By reading works written by both Thoreau and Emerson, I can tell that they both have similar thoughts about life. Both writers interpreted the concept of nature into their work, while using it as a metaphor for life. They both seem to believe in the idea of the simplicity of life, and that nature is part of a bigger picture that we are just living in. The first portion of “Where I Lived and What I Lived For?” revolved around the main idea that life should be lived in a simple manner. He says that your life will be the most enjoyable if you live simply instead of being too caught up in all the little details. The main point of “The Conclusion” is that you should do things your own way and be yourself. This main idea is closely related to that of Emerson’s “Self-Reliance,” which talks about how you will feel a greater sense of pride if you do things on your own. Thoreau’s leaving society behind and living in the woods experiment would highlight the simplicity of life. This would almost be like leaving society and focusing on yourself. You would be able to leave behind the worries of trying to “fit in” or please society. I think we all need to find ourselves a little more because we are seeing way too many people trying to imitate others. If I were to do this experiment, I think that I would miss being around and interacting with people. Even though not everyone is always pleasant to be around, I think that is what keeps life interesting. Life would probably become very boring. I would say that I would be able to do the experiment for a little while, and then I would become really bored. The biggest lesson that anyone could learn from transcendentalism is that we need to embrace our individuality instead of trying hide our differences. We need to create our own paths and accomplish our own goals. We need to embrace nature as well. We get too caught up in trying to please society that we forget to live simply.
I think the purpose of independent reading is to encourage students to read. Most students despise reading, so most of the time they wont even pick up a book unless they are basically forced to. I feel like AR is there with good intentions, but it really isn’t effective. Most of the time students don’t actually read a book because nobody really has enough time. We are constantly being loaded with new assignments along with having to deal with all of our other activities that go on throughout our daily lives. In order to encourage reading more often, I believe schools should offer extra credit for AR rather than it being a required assignment. Most students are always looking for an extra credit opportunity, so I feel like this would give them more motivation to actually read a book. Also, I think we should being given more in class time to read.
The book I chose for the third quarter is Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley. I chose this book because the description seemed interesting to me. The book begins with a note to Henry written by Rachel. The first chapter is from Rachel’s point of view, and she is mostly just talking about the death of her brother Cal, and how she misses him. I think this book is going to be a love story between Henry and Rachel because they are going to reconnect. Henry will help Rachel get through this tragedy and the two will live happily ever after. So basically I think this book is going to be one of your typical love stories. I thought the first chapter was interesting, so I think I am actually going to enjoy this book. My only concern for making this book trailer is that is sounds like it is going to take a lot of time.
At first I really didn’t understand what the excerpts by Emerson were trying to say, and honestly I still really do not understand the full concept of it all that well. Transcendentalism seems like a really intimidating word at first, but really the meaning is actually quite simple. I think that Transcendentalism is definitely something that everyone needs to think about. The definition that my group came up with for Transcendentalism is the rebelling against the “nature” or normal actions of society in efforts to become more deeply understanding of what it truly means to be human. According to the transcendentalists, man is naturally good. I somewhat agree with this because I also believe that man is naturally good, but man becomes evil. If you think about it, babies have such an innocence about them because they have not yet been corrupted by the ills of our society. I think a person becomes “evil” based on their experiences as they grow up or by the people that influence and set examples for them. If a person grows up in a household or community where they are taught a certain way, that is what influences their actions as they get older. Also, I think that society is really the thing that turns people into evil. There are standards that people feel the need to meet in order to be accepted, and most of the time these standards tend to be evil. “Nature” is trying to make the connection as to whether nature was created for humans or if humans are just living in nature. I believe that we are just living in nature because in reality humans are such a tiny part of what nature really is. As people become caught up in their lives they tend to forget about all the things they do that damage nature. People are brought up doing certain habits that kill the environment. The rules in our society try to cut down on the amounts of evil that develops in the world, but these rules cannot stop all of the evils in the world. This idea also ties into “Self Reliance” because this excerpt tells about the idea how people lose themselves while trying to fit into society.
Arguments happen every single day. In every aspect of your life there is always going to be somebody out there that has a different opinion than you. My point of view on arguments and debates has changed drastically since we started this unit in class. Before, I never really realized how important it was to do your research. In order to construct a good argument against something, you need to have a good understanding of both sides of a topic. If you are someone who is just a spectator in an argument, the way someone presents reasoning to his or her side can really alter your view or stance on that topic. Sometimes people present good facts or reasoning to why they are right, while other times they tend to say, “Because I said so,” or some other invalid reason. This is a common phrase used by adults because they don’t have another good reason prepared. Typically in everyday life you don’t have your facts or statistics prepared, so your argument may be weaker. In real life situations people also tend to use tons and tons of fallacies without anyone noticing it. In class, the person with the better facts and reasoning usually appeared to be “right” because they were able to convince you more. I am not going to lie, this project was a lot of work. Researching was the part that was the hardest and took the longest. Developing the constructive, cross-examination and closing portions of the speech weren’t all that bad, but the rebuttal was extremely difficult. It was really hard to think of what to say on the spot. The best debate to watch in class was the textbooks vs tablets debate. I enjoyed this one because both sides had very good reasoning as to why they were right. Also their questions really highlighted the weaknesses in each side which was pretty entertaining when one of them struggled to answer a question without admitting that their side was wrong. They both had a really strong rebuttal as well which made the debate extremely even. Overall, this debate process has really taught me how to make a strong argument in order to prove that I am right. I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed this assignment because it took a lot of work, but I can say that I enjoyed it much more than our other units such as poetry and short stories.
