Monday, October 27, 2008

Memoir CD Cover

Memoir CD Cover.
Thanks to my Mother by Schoschana Rabinovici.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Summer AP Essay: Irony

In “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe, the author uses both verbal and dramatic irony to tell the reader the life of the main character Okonkwo. Achebe starts off by describing Okonkwo as a strong and controlling man who feels no pity for those around him, up to the point where his life falls apart.
At the beginning of Things Fall Apart, Achebe described Okonkwo’s father, Unoka, as “lazy and improvident and incapable of thinking about tomorrow” (4). Unlike his father, Okonkwo was known in Umuofia, as a “tall and huge” man who brought honor to his village. Okonkwo felt no pity for those around him; he was disappointed in those who were weak, including his father. He had no “patience with unsuccessful men” (4). This created Okonkwo’s personality to be somewhat arrogant; causing the characters in the novel to believe that such strong man would most likely succeed in his village and become a better man than his father.
The verbal irony first began when Okonkwo wanted everyone to be strong just like him. He detested those who didn’t work hard so he always gave that image of a frightening man because of how “strong” he supposedly was. People in the village looked up to him, making Okonkwo feel superior and believed that he had the right to boss

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people around. Achebe achieved his goal to make everyone in the story believe that Okonkwo’s future was a bright one. What kept Okonkwo motivated was the “failure” his father was as a grown-up. The verbal irony works in favor of the audience and against the characters in the novel. According to How to Read Literature like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster, “irony works because the audience understands something that eludes one or more of the characters” (240). The audience knows that Okonkwo’s attitude is not going to take him anywhere, unlike the village of Umuofia, who believes that he is a great man with great standards.
The dramatic irony began when Okonkwo’s actions went a bit too far. A serial of events happened before Okonkwo’s life slowly became to fall apart. One of them was when a young boy was kept in the village, lived with Okonkwo for several years and at the end, the young boy was sentenced to death. Okonkwo took part in this murder even after many told him not to; “that boy calls you father…do not bear a hand in his death” (57). But Okonkwo felt that he needed to be there in order to get “stronger”. Following this, Okonkwo was then exiled to his mother’s land because of a murdered he committed at a funeral. Slowly, Okonkwo was becoming weaker, even if he didn’t believe it. At this point of the story, the audience believes that this is the punishment for his personality and the way he treats those around him. But “that’s irony- take our expectations and upend them, make them work against us” (How to Read…238). Achebe had a different ending for Okonkwo, one a lot different than what the audience expected.

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Achebe “pays attention to expectations” (How to Read…240) and his purpose is to cause a big impact in the audience with the ending of Okonkwo. Irony is all about what the audience expects. It is up to the writer to make those expectations work against the readers. Okonkwo, after coming back from his exiled time (seven years) to Umuofia, he realized that his village was now controlled by white man. Okonkwo now didn’t have the authority he had before, even his son Nwoye left him and joined the white man. The village was not the same, nobody relied on Okonkwo anymore. And when Okonkwo wanted to gain control once again, the whole village gave him their backs. It is ironic how Okonkwo criticized his father for being lazy and a failure as an adult. But now, he was about to end worse than his father. Okonkwo committed suicide; “his body was dangling” (207) from a tree. Okonkwo went from being “one of the greatest men in Umuofia…and now he will be buried like a dog” (208). This dramatic ending caused controversies not only in the village but also in the audience.
The verbal and dramatic irony worked great in this novel. Achebe definitely played with both of the characters and readers expectations. As the characters expected Okonkwo to be a successful leader, the audience knew he would end up alone. But neither expected that he would of committed suicide. This is the purpose of the Achebe, to “keeps us readers on our toes, inviting us, compelling us, to dig through layers of possible meaning and competing signification” (How to read…244). Achebe accomplished his goal of playing with both the characters and readers mind. Irony controlled everything in this novel.

