Sunday, October 23, 2011

Literary Analysis: Lord of the Flies

1.       Lord of the Flies takes place on a mysterious island when the boys’ plane crashes onto it. They were heading towards England for boarding school when a storm turned for the worst and took down their plane. The boys are only in their adolescence stage of their life, so when the only adult they had (the pilot) dies from the crash, the boys are left to their own devices. There were four characters that stood out to me in the book: Ralph, Jack, Piggy and Simon. Each of these characters was a symbol for what power/chaos could do to you. Ralph and Jack fight over who should be the leader of the boys, since they are one of the older boys. They decide to vote for chief and Ralph only loses the votes of Jack’s fellow choirboys. Ralph and Jack have different strategies of “surviving”. Ralph wants to immediately start building a fire signal to get off the island, where as Jack wants to immerse himself in the wild. The group of boys are so young and inexperienced though that many accidents and mistakes occur. “The Beast” (a sighting the younger boys believe the saw) is also a prominent source of troubles for the boys. It causes much controversy and arguments about what to do with it if it even existed. These misfortunes led Jack and Ralph to have a showdown, both declaring themselves a better leader. Due to their differing opinions, Ralph and Piggy go off one way and Jack plus all the other boys make their own tribe. Jack and “his tribe” don’t want to go back home and believe that surviving in the wild is more enjoyable and liberating. They have let go of any rules of civilization and do as their animalistic instincts please. Ralph and Piggy realize this and know that Jack and his boys are going to come after them for vengeance (for not joining his tribe). Jack raids Ralph’s campsite for Piggy’s glass (their only tool for fire) and in the process of trying to get them, kill Piggy. They show no remorse for Piggy’s tragic demise, reinforcing the fact that these boys have let chaos take them over. Ralph knows he’s next and makes a plan to fight them off as long as possible. But during his plan, while running from Jack and his tribe along the shoreline, a sailor finds them. Once the boys get a sight of civilization (the sailor in uniform), they sober up. Jack and his boys stop hollering and feel a bit out of place and ashamed for their barbaric appearance. Ralph breaks down into tears of relief; he knows that he will be rescued now.

2.       The theme Golding was trying to achieve is that without the rules and structure of society, you enter into a world of chaos and anarchy.  The boys turned from innocent, proper English school boys to wild savages due to the absence of civilization.

3.       Golding’s tone was rather somber, but neutral.  Golding never hinted that he agreed more with Ralph on one thing and with Jack on another; he remained an impartial observer. It was also somewhat informative.  Not informative in a way to teach you facts and equations, more like a lecture from a mother to a child.  He was teaching us a lesson from a story. 

“He lost himself in a maze of thoughts that were rendered vague by his lack of words to express them.  Frowning, he tried again. 

        This meeting must not be fun, but business.”

        “But a came down from the world of grown-ups, though at the time there was no child awake to read it.  There was a sudden bright explosion and corkscrew trail across the sky; then darkness again and stars.”

        “Even if he shut his eyes the sow’s head remained like an after-image.  The half-shut eyes were dim with infinite cynicism of adult life.  They assured Simon that everything was a bad business.”

4.       SymbolismLord of the Flies was filled with symbols.  The sow’s head symbolized the devil; the passing of Simon represented the death of innocence and civility in the boys, etc.

Descriptive Paragraphs – Golding also used long, graphic paragraphs for what was going on.  He put the reader in the character’s shoes, so you could visualize what they were doing, what they were feeling, etc.

Allegories – This was obviously the biggest literary device Golding used in his novel.  Every single one of his character represented something: Ralph stood for the good and civilization they all yearned for, Jack represented the evil that resulted from lack of society, Simon signified the innocence and good in people and so on and so forth.

Metaphors - Golding often uses metaphor in this book. In fact, all symbolism is a type of metaphor since they compare two unlike things. Other metaphors in the book was when Golding described the choir boy at the beginning of the book as a dark creature crawling along the sand.

Syntax – Golding write in simple, easy to read sentences.  They are filled with description and action, but they are not difficult to read. 

        “’I ought to be chief,’ said Jack with simple arrogance, ‘because I’m chapter chorister and head boy. I can sing C sharp.”

        “Ralph stirred uneasily. Simon, sitting between the twins and Piggy, wiped his mouth and shoved his piece of meat over the rocks to Piggy, who grabbed it. The twins giggled and Simon lowered his face in shame.”

        “It was dark; there was that -- that bloody dance. There was lightning and thunder and rain. We were scared!”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tools That Change the Way We Think

With such a technology forward generation, internet/media/technology use is becoming the immediate response to anything really.  When we don’t know something, we turn to the internet.  When we need to communicate with someone it’s usually through our cell phones or a social media website (i.e. Facebook).  This changes the way I use my resources.  I can find almost about everything through the power of the internet.  There are so many different sources that you can find information from, what you have to watch out for is whether or not it is factual.  In this time and age, the typically person wants to get things done as efficiently as possible.  Why search for hours in a library when you can just search it on Google?  This saves you a trip to the library and the “hassling” task of finding the intended book.  Like many other teenagers in this era, I would find it disruptive to be without technology.  It’s not a necessity, but it definitely is a comfort that I am grateful for.  My parents are always going on about how so much easier things are with the advanced tools we have now a days; I can’t imagine what is going to be considered “up to date” when I have kids.  We live in the age of technology, and while it has changed our society, we must take it in stride.

In Search Of

This idea makes me think about other sources and information that is truly out there when I have searched something. Maybe there is something out there that the search is not bringing up. Am I truly getting all the information about that certain subject?