My topic for the debate was racism in police. My opinion on the topic has changed slightly over time. In the beginning I thought that most of the time the media blows police violence out of proportion. After studying a lot about how racism is shown in police, I am now about 50-50 on this topic. I do still believe that sometimes the full story is not shown, so it looks worse for the cop than it actually was. On the other hand I do believe that racism is present, just like it is in any aspect of our society. The most interesting thing that I found was the fact that blacks only make up about 13% of our population yet they account for 25% of total deaths by police. This is interesting to me because it is so disproportional. Others should find this important because it should make them aware that blacks are being targeted at such a high rate. Before doing research, I did not know this fact. I found it on www.mappingpoliceviolence.org.
An emotional element for my topic is the fact that blacks are afraid to do certain things such as wearing their hood up in fear that they would be attacked by a police officer. Also, sadness plays a huge role in this topic. It is basically about violence and death. This is a very heavy topic because who wants to hear about the mass amounts of people being killed? There weren’t a whole lot of emotional supporting reasons to defend this topic, but I don’t think I really had to activate emotional appeal because it is already a topic that weighs heavy on the emotions of many people black and white.
Ethics come into play because most of my side of the argument is about doing the right thing. It is the right thing to give everyone fair opportunities without racial profiling them. Justice enters the debate because many people believe police officers should be taken off of the force if they use their authority in the wrong way against minorities. It is wrong to attack a harmless citizen just because their skin color makes them look suspicious. An ethical argument against my topic would be that in order to keep our country safe, it is the right thing to do to question anyone looking the slightest bit suspicious. An argument in favor of my topic would be that racial profiling is just the wrong thing to do.
Logical appeal is definitely the most important for my topic because it is the strongest supporting evidence. Logical is the most commonly used because it shows strong evidence in the statistics that support and deny the argument that there is racism in police. The most fallacious argument is by saying that all police officers are racist because that is not necessarily true. I have learned a lot by doing this project. One thing I have learned is that that there are many steps in the process of creating a valid argument. The best way to prove your side of the argument is by using facts and logic. Also, you must be aware of both sides of an argument so that you can be ready to argue against anything they might say. This will really prepare me and allow me to be able to have better arguments in the future.
My topic for the debate is racism in police. My position on the topic is that I believe that racism is occurring among police officers. For my personal opinion, I believe that there is racism occurring among SOME police officers. There are a handful of cops that have taken things too far against a person of the opposite skin color. This does not mean that all officers are racist. There are many officers who do not discriminate among certain groups. They go about their day and handle situations professionally. I believe these types of violent incidents occur between two white individuals just as often as they occur between a black and a white. It seems as if it only occurs between the two races because those are mostly the only incidents that are brought to the media’s attention. Also, sometimes events are portrayed on the media without having all of the facts. This can cause the situation to look different than how it actually occurred.
I know that this topic has become a major controversy in America today, especially since awareness has been brought about in big stages such as the National Football League. I did a basic Google search and a bunch of articles concerning the “White Racism” class at Florida University came up. Also, there are many articles that talk about police shootings. I plan to address this topic logically by talking about the statistics of how much police violence occurs between a white cop and a black citizen. An ethical aspect of this argument is that treating everyone equal is the right thing to do. Everyone deserves the same rights no matter their race, ethnicity or gender. One way to approach this topic emotionally is to say that how would you feel if someone very close to you was murdered by a police officer primarily based on the color of their skin.
Is eating breakfast in the morning a must, or can you go without it? The article I chose argued that eating breakfast is essential if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I’m sure that you have all heard the phrase, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” This phrase has been engraved into our minds, and for years we have been told that eating breakfast is the right thing to do. Ever since we were little, people have convinced us that eating breakfast is a must. This is not completely true because eating breakfast may not work for everyone. Some people are physically unable to eat breakfast in the morning because it causes them to feel sick to their stomachs. Why would you want to do that if it makes you sick? Most people believe that eating breakfast prevents you from eating more throughout the day, which leads to weight loss. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that breakfast eaters do no better or worse in terms of weight loss than those who don’t eat breakfast. This study shows that in reality, breakfast has no direct impact on weight. If you think about it, most breakfast foods aren’t even healthy for you. Many breakfast eaters don’t have time to cook a nice, big, healthy breakfast every day, so they just grab a sugary donut or a bowl of cereal. Studies have shown that breakfast eaters actually tend to become more hungry during they day than those who do not eat breakfast. Since they become more hungry, they will snack more often. Also, sometimes you just aren’t hungry in the mornings. I don’t think anybody here wants to force themselves to eat if they are not hungry. Eating breakfast in the morning just tends to be a hassle for many people. In order to eat a proper breakfast in the morning, you have to wake up much earlier than you would if you didn’t. It just takes a lot of time and energy. Let’s be real here, who really wants to wake up earlier than they have to? Overall, breakfast really isn’t the most important meal of the day. In some instances, it may be beneficial, but it really is just a personal preference. If you like breakfast, then eat it. If you don’t like breakfast, then don’t eat it. It really will not have a large affect on your health.