Style Metacognition

Deciding what to do on this assignment was a bit challenging yet interesting. I wanted to convey more Hemmingway’s style than Faulkner’s. I found it fascinating the way Hemmingway uses only a conversation to provide a deep meaning. The three options provided by Master G were great but I wanted to do something different. Since I like Hemmingway’s style of writing in actual speech, I decided to focus my story style in that way but I also wanted to incorporate Faulkner. One of the options given to us in the assignment was to use only quotes/lines from both Hemmingway and Faulkner and write a conversation between them too. Well, my first step was to take this idea but instead of a conversation between these two writers, I used their quotes/lines to create a story between another two characters.
Second step, putting together the conversation was quite challenging because I had to go back to the stories we read in class from these two writers and find quotes/lines that would flow together. And not only this, but to also cite every quote/line use in my story. While creating my story, I had a good time and I found myself writing a story about love and a murder. I used mostly quotes from “Hill like White Elephants” by Hemingway and “Barn Burning” by Faulkner. These two stories have a whole different style and meaning but they both give great quotes and lines that I could use to write my love and murder story. As “Hills like White Elephants” talks about a couple about to make an important decision that will change their lives, I decided to use it in my story because a murder will most likely change every one who is involve in it. So to follow the pattern, I used “Barn Burning” quotes that conveyed what is wrong or right, and anger. It was difficult to make the conversation flow because some of the quotes were not written in the way that I would have like them to be written but at the end, I believe that I achieve my purpose.
My purpose of the conversation is to show how love can make us do things that we would not normally do. The woman in the story is in love with her boyfriend but her boyfriend is forcing her to kill a man for him. The woman, who clearly demonstrates an immense insecurity in her relationship, ends up killing the man just so her boyfriend would love her again. The title says it all; “Killing for love”. Even though it sounds creepy, I wanted to portray drama, which is what my story is about.
Third step, peer-editing, it helped me on my process to make this story a great one. My classmates make great comments of it, and they both found it amusing. Their only critic was to name my characters and also to revise some of my quotes which didn’t really made sense with the other ones. I was glad that they both thought I have done a great job because I spent a lot of work finding the quotes, putting them together, and creating a conversation with a meaning. I made a few changes to my story; of course I name my characters and took some quotes out of the story that really didn’t make sense. But in overall, I kept most of my story the same. I feel that I achieved my goal and that I mocked well Hemmingway’s style of writing. Not only that by also the use of quotes and their flow.
Even though I feel that I did a good job on this essay, I believe that I can still improve on my way of writing. I often tend to just go straight to the point, instead of analyzing in more depth. I focused more on getting the job done than actually taking my time to analyze it. But in the past assignments, I have demonstrated that I’m capable of doing both, getting the assignment done on time and analyze it with depth. I believe that this paper shows the amount of work I putted in it. The amount of thought I putted in it. It portrays that I understood the assignment; I was able to incorporate one the two writers’ style, Hemingway, and also able to create a conversation using only quotes from both Hemingway and Faulkner.
I enjoyed this assignment. It made me realize my own style somehow (I am most of a Hemingway than a Faulkner). I would like to be able to create a stronger voice when I write; I want my paper stand out among others. I am looking forward for more assignment like this one. It forced me to analyze both styles first and then make them my own. I hope anyone who reads this paper can see my purpose and can find it as amusing as my peer-editors saw it. =)

Memoir Metacognition

I would like to first state that this book has taught me about sacrifice, strength (mentally and physically), and love. Holocaust is my favorite history topic. And this memoir definitely kept me more interested in the topic. When our assignments were given, I thought of designing a book cover and making the CD soundtrack. For my third option, I had some difficulty choosing one because neither of the remaining three caught my attention. But at the end, I decided to write a page of the memoir, including myself in it.
I love art and music; therefore I enjoyed making the cover and the soundtrack. I thought of doing both separately but Master G brought up the idea that we could make a CD and then have a CD cover for it and it will count as two assignments in one. I loved this idea so I decided to do it. I began with the CD first. I searched for Yiddish songs, songs that related to the holocaust, etc. A whole list of songs appeared but it was difficult to download them since they are old songs and also in a different language. A few of the songs I putted in the CD were from the film “Schindler’s List”. I believe they also relate to the memoir “Thanks to my mother” because they both are about the same topic, Holocaust. The songs I chose demonstrate intensity and drama which is what the holocaust portrays. Two of the songs that are on the CD, “Vilnius” and “”, are songs that the author of “Thanks to my mother” mentioned in the book that she used to sing in the concentration camps. I decided to put them in the CD because I thought it was important to notice how this young girl is going through so much at that moment but still manages to sing for freedom. It was quite touching. I also included the Israel national anthem. I wanted the CD to include songs that represented strength and I believe that when people sing their country’s anthem, it gives them some type of hope. One song in general, called “My Yiddishe Mamma” impacted me the most and I decided to name it the theme of the whole memoir. This song is dedicated to mothers. It explains how mothers are willing to sacrifice anything in order to save their children. It also sings for the respect of mothers and how they work so hard to keep their families happy. Since the memoir is called “Thanks to my mother”, I believe that this song exactly represents the memoir. Thanks to her mother, Rabinovici survived.

