Citizen Kane

This film isn’t the worst thing we’ve done this year. Interviewing the different characters made it interesting to watch, and the mystery around what rosebud meant kept my interest for the most part. Some of the scenes were kind of weird and uncomfortable, but that was on purpose, so I think it’s pretty deserving of its consistent high ranking as one of the best films. It was well done, but I don’t think I would watch it in my free time. It wasn’t terrible for if I absolutely have to watch it in class though. This film shows the ugly side of the American Dream. Kane had the classic rags to riches story that the American Dream revolves around. Once his mother pretty much sold him off to a bank, Kane went from his poor family to unreasonably rich. He was so rich that his reaction to losing a million dollars a year on a newspaper company was that he’ll just have to stop in sixty years, which I thought was actually pretty funny. Even though he is a great American Dream success story, Kane is still unhappy. This film is a great example of the classic saying that money can’t buy happiness. Kane has all of the money and giant houses and newspapers and statues that he could ever buy, but he doesn’t have what he really wants. Kane doesn’t have the love that he spends most of the film trying to buy. His second wife points this out when she leaves him. She tells him that he only tries to buy people’s love without actually giving anything back. Kane gives his wife all the material gifts she could ever want, which were as big and expensive as building an entire own opera house just for her, but he doesn’t give her the things she truly cares about. He doesn’t giver her any love, but he expects her to love him. Kane’s mother is the first person that plays a part in Kane being unhappy. Instead of being raised by his family, Kane is sent off to the bank to grow up. Being sent away from your house and family as a child is very upsetting, and when Kane dies, he thinks about the last day he had with his family before he went to the bank, which is shown by his final word being the name of the sled he was riding. As Kane got older, many other people impacted his search for happiness. His best friend tries to show him what really matters by sending Kane his old declaration of principals and refusing a $25,000 check when Kane fired him, but Kane doesn’t learn his lesson. Kane’s bad morals show again when Jim Gettys threatens to expose the fact that Kane has a mistress, but Kane cares more about his budding political career than how this news will affect his wife and child. Choosing his career over his family is one of the ways that Kane has a misguided sense of what will make him happy. He would rather try to buy the love of the people he is running to govern than care about his family. Money prevents Kane from being happy. He said himself that he might have been a great man if he hadn’t been rich.

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The Love Blog of a Pretty Disillusioned Town

I didn’t hate “Disillusionment of 10 o’clock” as much as the other two poems. I thought it was a cute little poem. I also thought that “anyone lived in a pretty how town” was kind of interesting. It was definitely very confusing the first few times I read it, but I think the idea behind it is really cute with a person named Anyone and a person named Noone. I didn’t really like “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” as much as the other ones. Each of the poems has a similar theme that is just described slightly differently. The theme of “Disillusionment of 10 o’clock” is to be yourself, even if everyone around you wants to be exactly like each other. Stephens describes everyone as being the same very clearly when he talks about their nightgowns. Everyone just has plain white nightgowns because no one wants to be different and colorful. Stephens says that “none of them are strange,” so they don’t get to see strange and wonderful things like dreaming of baboons and periwinkles. The only person that gets to experience the interesting things in life is the drunken sailor that “Catches Tigers / In red weather.” In “anyone lived in a pretty how town,” the theme of everyone is the same shows up again. Cummings describes a guy named Anyone that is in love with a girl named Noone. By using the names Anyone and Noone, the poem can be related to anyone reading the poem. Cummings uses generalities so that it describes any town in any place at any time. By pointing out the similarities of every town that makes this poem so widely relatable, Cummings develops the theme of the similarities between everyone. The theme in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is similar to “Disillusionment of 10 o’clock” in that it shows everyone being the same as a bad thing. This poem criticizes people that are the same by using a low class narrator to comment on higher class society. The narrator sleeps in “one-night cheap hotels” and eats at ” sawdust restaurants,” which tells the reader that he is poor. He comments on the upper class ladies that sit around “Talking of Michelangelo” and tries to decide if it is worth it to try to fit in with them. When he is around them he feels like he is “pinned and wriggling on the wall,” so he asks if it is worth it to try to be something he isn’t just to fit in. I think that “anyone lived in a pretty how town” is most applicable to society. Because of the extreme generalization, the poem can be applied to any situation to point out how everyone does the same things every day.  nonconforming-egg-small