When I first heard about this experiment I knew it was going to be pretty difficult. If you really think about it, it is very hard if not impossible to go through a day without violating at least one virtue. By doing this experiment for myself, I realized just how easy it is to violate one without even thinking twice about it. Some of them relate so closely to each other that you can violate one while trying to obey another. Over the course of the experiment I realized that industry, silence, cleanliness, and tranquility were the most difficult for me to follow. Basically every weekday of the experiment I broke industry because I would put off doing my homework for as long as I could. I also broke it over the weekend because I had time where I could have done my homework, but I decided to watch Netflix instead. This explains why I am writing this at 8 o’clock Sunday night. I guess this also goes along with resolution because I keep saying that I am going to get a head start on my assignments, but that never happens. I broke silence a lot too because it is very hard to avoid “useless” conversation. Whenever I see someone, I usually like to be friendly and make conversation with them. At the time you really don’t see a conversation as useless because you are just being friendly. I broke the virtue of cleanliness quite easily because my room is always a disaster. Over the whole course of the experiment my room has had clothes all over the place. On Friday night I had my first basketball game of the season. I broke the virtue of tranquility because of course I got angry at the little things such as missing a foul shot and other stuff that I would do wrong throughout the game. The refs were also blind, shocker, which also didn’t help too much. I was also kind of proud of myself because there were quite a few that I didn’t violate at all. Overall, I have to really give a lot of credit to Ben Franklin for going through with this experiment for a whole year.
I didn’t really like this poem at all. The main reason I didn’t like it was because it was extremely confusing, and the first few times that I read it I had absolutely no clue at all what was going on. It was hard to read because it didn’t rhyme or follow a specific stanzaic from. This poem contained way too many allusions. I wasn’t familiar with any of them, which is probably what made the analyzing process so difficult for me. Some questions that I would ask are…Why doesn’t the poem follow a specific form? What inspired you to write a poem like this? How did you choose the allusions that you did? Why did you include so many allusions? What exactly is the theme of the work?
After reading the poem multiple times, I still don’t understand it all that well. I had to carefully read each line in order to somewhat grasp the concept of the poem. I feel as if in order to be able to understand the the poem completely, you have to very thoroughly understand each allusion and metaphor in the poem. One of the allusions that helped me understand the poem a little bit was, “So much depends upon…” It is saying that there is so much that depend on the little things in life. It then goes on to say, “A smile.” This somewhat clarifies the title of the poem for me because it is showing that a smile is one of those little things in life that make a difference. The allusion of “Reliant self” gave me the impression that the author was trying to say that the only person that is truly able to make you happy is yourself. I was thrown for a loop just as I began thinking that I knew what the poem was trying to say. The author started talking about the downfall in society and how the mermaids wont sing to him. Also, the topic of fate is mentioned multiple times throughout the poem. What exactly is the point that the author is trying to make with all of this? Honestly, I really don’t know. I feel like this poem is bound to have a great meaning behind it, but it is way too complex for me. I can’t wait to be done analyzing poetry.
Writing poetry is definitely not a strong suit of mine. This was one of the more difficult assignments for me because I am not creative at all. The hardest part of the process was deciding what in the world to write my poem about. I went back and forth between so many ideas before finally settling on one, and by then I was already very irritated. Before this assignment, I never realized how much actually goes into writing poetry. There are many aspects that have to “match up” in order for the poem to be “correct.” Unless your poem is free verse, you need to make sure each line follows a specific form, rhyme, and rhythm. The rhyming part was pretty easy, but the hardest part for me was trying to get my point across in a certain number of syllables. I found that a poem that follows a specific stanzaic form was easier to write than a free verse. In free verse you have to have a specific reason for ending each line. Also, I don’t like free verse poems as much because they usually don’t sound as nice. I knew from the poems that I liked and disliked that mine was definitely going to follow a specific form and rhyme scheme. My first poem took me a while, and I thought that my final product was actually pretty good…somebody grading the poem apparently didn’t think so.
Overall, I have never enjoyed reading and analyzing poetry because 99% of the time the meaning of the poem is buried so deep that it is virtually impossible for normal people to understand. I am not saying that I would write poetry for fun, but I actually would rather write my own poem than read them. If I write my own, then I can make up my own meanings rather than tying to interpret somebody else’s thoughts. I still feel that poets go through way too much trouble to get their point across. I can say that this process has given me so much more respect for poets. It takes a lot of creativity and patience to be able to get your point across in such a small amount of space and follow so many rules.