College Essay (1st Draft)

“I’m not God to judge nobody, yes my father made many mistakes and he had a lot of chances but I, as a human being make mistakes as well… and the only way to live in peace is by forgiving”. This was one of my many thoughts during my Colorado trip two years ago. Before this trip, I thought I was strong because of all what I’ve been through, but compared to what I experienced on my trip, it made me think twice. Since I was a little girl, I had a horrible experienced with my father. Instead of loving him, I hated him; for all those nights of fear, those nights of violence, those nights where he blamed me for all his problems.
Arriving to the United States was a dream come true. It was a whole new life for me, not only living in a different country but living with a stranger, my father. The two years I lived with him were a nightmare. But I’m not here to talk about how horrible my life has been for the past seven years but to reflect on how much I have grow as a person. Growing up in a violent environment, it forced me to mature at a young age. My life began changing when I entered high school. I had more opportunities to be myself and to find people that might be going through similar situations like mine.
A program, in particular, caught my attention. The program helps low-income students to become leaders, go to college and be successful. Summer Search, it was the beginning of my new life. The process to be accepted was rigorous. I had to open myself to strangers and tell them about my life. I have never done that, I always keep everything to myself and once I let all my feelings out, I realized that I have a good messed up life. But my main reason to join this program was for me to be a normal teenager with a lot of friends. And it happened. I was accepted into a family that constantly reminds me that I’m way too young to be looking out for my sister. I am constantly remembered that I deserve a better life because I have work hard to get where I am today. Summer Search encourages me to do better, to be stronger, to reach out and be heard. I was often told that I needed to speak up more for myself. I used to always keep quiet and do what others wanted me to do. I tried to please the rest of the world but me. Now, Summer Search is teaching me that I can’t fix everyone’s lives. I am someone who has been hiding in my problems for a while and should be leaving my past behind.
Summer Search provided me with two trips during the past two summers. One to an expedition to Colorado for three weeks and the second one for a two week enrichment classes at Penn State University. In Deer Hill Colorado I realized that I’m capable of doing anything. The first two weeks were adventurous. The last week, I lived in a Hopi Reservation with a Hopi family. And let me tell you, it was the best week of my life. The Hopi family took me into their home and treated me as one of their children. I didn’t even mind the long hours of work around the community, everything was worth it when I heard my new parents say “I’m proud of you”. It was the first time anyone has ever said those words to me. I cried of happiness. My second trip was different. I was by myself, no mentors, no Hopi family. I had to make myself stand out in the crowd in order to make friends. This was my time to prove to myself that College is a place so diverse that if I don’t get myself known, I will be a “nobody”. I became more active and tried my best to make the best out of everything. In these two trips, I learned how to stand out, how to be a leader, and how to make friends. I was forced to forget about those back home and just focus on myself. I was able to see that I can interact with people my age, that I am not so different after all. I was able to smile and not think about tomorrow. I was able to be happy for more than a day. I met awesome people that by just looking at me they saw how much potential I have. It was a great experience to interact with so many different people, different cultures. Summer Search lent me a hand that has changed my perspective towards life. I am now a more active person, someone that can easily interact with others, learn from others. Someone that is not afraid to reach out for help. I am a different Melissa than the one from seven years ago. I have many goals that I know I will achieve one day. I learn to love me for who I am and not for what others say. I learn from my mistakes and if I fail, I try it more times until I get it right.
I am now a leader; I now carry the reins of my life. I now follow my own path.

Memoir (CD)

Memoir CD Soundtracks…

Auschwitz- Birkenau by John Williams
Vilnius- Kaunas by Kastaneda
Lorelei – Unknown
Yeroushalaim Chel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold)- John Williams
Shalom Alechem by Laura Wetzler
Hatikva- Israel anthem
Es brent by Shoshana Damari
My yiddishe mama by Sophie Tucker
Carmina Buranah by Mosart
Earth Song by Michael Jackson

Memoir (Project 1)

Melissa Restrepo in “Thanks to my Mother”

