Overall, I would describe Le Guin’s writing style as having a heavy emphasis on literary artistic please. She chooses to fill up the pages with immense visual detail, oftentimes hindering the plot’s ability to effectively progress. An example of this is the last paragraph on page 33, which describes the “lay over one night at Kembermouth, the northern port of Way Island, and the next at a little town on the entrance of Felkway Bay, and the next day passed the northern cape of O and entered the Ebavnor Straits.” Along with various other details about their endeavor, these mystical names and adventurous journey really elongate the duration of this –almost expository- moment. Of course, having read only a portion of the book, I cannot assume that this is unimportant detail. Many authors use such information to later aid the explanation of the plot. Yet, if this is Le Guin’s strategy, she is simply confusing the readers by providing too much information in many scenes that they will not remember. Everyone’s values are different, and this composition is splendid if vivid illustrations and a wizardry tale are what you’re looking for.
Human desires are too complex to be confined into the statement “a person will be happy if they do whatever they want”. Our world’s increasing globalization allows us more opportunities to find ourselves drowning in the biological torment of consumerism. Simply stated, the more choices we are given, the harder decision-making begins to be. Naturally, with our ancestors being limited in opportunities, we are intrinsically inclined to abuse the abundance of wealth we are currently presented with. We become absorbed in salvaging every single appealing possibility or drive ourselves sick with weighing out the potential benefits of each and every one. People who have experienced the paradox of choice will argue that a simplistic and straightforward life is a favourable one due to the feeling of content with their decisions. In the end, it is not what we do but our interpretation that defines our happiness. Some have the ability to confidently enjoy absolute freedom, while others reside in being led by life’s coincidences. Either way, it is inaccurate to simply state that “a person will be happy if they do whatever they want”.
I interviewed two people in the medical field: a research coordinator and a cardiology clinical assistant.
New experiences can uncover our different inner wants no matter how ingrained our beliefs are.
The amount of value attributed to an object does not define the usefulness that it possesses.
Building meaningful connections with others allows you to view your own fortune through new perspectives.
After thorough review of both “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut and Chandler Tuttle’s 2081, I believe that the book is a more powerful medium due to the element of inference and successful aesthetic please. Throughout the text, we can observe the author hinting at key explanatory details, such as the “tears on Hazel’s cheeks” and “something real sad on television” that both George and Hazel always forget about (1 and 5). When coming to the conclusion that they are both being made emotionally equal, we feel pride by piecing together the author’s genius intentions. As this arbitrary concept isn’t included in the movie, we feel disappointed and furthermore confused on the probability of the parents seeing Harrison in that particular moment. Additionally, the movie adds many of it’s own details, such as the structure of the weights or the formal wear worn at the ballet, that simply contradicts the plot’s idea of ‘equality’. When we inquire about unmentioned details in the text, it is a lot easier to make assumptions and build ideas without seeing the visuals of the story. “One picture speaks 1000 words” makes adapting this dystopia to a film especially difficult because there are so many variables that must be translated properly in order to make it a cohesive representation of the plot. Already having imagined the author’s intended world, I wasn’t happy that 2081 didn’t follow what I visualized. The upbeat music and visually appealing characters strike me as being too real, and make me wonder about the functionality of forgetful humans and the subjectivity of beauty. Most importantly, my idea of what makes a miserable mood is not depicted in the film, thus the visual version of the story isn’t as influential on me. In the end, I believe that it is a lot better to utilize our imagination through Kurt Vonnegut’s eyes before we allow other perspectives to play a role in our interpretation of this story’s inferential and aesthetic (mood) details.
“Feet, what do I need them for
when I have wings to fly?”
Art prodigy, open bisexual, feminist, political activist, cultural icon. After noticing that familiar face in various televised media and then on the back of a friend’s shirt, I was intrigued by how well known and impactful this entity seemed to be. The answer may not be obvious, but surely, you have encountered her at some point or another.
Frida Kahlo is a remarkable figure; her bold character has persevered through a surprising amount. She has been especially perceptible to physical harm throughout her life: being born with spina bifida, contracting polio, surviving the trolley accident, and amputating her leg due to gangrene. Being a promising student, the inability to pursue long-awaited dreams was absolutely devastating. We can infer this from the various entries in her journal, examples being “the most important thing for everyone […] is to have ambition and become ‘somebody’, and frankly, I don’t have the least ambition to become anybody” as well as “I hope the exit is joyful, and I hope never to return” (Frida Kahlo). While this toxic mindset has led her to a history of mental illness and several suicide attempts, it has also allowed her to openly tackle many taboos throughout society that sane-minded people didn’t have enough courage to address.
In adolescence, she attended a school in which there were more than 150 males for every female. In her spare time, she would partake in the Mexican Party of Communism, lying to all colleagues that she was born in 1910 instead of 1907 in order to be considered a “child of the revolution”. It was through this community that she met Diego Rivera, a prominent artist and a man 20 years older, who would later become her troublesome husband that she very much loved. This turbulent relationship was dissed by virtually everyone; Kahlo’s mother only allowed it because Diego’s wealth could pay for Frida’s medical expenses. Through thick and thin, unanimous affairs, and remarriage, Frida was able to get art publicity through her husband’s connections nonetheless.
