extra blog post

I was never entirely sure what to expect when I first started writing the blog. At first I thought it was going to be about subjects chosen by the teacher, but now I realize it was going to be something fun and exciting. I loved that I had free reign to write what we wanted to talk about, it gave me the ability to write up whatever I was thinking about that day.

From this blog assignment, I learned to enjoy writing what I have garnered from the day, to analyze my thoughts and feelings. I believe this made my posts fun and different, I really enjoyed writing a list of my top 5 favorite books that I have read. From that list, I was hoping to provide reading content that some may not have read before. I made the list in mind from prior experience of wanting to find something interesting to read. I also had fun commenting on other peoples posts and reading what they wanted to discuss on their posts.

Overall, I had a lot of fun creating blog posts with my other group members. It gave us a creative outlet and we all had  bunch of fun postings our thoughts while working together. The blog posts gave us the chance to further analyze what we discussed in class and to also see what others had to say from the day. I plan to take what I have learned from my analyzes and others groups to look at literature work in the future with a more open mind.

Sexism no more?

Within humanity, there are two sexes which are the most commonly recognized: male and female. c+Certain rights and responsibilities are granted to each person depending on their given sex. Additionally, certain restrictions are given regarding what can and can not be done. Females are generally given the heaviest of these restrictions; not by choice, however, but from social obligation. Failure to comply with these rules and restrictions will result in ridicule social shunning. In Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, these social norms and their negative affects are presented to the public. Back then, many did not enjoy this book because of the messages for social norms it spoke against. People in current times say that views are different from what they were during the time of this novel’s release. It can be seen as a piece ahead of its time. I believe this book is a necessary read for even today’s people. This novel shows the gender biases that exist even in today’s world.

We claim that sexism is slowly eradicating, yet people can fail to see how much of Edna’s life can be related to the experiences females go through in today’s world. Edna is told to stay in her home rather than go out and do what she pleases, “suggested” to dress a certain way, required to act like a lady, and to uphold the reputation she and her husband hold within her community. This is actually not that different from what the females from today currently go through. Women are told they must dress a certain way for fear of being branded a slut or a prude, are unable to partake in masculine activities because they are not “up to the task”, and that the consequences of their actions (aka the actions of men) are theirs and theirs alone to bear. There is little freedom that has actually been won since this time. Yes, more power has been given to females. Equality is on the rise and this cannot be denied; however, the changes have yet to take full affect. While women were blatantly oppressed in the time of Edna, the oppression in current times has become more subtle; implications and norms have been so deeply rooted into the minds of people that this inequality between males and females are not noticed unless carefully specified and explained.

With this in mind, a lot has changed between the time of The Awakening and now. A tragic similarity, however, is the continuation of restrictions that prevent females from living the same free lives as males do. They are still bound to the unwritten rules of the sexes; finding great struggle in breaking the rules that have been set for quite literally centuries. I believe The Awakening is a great way for people to begin their comparison on the world today versus what it was back then. There has been change, but true equality has not taken hold. Sexism still rampages.

The Glass Ceiling of Classical Literature

While reading A Scandal In Bohemia, Arthur Conann Doyle’s 57th instalment in to the Sherlock Holmes series, I was interested in the character of Irene Adler. A strong, independent, powerful female character, her opposition to authority was almost intrinsically tied to her femininity. I immediately saw a connection to another female heroin of classic literature, Hester Prynne, in that both Prynne and Adler shared a common deviance, which rested solely in that their actions were executed through the lens of an unorthodox gender, female, whereby their male counterparts would not have been critiqued or even ‘dealt with’ in the same manner.

Great characters often exist as those who are most difficult to define. They escape one-dimensionality through the array of ideas they embody and embrace individuality through their natural and complex humanity. Much like The Woman, Hester Prynne, in The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a difficultly realistic character. During the novel she seems to undergo consistent transformations that force the reader to question the ideals she embodies and reevaluate their understanding of Hester. Yet, perhaps, a lasting image that can be portrayed of Hester is her existence as a feminist symbol. Hester defies both society and the male figures in her life in her persistence of subtle defiance and in her acceptance of her own identity.