After Adriana (my mother) and I[1] decided to stay behind in the concentration camp, the whole room was now at our disposal and we had enough space to lie down and sleep. At that moment, I was burning with fever; therefore I was almost not aware of my surroundings. The guard that was left at the camp to check on those who stayed behind came into our room. Adriana before she lay down asked the guard “When we will be shot?”. The German guard answered quickly, “I haven’t gotten any orders yet. When I get the order to shoot you, I will”.
Adriana covered me with the a few blankets left behind from the others prisoners. She then lay down beside me and I fell asleep.
The next morning I felt better. The German guard brought us a breakfast that compared to the ones that were given to us before, was a luxury. The breakfast was given from the farmers in the neighborhood; it included bread, margarine, jam and tea. At noon, we also received lunch, hot chicken soup with meat. And at evening, hot porridge, along with more breach and tea again.
During the day, we would hear the guard’s footsteps approaching our barrack; Adriana would take my hand and hold me close to her. We then wonder, if this would be our last meal before “the order” has been given to the German guard? Was he coming this time to liquidate us? But days passed quickly and we kept on getting food and were allow to rest in the barracks all day long. My daily routine, I slept, woke up sometimes through out the day, ate something and slept again.
Adriana would sometimes go to the square to look for news. But no one else besides our guard was here with us. One day, when Adriana returned, she told me that all the camp inmates had gone. We were the only two left. She began preparing me for “the end”.
In the evening, we heard cannons and rocket launchers from the front. That night, we woke up by the noise of heavy engines close to the street of the camp, passing our barrack. Adriana looked outside and saw tanks driving through the direction of Gdansk. Our camp. The earth quivered, the noise was loud, and we could hear gunshots and explosions time after time.
In the morning, Adriana recognized the symbols on the military vehicles. They were red stars. It was the Soviet army- our liberators!
Adriana, full of joy, she cried, “Melissa, the Russians arrived! We are rescued; we are saved, we are liberated, Melissa, we have our freedom back! Everything is over my daughter!”
Her words would not penetrate my consciousness; I began to mumble, “Too bad, out of all the days, they arrived now that we have a good German guard and we are getting enough good”.
Then I lost my conscious again.[2]
[1] Adriana is my mother’s real name. In the memoir, Susie was unable to call her mother by “mom” because they were afraid to be separated. Therefore, I decided to use my mother’s real name and include her in the story instead of Raja- Susie’s mother.
[2] This section of the memoir was taken from the last pages of chapter “The Death March” (222-223)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hemingway and Faulkner Style Essay

Killing for love by Hemingway and Faulkner

It was late and everyone had left the café except for (A clean, well-lighted place, Hemingway, 158) the American [Dick] and the girl [Jig] with him that sat at a table. (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 120).
“That’s the only thing that bothers us. It’s the only thing that’s made us unhappy” [Jig said] (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 121)
“But what will you have me do about it?” (A rose for Emily, Faulkner, 27)
“Let’s drink beer” (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 120)
“Where’s the nigger?” [She said] (Barn Burning, Faulkner, 163)
“The man himself lay in the bed” he said.
“What was left of him, rotted beneath what was left of the nightshirt” (A rose for Emily, Faulkner, 23)
“Oh, cut it out”
“It’s really an awfully simple operation” [Dick said] (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 121)
“And if I do it you’ll be happy and things will be like they were and you’ll love me?” (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 122)
“Well, we’ll wait till October” (Barn Burning, Faulkner, 172)
“Then, I’ll do it” (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 122)
“All right. But you’ve got to realize-“(Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 122)
“I want some poison.” She said.
“I want arsenic” (A rose for Emily, Faulkner, 29)
“That’ll do” He said. (Barn Burning, Faulkner, 164)
“I’ll do it and then everything will be fine”
“And we could have everything” (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 122)
“We’ll wait and see” (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 122)
That night they camped, in a grove of oaks and beeches where a spring ran. The nights were still cool and they had a fire against it, of a rail lifted from a nearby fence and cut into lengths- a small fire, neat, niggard almost, a shrewd fire. (Barn Burning, Faulkner, 165)
“We are two different kinds” She said. (A clean, well-lighted place, Hemingway, 161)
“I don’t care about me” (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 122)
“Well, I care about you” (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 122)
“Oh, yes. But I don’t care about me. And I’ll do it and then everything will be fine” (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 122)
“Don’t you want me to help?” He whispered. (Barn Burning, Faulkner, 169)
“All right” (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 121)
“Where’s the nigger?” (Barn Burning, Faulkner, 163)
“I’ll hold him” she said.
“You’ll hold him better than that. If he gets loose don’t you know what he is going to do?”... “Maybe I’d better tie him” (Barn Burning, Faulkner, 173)
“Go get the oil” [Dick screamed] (Barn Burning, Faulkner, 173)
“Let me do it” she said. (Barn Burning, Faulkner, 168)
“Don’t you know all they wanted was a chance to get at me because they knew I had them beat?” the nigger cried. (Barn Burning, Faulkner, 166)
“Get out of my way nigger” Dick said. (Barn Burning, Faulkner, 167)
“It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig”… “I know you wouldn’t mind it” (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 121)
“I’d do anything for you” [Jig answered] (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 123)
He went on down the hill, toward the dark woods within which the liquid silver voices of the birds called unceasing- the rapid and urgent beating of the urgent and quiring heart of the late spring night. He did not look back. (Barn Burning, Faulkner, 175)
“Do you feel better?” he asked. (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 123)
“I feel fine” she said. (Hills like white elephants, Hemingway, 123)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