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Frogs, Finn, and iMom

As fun as the FBLA trip was, it was awful missing three days of school. I had no idea what was happening when I read  “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” because I missed anything that was explained before we read it. It was an interesting story, but I didn’t really get it. I still don’t really get it because I missed going over it after everyone read it too. I did think it was well written though. The difference between the more educated narrator and the other character’s speech was interesting. I’m still not totally sure what point Twain was trying to make because again, I missed the entire lesson on this story. I’m just a little salty. I think that he is commenting on how we judge other people based on assumptions.

I really don’t know anything about Huckleberry Finn. Everything I know is just from the little introduction that we got in class today. Based on what we were told and the short story we already read, I’m anticipating a lot of satire (obliviously) and a lot of accents when characters speak. I’m excited to read Huckleberry Finn because I think that Twain is a good writer, and I’ll actually be there to be told what is actually going on, so maybe I’ll actually understand this story. My saltiness aside, I really have no idea of what is going to happen in Huckleberry Finn, but I’m excited.

Watching iMom was very creepy. The whole time it was dark with creepy music which definitely helps get their point across. The film was clearly satirizing how we depend too much on technology. Parents just shirked off their responsibilities to iMom so that they could go and party, and it doesn’t end well. A robot can’t completely replace a human, and the boy in the film thought so up until iMom was there to help him when his real mom left. Then it gets really scary because he starts to see her as more of a real mom than a robot that he hates. The film was very effective in making the point that it is bad to depend so much on technology. The ending was horrifying. I think that this film has a good point. Robots shouldn’t completely replace people. They can be useful for some things, but they shouldn’t be the only thing that we depend on. Lots of things can go wrong with technology, like cooking a baby instead of a chicken.

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Satire is a very common form of humor, but we don’t really ever acknowledge that it’s satire. Making fun of people, especially politicians, is pretty common. There are a lot of TV shows based off of satire that are really popular, but no one ever really calls it that, so you don’t really make that connection right away. Even though satire is common, the type of humor I really love is puns. If someone makes a bad pun I will almost definitely start genuinely laughing really hard. Just on Friday I was walking down the hallway and I started laughing because of one of the pictures on Mr. Perry’s door. It wasn’t even just a smile or anything, it was a full on laugh. The picture wasn’t even that funny. It was a picture of a cell in front of a chalkboard doing long division. It took me a second to figure it out, but once I put it together that it was cell division, I started laughing. I’ll laugh at almost anything really, but I absolutely love puns. Every sing time that I walk into Mr. Dodge’s room I laugh at this picture.

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This picture makes me laugh every time I see it without fail. It just absolutely cracks me up. Most of the pictures outside of teacher’s doors really aren’t even that funny but they never fail to make me laugh. If someone makes a pun, I instantly want to be their friend. I just love puns, and the fact that a lot of people don’t like them just makes me want to make them more often honestly.

I really don’t know much about Mark Twain. I’m vaguely aware that he wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and we were told on Friday that he writes a lot of satire, but that’s about it. After researching him a little bit, I found out that apparently he was a very bad investor. He just couldn’t stop investing money in a lot of different things that all failed, and for some reason I find that really funny. Usually when famous or rich people lose all their money they got involved in drugs or something, but he just didn’t know how to invest.

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I’m not really sure how exactly I feel about Vertigo yet. When I learned that we were going to be watching Vertigo, I thought that it would be pretty interesting. The plot summary sounded not too boring and I didn’t think I would have a horrible time watching it, but honestly it isn’t as good as I thought it would be.  It really did sound like a good film, and it was on the top ten best films of all time and everything, so I had high hopes for it, but I’m not really loving watching it. Watching it is mostly just stressful because I’m worried I’m going to miss something important. It’s also kind of hard to understand what everyone is saying sometimes, which just makes watching and trying to take notes even more stressful. My initial thoughts are that it’s pretty slow. Most of what we watched on the first day was kind of just boring exposition. It was also a little hard to follow at first, especially because everyone has like five names to keep track of. It didn’t started picking up for me until more than halfway through the second class period that we started watching. Towards the end of what we’ve watched so far it started to get interesting, but it took too long to actually get into the story. Other than the fact that I can’t understand what everyone is saying a good chunk of the time and that it took like forty five minutes to actually become interesting, I don’t completely hate the movie. I liked the scene where Madeline was sitting in front of the painting and she had the same flowers and the same hair as the girl in the painting. If I changed the movie for a modern audience I would definitely make the beginning more interesting and less confusing. I wouldn’t have Johnny or John or Scottie have three different names, or I would at least introduce the fact that people call him different names more clearly. Other than making the beginning being kind of slow, I think that the rest of it will get better.

