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Sunday, May 5, 2013

I know why the Cage Bird Sings

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In the book, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou, she discusses the way of life in the South/ North being a Black American. Being born black is itself a liability in a world ruled by white standards of beauty which the child is a priori in a cage of ugliness (pages 65-66, Smith). Throughout the book, the reader should see the difference between the blacks and whites. Her experiences throughout the book show the things that oppressed the black race primarily in the South.


Wouldnt they be surprised when one day I woke out of my black ugly dream, and my real hair which was long and blond, would take place of the kinky mass…my blue eyes would hypnotize them, after all the things they said about my daddy must have been a Chinaman. Then they would understand why I never picked up my Southern accent, or spoke common slang, and why I had to be forced to eat pigs tails and snouts. Because I was really white and because a cruel fairy stepmother, who was understandably jealous of my beauty, had turned me into a too big Negro, with nappy black hair, broad feet and a space between her teeth that would hold a number two pencil (page , Angelou). This shows the mindset of blacks in the 10- 150s. Blacks felt that their color was a punishment to them and that it was only a nightmare that he/she is living through. Also, it shows that blacks were oppressed and that whites had everything that they wanted in life. They did not want their current status be accepted it because they had no choice.


When it came to race, blacks always had to obey whites whether or not it was and adult talking to a child, child talking to adult, adult to adult, child to child. For example, Some families of po white trash lived on Mommas farmland behind the school. [The children] called my uncle by his first name and ordered him around the Store. He, to my crying shame, obeyed then in his limping-straight-dip fashion (page , Angelou). This show that white children had no respect toward the black elders. Although the children treated them with little or no respect, the adults treated them as if they were adults, not children, also. On another occasion, the girls tried to agitate Momma but first mocking her and making fun of her aloud. Momma continued to hum and the big girl [of the group] did a handstand expose herself to her. After they left, tears of angry streamed down her face (pages 4-6, Angelou). This shows that they adults tolerated the abuse from the children. They hid their pain and put up with the unnecessary things that they were put through.


It was not until Maya turned thirteen, she realized that not all white people were not all there to oppress blacks although racism still exist in San Francisco. The things that showed that the racism was a story in a newspaper that was about, a white woman that refused to sit next a black man in a streetcar after he made room for her. Her explanation was that she would not sit next to a draft dodger who was a Negro as well. She added that the least he could do was fight for his country the way her son was fighting in Iwo Jima. He said quietly and with great dignity, Then tell your son to look around for my arm, which I left over there. This shows that bitterness that the white woman had toward the black man. She made excuses for not sitting next to the man when all he did was extend an invitation of kindness.


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The experience that changed Mayas life was when she went to George Washington High School. It was there that she had Miss Kirwin as her teacher. Miss Kirwin treated Maya that not as different because she was the only black girl in the class, but she treated her with same respect as others (pages 181-185, Angelou). Maya finally learns that all white people are not there to oppress her, but to her he through life regardless of race.


Maya looked at race completely different by the time the book ended. Thus the discovered pattern of significant moments Maya Angelou superimposes on the experience on the experience of her life is a pattern of moments that trace the quest of the black female after a place, a place where no child longer need ask self-consciously, What are you looking at me for? but where a woman can declare confidently, I am a beautiful, Black woman…(pages 65-66, Smith).





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Monday, April 29, 2013

Homer and his influence on Western Culture

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Homer and his Influence on Western Culture


Homer influenced Greek values by articulating the value of Archaic Period, otherwise known as Homeric Period. In his two most famous books, The Iliad and The Odyssey, those principles are seen in situations and characters. The Greeks in consider Homer’s two epics as the highest cultural achievement of their people, the defining moment in Greek culture, which set the basic Greek character in stone. These texts occupy a central position in the self-definition of Western culture. They both concern the great defining battle of Greek culture, The Trojan War.


The Iliad is the story of a short event that happened during the ninth year of a so-called ten-year war. There is a clash between the two Greek commanders, Agamemnon and Achilleus. Agamemnon is upset with Achilleus because he blames him for the loss of his concubine. For that Agamemnon revenges for Achilleus’s concubine. Achilleus is angered and departs from the Greek army. This departure leads to the defeat of the Greeks and the killing of Agamemnon by Trojan hero Hector. When this happens Achilleus joins the battle once again and kills Hector.


The Odyssey is the story of the homecoming of another Greek hero Odysseus. Odysseus was not famous for his strength or bravery, but for his ability to deceive and trick. He was not in good terms with the gods so they didn’t let him return home till his tenth year so he could fight off suitors of his wife. It talks about all the difficulties he faced over the course of ten years.