IND AFF: Setting

IND AFF: Setting

There is a saying that people should think twice before they act. This saying well-adapts to the story of Fay Weldon IND AFF or Out of Love in Sarajevo. The story is told by its main character, where she is telling the audience about her trip with her “lover”, Professor Peter, and telling the incident that caused World War I. Both the character and the History Professor are in their trip around Europe (currently in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia), at the exact place where Princip assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife. Weldon decided to place the characters in this setting in order to find similarities in the decision both Princip and narrator chose at the end of the story.
The narrator opens up the story by talking about weather, “The rain filled up Sarajevo’s pride” (201), which refers to the two outcomes that were about to take place. In this story, rain symbolizes three major factors war, death, and love. First, the outbreak of the war. Due to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, World War I began. Second, the death of the Archduchess and the millions of people who died during the war. And lastly, love. The two main characters seem to be in love but at the end, it was just a bad decision just like the one Princip decided to take. Rain indicates that there are problems that must be solved. It is not only raining in Sarajevo but also “it was raining on [Peter’s] wife, too, back in Cambridge” (202). This demonstrates that their wrong actions are damaging those around them. It is important to be aware of these signs because just like the narrator mentions, it “filled up Sarajevo’s pride”. In other words, the assassination of the Archduchess caused this place to be an immense tourist place, where the narrator, thanks to this event, happens to make a decision that will most likely change her life for the better.
The narrator constantly keeps bringing up the cause of World War I. According to her, “He [Peter] liked to be asked questions” (205), but behind her curiosity to analyze more this incident, Weldon wanted the audience to learn a bit more about this historical event but also to see how the decision of Princip to assassinate relates to the narrator’s decision to maintain a relationship with a married man. As the couple sits at a restaurant in Sarajevo, the narrator converse with her lover about World War I. While she continues to analyze Princip’s story, she realizes that her life is not so different to his. The narrator comments on Princip’s age, “Princip was nineteen – too young” (204); she does not only mention his age as part of the story but to reflect on the age difference between her and her partner. She figures that she is also too young to be expending her life with someone who is “forty-six” (203) while she is “twenty-five” (203). The narrator continues to feel pity for Princip, not realizing that she was feeling pity for her self as well. She comments on how Princip died for the “love of a country” (204) which once again relates to her life. She is dying for the love of an old professor-married man.
As their conversation continues in the restaurant about the Archduke’s assassination, the narrator continues to realize that her relationship was a mistake. From the beginning of the story, the narrator emphasizes the term “wife” in various occasions. On page 201, the narrator introduces the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and then in parenthesis highlights “(Don’t forget his wife; everyone forgets his wife…)”. Later on in the text, when she decides to leaves the professor, she states that his head smelt like chlorine and “may have come from thinking about his wife so much” (206). This demonstrates that through out their “holiday” trip, both have not forgotten about the wife. The narrator uses Franz’s wife as a method to cover the guilt she feels for doing such thing to Peter’s wife and Peter, deep inside, is constantly thinking of his “twenty-four years” (202) of marriage.
The narrator wanted to demonstrate how a quick decision can change one’s life forever. The narrator “was finally aware how much [she has] lied” (206) when she said “I love you” to Professor Peter. Due to their trip in Sarajevo and its past history with Princip, it helped her realize that she had made a mistake, a mistake that she regrets. The narrator states that she is “grateful to this day” (206) with the city of Sarajevo because it taught her a lesson. She continues to relate her “silly sad episode” (206) with Princip’s silly and sad decision. She feels sympathy towards Princip because at such of young age, he ruined his life, similar to her. Their only difference was that she thought twice before she continue with this false romance that was not going to take her anywhere in life.
Weldon use of setting made this story meaningful. Sarajevo’s sad history changed the characters life for the better. Weldon wanted the audience to see that a quick decision is not the best choice to take; it is better to think twice and perhaps the second choice would have a better ending. The narrator also highlights this at the end of the story, “…If he’d just hung on a bit, there in Sarajevo, that June day, he might have come to his senses. People do, sometimes quite quickly” (207). She refers to herself and how she took her time to think about it, to relate her story to young Princip, and at the end, took the best decision for herself.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