Dizzy Spell? It Could Be Vertigo

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Song of Myself

I hate this poem so much. This is the worst thing we’ve done all year. I even liked the Divinity Address better than this poem. The first thing I thought when I read the work was that this makes absolutely no sense. Like the whole grass is people metaphor is cool and listening to someone else explain it isn’t terrible, but I can’t just read this poem and understand it by myself. There are too many ridiculously specific random pieces of information you need to know to understand it. My group had to do sections 9 and 51. The first section that we did was easier than the second one to understand, but that’s not saying much. We needed a couple of hints from Mcgarry, but then we kind of figured it out. The second section was just terrible. Again, we needed a few hints and it’s still just kind of a mess. My first reactions to both sections was that they’re unnecessarily complicated. In the first section, you need to read the first line, “The big doors of the country barn stand open and ready,” without the word “barn” in it for the rest of the section to make any sense. Whitman establishes the metaphor about immigration in this line and continues it throughout the section, but if you don’t understand that one essential part of the beginning, then the rest just doesn’t make sense. The second section we had to analyze was even worse. It had two lines that were surrounded by parenthesis, which made those lines stand out. Eventually we got to the point where we thought that someone else was talking when there were parenthesis, not Whitman. Having someone else talking suggested a conversation, and when he says, “Listener up there!” we thought that it was a conversation with the reader. Honestly this whole poem is just difficult and entirely too complicated. Whitman’s transcendentalism ideas show through when he talks about people as grass. He is saying that we are all the same and that goes back to the Oversoul idea. Everyone is connected and everything is complicated, so it must be transcendentalism.

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Civil Disobedience

Thoreau does not like the government. He believes that the government should basically just stay out of people’s lives. I do not completely agree with Thoreau when he says that “that government is best which governs least.” I think that the government does need to have some control over the people they govern, but the government shouldn’t have total control. If there was no government control then there would be chaos, but too much control and people would start abusing the power that they have. The government should be used to protect the people that don’t have much power. Ideally, the government would make things fair and equal so that the rich and powerful don’t take advantage of the poor, but if the government has too much power, they become the people that take advantage of the less powerful. Obviously we don’t live in a perfect world, and governments abuse power all the time. The kind of government that would “command my respect” would be a government that does help ensure fairness and equality. The rich and powerful usually take advantage of people that can’t do anything to stop them, so it is the government’s job to prevent that from happening. We run into a problem when the government is the one exploiting people because there isn’t much the average person can do to stop them. This is where Thoreau’s idea of civil disobedience comes in. The role of civil disobedience today is to remove governments that are not taking care of their people. If the government isn’t doing its job, then the people have to try to change the government. In America, we can vote for who is in the government, so that is one way to change things, but other countries don’t always have that option. One of the other options is to protest. There are peaceful protests, like Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., and there are more violent protests. In certain countries, it doesn’t seem to matter if the protest started off peacefully because the government responds with violence no matter what. If the government doesn’t care enough about its people to take care of them in the first place, then they probably don’t care about the people who are protesting., so the protests don’t always work very well.

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Thoreau’s Attempt

Thoreau’s writing is pretty similar to Emerson’s. Both Thoreau and Emerson want to connect to nature. In “Nature,” Emerson describes how nature is a beautiful place where you can connect with the world around you. Thoreau took that to heart and spent two years in the woods. Both of them believe in connecting with nature. They both also do not like how society influences people. Thoreau describes how to simplify your life to only meet your needs instead of doing unnecessary things just because society tells you to. Emerson believes in being true to your beliefs even if society doesn’t understand you.

