It Was More Than a Sled

My first initial reaction in learning that we had to watch another old movie that was considered to be good, I wasn’t really too thrilled. But in the end, I thoroughly enjoyed “Citizen Kane” a lot more than I did with “Vertigo.”  I thought the movie was really good, even during the time it came out it was featuring techniques that had not been seen before in other movies. I really enjoyed how the timeline of Kane’s life jumped around, it had you trying to piece a jigsaw puzzle together (haha get it). I felt that I was more invested in the film because of that, it kept me interested in finding out the rest of Kane’s life story. But overall it was a great film. Will I watch it again? Probably not, but if I had to for a class of something I wouldn’t mind at all. Going back on track, I believe that what we were supposed to take away from this film about the American Dream was that the idea of having so many valuable objects was supposed to make you happy. This idea became a lot more popular during the time period it was released and even is still an idea today. As we see in Kane’s case, we see that this idea is not true at all. Even with his collections of statues and valuable items, Charles is not happy.  I believe he turned out the way he did in the end because he was taken away from his parents at a young age, when they were given a mine and became rich. He resented Thatcher for taking him away and he would always turn against him, by going to prestigious colleges and getting kicked out of them. I feel that he longed for that connection between his parents and his childhood, and that’s why the word “rosebud” is so important. It was the only object Charles Kane had that was connected to his childhood and parents. It reminded him of what he had always longed for since the beginning. After his first failed marriage, Kane married Susan because she was a normal person with a normal job. He wanted to live a normal life but he was thrown into riches and didn’t grow as the person he wanted to be. Unfortunately, he died alone in Xanadu with is collection of items that he collected all of his life, ending with his childhood sled being burned.

Oh Decisions, Decisions

One of the themes from our first story, “The Love Song” by T.S. Eliot, is the indecision of the narrator. He would like to talk to a girl during this social, but the man is worried that he will be judge for being different to everyone if he enters. In the second work, the poem “Disillusionment of 10 o’clock” by Wallace Stephens,  one of the themes that is apparent would be appearance. The plan gowns worn by the folks in the house with their boring routines only have bland dreams. But the people who wear something unique and spend their nights differently will have more vivid dreams. In the final work, “anyone lived in a pretty how town”
by e. e. cummings, one of the themes that stand out to me the most would be death. As the seasons pass every time, death comes to take you and a new cycle is started by the newer generation, following the footsteps of the old. All of these themes all tie in with each other because of them dealing with society. In “The Love Song”, the man doesn’t want to get judged for doing something wrong if he goes to the party, ” Disillusionment of 10 o’clock” talks about how society conforms to a normal schedule while people who are unique enjoy life more, and “anyone lived in a pretty how town” states how society has a lack of identity and when someone else has one they just ignore it. The main point coming across from all of these works is that society has lost touch with the identities of each individual person and has created a something that is “normal”, while the people who embrace themselves end up being happier than the ones who follow society’s ways. I feel that the work “The Love Song” would be most applicable to our society today. There are some young adults now and days worried about how they present themselves to society, worrying if they will be judged for being themselves. Though there is an abundance of young adults coming in that are embracing who they are and are making strides for people’s rights. And I also do quite like the work “The Love Song” as well. It reminds me a lot like myself, I’m a worried wreck anytime I’m put into a situation where I have to present myself, because I have that same fear of being judged. But these works are telling us that it is okay to be unique from society, because we will feel more alive than they do.