May-dum Characterization Essay

“May-dum” Characterization

In The Red Carpet by Lavanya Sankaran, the author creates this want-to-be youth woman, who is kind, and wealthy; also known as May-dum. Sankaran creates this character in the country of India, where is most known about its traditions and beliefs. This causes the character to come out as a rebel against her country’s culture and the behavior of a wealthy woman.
Sankaran begins the story introducing a character called T.R. Gavirangappa, who becomes known as Raju. Sankaran introduces this character in the story to enable the audience to see the character of May-dum. Unlike May-dum, Raju is a hardworking male, who is responsible to “support his parents, his sister, his wife of four years, and their little daughter” (1). Raju meets May-dum when he applies to be her driver. Raju had a different concept about May-dum. He thought she was going to be the typical middle-aged wealthy woman, who feels no pity for others, with proper manners. But May-dum had a different character. She was wealthy but she was kind to those who work for her and those who needed her help. But she was also a teenage at heart in a middle-aged woman’s body. She wore clothing that characterized her as a “prostitute”, she also “curses, jokes, comments and conversation of a frankness” (5) that Raju was happy he could barely follow the English language. Raju was introduced in the story so the reader can learn about the traditions in India, and see the difference between a hardworking man who follows his culture and a wealthy-middle-aged woman who follows her own rules.
May-dum can be portrayed in two different ways; either as a sympathetic woman or a woman that just cares about fitting-in. May-dum likes to help her servants. They look up to her and felt well-treated by her. Instead of her servants gossiping “to see who had it worst” (5), they all just “traded hard-luck stories” (5). From this perspective, the audience can perceive that May-dum is a great woman and a great boss. Sankaran wanted to include these testimonies from May-dum’s servants so the reader can see another side of May-dum. Deep inside, May-dum cares for others, she cares for the luck of those who helped her get through each day. Another action that contributed to May-dum’s sympathetic personality is when she went to meet Raju’s family and she paid Raju’s daughter education for a whole year (10). Sankaran knows that the reader would have never expected this from May-dum. The purpose of the creation of such character is to expect the unexpected.
Sankaran also created another side personality of May-dum, which she only reveals to the outside world. From the way she dresses to the way she acts, is an informal way of a middle-aged woman to be acting. The audience gets to know this side of her once again from Raju’s thoughts. He describes her behavior as “unacceptable” and “immoral” (6). This personality makes the audience confuse to see how a kind woman can act this way. This “May-dum” demonstrates the universal theme of “fitting-in”. May-dum dresses and acts this certain way to maintain her friends. To prove this, on page 11, May-dum meets her friend after coming back from Raju’s village (where she was actually dressed as someone of her class) and her friend, surprise comments right away about her “elegant dress”. This demonstrates that in front of her friends, May-dum does not like to show formality and elegance. She only wants to fit-in. What Sankaran is trying to prove is that May-dum deep inside shares the culture of her country, she also wants to create that good “first impression” on those who she does not really know. But with her friends, she wants to be this rebel going against the rules and creating her own rules. Sankaran purpose of creating May-dum is for the reader to see that just because people expect you to act a certain way, you have to. May-dum somehow proves this wrong. She does like to create good impressions, but she also likes to live free.
This short story gives back to the reader a wide range of thoughts and doubts. The development of the characters creates the meaning of this story. The characters do not change, but they do make this story meaningful by contributing their personalities and actions. Both Raju and May-dum had something in common, they both needed each other. Both pretended to be a different person to please one another. May-dum changed her informal behavior to a high-class woman, and Raju pretended to not dislike May-dum’s behavior. This was Sankaran’s purpose: to prove how in every day life, people pretend to be someone else to please others, to fit in.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Miss Brill's Point of View