While Kahlo did not do it alone, the memorability of her exhibitions were ultimately due to the ways in which her art expressed identity. The severe trauma from the bus crash left her with (what likely was) borderline personality disorder, depression, as well as acquired savant syndrome (characterized by exceeding abilities in a certain skill). This conundrum of traits made her different than everyone else and pushed her toward pursuing her uniqueness. The most common ideas that her artwork and image portrayed were cultural appreciation and personal acceptance (starring the moustache and unibrow). The rest of the world was in awe of revelation and empowerment coming from people of colour. This artist has cultivated their art style to what she believed reflected the Mexican heritage, whereas many others (including her husband) were impressionists of European concepts.
It is a little bit absurd that I compare myself to her; these are some of the ways that we are similar:
|Frida Kahlo||Olesya Kondrateva|
|Aspiring med student before the accident||Aspiring med student|
|Doesn’t necessarily have a middle name||Has no middle name|
|History of crippling mental illness||yes|
|Angst; confusion, inconsistent sense of self||Fluctuating self-esteem and societal purpose|
|Dark hair, dark skin||Dark hair, dark skin|
|Part of the communist party||Parents were born in communist Russia|
|Is the most prominent female Mexican artist! Known as the master of self-portraits (143 in her lifetime)||Used to paint well; can sketch a face|
On a deeper level, I think what draws me most to my chosen notable is the innate needs that we share in regards to the future we picture for ourselves, the thought-processing strategies we use, and the conflict of having opinions that sometimes directly contradict those around us. While I find it interesting that we share the same artistic passions, the negative way in which her thought process is similar to mine reflects what we’re striving for in life. There is this ongoing conflict of being an individual opinion with free thought as well as a reflection of the values of others. What is the point of existence if the control that we have over it is only so little? How do we go about our day without a clear purpose? What are the margins of being our own person? Why are we questioning our existence on some days, while are enlightened by passion and obsession over little details the next? Although not confirmed, Frida’s acquired savant syndrome may have been a catalyst as to her miserable intellect- which really intrigues me. There are many things that we don’t have in common: ethnicity, culture, and medical history, courage, financial status. Addressing difficult topics is always do-able when you approach it with respect and the best intentions. I am looking forward to finding a good interviewee, as well as coming up with an engaging idea for the short speech.
As Ngozi’s insightful ted talk outlines, having an opinion clouded with assumptions based on incorrect information that we pick up on a day to day basis is one of the worst things that you can do to those people affected, and the society as a whole. While asking people to completely reject their beliefs is absurd, there are certainly many topics that we (as a society) keep perpetuating despite the realization that it is incorrect accompanied by the conscious decision to find comfort in staying consistent with the same ideology. Chimamanda supports this argument by stating that “I have just read a novel called American Psycho – and that was such a shame that all young Americans were serial murderers”. This is said for an element of humour, assuming that we know it is false. Yet, why is it that we can allow ourselves to make very similar assumptions about people in other countries, knowing they will laugh right back at us for thinking that. I believe that ignorant matters like these, most of the time, aren’t caused by lack of knowledge as much as ignorance. We have been taught from a young age that you can think one thing, but it doesn’t matter until you say it out loud. In the case of Ngazi’s professor, we can assume that he didn’t mean to stir up any issues, but his idea of “African authenticity” just came out because it was a normal part of his predominant view and he didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. Sadly, the arguments of his student could have changed his mind if he decided to open up to that. Allowing ourselves to solidify our opinions based very shallow information will engrave this wrong perspective into us, and we will then become no better than most of our grandparents. In the end, I believe that to begin to reject the single stories in our lives, we must first start with the realization that it’s necessary to open up to believe the other stories, and that they are just as valid to those people as yours are to you. We must step outside our comfort zone and obtain so much information we can’t categorize because “the single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete”.
While Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a story with a fabulously prepared plot, the actions of the protagonist thus far into the book are not what most would directly associate with a heroic martyr. As the majority of the chapters are focused on setting the environment to paint us a good perspective, one of the only times when the handmaid Offred took part in physically determining her faith was at a doctor’s visit, where she is faced with the tough decision of artificial insemination, having a better life, and committing fatal treason or soon being crushed by patriarchy for being too incompetent to birth from infertile resources. Given that both possible responses to the doctor’s offer are valid, I am still unimpressed to see her fear of punishment force her into answering with “it’s too dangerous” (79). At the same time, her internal conflicts with being afraid of “a way out, salvation” and repeating the prayer “give me children, or else I die” evidently nudge at her conscience and make her conformation to the laws more disappointing (79). Nonetheless, it is this aspect of Offred’s personality that makes her so relatable to the audience despite the circumstances she lives in that are unimaginable to the feminist kids of the 2000’s. Although we intrinsically want the best for the miserable handmaid, the readers are comforted by her actions compared to their own when imagining a similar situation. Cowardice is something that we would all express in some way, but we additionally have the prerogative to scrutinize the protagonist for it, as if we would do any better. Atwood’s intentions for such a character are to create a realistic experience of her theocratic plot instead constructing an empowering Princess Leia, so as to follow with the book’s theme of being powerless in such an intense moment of dictatorship. I always realized that most fiction is made with the theme of improvement on current situations, but I didn’t appreciate how they gave me unrealistic expectations for how life should go. Connecting with Offred, I had all of this power and motivation that was taken away from me while I entered normal life; she had dreams and memories of earlier years that now seem like the best, most unattainable things. Of course, her situation is an lt harder to deal with than any of my problems. Having experienced misery before, in her shoes I would have likely stopped caring for my well being and taken up the doctor’s offer to try and salvage any stable part of my sad life.
In Stuart Mclean’s story of Emil, the complex personality of one of the protagonists vastly influences the people around him, which is exactly what makes for such an interesting plot. As Emil grows to reveal his unique internal wants and fears with no regard as to how everyone else will perceive them, the engraved fear of the “unknown” really starts to be tangible in those who do not have interest in obtaining a growth mindset. One example is of this is Dave, a storeowner. To a person of medial financial status, Dave’s wants and fears were similar to what would be considered “normal” within society. He holds him money dear to his heart, and fears plummeting in any aspect of his life: wealth, social status, security, pride. He is unorganized and cheap, but at least he is not “driving away business” like Emil is (109). What makes him truly uncomfortable about the homeless man is that they do not think in the same way. Dave refuses to believe that the thoughts of people who seem to be worse off than him are valid; when Emil refuses to take donations, Dave ceases to try and understand the other’s perspective by brushing it off with “that’s crazy” “everyone needs money” (115). On the other hand, Dave’s wife Morley is polar-opposite on this issue. Instead of closing off with what she feels comfortable believing (stable income, home, etc…) she has the prerogative of being okay with exploring that there is more than one way to manifest anything. One of her finest moments was arguing with Dave about the money that she has received. Undiscouraged by the idea that the money may be wasted, she rationalized that she’s “going to give it back to him” “bit by bit” because “it’s his money” (119). In the end, I think that the key point that Mclean projected to the audience through Morley’s actions is that people are so much more complex than the simple categorizational rules that we implement on everything in order to try and comprehend. If a person does not want to confide in what they think is best for them, then we have no other way to make them conform to what we believe. This is true to Emil, because he has different values in the materialistic things we value, and he is able to bring himself joy by partaking in simple conversations and gardening. At the core of human nature, no matter what way we get to it, we solely strive for happiness.
I believe that in George Lucas’s film Star Wars: A New Hope it is worthwhile to target our attention on the actors’ embodiment of the characters and the plot, and thus the thought process of the creator. Being a female child of the early 2000’s, one of the most peremptory and noticeable aspects of the movie was the way in which the actors filled their roles. I was taken aback by the diversity of the character’s personalities and their ability to adapt their interactions given the vastly greater realm of improvisational opportunity. For example, there would have been so many possibilities of how the crew in the bar fight, space station, and Jabba scene could have inferred the producer’s definition of “acting ordinary” or “talking to a slug”, so I am really impressed that they were able to pull off so many creativity-heavy scenes so well. Nonetheless, I did find that some other portions of their performance were quite emotionally banal; although I am not sure whether that is because of the norms of the age that I am not familiar with or the movie’s catering towards masculine audiences. The most prominent of this idea is Luke’s reaction to all of the people around him dying: Uncle and Aunt, Obi Wan, and his fellow pilots in the conclusion. After the display of what Sarah and I discussed to be “shallow” reactions and emotions, Luke carried on with what he was doing- unfazed. Moreover, I found it quite funny that Luke’s next action was to try and get a girl. The -subjectively- flat characters led to a flat plot. In fact, the broken-down timeline of the movie can be summarized with as “physical fights between good and bad guys”. Sure, the success of the movie can be mostly attributed to the rolling action and creative backstory, but we can observe that this is highly aimed towards stereotypically male traits. Yet, before we start attacking the author, I would like to argue that this film is not anti-feminist or advocating for sexism. Just because a film clearly has sexist elements does not mean that it advocates for it. In fact, I believe that Lucas was trying to ease society into the elements of feminism without making this splendid idea chauvinist. A single, empowering female character amongst plenty of discrimination may have been quite optimistic and epiphanic for their time. In the end, I believe that while this film is –figuratively- about all sorts of diversity within the galaxy, is it also about the metaphorical diversity of the ideologies of the characters and producers. The character lens might not be the most obvious one to use, but the way a figure is portrayed can tell us a lot about the wants, fears, and perspectives of the author.