When You Confuse a Baby for a Chicken

When we were first assigned to read the short story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” I truly didn’t expect much from it. But after I read though it, I was amazed how much I actually enjoyed the story. I loved the nonsense stories Wheeler made up of how Smiley would win ever bet that he made, supposedly even winning a dog fight with a two legged dog. Even with the heavily satire nature of the story, I do find that the point Mark Twain was trying to make was something that we should all apply to ourselves: don’t judge someone by their appearance. When Wheeler realized the narrator thought of him lowly, he decided to waste the narrator’s time instead with this nonsensical story of Jim Smiley that he made up on the spot. The narrator realizes that he has been made to look like a fool and leaves in fury. I’m not sure on how I feel about reading “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” for the time we are assigned to do it. I think I’ll enjoy the satire within the book, but I do feel that will be parts that will be bit of a bore. I know that the story is a squeal to Twain’s previous book, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.” I also know the main plot is about Huck helping out a slave named Jim to escape and become free. I feel that after reading this book, the social problems from that time era will be brought to attention. Though my thought’s on the short film, “IMom,” were completely different than how I felt about the short story. I didn’t like it that much. I knew half way through when the mother commented that the infant was her, “little chicken,” the baby was going to get stuffed and cooked in place of the chicken that was on the counter. The two things that were being satirized in the film was technology and parenting. The film is set in a time were we as people become so reliant on technology, that we think it would be a good idea for it to take care of our kids. The presentation of the film was a bit exaggerated with the parents in the commercial, but I did send its message across.

It’s Just a Flesh Wound

Ever since I was a young kid, I’ve had many run-ins with satire and humor from TV shows, movies, and conversations that I have had. One of the things that would make me laugh all the time were Monty Python movies or sketches. Though I probably should not have been watching them at a young age, I still got a kick out of them, even though I didn’t get some of the humor because of how young I was. Sometimes, I would pretended I was having a hard time going to sleep so I could stay up and watch the late night comedy shows. I believe my sense of humor came from my dad, since I was always been able to connect with him. He would tell some of the dumbest and weirdest jokes that necessarily didn’t always make sense, but I would still fall over giggling because of them. My type of humor would have to be a mixture of self-deprecation and dark humor with just a dash of sophomoric humor. I feel that now and days many teens and preteen (oh the horror) love using self-deprecating humor on a day to day basis, and I myself do that as well. Usually its about making fun of myself for decisions I’ve made to just nitpicking any little thing about me I can. Though I am not quite sure where my liking of dark humor came from, just as I got older it became entertaining. Mark Twain’s style of writing contains a lot of satire and humor within it. There are some who believe that he got his sense of humor from his mother, because Twain’s father, who was a judge, died at a young age. I found out that there was a decent amount of characters from his books that where models of people in his life. An example would be Uncle Daniel, who was a slave on his uncle’s farm who would tell him and his cousins stories. I think the an interesting thing that I found out about his is not about his writing, but his pseudonym. “Mark Twain” comes from his days as a river pilot and the meaning is that it is safe to navigate through the waters .

The Magical Merry-Go-Round

The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke, is probably in the top ten of books I have ever read. Nothing will top The Book Thief for me, but this is definitely near the top of my list. I remember being obsessed with this book when I was younger, though I didn’t have a good memory of the story itself years later. So that’s why I decided to pull out the book again and read it, so it is definitely an easier read and I’m really sorry about that. But after rereading it I understand again why I loved it so much. The adventure and the magic that come into the book can captivate a young audience, but from an older point of view, some of the story does seem to be a bit over dramatized at times. The book begins with these two brothers, Prosper and Boniface (Bo for short), that are being hunted down by a small, private detective, Victor Getz. The boy’s aunt and uncle sent Victor to find the boys since they ran away after their mother’s death. They wanted to keep the young Bo and send Prosper to boarding school since they thought he was too old to for someone else to adopt. This is a bit unrealistic, since not that many relatives today would probably not want to do that to kids who have gone through a recently rough time. Throughout the story, they meet other runaways: “Hornet”, Riccio, Mosca, and the head of the group, Scipio. Scipio is also known as “The Thief Lord”, since he goes out at night and steals items and sells them to get money for food for the group. Later in the book we find out that Scipio is not a orphan at all, but a son of a rich man who takes the “stolen” items out of his own house. Looking at it now, this is where things start to feel like it has been thrown into the story. This is when Victor finds the kids, but somehow they were able to catch in the abandoned movie theater the runaways live in. At this point, the children were told to steal a wooden wig from a former orphan, Ida. She tells them that it is part of a magical merry-go-round that can change a child to an adult and vice versa. Its a bit out of place in the story since it kind of comes out of nowhere. The kids were just talking to the detective about Scipio and then the story jumps to a magical merry-go-round.  In the end, they are able to put the wooden wing of the merry-go-round to make it work, and Scipio rides it to become an adult and the kids trick their antique dealer to ride it to become a child, and he ends up breaking it after he changes. The ending of the story seems to go to be true, since everyone gets a happy ending, expect for the antique dealer. Though in the end, this book was made for a younger audience, and it capture me when I was younger and has become one of my favorites. Overall, the book is a creative read though the story might  jump from here and there once in awhile.