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One of the characteristics of a good story, now as then, is that the audience must be captivated. Homer achieves this using many different techniques. He composed the Odyssey and the Iliad in long lines of six beats each called Dactylic Hexameter, which the ancients thought suited the formality of epic poetry. In every other sense as well, including the nature of the language and the subject, the verse of Homer is poetry. Most significantly, Homers verses were meant to be heard, not read. Its power and beauty come from several effects, chiefly the musicality of the language and the marked rhythm of the line. He uses a lot of metaphors, suspense, and supernatural. Homer has a constant repetition of phrases, whole lines, and even passages that make his writing style very distinctive. This way of composing helps the audience in remembering details of the story. While we may find this merely repetitive, even annoying, the ancient audience was listening, not reading, and enjoying the play of words and language. These repetitions are essential to the oral style of composition called oral-formulaic. In oral-formulaic traditions, generations of poet performers develop a special poetic language that consists of a number of musical phrases and longer story elements out of which long narrative poems are constructed. In the Iliad when he mentions Achilleus it is complemented by the phrase “of the swift feet”. His began many speeches with phrases “Then in answer again spoke…” and “So he spoke.” There are very important words repeatedly used in Homer’s works honor, virtue, and greatness.











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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ira dryfuss summary

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In Ira Dryfuss’ essay, “Boys and girls view risk differently, study finds”, Dryfuss discusses the studies of two different researchers and their findings on how children view risks based on gender.


Professor Morrongiello of University of Guelph in Ontario looked at risk assessments among 0 Ontario schoolchildren, ages 6-10. The studies showed that boys were less likely to see an injury as severe and caused by bad luck, while girls would simply avoid the situation if any potential for injury was present.


Researcher Licette Peterson, a professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia, tested children with virtual simulations of riding bicycles on the street. Her findings show that girls brake sooner and are more fearful of pain than that of boys.


Some researchers say that the reason boys and girls view risks differently could be a genetic tendency, the result of social conditioning, or a combination of the two, why girls are more fearful is still not known.


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In Ira Dryfuss’ essay, “Boys and girls view risk differently, study finds”, Dryfuss discusses the studies of two different researchers and their findings on how children view risks based on gender.


Professor Morrongiello of University of Guelph in Ontario looked at risk assessments among 0 Ontario schoolchildren, ages 6-10. The studies showed that boys were less likely to see an injury as severe and caused by bad luck, while girls would simply avoid the situation if any potential for injury was present.


Researcher Licette Peterson, a professor at the University of Missouri in Columbia, tested children with virtual simulations of riding bicycles on the street. Her findings show that girls brake sooner and are more fearful of pain than that of boys.





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Thursday, April 18, 2013

How closely has Mark Herman adapted "little Voice" from Tennesse Williams' "Glass Menagerie"?

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Mark Herman’s Little Voice and Tennessee Williams Glass Menagerie are very similar, in many ways yet the two also have their many differences. In both stories, the girl, Laura or LV is searching for freedom, and they live in a one-parent family where the dad either died or ran off a long time ago.


The Glass Menagerie is set in America in the 140’s-150’s. The Wingfield family consists of Amanda Amanda is physically small, full of life, but grasping for another era of gentility or civility that no longer exists, however is also admirable, pitiable and laughable at the same time; Laura is the daughter of Amanda and the brother of tom. She is crippled and walks with a limp and a brace. Laura has retreated into her own fragile world that centers around her collection of glass figurines; Tom is an aspiring poet, and works at the warehouse to support his sister and mother. He can’t take much more of the numbing life he now leads; he plans to make an escape.


The Glass Menagerie is a memory play. Tom is the narrator and it is through his memory that we gain access to the action of the play. He is a struggling poet, working miserably at the shoe warehouse to support his mother (Amanda) and sister (Laura). The father ran away years ago and except for one postcard, he was never heard from again.


The family situation is like a time bomb waiting to go off. Laura is a bashful, modest and reserved creature who has retreated from her world into a world or her own making a collection of glass animals. Amanda is a woman grasping desperately for the elegant fashion of her youth, now non-existent. Although she wants the best for her children, her nagging and intervention are overwhelming. Tom cannot bear this life for much longer, Movies offer him an escape through vicarious adventure, but it is now no longer enough. He feels the urge to follow his father’s footsteps and find adventure of his own.


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Afraid that Laura will end up an unmarried woman, Amanda is obsessed with the idea of a gentleman caller. The drama centers around a visit from one such witting young man, and its disastrous effect on Laura’s fragile universe.