After learning all the information from the video, I did a much more intensive search on his life. Instead of using just Google, I went to Yahoo!, Ask and other search engines to see if the same websites would pop up. Many of them did, such as Wikipedia, but many others were new for every search engine. It amazes me how I never noticed such things, but I’ve never really tried either.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Notes on Hamlet

I have the No Fear Shakespeare Edition, so reading the modern English text isn’t too difficult.  When I go back and read the Old English script however is a bit more difficult and you have to go back and maybe reread the sentence over five times.  Hamlet is getting a bit more sporadic and bold as the play moves on; first he was sobbing and mourning privately to himself, but now he has killed Polonius and threatening his mother.   I foreshadow that everything is going to go downhill for everyone.  Nothing every good comes from revenge except a whole lot of chaos.

Who Was Shakespeare?

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright who was born on April 1564 and died April of 1616.  He is considered the “greatest” writer in the English language and is called England’s national poet.  From what we have counted, he has written 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and numerous other poems.  He is so well known that his poems have been translated into every major living language and performed in nations across the world.  He was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon (he was not very wealthy) and married into a wealthy family with their daughter Anne Hathaway.  He career got its first boost when he joined a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men (King’s men).  He wrote most of his works between 1589 and 1613.  They were mainly comedies or histories, but then wrote more tragedies/comedies (known as romances) later in his career.  We really don’t know much about his private life and there have been many speculations.  Shakespeare is known to students as one of the greatest writers in the English history.  I’ve read at least one of his novels in every level of high school.  He has influenced the way people think and has shaped the way authors write.

To Facebook or Not to Facebook?

I first got a Facebook when I was in the seventh grade and at the time it wasn’t too popular.  It was really only mean for college student for the time being.  My first impression was that it was just another social media tool.  I already had a Myspace and so Facebook was just another way to communicate.  When I was younger, I probably thought Myspace was more exciting of the two because you got to “decorate” your profile and what not, but if I ever had to do that now, I would immediately shut mine down.  Some benefits are that you get talk to people that you may never see.  I have family back in the Midwest and talking through Facebook helps us connect.  However, if you’re idiotic enough to put up personal and intimate information that’s when things start to get a little sticky.  Not everyone on Facebook is there to be your friend.  The article really did nothing to change my mind about Facebook.  I had one before reading the article and still do.  Everyone was bashing it yesterday and yet they probably still went home and checked out who friend requested them or who commented on their wall.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

(Don't) Be Hamlet

                When life hits a road block many people use the phrase: “I wish I could just die”. While this is used as an exaggeration in most, if not all cases, we don’t understand the actually meaning of this sentence. Many students, including myself, are prone to using such embellished language in order to make it sound more dramatic and interesting. Hamlet on the other hand is feeling true sorrow and pain to the point where suicide is a plausible option. However, I do not believe in Hamlet’s decision to even consider actually killing himself no matter how much grief he is experiencing. While his circumstances may be horrible at the moment, I have known so many others that have gone through more and come out stronger and happier due to the incident(s).

                There is a point in everyone’s life when things get difficult. They obviously vary in their degree of severity, but every human goes through series of obstacles. From every aspect of Hamlet’s life, problem after problem is thrown in his path. From his uncle/step-father allegedly killing his father, his mother marrying said alleged murderer and his love with Ophelia being rejected. To say is life is unpleasant at the moment is an understatement. While I can relate to Hamlet’s feeling of distress, I cannot fathom his reasoning to consider suicide as a way to end the chaos. He could be in a much more perilous state and yet he pities himself past the point of logic. One of my closest friends has battle and beaten brain cancer. She went through the works: radiation, chemotherapy, staying in hospitals for weeks at times and so much more. Not only did she have to deal with being diagnosed with cancer, her parents were going through a nasty divorce, so she did not have the full family support that she needed. Yet here she is today, healthy and happily living a normal life. She was a fighter and never thought of giving up and letting cancer take her life. I asked her once why she never even considered just giving up and living the last months of her life to the fullest and she replied “that would be just too easy”. Maybe my friend has a characteristic that Hamlet does not possess, but the fact still remains that he needs to grow up and realize his life is not worth giving up.

                Hamlet circumstances may be bad yes, but is it really worth his death? Why can’t he be the bigger man and move on with his life? When misfortunes seem to haunt my every move, I like to picture the scenarios where I overcome everything and I look back at all my foes with a grin of satisfaction—an “in your face” sort of deal. Then, with my new found motivation, I set out and “avenge” my enemies in such a manner. Hamlet could simply best his uncle as a king, thus proving Claudius was incapable ruler. He could dedicate his achievements during his kingship to his deceased father. He could also move on from Ophelia and show her what she missed out on. This I know sounds all too easy, but if you stick your mind to it, nothing is impossible. While my perspective is dripping with happy optimism, if you just sit down and think about his problems, are they that grave as to kill one’s self? Suicide is such an extreme measure that if you do consider such a death, life truly must not be getting better. I don’t feel as if Hamlet’s life is in such a state and his dilemma over “to be or not to be” is him being overly dramatic like how most teenagers would be in this era.

                In no way am I trying to undersell Hamlet’s troubles. They are depressing matters that anybody would mourn about. Hamlet’s dilemma of whether or not to kill him though is so extreme; I can hardly understand his logic behind it. Life is hard. Are you going to be a fighter or just give up? The obstacles that are thrown in your way only make stronger if you manage to get by. If Hamlet were to take such a “easy” route, feelings of disappointment and compassion would arise in me. If Hamlet were king of my country, I would want someone who is courageous and strong and lead my battle into victory! Not some kid that can’t get back on his feet.