Thursday, April 3, 2008
I remember the first explication we did on “Red Shift”, I felt as if I had some what of an advantage over some other students because my sophomore year teacher made us explicate almost every week! It was a bit insane if you ask me, but I guess it worked out for the better. My favorite assignment was re-writing the poem, it was our first some what creative assignment. It gave me an opportunity to use my own ideas to create something that meant a lot to me. I still hold a copy of that poem. As the year continued I started enjoying your class even more. Every assignment was fun in my opinion. I think the only time my grades started slipping was when my computer crashed. It was difficult for me to spend as much time as I wanted on all the assignments. When I owned my own computer I did not feel the need to rush on all my assignments. So that is why at one point my grades were not as good as they were when I started the year.
As the year progressed the stress of applying to college began to fall on me. One big thing that caused major amounts of stress was my POSSE interviews. It caused me to be really upset and edgy for a while. Luckily I was able to come to you and vent when I needed the little extra push (thanks a lot for that Mr. G). With the over abundance of work that I was getting from other teachers, I still found myself doing English homework. I don’t believe I ever skipped a homework assignment just because I did not want to do it. I enjoyed doing my English homework throughout the year. All the assignments helped me write better and even tap into my creative mind.
The books that we had to read this year were great too. Although A Portrait of an Artist as a Young man was a bit difficult to read, I found it to be interesting. I liked the class discussions that we had too. I did not find myself speaking during all the discussions as much as I should have but I found them to be really worth it. They helped me understand what was going on better, and they also helped me express my deeper thoughts on the novel. The discussions allowed me to voice my opinions easier, since I am normally shy when it comes to public speaking it was a challenge for me to speak in front of the class. As the year went on I found myself becoming more comfortable with speaking. Another thing that I was introduced to this year was critical essays. It was extremely interesting to read those essays, it opened my eyes to different aspects of the novels and why the author chose to do certain things. It also helped me gain a more concrete opinion on what I thought about the books. Another book that I found great was The Stranger. That was my favorite book of the year. It was a great read; I think that is why I worked so hard on the final essay. It was probably my favorite piece of work that I did this year.
Something that I gained from this year was organization and time management. With this English class, since there was so much work I had to learn how to complete my work on time and on my own. I am used to having a set date for everything. I felt overwhelmed because I am used to having homework daily and I was on my own this year with staying on task. Luckily I did not fall to much behind I caught up quickly and learned time management. This is a skill that I am going to need forever. So in closing I want to say that this year has been a stressful, but awesome year not only because I had a GREAT English teacher but I learned so much about myself through the writing assignments I had to do. Especially my college essay! So, finally I say thank you so much for making my English 12, H class memorable.
P.S. Thank you so much for writing my college recommendation letter! As you know it was a great success.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Camus begins this novel in an interestig way. The first paragraph in this novel explains Meursault's knowledge of his mother's death. Meursault was not aware of the specifics of his mother's death. All he knew was the fact that she died. I find it a bit shocking as to how he was reacting. In a blunt manner he declares the death of his mother. This sets up the character of Meursault for the reader. At the begining the reader senses Meursault's character as being straight forward and honest. He also shows indifference making him seem to have no feelings in a sense, because he didn't seem hurt by his mother's death. In my opinion the first few pages of a novel tells a alot about the author and how he/she wants the novel to be perceived. Camus' choice to begin the novel in that manner caused me to quickly infer that Meursault (the narrator) was a very emotionless character from the way he reacted to his mother's death. Also the words Camus choices, and sentence structure played a huge role. Meursault's short sentences made his character seem dull and "feeling-less". So Camus' choices in the beginning of the novel caused me to quickly see how he wanted the main character to be understood.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Raymond Barrio begins with repetitive sentences; this conveys the dull aspects of the main characters life. Barrio without naming the main character gives the audience a quite vivid description of the character and the setting. The setting is organized in a “maze of apricot trees, as though forever, neat rows of them, neatly planted, row after row”, this gives the setting a mundane look. With this mundane look comes along the character’s description of being “locked” along with the maze-like setting the character has a feeling of captivity. Barrio’s effectiveness shows through his short one-word sentences. These sentences all include descriptive words that define this nameless character. He uses powerful words including “brute, beast, and savage” to convey t that this character is a senseless being. In some cases Barrio describes this character as though he is some kind of animal. This makes the reader sense the unimportance of this character.