Hester’s scarlet letter serves as a perpetual reminder of her downfall and disgrace, yet she solemnly works to redefine the letter and, consequently, defy the unforgiving society that oppressed her. The “A” was purposed to make an example of Hester. To let no public, and consequently, private moment pass without Hester being defined and constrained by her scarlet letter. The unforgiving Puritans sought to mark her by her guilt and humanity. And this was not to be a short-lived humiliation but one marked by the “accumulating days, and added years, would pile up their misery upon the heap of shame” (59). Yet, Hester did not cower underneath this humiliation. Yes, isolation was accompanied by pain, but Hester began to tend the poor and sewed for the town. Hester, the most low and ill treated of society, attended to all those whose condition may have seemed lesser than her own. She did not scream out against the punishment she felt weighing upon her, but instead, rose above it in silent defiance. She acted justly and kindly while bearing the badge of disgrace. In her morality she spited the patriarchal society who joyed so cruelly in antagonizing the “tempting” mistress. Consequently, the town that labeled her began to review their definition of Hester’s mark; “they said it meant Able, so strong was Hester Prynne, with a women’s strength” (121). Hester reveals her feminist qualities in a realistic manner. She avoids what may be expected from a role model activist and does not stand and openly oppose her suppresser. Hester’s subtle retaliation and transformation reveals the realistic qualities of her defiance. She peacefully protests and rebukes the spirit of both female subordination and unforgiveness.

Unlike the two male figures in her life, Hester is forced to embrace her identity and the acceptance of her own image sets her above both Dimmesdale and Chillingworth, who lead lives of guilt and vengeance. Dimmesdale never admits to his sin until the culmination of the novel and lives for much of his life under the internally and spiritually tearing effects of hidden grief. Although it terrified him, if he were to “stand there beside [Hester], on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life” (50). Dimmesdale is tortured by his hidden guilt. He hurts himself and is literally being killed by it. Hester lived with the pain of universal recognition of her mistake, yet this pain seemed to pass and in this pain was at least yielded some good from Hester in her attempt to defy Puritan society. Similarly, Chillingworth hides his identity in order to harm Dimmesdale and protect his name. In this deception is born Chillingworth’s decent into and desire for evil. Now “no friendly hand was pulling at his heart strings” (128). He had fallen into darkness and it was this darkness that would eventually claim his life. Hester eclipses both male characters in the novel because she is forced to address her identity. She carries the letter and she cares for Pearl and these two symbols act as constant reminders to both her and society of her “unforgivable” sin. The pride of men, on the other hand, yields deceit and pain. Dimmesdale tries to avoid the judgment of men and of earth, but is forced then to try, like Atlas, to bear the weight of the heavens. As his health wanes and guilt grapples him he whispers, “The judgment of God is on me. It is too mighty for me to struggle with” (147). But, it is at this moment that Hester reveals to him how he may escape this weight and be embraced by heaven. She tells him that forgiveness is possible, “hadst thou but the strength to take advantage of it” (147). Hester understands that the only universal relief comes from the forgiveness of the almighty. Hester has surpassed both male figures in her life. They are tormented by regret, while Hester lives knowing that every secret she could have lived to hide has been amplified and projected. This may be at the expense of “her individuality” (59) and her femininity, but it propelled her beyond the pains of the male influences in her life and relinquished her from the eternal guilt and vengeance that drive the othe characters.

Hester defied patriarchal society and the major male characters in the novel because she was able to wear her intimate identity and redefine herself not by her past but by the life she chose to lead beyond her disgrace. Hester may not be the effulgent Joan of Arc style feminist role mode, but she stands before society confident in her own identity. She does not pander to oppression, but lives with dignified remonstration.

The Daily Life of A College Student- viewed as awildlife documentary

The first thing we hear in the morning is the insistent beeping of the alarm clock. At first the students seem to  wish for the death of such an obnoxious device, asking why must this thing be a part of the morning. but eventually they get up, some probably stare groggily to the window outside to see how fairs the weather that morning. Others may instantly get up to start their day. For the others, I am unsure.

They may then commence our days beginning routine. All routines may differ, but they all get there eventually. For in the mornings is when they start the long day that follows.

The student may then either eat breakfast first then brush the teeth, or others may choose to brush then eat. There the preparations are complete, now we see the students begin there long ordeal of a day.

They leave the comforts of their homes, having to brace themselves against whatever weather conditions may be present that morning. This is where we can see the student falter, for it is cold outside. Much colder than anticipated, they have to make the decision of whether they will stay warm enough or to return to retrieve a warmer jacket. Only in rare instances have we’ve ever seen a student prepared for the day ahead.

Now comes the most dreadful part of the day, classes.

Students fill these common rooms where there is an elder of sorts who takes command of the room. What now! All of the students now are looking forward and paying attention. Although some of outliers of the group act like they are, but we can see that they are on netflix.

Ah Netflix, the one thing the students seem to worship. For the days the students have off, they hibernate in their homes in warmth, avoiding all contact with the outside world.

