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)