The next paragraph is just one word; “lunch”, the continuation of one-word sentences gives the reader a sense of organization. This organization is in the life of labor workers, more like a day-to-day schedule that gives life no essential meaning but to go through the same motions everyday. Barrio’s nameless character is now given a title in the third paragraph. His name is “Manuel” in Spanish but if pronounce in English it sounds like the word manual, which means physical work. Barrio chooses this name for his character purposely; doing this reveals to the audience that Manuel is a manual laborer, which in society is not seen as high class. Manuel being a laborer answers the long standing question as to why he was described in previous passages as being an “animal”; an animal to labor and his master.
Throughout the next few paragraphs Barrio continues with the short sentence structure that he began with, keeping a steady pace to Manuel’s dull life. Manuel’s master is introduced as “Robert Morales”. Once again Barrio chooses to give another character a symbolic name. If Morales is pronounced in an English dialect it sounds like “moral less”, which is what he is conveying. Robert Morales is characterized as being rude to his workers without having remorse. He is described to have a “crude, ignorant manner” being the headmaster; Barrio wants Morales to have this attitude of being superior to his workers. His rude nature has an effect on this piece of literature gives Manuel a lower position and Morales takes advantage of this fact, as he demands to take the money that his workers rightfully earned.
As Morales stands in front of his workers “smiling and palms up” he asks to take money back from his workers. This angers Manuel and with “widened eyes”, he responds in an apprehensive manner reminding Morales that he “promised” that he would never take anything that they already earned. This is a big step for Manuel only because Morales is in higher standing than him. Seeing Manuel’s determination to stop Morales from taking the money the other workers stand strong behind him. This is the moment where Manual is seen as having depth; this intense climatic moment reveals Manuel’s true personality. He is no longer seen as an “animal” but as a person with an identity. The feeling of “power courses through his nerves” as Manuel stands up for himself and the other workers, which is a feeling that he has never had before.
Manuel’s character begins as being just another worker. He does not have an edge, but instead continues on with his life as a labor man. Having low self-esteem and no sense of pride is what Manuel is seen as. When he realizes his true potential he stands up for himself in a rough setting. Barrio mentions that “men are built to experience a certain sense of pride and honor”, Manuel reaches his state of pride after he speaks his mind to Robert Morales. This is what Raymond Barrio is conveying through his short story “The Plum Plum Pickers”; a man is not a true man without obtaining the ability to understand his own dignity and pride.
In this novel the main character, Meursault, undergoes many difficult times in his life. He grows up without a father; his mother dies and he is sentenced to death for murder. Meursault having an imperceptive attitude causes him to disregard all these happenings in his life. It takes a bit of time before Meursault realizes how much he has suffered throughout his life. Meursault comes to this realization when he is on his way back to prison after his trial. Camus’ word choice and structure of long sentences and Merusault’s list of memorabilia during his ride to prison aids the reader to understand how quickly he is going through all of this in his mind. He mentions in the van on the way to prison that he “recognized for a brief moment the smell and color of the summer evening” (97). Meursault is now recognizing all that he does not have “in the darkness of my mobile prison” (97). With the knowledge that he will be put to death Meursault is in deep agony, he knows he is truly suffering because he remembers the times when he “used to feel happy” (97). He goes through a list of different things he does not have anymore including, “birds in the square, the shouts of the sandwich sellers, the screech of the streetcars turning sharply through the upper town” (97). With the quickness of Meursault’s language it causes the reader to realize how nervous he is, giving him an anxious yet sad position. All these things he never paid attention to before are now being noticed, on his way to his main place of agony; his cellblock.