Now we see this process many times throughout the day as students walk from class to class. Gathering in some groups of sociability. Such a curious thing.

Ah but look here, the student is rifling through their pockets. It seems they are out of money. Now they must make the ultimate decision and call their parents. A scary concept for many, lets see how they do. Hm seems they used the tactic of starting with a casual how are you, but now they go straight to the point. Hm it seems after much groveling they got what they wanted. Interesting!

these students are an interesting group, tune in next time for the students face another struggle. Finals!

-end of student documentary

The Changing Times

In class today, we divided for the second time in search of different topics (sexuality, music, advertisement, etc.) within the 19th century. My group was personally responsible for focusing on advertisements within this time period. As I looked at pictures from that time, the similarities and differences between then and now are interesting. My attention was first drawn to a cigarette ad. At first glance, it was an average man and woman; the man held a cigarette, while the woman held the lighter and appeared to be helping the man smoke. Further inspection allowed me to notice something I have not really thought about before. This ad focused on class. By this, I primarily mean sophistication and status. Both were dressed rather well and appeared well off. Witnessing this allowed me to notice the differences in how those in the 19th century viewed what it meant to show class versus how we flaunt status now. Back then, the classic picture of sophistication was a man in a fine suit and a woman wearing a beautiful gown. While this is similar to current time in some aspects, differences between the two extreme differences made obvious within the ads were gender and race.

Race was one of the easiest aspects to notice. Glancing through the ads, there were no people of color; all of the ads were middle to upper class white men and women enjoying happiness and luxury. I never noticed a single ad that diverged from this norm during my search. The obvious reason for lack of diversity in such ads being terribly negative views of people of color during the time. An obvious change between then and now being that current times hold more diversity (not the preferred amount, but a good start) within ads.

The powers of gender also held stake in how the ads were presented. Focusing on the cigarette ad again, the woman was lighting the man’s cigarette. This time period was notorious for its blatant degradation and mistreatment of women. Being the man automatically meant control. The difference between now and then, while not polar opposite, is still present. Today’s ads show more gender equality. This is not to say that women are held as complete equals to men (looking at any fashion or modeling magazine can tell you this is not the case), but women are indeed in a better place than they once were back then.

Despite blatant sexism and racism, there are not that many differences of ads between the two times. Both presents ads almost as if they were perfect worlds that only those with the luxury of money and privilege could afford. Ads also create an escape from the world people constantly struggle under. Products may be different back then versus now, but that does not mean that how they presented is really all that different. I actually found it interesting how little differences there were between then and now. It shows both how much and little we have grown in certain aspects. Ads truly reveal a lot about the world in which they were created in.

Patrick Henry – The Original Orator

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While conducting research on Mark Twain and his influential oratory skills, I decided to look in to other citizens of history who had a particular skill in speech, like Twain. In doing so, I came across Patrick Henry, governor of Virginia during Virginia’s movement for independence in the 1770’s.

Great American rhetoric seems often to be defined not by long lasting work, but by momentous occasion, periods that provide opportunity for the fearlessly patriotic and the aggressively virtuous.  An early America facilitated this circumstance for Patrick Henry as he addressed the Virginia General Convention on the twenty third of March 1775. Henry faced a divided audience, one that opposed the oppressive attitude of England, but feared complete severance from their stubborn mother. Henry’s ability to defy the delusions of the relationship between Britain and the American colonies and reveal the aggressive truth of the situation allowed for his inspiring and successful call to arms.

Henry acknowledges the division of the situation, but seeks to evaporate the peaceful, yet subordinate, opinions. He introduces this abruptly because in occasions such as these there is no time for ceremony and he engages the sudden necessity of the circumstance by emphasizing the awful moment that stands before the American colonists. It is a defining moment that awaits them and one that will confine them to freedom or slavery. Although, Henry’s false dichotomy may be somewhat hyperbolic, or perhaps hypocritical, it successful addresses the magnitude of the situation and attacks those who support British domain. Henry successfully addresses the nature of the situation and he now seeks to reveal the great responsibility that they hold to God and their country, for now if they avoid their mission, they would find themselves guilty of treason not only to their country, but to the Majesty of Heaven. But, Many will desire to indulge in hope and pay no mind as the siren, song classically draws them blindly forward and inertia overcomes their opportunity for freedom. And hopefully, America will not be composed of those who having eyes, see not, but of those who demand the whole truth and prepare to face the worst. Henry’s conclusive appeal to pathos finishes a riveting and inspiring introduction that terrified and questioned his quiet crowd.