Little Voice is set in the 10’s in England. The main character LV is played by Jane Horrocks, she is in her young 0’s, she has negative traits about herself which are that she is pessimistic and secretive, LV is extremely sensitive in the way that she is na├»ve, has feelings of guilt, self doubt, sad, scared, shy, insecure, and is emotionally vulnerable and insecure. Mari (played by Brenda Blethyn) is LV’s mother. She is in her mid 40’s, and her negative traits are jealousy, she is burned out, unapologetic, domineering, demanding, quick to anger, greedy, cynical, and money angry.


Little Voice is a magical musical comedy chat the power and perils of expression. Little Voice is based on one of London’s most acclaimed hit plays called “ the rise and Fall of Little Voice”. The story follows the mysterious LV, who lives in the dark attic of an untidy disheveled house on a dead end street in a seaside town of Northern England. Ever since her father’s death, LV has been silent, spending her days listening to his incredible, classic record collection and living in the enchanted charm of his favourite singers and performers. Meanwhile, her motor mouthed mother Mari is living it up, continuing on a boozy cruise for exciting lovers.


Then a man struts into Mari’s life Ray Say, a sleazy and spectacularly unsuccessful local talent agent. Meanwhile LV has a revolutionary run-in of her own with a man almost as shy as she is-a telephone repairman named Bill, who isn’t much for vocal communication. It is the first time that anyone other than her father, has paid any attention to her.


LV may not speak, but she does sing, uncannily capturing the legendary inflections and personas of Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Shirley Bassey, and Marilyn Monroe. Just as things were opening up for LV, Ray Say, hears the magical strains of Judy Garland coming from her room, and realizes that that is no ghost, it’s LV. Stunned by her talent, he smells the big time. Desperation and dreams collide as he and Mari stake everything on making the terrified LV into a star. When LV’s private gift becomes a public spectacle, she stands in the crossroads of losing her soul, or finding her own true voice.


In Little Voice there is no Tom. However Tom’s character in Glass Menagerie is made into the character Ray Say’s in Little Voice. Other differences between the two are that in the Glass Menagerie, the father had run away years ago, and in Little Voice, the father had died. In Glass Menagerie, Laura did not sing as in Little voice, however she still listened and loved her fathers records. In both stories, there is a picture hanging from LV’s/Laura’s room, of their father. Although he doesn’t appear in the movie or play, he still plays a major role in the development of LV/ Laura. It is the father figure in Little Voice that makes her into a singing Diva. Before Mari knew that LV could sing as well as she could, Mari paid no attention to her at all, but as soon as she found out that her daughters special talent could earn her money, she did everything to get her up on stage. Finally this got too much for LV, and she blew up at her. She got sick of all that her mother did to treat her like dirt. She yelled and screamed at her, telling her that she was sick of it. This would never of happened in Glass Menagerie because in the 140’s, to yell at ones mother like that would be totally disrespectful. Another difference between the two is that Glass Menagerie is set in the time of poverty, it is clear that the Wingfield family are struggling with their everyday life because of the money aspect. Little Voice seems to have no upfront problems with money.


In both stories, Laura and LV are searching for freedom. Laura in Glass Menagerie is searching for freedom from the constant bickering between Tom, Amanda and herself. LV is searching for freedom from her mother’s promiscuous behaviour. In Little Voice, LV finds love in Bill. Bill is the telephone repairman. Bill and LV can relate to each other because neither Bill nor LV were ones for verbal communication. Bill expresses his emotions and feelings through the love for his pigeons, while LV expresses herself through her singing, mostly towards her father.


There was one stage in Glass Menagerie when Laura though that she could’ve fallen in love. This was with Jim O’Connor. Jim was a star in high school, where he knew both tom and Laura. Now he is a shipping clerk at the warehouse where Tom also works. He is an ordinary guy with a straightforward vision of success. Tom invited him over to dinner after Amanda was worried of Laura ending up a spinster (unmarried woman). Amanda nagged him to bring home someone for Laura to meet. By the end of the night, Jim had really made Laura come out of her shell. However all hopes of love were shattered, when at the end of the night, Jim announced that he was to be married later that year.


Glass Menagerie and Little Voice are very similar in the way that the characters have the same character traits, and the story line is similar, but the two are also very different. Mark Herman adapted his Little Voice from Williams’ Glass Menagerie, very well because it is not too similar and not too different. It had to be different in some ways because of the plagiarism and copyright laws. The two stories are so alike, yet so different which is what made the adaptation from Glass Menagerie to Little Voice so well done.





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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

History Family Traditions

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A change of traditions..