Meursault then transfers into his stage of realization. He understands that he will not have what he used to take advantage of before being convicted. It is now clear to Meursault that he is locked in this cell; Meursault goes “back to his cell that he went to wait for the next day” (97). He thinks about what he has to endure while in his jail cell, while recognizing the realness of his future suffering and soon death. Meursault wishes that prison would be “familiar paths traced in summer skies could lead as easily to prison as to the sleep of the innocent” (97). All the aspects of free life that Meursault does not have cause him to begin his true stage of agony. He now has to live with the fact that he is living in prison and it now becomes real to him. Meursault’s distraught tone in this passage conveys his sadness and acceptance of being in prison.
Camus also conveys the opposite of the previous passage in many different ways. Unlike the previous passage, Meursault grasps the importance and value of true happiness. After the death of his mother Meursault has no idea as to why people mourn for her. He realizes his mother concluded her life happily and “Maman must have felt free” (122). After all his suffering he feels “ready to live it all again too” (122). He wants to live it all again because he understands how to be happy and wants to feel the affects of happiness once more before his death. Meursault has a revelation about his mother’s life and is conveyed in a great way by his tone of excitement.
Meursault’s tone changes and is enthusiastic after his revelation. He decides to open himself “to the gentle indifference of the world”(122). With this he is now open to worldly emotions he now sees himself like a “brother, really” (123). Meursault assures the reader that he really feels like a brother. Camus wants to emphasize Meursault’s change by using clarifying language and his choice of punctuation aids in this as well. Meursault then goes on to say, “I had felt that I had been happy and that I was happy again” (123). Meursault’s indifference as to why his mother wanted to die happy has now changed into assurance. It takes Meursault a while to fully understand the impact of happiness after he undergoes an abundance of suffering.
Camus wants the reader to comprehend that in order to truly understand the value of happiness one must suffer. Meursault endures pain and sadness. After undergoing all these trying times, before he is executed Meursault is happy and gains the ability to feel the side effects of happiness and dies happily.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
There are many opinions as to what success really means. To some success maybe obtaining a really high paying job, getting an outstanding grade on your report card or even earning enough money to go to college. Success can be seen in many different ways, but to be able to reach the point of success is where the value truely lies. In our world today success is seen as after gaining the required knowledge of higher education, obtaining a good paying job and fulfilling your dreams. Does the ability to succeed come without obstacles and challenges, no, of course not. To truely hold value to success the road taken to reach that point is important.
A great example of this in media today are current music artists. For instance the raper Sean Combs also known as Diddy has reached a higher level of success that most people fantasize about. Combs had a tough life before he became a music artist. Growing up in tough neighborhoods all his life and having family issues didn't stop him from reaching his set goal. To get to this point he went through many difficulties in life, from leaving home, to watching his best friend die right before his eyes. Typically, situations like those would discourage people from continueing on with their dreams of being successful, but it didn't stop him. So now he holds an abundant amount of pride because he knows he has overcame tough situations which cause his amount of success to be more valueable to him and the people around him.
My mother finds herself extremely successful not because she has degrees, or a good job, but because she has managed to raise three children on her own. This to me is great success because a huge challenge that she went through was losing her husband. This maybe the biggest obstacle someone has to go through with three children to raise. In the end she succeeded and made it through. Challenges are essential to success because with success comes failure, and in order to fully succeed you must have the ability to pick up the pieces and head toward your dreams of succeeding.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
That night was a very emotional night for me. I wrote a letter to Jefferson trying to let go of the anger within me.
So this is the way it is, I am trying to help you out and you keep shutting me out. Why is that? Why do you continue to waste my time? You understand that Tante Lou and Miss Emma give me grief over your low self-esteem. You should feel grateful that an educated man like myself is giving you the time of day. Instead of spending time with my dear Vivian or setting up my plans for my school house, I am with you waisting precious time. I don't know if you will ever understand the sacrafices that his family has done for you. From taking you in after you were abandoned, dealing with your rough childhood we supported you in your trial and stuck with you. So the least you can do is give us the gift of accepting our good graces. I wish you could see how you are tearing away at our family. I wish you could witness the tears that have been shed in this house over you...you? To be truthful I don't believe you are worth all the pain. If it was up to me I would just let you go and die they way you are. But we are all doing you the favor in trying to boost you up, try to make you respected and not give up. You are not a "hog" that's what we are trying to get past you. You need to realize that we are all doing this, goind through blood, sweat and tears FOR YOU! I want you to know this. I don't plan on trying for much longer to understand that you need to open your eyes and take us in with all your heart. I'll be seeing you.