Miss Brill’s Point of View

In Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield, the author demonstrates how the narrator can describe a character to the audience by using the character’s thoughts. Mansfield uses impartial omniscience in the story by presenting only Miss Brill’s thoughts and actions, giving the reader the opportunity to see the difference between reality and imagination.
Mansfield decides to use a narrator that is intimately close to Miss Brill, someone or something that knows Miss Brill’s steps, likes and dislikes. The audience gets to know Miss Brill through her thoughts; they get to know Miss Brill through her conscience. Her conscience speaks to her and to the reader. It lets everyone knows the setting and what is around her, what is important to Miss Brill like her “fur coat”, and what others think about her “…stupid old thing…” (36).
Mansfield wants the audience to see how an old lonely woman gets happy with the most insignificant things in life. From the narrator perspective, the audience sees Miss Brill’s loneliness and her hunger to find a meaning for her living. The narrator describes Miss Brill’s routine and observations, “Sunday after Sunday, and –Miss Brill often noticed- there was something funny about nearly all of them” (34). The audience can tell that Miss Brill observes and critics others but does not focus on her own self. Miss Brill tries to ignore that she is an elderly woman. When she begins to think of herself as old, she brushes that thought away. She tries to create happiness in every thought or situation. She has tingling in her hands and arms, but says to herself, “It must have been from walking – she supposed.” (33). Miss Brill does not let herself think these thoughts because then that would be evidence to her that she was old. Miss Brill constantly changes her mind when she begins to realize that she is lonely and old.
The story has two narrators, one for the use of Miss Brill to tell herself about the world around her, and another narrator for the audience to see the life that Miss Brill is living. Miss Brill is her own narrator; she wants to make herself believe that she is living in a whole different world. This is the purpose of Mansfield use of point of view, she wants the audience to really live the life of this old woman, to think the way she thinks, to observe what she observes, to create an image with the help of her thoughts. But at the same time, the reader is not only observing what Miss Brill is observing, the reader is actually beginning to get to know Miss Brill through out her thoughts. The reader begins to feel sympathetic towards this character; they begin to see that instead of being a happy woman she is actually lonely and is trying hard to find a meaning for her life.
The story is written in the third person point of view for a purpose: to not show Miss Brill’s fears. Mansfield decides to use Miss Brill’s thoughts as a narrator to hide the real purpose of the story. She wanted to reveal Miss Brill’s character through this point of view to make the story more meaningful. Mansfield decides to keep the point of view limited to Miss Brill and also exclude the others characters thoughts in order for the reader to center all their attention to Miss Brill. The narrator does not judge Miss Brill and does not include his/her thoughts into the story. The narrator focuses just on Miss Brill in order to make the story an effective one. Mansfield wanted to tell the story from a third person narrator to show the difference between Miss Brill’s imagination and the reality of her situation. It is clear that what the narrator is trying to prove how Miss Brill uses her imagination to hide some of the pain that reality might have caused her. For example, on page 36, Miss Brill states that everything was “a play”, that she plays “an important role in the play” and that she has been “an actress for a long time”. This demonstrates how Miss Brill wants to find any way to believe that she is still useful and important to someone.
Mansfield successfully uses the third person omniscient point of view. She shows how Miss Brill was trying to hide her loneliness without feeling sympathy for her own self. The use of creating illusions also contributed to the story since it was another method to hide Miss Brill true emotions. At the end, Miss Brill faces reality and the narrator creates a distance from her in order to show Miss Brill point of view and so the reader is able to know her thoughts and feelings from her own self.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Remains of the Day (III)

The ending was a surprise to me. I really wanted Miss Kenton, or Mrs. Benn, and Stevens to become a couple. Like I stated previously, I thought that something happened between them that made Stevens shameful and made her leave. I see the ending as ironic because Stevens even cries in the end. Of course he is not the happiest person; he feels that his past was lost, but he does appear to take it well. After he finishes crying, he states that he will do something different for a change and make new friends and will have “bantering” more often. Though he does regret his past, he somehow find comfort in knowing that he has a second chance (which is the complete opposite of the book “One Hundred Years of Solitude”) with the new American owner. I would have liked Stevens to go through a complete new identity change, but he still remains the stiff, awkward butler he started out as. The only difference is that he has learned to move on and try new things.

The Remains of the Day (II)

In Stevens trip there seems to be nothing big happening. But like Danny I go back and forth about whether or not to trust Stevens. At first I thought I could trust him, because he didn’t let his emotions interfere with his work and life. But now he seems to be hiding a past he’s shameful of. Even though Stevens speaks in a sophisticated way and worked for a very powerful leader, I don’t think I want to trust him. I don’t like the fact that he explains himself so much, that he’s afraid of showing his emotions, and that he is over taken by his work—everything he says and does involves him and his work. He’s too attached in his work to not be hiding a secret.

About Mr. Stevens and Miss Kenton, maybe it’s too early to say this, but I think that she really left because there was a strong attraction between her and Mr. Stevens. I think Mr. Stevens made her leave and now regret it and wants to bring her back.

The Remains of the Day (I)

Mr. Stevens is very sophisticated in the way he talks and acts. I think he is hiding something from the audience to reveal it later. Kevin mentioned Mr. Stevens’ comment about the scenic landscape and how Steven saw it as beauty and calm. I think that Stevens is conceited more than anything. He sounds very confident in what he states and does, but he has a reason to. He’s worked for Lord Darlington for 30 years and Lord Darlington trusted him when he had meetings with powerful people. I agree with Carla when she says that he’s over concerned with his work because he’s avoiding inner conflicts. I believe Stevens is hiding a deep dark secret about Darlington from the audience. I also think that Miss Kenton is the opposite of Mr. Stevens, which is why they can work so well together, yet still get into so many silly fights. The fights however seem to symbolize that they do care for one another.

