Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thinking Outside the Box

In Plato’s allegory, he never says who put the people in the cave.  He simply states that we are there until we are enlightened.  While Sartre implies in his writing that the three characters put themselves in the position of Hell.  To Sartre, our limitations are our flaws.  Not only were the characters majorly flawed, they didn’t even understand that they possessed such flaw(s).  They knew they were in Hell for acting out a crime, but did they ever think to wonder what caused them to act in such a horrible way?  This is the big question that they never ask, hence their continuation to stay in Hell.  The three characters were similar in that they all represented one another in some shape or form.  They absolutely loathed one another, but if they are all similar to each other, doesn’t that mean that they hate themselves?  They don’t want to see themselves as “bad” people because in their minds, they aren’t.  It’s this type of selfish thinking that leads them to their demise.  Their ignorance to see their flaws is something Plato talked about.  In some ways, living in cave can be Hell if the person knows that there is more out there to learn.  But if the chained person is blissfully unaware of any new information outside the cave, I don’t see how it would matter to them. 

AP Literary Term: Zeitgeist

Zeitgeist is defined as: the general cultural, intellectual, ethnical, or spiritual climate within a nation or even specific groups. The general ambiance, morals or sociocultural direction, and mood of a society/group/nation/etc. is also associated with zeitgeist.
An example of this would be America and its recession.  Our economic "climate" is not in a good place at the moment and is reflected through inflation, rising gas prices, etc. 

My first encounter with this word was in Mrs. Nylander’s class last year. It was such a funny word to me that it has always stuck with me. How can you not remember such an amusing sounding word? I pretend to have a German accent when I say it and that always puts some humor in my studies. Humorous strategies are the way I remember things.

To help better remember or understand this German term, I embedded a clip from our favorite search engine…Google! It ties in with what we have also been learning about research so click that play button!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Literary Analysis: The Catcher in the Rye

1.     The Catcher in the Rye starts off in the present day with Holden Caulfield explaining his state of being.  He’s in a psychiatric hospital at the moment, but doesn’t give any information or reasons on how he ended up there.  The rest of the book is Holden narrating the events that led up to the mental hospital scene.  He starts off by telling us the school he was enrolled in and how he hated it there.  To him it was just another prep school that his parents shipped him off to so they wouldn’t have to deal with his troublesome ways.  Holden is a bright boy, but doesn’t have the ambition or desire to excel in his studies.  Due to parent's nonexistent feelings for him, he receives failing marks in almost all of his classes.  Holden knows he is going to be expelled (once again) for this and so he decides to take an earlier winter vacation in New York City.  He takes all his belongings and hits the town.  He jumps from place to place, but depression seems to follow him everywhere he goes.  You can see that he wants to have a good time, he wants to forget, but everything just seems to be gloomy no matter where or what he does.  Various events such as hiring a prostitute, talking with an old classmate he hates, and seeing his younger sister still aren’t enough for Holden to feel like he has any sort of place in this world.  Throughout the entire novel, Holden ask questions about everything that vary from serious issues such as his life and why he exist, to childish curiosity ones such as where the ducks go in the winter.  He eventually falls ill from walking around the below freezing temperature of the city.  This then takes us back to when Holden is talking about his current situation in the mental facility.
2.     The theme Salinger was trying to convey was that isolation/alienation can truly drive a person insane.  Holden was shunned everywhere he went by everyone he met, and while some of it was due to his cynical bluntness, his family, the very people you expect to love and cherish you, weren’t there for him.  Due to this, he built a wall around him where his defense is to hyper-criticize the people around him and no one wants to be around that.  Hence his loneliness and his inability to form relationships with anyone.
3.     The tone of the novel was cynical and pessimistic.  Holden sees life as “the glass half empty” and so his words and action reflect such attitude.
·         Take most people, they're crazy about cars. They worry if they get a little scratch on them, and they're always talking about how many miles they get to a gallon, and if they get a brand-new car already they start thinking about trading it in for one that's even newer. I don't even like old cars. I mean they don't even interest me. I'd rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake.
·         Anyway, I'm sort of glad they've got the atomic bomb invented. If there's ever another war, I'm going to sit right the hell on top of it. I'll volunteer for it, I swear to God I will.
·         Boy, when you're dead, they really fix you up. I hope to hell when I do die somebody has sense enough to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetery. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you're dead? Nobody.
4.       Symbolism – Salinger uses many symbols that represent things to Holden.  The red hunting cap was Holden security blanket whenever he felt uncomfortable; it was the only things in his life that stayed the same.

Foreshadowing – From the start, we know that he was institutionalized in a mental hospital; this leads a hand into what events will play out. 

Syntax – Salinger uses pretty easy, colloquial language.  The text is mostly about Holden’s inner thoughts and his opinions about things.  It’s descriptive without being difficult to understand.

Descriptive paragraphs – The way Salinger explains the events that unfold in front of Holden are done in such a vivid way.   You can actually imagine yourself in the taxi with Holden when he is having a conversation with the cab driver.

Metaphors – The title of the book is a metaphor of Holden’s life.  He explains in one of the last chapters why he feels like he is a catcher in the rye and how this has brought about a sense of purpose to him.