I wrote this letter out of pure anger and hatred. I hated Jefferson for all he has put me, Nannan and my aunt through. He had no idea how much we have done for him.
This is when I noticed that I wasn't really mad at Nannan or my aunt, I was frustrated at all the hard work I was doing and not getting through to him. He wasn't realizing it at all. I wanted to get my job done, he needs me in his life right now and he has to understand this. I then knew I had to continue my work. Despite all the angry he had brought about in this once peaceful home, I was determined to finish my duty. I was on call to do a job and I will fulfill it and make my family happy. He just needed to get used to my presence because I wasn't going anywhere. I am a fighter. I left the window pane in contentment.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
This reading is a bit more intense than I thought it would be. So the first couple of pages were a bit interesting. All right so it starts off with like this “royal rumble” thing I guess and the way Ellison words it is very descriptive. It was an embarrassing moment for the blacks; they were blindfolded and were told to fight until the last one is standing. All the while drunken white men were watching and getting hits in as many times as possible. It was some sort of entertainment to them. In the ring was a lady dancing around and she had no clothes on and she is described in a very vivid manner. I found this really capturing because of his choice of words (which he does in most of what I have read so far). He says certain parts of her body is like the “domes of the East Indian Temples” (22), I found this so effective how he uses such great words to describe little things. It gives the book more depth and it helped me also to pay attention more and visualize what was going on.
Another thing I really enjoyed about this book is the intensity of the character. For instance he is an African American male trying to “find” himself. What I find most interesting is that although he is not respected because of his race he moves past that and continues on with his life. When he was in that ring fighting for his life he still kept the words of the speech he would be saying, shortly after in his mind. In my opinion I think that is the only reason he continued fighting. He kept going even though it was really degrading what was being done to him and all the other African Americans. In the end his fighting paid off because he got a scholarship to a four-year college (and of course this was a big deal back in the day).
Amy you and I have very similar views, so I totally see where you are going with this “black unity” thing. I mean he and the other characters in this novel are getting together to form some kind of alliance. I believe this is so because they want to stand up against the world which they live in; the world that has neglected them. I do not remember what page it is on but I do remember when the main character (who is still nameless) is given a new name. This is a very important time in his life. I feel as though once he got this new name and joined this group, who were trying to help the neighbors who got evicted he started to feel like a real person with a purpose. Not having a name like we explained before is rough because it is as if he is not a real person. For example now that he is being recognized as somewhat of a leader he has the ability to stand up for what he believes is right. I doubt he would have done this if it was at the beginning of the novel only because he was still young and trying to find himself.
So Amy you talked about all the unity that this novel is portraying reminds me of some other books that I have read regarding African American unity. I feel as though the unity is their way of fighting against their enemies. Connecting to the real world, most protests do not work with only one person. There needs to be a group of people in order to follow through with what has to be done. Like in this novel after the African American couple is evicted it stirs up anger in the hearts of the other African people. Which is completely normal; it always takes one man to stand up for what is right and surely enough people will follow. And that is what happened in this case, the eviction was just another raciest problem that needed to be solved.
Back to his name issue, it stuck out to me how it was after during all this he is granted a name by Jack (a member of the Brotherhood) in chapter 14. This chapter stood out to me the most. I’m happy that he is granted a name and is finding a sense of belonging to the brothers in the Brotherhood. Answering your question about the whole unity thing, I do believe they should have unified in order to fight those who were against them. I do feel that they all defended the couple just because they were black. In my opinion I think it still goes on today for example any race is quick to aid another member of their same race when in trouble. It’s only normal to want to help your “kind”. It went on in the civil rights movement as well and even in today’s war on terror. If an American sees a soldier in combat the fellow American feels pain. Its human nature to feel for people with problems; especially if there is a connection to the other, no matter what it is.