B) My family’s traditions have changed so much since we have moved to America. We don’t cook the same or talk the same or even read the same. I miss speaking Italian I even miss writing it and it is funny to look back and think that one day I would miss writing at all cause I had to write so much in elementary school the whole alphabet and I used to get frustrated but now it comes so easy. I wish we could still do the same things we used to but my Father says that here we have to be normal here we have to be Americans he says this so often that when I close my eyes I can imagine the exact expression that he has on his face while he says it. ( A scrunched up nose and narrowed twinkling eyes and with a big broad fake smile across his face.) ; But I guess I have adjusted , I had to.


G) Everyday at work this BOY walks by he looks like he is about Milo’s age. He is very cute but he appears to be very clumsy because every time he passes he always looks in my direction, and so much that he always tends to trip on something or run into someone or something however I find it kind of funny and well....kind of cute. I wonder if he will ever try to talk to me? I wonder if he is courting anyone? Could I be in love or something wait no I don’t even know this mystery boy but I want to. Maybe sometime I can say something to him. Maybe tomorrow I will try to sell him some fruit. Ohh but I were the fruit taken home with him. He looks Irish he has BRIGHT blue eyes and dark blond hair he is quiet tall too. I think I am going to try to talk to him. Father always said I was too outgoing but he also said he always loved that about me. So maybe other people including this boy will too....hopefully




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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Heart of Darkness

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The Helmsman


Chapter , Page 85, Paragraph


“No; I cant forget him, though I am not prepared to affirm the fellow was exactly worth the life we lost in getting to him. I missed my late helmsman awfully, -I missed him even while his body was still lying in the pilot-house.”


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A helmsman is usually considered a servant of small means, but this particular helmsman was of great value and importance to Marlow, which causes him to miss him.


Chapter , Page 86, Paragraph 0


“I had made up my mind that if my late helmsman was to be eaten, the fishes alone should have him. He had been a very second-rate helmsman while alive, but now he was dead he might have become a first-class temptation, and possibly cause some startling trouble.”


It is Marlow’s decision that it would be dishonorable to allow cannibals to ravage the body of such a valuable servant.


The Russian


Chapter , Page 6, Paragraph 4


The Russian was explaining to me that it was only lately that Mr. Kurtz had come


down to the river, bringing along with him all the fighting men of that lake tribe. He had been absent for several months-getting himself adored, I suppose-and had come down unexpectedly, with the intention to all appearance of making a raid either across the river or down stream. Evidently the appetite for more ivory had got the better of the-what shall I say? -less material aspirations. However he had got much worse suddenly. I heard he was lying helpless, and so I came up-took my chance, said the Russian. Oh, he is bad, very bad.


This quote exhibits the Russian’s high regard for Kurtz in that he alters his story to make Kurtz sound more favorable.


Chapter , Page 8, Paragraph 6


The admirer of Mr. Kurtz was a bit crestfallen. In a hurried, indistinct voice he began to assure me he had not dared to take these-say, symbols-down. He was not afraid of the natives; they would not stir till Mr. Kurtz gave the word.


The Russian has blind faith in Kurtz. His sole motivation for his actions is Kurtz’s commands.


The African Woman


Chapter , Page 10, Paragraph 14


“She was savage and superb, wild-eyed and magnificent.”


The African woman displays great beauty and poise, even though she shouldn’t be thought of this way because she is a savage.


Chapter , Page 10, Paragraph 15


“She came abreast of the steamer, stood still, and faced us. Her long shadow fell to the waters edge. Her face had a tragic and fierce aspect of wild sorrow and of dumb pain mingled with the fear of some struggling, half-shaped resolve.”


The African woman exhibits sincerity through the language of her body and the expressions of her face. She possesses a sort of savage honesty.


The Intended


Chapter , Page 16


“A clean-shaven man, with an official manner and wearing gold-rimmed spectacles, called on me one day and made inquiries, at first circuitous, afterwards suavely pressing, about what he was pleased to denominate certain ‘documents.’


The Intended has the demeanor of a trustworthy person due to his peaceful disposition and unruffled manner. He appears as though he could be trusted with the documents.


Chapter , Page 156


“His mother had died lately, watched over, as I was told, by his Intended.”


Because the Intended had watched over Kurtz’s ailing mother, Kurtz sees him as reliable and dedicated.