The main idea of “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For,” is that we should live freely and simplify our lives. Thoreau describes imagining buying many different farms, and how he lived in the woods. He says, “It makes but little difference whether you are committed to a farm or the county jail.” He believes that we should be free, not tied down and committed. Thoreau also describes how simplifying your life will improve it. Thoreau says, “Our life is frittered away by detail…Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!” He believes that we should only do the most simple, basic things to take care of our needs. In “The Conclusion,” Thoreau describes how being poor is not a bad thing. He believes that being poor and not tempted by material goods is better than being a dishonest rich person.

There are some benefits to Thoreau’s experiment in the woods. One possible outcome would be to test the idea that society is what corrupts man. If he isolates himself from society, then there would be evidence that society is to blame. It wouldn’t be at all conclusive, but it would be a start. There is no way I could ever live in the woods. I can barely even go camping. I have absolutely no idea how to do anything and I’d probably starve or freeze to death. If I did somehow manage to actually stay alive, I don’t think I would be able to stay in the woods for more than a few days, let alone two years. At first it would be nice and peaceful, but then I would get really lonely. I’m way too lazy to ever live in the woods.

Most people would probably think that transcendentalism isn’t very applicable to modern life, but there are still some lessons we could learn from it. The ideas of taking care of nature, getting rid of things you don’t need that only make your life more complicated, and working hard without worrying about what others think are all still very good lessons for today.

Transcendentalism Quotes

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The End of Argument

I definitely think differently about arguing now. There is so much that goes into constructing an argument. Usually we don’t think much about what we’re saying when we argue with someone. Most of the time it just turns into no you’re wrong and I’m right. I think that part of the problem with the way that we argue is that we really never listen to the other person. We’re just convinced we’re right from the start, which makes most arguments useless and frustrating because the other person doesn’t even address anything you’ve said against them. Most high school kids don’t construct arguments very well. They just insist that they’re right without really backing it up at all. Adults argue in a similar way. They just tell you that they’re right and they just think that you should just listen to them because they’re adults. Not many people actually make good arguments with good reasoning behind them. I used to think that arguing, and especially debating in class, was pretty pointless. Now I’m realizing that I thought that because we’ve never actually had a good argument or debate because we don’t know how to.

Honestly, I absolutely hated the debate. Developing a persuasive speech is not easy at all for me. I can put information together, but using that information to try to persuade someone is a lot harder. I also didn’t really expect to beat Jamie at debating because she is more experienced than I am with being on the forensics team. She as more experienced about taking notes during a constructive and she did a good job at addressing all of my points. When we were actually debating, she started talking faster than I could process what she was saying, so it was hard to rebut a lot of what she said. Overall, the debate wasn’t too terrible, but I still don’t like debating at all. I’m a little sad that I didn’t get to see how the other people in my class debated. That would have been fun to watch, and it would have been interesting to see how they constructed their arguments.

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Debate Topic

I hate debating. Every time we have had debates in the past, it always just turns into the same three or four people yelling at each other from across the room. Obviously since this will be just two people going against each other and not half the class debating against the other half, that won’t be a problem, but I still was not excited at all when I learned that we were going to debate. Hopefully it won’t be too bad because there will be a lot of structure and formality to the debate. My topic for the debate is gun control, and I got the pro side for it. This is also the side I personally believe in. I am happy I got this side because it will be nice to not have to debate for something I don’t agree with. Honestly, Jamie was the one person in the class I didn’t want to debate against, and I still managed to pick the same topic as her. It’s better than having to go against Mcgarry, but I still didn’t want to go against her because she’s on the forensics team and actually knows how to debate.

Prior to research, most of my knowledge about gun control comes from just hearing people talk about it. Usually after a big shooting we talk about it in our history class, and sometimes the topic of what to do about gun control comes up. The main idea of the argument for gun control is that it will be harder for people to access guns, which means it will be harder for someone that wants to use a gun for criminal purposes to find one. If it is harder for these people to access a gun, then less people will die in shootings. Some basic research shows many arguments to use in a logical approach, such as statistics on how many injuries and deaths are caused by guns and how other countries have created stricter gun control laws. An ethical appeal would be the moral obligation to protect lives, and an emotional appeal would be the fear of being killed by a gun.

Gun and Constitution

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