·         Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be.
·         This fall I think you're riding for - it's a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn't permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling. The whole arrangement's designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn't supply them with. Or they thought their own environment couldn't supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave it up before they ever really even got started.
·         Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them - if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education.  It's history.  It's poetry.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Allegory of the Cave" Intro. Paragraph

As stated in the title, Plato’s work is an allegory which is a form of an extended metaphor.  The lesson that was being taught is that we must get out of our cave in order to be fully enlightened.  The people who were chained to the wall represent all of humanity and the chains being our ignorance.  The outside of the cave is the goal that everyone must strive for, it represents information and education.  We have the capability of learning whatever we want.  According to Plato, we have already been taught everything there is to know before being put in the cave, it's just a matter of going out and relearning it.

The Big Question

Why do people dream? Or have nightmares? Do things happen in life that affect our dreams?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Active Reading Notes Help

A major concept that I have taken away from this class is to take well concise notes.  I used to never take notes on the things I read because none of my English classes called for them.  But with your expectation of us to have written them, and the test reflecting such expectation, I now take thorough notes.  Not only have I started taking notes, I know how to structure them well now.  Before, it was just a point and then a bullet underneath it stating a detail.  With the little tricks that this class has taught me, I can better find the information I need instead of searching for minutes looking. 

Hamlet VS. Epic Heroes

               The two pieces if literature, Hamlet and Beowulf, were written at different eras.  Each era had its own style of writing that was embedded within it.  Beowulf was written in Old English, a time known for its epic poems and represented much of the Anglo-Saxon literature.  While Hamlet was written in the Elizabethan era; known for its drama and was greatly influenced by Greek and Roman theatre.   The two characters thus were written accordingly.  Even though both are considered heroes in the eyes of their readers, they differentiate from one another tremendously. 

                While both epic protagonist and Hamlet are called heroes, Hamlet differs from them due to main one reason: the author.  William Shakespeare wrote parallel to his time; where over the top theatrics were applauded.  So he wrote to please the audience and we end up with Hamlet’s character being emotional and reflective.  Throughout the play, Hamlet wears his heart on his sleeve, as seen in the first line of his “to be or not to be” soliloquy: “To be, or not to be--that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And by opposing end them…”  Within Hamlet’s soliloquies, we see the character himself point out his own flaws.  While epic heroes don’t realize they have such a grievous fault.  Take epic hero Odysseus as an example, his tragic flaw is pride, and while the reader knows this, Odysseus himself doesn’t make this self revelation.  Hamlet however does point out that he is too indecisive: My fate cries out, and makes each petty artery in this body, as hardy as the Nemean lion's nerve.”

                Shakespeare wrote Hamlet in such a way for the audience to get Hamlet and the predicament he was in, but still manage to keep him in a shroud of mystery.  In epic poems, such as Beowulf, we are given much background on the characters, whether it is from the narration or other character’s dialogue.  We were given an immense amount of family lineage in Beowulf, going back a century or two, and that was just in the beginning of the poem.  The characters in the poems were described to us, while in Hamlet, we had to infer from his actions and words what kind of attributes he possessed.  Hamlet’s soliloquies let the reader inside his head for a moment and let the audience take a peek into what the character is actually thinking.  We are not told straight forward what he is feeling, but we can infer and create our own assessment of Hamlet.  To die, to sleep--To sleep perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub, For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause.”

                While both deemed heroes, and epic hero and Hamlet don’t share a lot in common with one another.  The main reason for the huge gap in consistency is time.  The authors of epic poems wrote their works respective to their time and audience.  Shakespeare did the same with Hamlet.   Hamlet uses the English language to express his feelings and inner thoughts, while epic heroes tended to use their language as a vehicle to give information about a battle scene or a characteristic about someone.  Both Hamlet and epic heroes represent what a hero was for their era.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Notes on Speaker Roy Christopher

·         Ted Newcomb & Roy Christopher, 40 years old
·         "The medium is the message."
·         Technology is a natural part of his life, but it can also be a distraction, so there is a mix of both.
·         Wanted to do bigger projects (i.e. books),simple interviews of a few questions so it would stay interesting.
·         Primarily known for the remix/mash-up culture,
·         "Hip-hop culture is the blueprint of the 21st century culture."
·         Medium Picture: about the ways we change our lives with technology.
·         Technology broke up generations; the past generation began with T.V.s or the internet, unlike us who are completely accustomed.
·         "Nothing will be on the medium that will be more important than the medium itself."
·         "The more you know how thinks work, the closer you are to reaching digital maturity." Although, like knowing how a car works, you don't have t0 know precisely how all technology works.
·         Q: Does technology create challenges or opportunities in younger generations?
·         Both, you could excel in younger generations that older ones can't, but they can teach them.
·         "Trusting the next generation."
·         Older generations need to stop worrying about the youth. We'll grow up just fine.
·         Multitasking has become something usual/normal in our lives, but it still effects the quality of the work.
·         Christopher agrees that multitasking effects the quality of work.
·         Online courses, assignments, and the education related online pages are becoming incorporated into our lives so that to not be a part of the online community would make you left out.