Things Fall Apart (III)

Well..I am as surprise as everybody else. The third part of this book was unbelievable chaos! Okonkwo life had changed alot. Even his son Nwoye left him for the new missionaries; "...he was happy to leave his father"(152). Christianity, the missionaries, were the way Nwoye found to finally escape from his father. This new religion gave him the strength to finally leave the dark shadow of his father. Okonkwo knew that he could not relied on his family anymore to fight against the white men. So he turned to his "clan". He wanted to start a war to take over his old village, "And they had listened to him with respect. It was like the good old days again, when a warrior was a warrior"(192). This is what first of all got Okonkwo in so much trouble and when he starts feeling superior, we know that something horrible is going to happen to him. This is the hint of more problems to Okonkwo. And once again to prove my point, Okonkwo decides to kill a white man and his old clan turned their backs on him. The only way out he saw was to committ suicide: "...they come to the tree from which Okonkwo's body was dangling"(207). It was an ironic ending for Okonkwo. Okonkwo contradicted his words with his actions. A minute ago, he was the spokeperson, the leader, telling his people to fight for their beliefs because their Gods were "weeping"(203) and the next minute, he committed suicidal which pretty much is against all of his beliefs. This demonstrates how not of a strong man he was.

Things Fall Apart (II)

Heyy people!!

Well towards the end of part one and beginning of part two, this novel began to twist or should I say "fall apart". Okonkwo's world is ready to take a new path when Ikemefuna became so close to him. When Okonkwo was told that the kid was to be killed, Ezeudo told Okonkwo to stay out of the murder because "that boy calls you father. Do not bear a hand in his death"(57). If Okonkwo participated in his death, he will be killing the innocense of a child, of his son. But since Okonkwo never listens and tries to do everything his way, his life will be miserable after Ikemefuna's death. And to prove my point, Okonkwo began to have serious thoughts about Ikemefuna's death, "Okonkwo, you have become a woman indeed"(65). He can not believe that he killed a child, almost like a son, and now he is lamenting his actions like a woman. But this is nothing compare to his exile. I agree with Marrisa when she said that this was like a payback to all the killings he has participated in. This was a huge change for Okonkwo, to be sent to his mother's land, almost like a humiliation for him since in this new land nobody saw him as the "GREAT MAN" he has been used to. Instead, they told him how he really was, a child who only pretends to be tought; " you are a great man in your clan. But you are still a child..."(134).

Things Fall Apart (I)

hey guys!!!!well while reading "Things fall apart" and all of your comments I came to a dilemma between both marrisa's and katie's views on Unoka and Oknokwo. I agree with both opinions but it is kind of difficult to chose a side because as katie said "He was 'lazy and improvident and was quite incapable of thinking about tomorrow" (4) all the way up to his death. But also I sympathize with Marrisa's comment about Unoka being "a man who loved to live in the moment, enjoying the present and not stressing the future. He is not a saver, but rather a spender..." Both opinions are great so I came to a conclusion that it is not so important to focus on Unoka's personality but instead on Okonkwo. Oknokwo demonstrates to be a tough men who many fear, even his own son, Nwoye. His personality foreshadows trouble for him and his family as he contines to not had "patience with unsuccessful men" (4) and "laziness" (13). Oknokwo feels so superior from everyone else that it will get him in trouble very soon, risking his prosperity and his family. The way he understimates everyone around him may cause him a big surprise in the future, for example his own son. Oknokwo sees Nwoye as a lazy kid and he is constantly "nagging and beating" (14) him. And instead of correcting him, Oknokwo might be creating a monster worse than him.

One Hundred Years of Solitude (II)

In the second third of the novel, Gabriel Garcia Marquez uses repetition of events. From my perspective, the reason why Marquez uses repetition is because the characters itselves are always remembering what their old lives used to be before technology was introduced to Macondo and also before the war. The arrival of new groups to this village have changed the Buendia's family so much that they are stuck living in the past. Like Mary said, "repetition in life of all Arcadios, Aurelianos, Remedios, Amaranta, etc" proves the point of how the family is and will always live in the past.

Also, I agree with steph and her observation. Macondo was a small village where no one has ever died and now Macondo is a war erupting city where many have died. As for Ursula. She is the only that still represents the old Macondo with its beliefs and culture. While everybody else got caught up with technology and power. For example, Jose Arcadio Buendia, her husband. Now he is spending the last years or days of his life tight to a Chestnut tree as all his family falls apart(89).

One Hundred Years of Solitude (I)

I agree with Paul's observation of Jose Arcadio Buendia's changed of personality. Some of my thoughts were similar; Jose Arcadio Buendia demontrates to be a man who doesn't trust many people, "...not believe in the honesty of gypsies"(2) leaving him at a disadvantage by trading valuable things that his wife and him needed for just ideas that he has created in his mind. This somehow foreshadows Jose Arcadio Buendia's future; a dreamer who only believes in himself and most likely will end up losing many more valuable things because of his distrust towards others. Buendia rathers trust the "new technology" than the wisdom of those around him.