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Saturday, January 26, 2013

House of Mirth

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House of Mirth


Loneliness of a protagonist seems to be the prevalent theme throughout Edith Whartons novel, The House of Mirth. The following passage relates to the theme of loneliness and dramatizes Lily Barts dilemma of poverty All she looked on was the same and yet changed. There was a great gulf fixed between today and yesterday. Everything in the past seemed simple, natural, full of daylight-and she was alone in a place of darkness and pollution.-Alone! It was the loneliness that frightened her. (p.14) The passage shows the abrupt loneliness Lily feels since she loses her friends, and it also dramatizes her poverty by enabling her to reach a startling realization about herself. Lily realizes that the loneliness she feels is not due to not having friends or money, but the fact that she had been living a life so poor in purpose or reason. Lily begins to feel lonely after she quickly loses the company of her friends. In the past, she enjoyed a simple life of playing bridge and attending fancy dinners with the wealthy women of high society.


But now, her reputation is shattered and she realizes the women in her society are cruel and would not hesitate to talk about her behind her back. She knew, moreover, that if the ladies at Bellomont permitted themselves to criticize her friends openly, it was a proof that they were not afraid of subjecting her to the same treatment behind her back. (p.15) Lily feels so lonely that she is desperate in rebuilding her reputation, and the first step in the tedious task was to find out, as soon as possible, on how many of her friends she could count. (p. 17) But without the money and luxuries that her old friends had, Lily finds she has even fewer friends to count on that she thought, making it very difficult to regain her position in high society. Lilys increasing poverty, in addition to the loss of all her old friends continues to make her feel lonely.


The painful fact that she owes Gus Trenor nine thousand dollars is a hard blow on Lily. Lily knows she is alone in a terrible position, and feels trapped She seemed a stranger to herself, or rather there were two selves in her, the one she had always known, and a new abhorrent being to which it found itself chained. (p. 14) Suddenly she is no longer the strikingly beautiful Lily Bart that everyone attends to, but a poor and lonely woman in a crowded restaurant whose eyes sought the faces about her, craving a responsive glance, some sign of an intuition of her trouble. (p.0) Lilys feelings of loneliness are heightened when she discovers that she did not inherit her Aunt Julias estate. A large sum of money could easily alleviate most of her worries and loneliness. She knows that if she had money she could pay off all of her debts and maybe go on to win back her friends. Thats why her aunt Julias death is not as shocking as expected; she could use her inheritance to pay off the debts and to finally put an end to the feelings of loneliness caused by them. But after the reading of the will, Lily stood apart from the general movement, feeling herself for the first time utterly alone. (p. 1) She knows that the women would have accepted her if she had inherited the entire estate, They were afraid to snub me while they thought I was going to get the money-afterward they scuffled off as if I had the plague. (p.14) Without the money, Lily continues to live alone and helpless.


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Lily Barts dilemma of poverty is dramatized when Lily feels a different kind of loneliness, one that leads her to a horrifying self-realization. This new loneliness that she feels is not due to material poverty, but of deeper empoverishment-of an inner destitution compared to which outward conditions dwindled into insignificance. (p. 06) Being poor made Lily feel lonely, but now she is sickened by the realization that her life quickly passed by without any meaning or substance. While other women married and lived rich lives, or worked for charitable causes like Gerty Farish, she saw that there had never been a time when she had had any real relation to life...Such a vision of the solidarity of life had never before come to Lily. (p. 06-7) Lilys dilemma of poverty and now this deeper impoverishment is further dramatized when Lily feels moments of happiness before falling asleep at the end of the novel. Before falling asleep Lily feels Nettie Struthers baby against her arm she suddenly understood why she did not feel herself alone…Nettie Struthers child was laying on her arm…but she felt no great surprise at the fact, only a gentle penetrating thrill of warmth and pleasure. (p. 10)


Lily finds comfort in Netties baby and cherishes its essence. Netties child gives hope, and confirms Lilys new beliefs that she could find happiness within a lifestyle less than luxurious. Without the discomfort of loneliness, Lily peacefully falls asleep believing that she could beat the odds like Nettie Struther had done. After losing all of her friends and all of her money, Lilys sudden loneliness enables her to realize that her life was fleeting and insignificant. Her carefree days are over and her shallow friends gone. Lily had no heart to lean on, (p. 14) and the pains of being poor and lonely lead her to realize that her life had passed quickly with nearly no purpose or reason. But Nettie Struthers child, a symbol of perseverance offers a glimmer of hope and eternal peace. The novel ends dramatically when Lily dies still feeling Netties child beside her, with all her debts paid, and all the loneliness vanished; yet Lily Bart is still something rootless and ephemeral, mere spindrift of the whirling surface of existence. (p. 06) To conclude, I must point out that woman’s reputation of the historical period depicted in the book seemed to be more seriously treated than it is nowadays. Any woman back had to face the necessity of constant self-control in her words and actions. This factor was oftentimes a main obstacle to self-realization of women.





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