After challenging his audience, Henry begins to reveal the truth of the situation by reflecting on the repeated injuries Britain inflicted upon the American colony. It is at this point that Henry’s argument shifts from one that has been built on emotion and eloquence to one that is supported by logic and evidence using the lamp of experience. He compares the support of the British ministry to that of the kiss of Judas. A body that deceives with an insidious smile that hopes to darken our land. Britain sent men into American homes and warships to a land where no enemy lies; these are means of war and subjugation. Henry interestingly refers to these actions as the actions of kings. He is attacking a nation that limited the power of its own monarchy to strengthen its democratic body, but now seems to be implementing absolute power over its subjects. These subjects then attempted argument and sought democratic solution, but for ten years England has spurned them. To continue in such a way is to continue in the deception of themselves. Americans have prostrated themselves before Britain, but only experienced the tyrannical power of a democratic body. Some still hallucinate the opportunity of peace and reconciliation, but if they truly hope to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges that Americans have tired and toiled so desperately for, then we must fight. This conclusion seems so strongly based because Henry crafted his argument so ingeniously. He reveled the evidence behind his claim in the midst of unbridled rhetoric and diction. His argument travelled directly to one undeniable conclusion, that a call to arms and the God of Hosts is all that remains.

Henry feels the colonies have been lead to an ultimatum of war and possible liberation or peace and guaranteed subjugation. There are those who fear the fight, they doubt their ability, but when shall we be stronger is Henry’s retort. He mocks their inaction and asks if America will grow stronger by irresolution or when we are totally disarmed. He again addresses the motif of thoughtless hope and fears that those who wish to avoid war will shut their eyes and hug the delusive phantom of hope as Britain fetter them hand and foot. The ignorant hopeful deny America’s resources and ability. Men united in the holy cause of liberty would be invincible against any number sent against them. This seems rather presumptuous, but is justified by the just God who deals in the destinies of nations, a supporting argument that may have appeared reasonable before the colonial populace. America is now in the hands of God and the actions of the vigilant, the active, the brave. For those who still do not accept it at this stage Henry declares that the war is actually begun, that it is being waged on the plains of Boston and that they must now let it come. Peace is not worth the expense of chains and slavery and with his final utterance Henry yelled words that would echo in the ears of Americans for centuries to come with his fearless request of “Liberty or death.”

Henry’s unbeatable call to arms inspired many American moderates to support the revolutionary cause because of its brilliant prose and excellently crafted rhetoric and organization. Many works are often diluted by repetition or time, but inspired masterpiece yields none of its fervor to the dullness of years and still carries itself with undefeated truth and liberty. Henry’s work is justified in its remaining recognition and reputation. His masterfully crafted battle cry deservedly lies in the pantheon of American history.

top 5 favorite reads

Hello! This week I am going tell you my top five favorite reads. I hope this list will expand your reading selections. I will be listing them from 5-1 as a countdown list.

To start off my list is number 5! It’s a bit of a classic, but today’s class activity reminded me of my oldest book in my collection that has been passed down by my great grandmother. It is Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, which was first published in 1877. This classic beauty is capable of bringing in all ages of any audiences. It has a wonderful plot about a rare and beautiful horse that faces many ups and downs. It teaches the responsibility of caring for pets and seeing them more as family rather than an object.

Fourth on my list encompasses more than one just one book. It is multiple books which a part of a series that is easy to read. The series is called the Night World Series written by L.J. Smith. As of now it has three volumes that contain three separate stories within one volume each. Eventually all the stories will connect once the final book is released. The individual story lines sucks you in, and before you know it you have read all the volumes. I recommended for those who would enjoy a story that never gets boring with each volume containing three individual interesting tales that interconnect.

Third on my list is another great classic. Although this one may require a reader that is can stay dedicated to a complicated writing style. This one I recommend is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen that was first published in 1813. This reading may be extremely difficult to understand at first, but if they try then I guarantee they will love the plot line on this one. Romance mixed in with a sarcastic look on British etiquette during the time.

Second on my list is pretty recent book that has come out this year which is a must read. The book is Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. This story line is quite exciting and analyzes the ridiculousness of separation of classes and aristocracy. This tale is most exciting, but sadly there has only been the release of the first book thus far. The second I believe does not release until of spring 2016. This is a must read as release of a new intriguing series.

And lastly we get to the top of my list. The book I rate number one is also a recent release this year is called The Jewel by Amy Ewing. This also takes an analytical look of the separation of classes based on a clast system. With an intricate story line and unexpected turn of events, this book is by far my favorite of my collection right now.

Thank you for reading my list and I hope it can catch your interest if you are looking around for new reading material.