Mary is another character that showed a great amount of importance. Mary took him in and treated him like family. This can also relate to the unity aspect of this novel. She saw him in need and quickly came to his rescue. Mary to me was like a close female figure to him; kind of like a mother to him she didn’t ask for money and fed him all the time. It is also ironic how they are both from the south which is like a connecting factor. Not only are they both black, they are from the south which is probably why she is so welcoming; somewhat like southern hospitality.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
On page 29 in Tom Phillips’ A Humument, Phillips’ use of color change and word choice causes the audience to understand that no matter what road is taken allowing oneself to accept the unexpected is a great aid in comprehending ones true meaning of life.
In this piece of art work Phillips includes a long road in the middle of the painting. This road symbolizes the road taken to reach the ultimate goal that one sets for oneself. In this painting the main person is a poet. It is understood that this person is a poet because along the road the word poet is placed beside the trail. The road begins with the words “chancy, not malicious” these words describe Phillips main character. Meaning that at the beginning of his road he was not a hateful person but dangerous. These words are carefully chosen in order to convey to the audience what this character is like. Not being “malicious” must be a great quality in the character since Phillips had to include it in his painting. In the same section where the character is first described as being “chancy, not malicious” the color blue is in the background. The color blue is known to be a color of wisdom and stability. The color blue is also associated with knowledge; this allows the audience to understand that the character being described is a very smart, stable person.
The next part of this piece of artwork includes this long road and the color purple. This road continues through the page, the word “poet” is isolated on the side of the road. The color purple in this section reveals this character’s confusion and sadness. The color purple represents the feeling of frustration so it is understood that this character is frustrated. Phillips’ inclusion of the color purple is meant to convey these feelings that the main character has. Also, in this particular section of this piece of artwork the word poet is seen on the side of the road. The word poet being placed on the outside of the road displays the idea that being a poet was not on the original road of this main character. So Phillips includes the word poet outside the road to convey the confusion the main character has with what should be on the road that he is taking. Along with the color purple the word “poet” adds to the character’s confusion.
The colors begin to change greatly moving down the piece of art work. The next color shown is a dark green color. Along with the color green the word poet shows up again but with a question mark after it. This shows a great point that Phillips is trying to convey. The color green represents ambition and the word poet is placed in a position where green is included it shows that this character has a drive for poetry. The road continues through this painting and at this point it is the main character’s stage of understanding his love for writing poetry. Although there is a question mark after the word poet it shows how the character is thinking about poetry. It is placed between the purple and purple meaning knowledge it helps convey the knowledge the character has for poetry. The background color than shifts to the color pink, the color pink has many significant meanings. The color pink can bring weaknesses among people. In this case Phillips’ character is weak to the idea of poetry. The brightness in the color pink shows how much this character is weak to the thought of poetry. Along with the color pink Phillips adds the word “chance” onto the road that his character is on. This significant word “chance” provides the audience with the thought that this character took a chance with poetry and conquered his weakness.
Phillips then allows the road to continue through different colors. The road than goes back to the color blue, which is the color of seriousness; now the character is serious about poetry. There is a question mark after the word poet in this section, but there are also the words “our poet” follow the word poet. Phillips now declares the fact that this main character is a distinguished poet. The road continues and changes colors from blue, to grey back to purple. The color blue represents the seriousness of the main character has in poetry. Phillips adds the color grey to convey the growing of the character and the ageing process. At the end of this piece the words “with results that astonished”. This is the end of the road for the character. The colors that Phillips uses are all meaningful and take part in the understanding of the different stages one must go through to complete a goal that one has set. This is symbolized by the road that Phillips includes.
Throughout this journey Phillips’ main character undergoes many different stages. The main character begins as a non-malicious person he then moves on through this journey of confusion, difficulty and acceptance. On page 29 in Tom Phillips’ A Humument , Phillips’ color choice along with word choice conveys the fact that a road that is taken by a certain person can be completely changed by one alteration. The final destination of a character relays on the characters open mind and willing to accept differences.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The air is cool, warm, and toasty as I walk
On the way to the college streetscape
I drink some black, strong American coffee which wakes me for the day
And cream to add flavor and to quench my thirst to fit
In. The streets look for educated graduates, scholars, or me, educated souls
Are still tired from late night projects, homework and more. It’s
A burden on those who undergo this tedious process, especially on me. I make it
Through it, them, as
The coffee is being sipped on its cold now
Four years almost ago and the man was laughing, smiling educated & telling.