Vertigo

Oh boy. This movie was a ride in itself. My initial thought of “Vertigo” was that it was going to be on of those older movies that never really caught my interest. Though I have watched other Alfred Hitchcock films in the past, I didn’t think this film would live up the other ones I have seen of his work. I thought that it was just going to be an old timer movie and nothing really special, even though it is a critically acclaimed. My initial impression was confusion as we started the beginning of the movie with Scotty following “Madeline”.  It was quite odd of her to go to all of these places and not be able to remember them until later in the movie. As the movie progressed everything got weirder and weirder, but things started to fall into place after the first half of the movie passed. My favorite part of the movie was the the actual plot of the movie itself. There were parts throughout that were kind of ehh to be honest, but the majority of the time you were wondering what was happening or that you are left on the edge of your seat. I did quite enjoy the movie overall, but it is not something that I would grab and be ecstatic to see again. I say the thing that I didn’t like was the over the top dramatic acting at times, mostly during the romantic or dramatic scenes. I know that’s how  the acting was in most old time movies but it still is a bit too much. Oh, I would also change the ending of the movie as well. I felt like the ending was kind of off with Judy getting scared by the nun and running off. I felt that maybe Scotty should have killed her so it would be more fulfilling to the audience and himself, but also it would fit the genre of psychological thriller. The thing that I would change for a modern audience would be the style of acting. I feel if the over the top style of acting was replaced with a more realist sense, then a modern audience would enjoy it more.

Songs I listened to when typing this blog:

  • Humility (feat. George Benson) by Gorillaz
  • Tranz by Gorillaz
  • Hollywood (feat. Snoop Dogg & Jamie Principle) by Gorillaz
  • Kansas by Gorillaz

Song of Myself

My initial impression about Whitman’s “Song of Myself” was I thought that its a interesting concept to log his journey on how he tries to become a better person through out his life, starting at the age of thirty seven. Though, reading through the first section for the first time was   a bit of a pain to decipher at first. When the whole class were able to break down the sentences in parts, it was so much easier to understand. When my group first had our section assigned, we had a much harder time deciphering this section more then the first section we had done with class. It took us awhile to find out some the underlying messages that some of the sentences had or that our assumption was completely wrong. We had to fix them a bunch of times until we had the correct meaning. Whitman’s devotion to a Transcendentalist philosophy affect his writing by putting it in a more positive and uplifting light to help him through is journey of becoming a better person. It’s also quite hard to understand some of his writing  throughout the text, though I’m not sure if it is because of the influence of his Transcendentalism philosophy or not. One of the most important lines form my section would be, “What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me, Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns, Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first that will take me, Not asking the sky to come down to my good will, Scattering it freely forever.” This is particularly important to this section because it talk about how Whitman wants to improve upon himself, the ways to him becoming free, and becoming one with the surrounding earth. They most difficulties that I’m having with this work is that my group and I have a hard time trying to figure out what some of the statements’ underlying meanings are. For the most part, we are able to get the gist of them but some you have to do a bit of digging to find them.

