (115). From this quote, we can see that Dave doesn’t really trust Emil in terms of handling money. Though it doesn’t directly state in the passage, the readers can infer that Dave has a strong opinion about homeless people. He pictures them as irresponsible drug addicts who lack common sense. I think that most of us can relate with Emil being discriminated against “superiors.” When I first entered middle school, my friend and I were the only Asians in our class and of course back then, no one really cared about gender, race, culture, etc. However, there was this one incident when my teacher showed the class a video on racism and it was then when I realized that the term racism existed. After watching the video, I became more self-conscious about my physical appearance. I started questioning myself, “Are white people really that remarkable? What do they think of me? Am I not good enough for them?” I started to become aware that many students actually got bullied for being Asian or African-American. Because these students looked different – because they weren’t light skinned, had bold eyes and a sharp nose – they were looked down upon. Judging someone by their outer appearance is definitely wrong; however, due to the fact that society has shifted everyone’s mindsets into thinking like that, it’s not something we can correct overnight.

 

Blog Post #2

What is the thesis of David Suzuki’s “Racism”? This letter could be a letter to you. What did you learn or ‘take away’ from his experiences? Do you appreciate his message? Why?

Racism is an on-going issue and like how I’ve mentioned in my previous blog post, it’s not something we can change overnight. The thesis of David Suzuki’s Racism is that our physical appearance should not affect one’s ethnicity. If it weren’t for David Suzuki, I would’ve never known about niseis, bigots, or Japanese Internment Camps. I’ve always known that racism was a major problem  but I would’ve never guessed for it to be a greater problem in the past. Having brown eyes doesn’t automatically put someone in a different category than a person with blue eyes. David Suzuki once mentioned, “It [is] racist to assume that because I [am] genetically identical to Japanese people in Japan, I too should be treated as the enemy.” (29). From this quote, I am able to take away that, racism has existed for the longest amount of time and many assume one’s race based on their outer appearance. I’ve lived in Canada for ten years now and when I was getting my Canadian citizenship approximately five years ago, I overheard a child behind me saying, “Mom, how can someone with black hair be a Canadian?” Back then, I didn’t know much about racism; however, now that I think about it, other than the fact that I look “Asian,” I too, can be a Canadian with black hair and brown eyes. Just because I have black hair doesn’t change the fact that I am a Canadian. Additionally, David’s friend called his dad a “[ch***]” and although it is a terrible word to say, I definitely believe that using a racial slur is appropriate in this context. (17). Using the racial slur made David Suzuki’s letter much more impactful and because he has faced these types of racial discrimination, using another word or even censoring the word would’ve taken out the complete meaning of the context it’s describing. Before reading this letter, I had no idea what a ch*** was; however, because Suzuki portrayed the word in such a poignant way, I learned to never use that word ever in my lifetime. Words strike harder than a bullet but it can heal better than a bandaid, at the end of the day, race doesn’t actually exist. 

Blog Response #1 and #2

Blog Response #1

What I took away from this past week is how it’s hard to see the good in the world when you are looking at a single story.  After listening to Stuart Mclean’s “Safe Places,” and Chamimanda Ngozi Adichie’s “The Danger of a Single Story,” I could see where these two wonderful works of art related to one another.  With “The Danger of a Single Story,” you notice that to really get to know something or someone you will have to hear all of their stories related to it.  In that sense if you want to understand the world you will have to learn all of it’s stories.  I think the reason people are afraid of the world is because the sheer vastness in the amount of stories out there is incomprehensible.  There is simply too many stories in the world therefore we usually see the world with one story.  People rarely see the good in the world because to learn what is happening around us we turn to the news.  The news reports stories people will pay attention to.  They report grief and misery, which is sadly the common single story of the world.  Seeing the grief and misery in the world can make you afraid of it, yet once you look past that veil of despair, you can start to see the beauty and wonder all around us.  Once you have started looking past the single story you can find the creativity and the kindness that’s all around us.  

Blog Response #2

The thesis statement of David Suzuki’s “Racism,” in my opinion is, you learn your beliefs from the people around you.  “It’s funny how when we are kids, we don’t see the difference that adults do.  We learn what to fear or hate from our parents or others around us”(page 17).  I think the reason why we learn what to fear from the people closest to us is because we have spent the most time listening to their story and their experiences.  When you hear that one story over and over again you are then able to interpret it and understand their point of view more.  It is hard to go against what you were told to fear, especially when that is how you were raised and no one told you a different side of the story.  When you are a child you haven’t had many experiences in the world, so you base your opinions on what other people have told you.  When you are a kid you haven’t experienced moments that can determine your personality and how you act.  You learn how to act in social situation by learning how your parents act.  So much of your personality is determined by your parents when you are a kid.  When you grow up, you have to choose whether to keep that opinion you were taught or use the experiences you have to come up with a different opinion.  Though when you are a kid, the way you act is just a reflection of what you were taught by the closest people around you; the producers of the story you hear the most.

Oct 9-13 Blog Posts

Emil, Single Stories, and The Metaphor

During our discussions about many different topics, all relating to Single Stories, there are many things that I have “taken away.” The most important of those is that the world is full of so many people that there is no way to describe them all. It would only take one out of the seven billion people in the world to destroy any argument made about the human race as a whole. In the metaphor, Charlotte’s mother is a “flawless, modern building, created of glass and the smoothest of pale concrete” (219). Miss Hancock, on the other hand, was “plump, unmarried, and overenthusiastic” (215). They are such different people, and a single story couldn’t describe both of them at once. They are both outliers, on opposite sides of the spectrum. Because there are some many people in the world, everyone seems to be an outlier in some way. In “Emil”, a family who thinks they are average realizes that they are actually very well off. As a result of that Morley decides to give money to Emil, a man who is clearly less privileged than her, to make her feel like she is giving back to the community. In “The Danger of a Single Story,” when Chamimanda goes to university in the USA, her roommate is shocked by her. “She asked where I learned to speak english so well,” and “she assumed that I did not know how to use a stove” (4:25, 4:45). Chamimanda’s roommate had a single story of Africa, one of poverty and bloodshed, and didn’t know anything else about it. Of course this single story doesn’t represent all 1.2 billion people in Africa, just as a single story can’t represent all 580 million people in North America. There are too many people in the world for a single story to represent any significant number of them.

Racism

In David Suzuki’s letter to his grandchildren, Racism, he tells his story of the racism that he faced when he was young, in hopes of educating his grandchildren about what the world used to be like. In his letter, he tells stories of his childhood and his adulthood, many of which detail racist circumstances that profoundly affect his life. In 1942, as the Japanese were moved away from the west coast to internment camps, from fear that they were colluding against the Canadian and American forces and aiding the Japanese attacks. As a six year old, David Suzuki did not connect this to racism. He considered this “a grand adventure,” not knowing until much later that this was an act against the Japanese culture (22). The Canadian Government justified their forced relocation by considering it an act of National Protection, assuming that these Japanese-Canadians, many of whom had never set foot in Japan, were conspiring with the Japanese government. This near-baseless act drastically changed many people’s lives. The act destroyed many new and upcoming careers, as well as old ones that seemed set in stone. The message that Suzuki sends is very important. It isn’t easy to read, but dealing with the harsh truths of life is very important, and spreading Suzuki’s wisdom and experience as far and wide as possible is a very effective way to educate the world about racism, and eventually put a stop to is altogether.