Who would have thought that I’d be here, nothing
Has got in my way, nothing at all, but in fact everything
Every little bit of studies, projects, tests taken has got me in the position that I am in now
Up in the educated land of success, do I feel deserving, nowmore than ever before?
Not that I never believed I deserved it in this small modest coat
eyes penetrating with fear, tears of sadness
& speculation in this confusing time.
Not that its not exciting being at a college bound
eighteen, who was going to have to go, careening into the real world.
So to have to leave & to leave my family, friends, all I can do is imagine so to go.
Not that my college fate, who from very first meeting
I would never & never trade this opportunity for the world. I would never want to go into the world of being unsuccessful I asked for this & so demanded
To my education & who will never leave me, not for misconception, nor procrastination,nor even for those days I feel like giving up which is
Only our human tendency lot & means nothing at all. No not that.
There’s a song, “The Miseducation of Lauren Hill”, but no. I won’t do that
I am determined. When will I die? I will never die. I will live
To be 98, & I will never go away and you will never escape from me who am always & only a future scholar despite this petite frame. Spirit
Who lives only to educate her family and others
I’m only human, & I am strong, & I didn’t come into this world to let anyone down
I came into your life to especially change what your conception is of young black women
That’s what I came here for and it must be done
Excited & apprehensive, complicated fate, nevertheless I made it this far and may go further
The world’s stereotypes are left behind me.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
I am 17 years old and I’m fatherless. I don’t believe that makes me any different from anyone else; I just have one parent. Some might believe that it’s a disadvantage, but I think it just makes me stronger. I can say I have made it through fourteen years of my life without a father. My father died of a bladder infection when I was quite young. I really don’t remember much about him. Being the youngest of three is difficult because my siblings have memories, and I am extremely jealous of that. I am jealous that they have recollections of things that I would never obtain. They can remember little things such as how he looked, how he smelled and the sound of his voice. I see pictures, home videos, and listen to stories other family members tell me. For some reason that is not enough. I want more; I want to be able to wake up one morning and say “I remember”, and for a long time I struggled with this issue. It was hard for me to admit that I did not have the ability to regain all that I felt I needed. I used to sit in my bedroom and wonder: would I be any different if I could remember those things? This is a question I would never acquire the answer to. Children who have lost a parent are often viewed as depressed, irregular, incomplete, but as for me I want to be different.
The hardest part about growing up without a father is all the events that I have missed out on. The list is endless: father-daughter dances, “bring your daughter to work day”, and Father’s Day cards. When I observe fathers with their daughters I still get that empty feeling. I use this emptiness to my advantage so as to gain independence and confidence. This emptiness urges me to do better, to get involved, voice my opinion and not be afraid to admit that I have come a long way. It took a while for me to speak about this openly; with this I have learned that in order to heal I must accept my loss and use it as my gateway to success. By focusing all my emotions into schoolwork, music, and extracurricular activities I believe I can go the distance. I remember clearly when I stood on stage and sang Shania Twain’s “From This Moment” at my aunts wedding. It was beautiful, flowers everywhere and teary-eyed family members. It was like a dream, then suddenly his face came into my mind and I realized I can remember. He is with me everywhere I go and on stage with me when I perform; music is my therapy.
My mother always tells me that although Papi is not able to be here and witness my accomplishments first hand, he is smiling down upon me. Having the ability to look back on my life and say “Yes I’ve done it, I have made my father happy” has always been a long standing dream of mine. I have the ambition to continue to strive for better. I am a class leader, a great friend and loving daughter. I am blessed to have had the opportunity to be raised in the atmosphere of knowing that I must disregard the things that I am missing in order to aim for higher. I can honestly say, “I am not a quitter, and I will work with all my might to have Papi smile down upon me”.