Civil Disobedience

From Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience”, there is something about the quote,  “that government is best which governs least” is something that I don’t quite agree with or totally disagree with.  Though I do agree with that there should be citizen opinions within our government’s decisions, I believe there still should be restriction and control over the country’s/state’s government so total chaos breaking out. The role of government is to facilitate the well being of the countries/states citizens. It can help maintain financial stability, safety, the rights of citizens,  and maintaining laws. The role that government has in relation to the individual citizen is to protect human rights and individual rights. Each individual’s human needs are meant to be meet, this can include healthcare, social programs, food banks, and education. The citizen’s lives should be held at high importance. When Thoreau states, Thoreau states that “Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it. . .”,  a government that would obtain my respect would be one that takes the citizens’ opinions into consideration. The government should still have laws in place to maintain peace, but they shouldn’t have too much control over the citizens, so they have the freedom to live a fulfilling life. Civil disobedience has a tremendous impact on today’s society. There are laws that the citizens want to be put in place so they can have the freedom to do as they will. And this is still effective even today with many protesting in the streets for their cause they believe in, fighting for their rights with their voices. With these protests, many new laws have been put in place to expand the rights that we can have within our country. The whole idea of Transcendentalism and how this excerpt ties in is really interesting to me. I’ve been enjoying this section quite a lot, which was something I wasn’t expecting to happen when I saw all of the work we had gotten in the beginning. I can’t wait to dive into the next assignments for this topic and learn more and more about this social movement.

Some songs that I listened to when typing this blog:

  • I’m Still Standing by Elton John
  • Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac
  • Rock’n Me by Steve Miller Band
  • Cold as Ice by Foreigner
  • Barracuda by Heart

Readings on Transcendentalism

The main connection that we see between Thoreau’s and Emerson’s thoughts is that we can live a fulfilling life with nature. In Emerson’s work, he talks about how we can find this delight within ourselves or within the harmony of man and nature. We would be able to break the chains of society and become one with God. In Thoreau’s work, when we live within nature for a long period of time, we can disconnected from our society and live the life we were created to. Are lives would become more simplistic and we wouldn’t have to worry about the pressure of society. The main idea of the first portion of the excerpt, “Where I Lived and What I Lived For”,  is  the positive side of living within nature. We can create a new life that would be free and uncommitted unlike in society where we would fall into the fads that have been put in place for us to follow.  The main conclusion of the excerpt, “The Conclusion”, is the downside to living in a natural setting for so long. Thoreau stated that he had developed routines as time passed on and the life he was living became committed. The benefits of Thoreau’s experiment of leaving society behind is that people will be able to see how it has affect someone and benefits and downsides to what would happen abandoning your normal lifestyle. I would probably miss the people I would usually be surrounded by on a day-to-day basis. I feel that I would start to become lonely being out there by myself, just like Thoreau had done. Even though I would have that worry, I would be down to try this out sometime in my life. It has always been a dream for me to live out in the middle on the woods and not be surrounded by the hustle of the average lifestyle. I think that modern readers should take from this that its not necessary to have all the newest things. We live in a society surrounded with new technology and trends that everybody tries to follow. Transcendentalism teaches us that we don’t need everything to live a fulfilling life.

Some songs that I listened to when creating this blog:

  • Lavender Blood by Fox Academy
  • Horticulture by Maxx Marshalll
  • Wolves by Phosphorescent
  • Smother by Daughter
  • The Cold by OH!hello

Coming to a Close on Debates

Throughout our lesson on arguing and debating, my thoughts on arguments hasn’t changed too much since the beginning of learning the section, but there is still some considerable change. The reason why I had got into arguments hasn’t changed, if the topic is something I have a strong connection to then I will defend my side. From time to time I will argue over small, silly things, but I don’t get involved often since I’m a type of person who doesn’t like to get involved with arguing in the first place. Though now I do have a better understanding on the way I should argue. Sometimes I get frustrated and fed up when I’m in a “heated” debate and my arguments would become more opinionated and were developed out of that frustration. Then again, I usually keep my opinions to myself, so when they do come out its like a jumble of emotion and nonsense. I also learned that it is incredibly important to develop a valid argument while you are debating. There had been many times where I had gotten into mini debates and our arguments were not valid. Looking back at my thoughts at the beginning compared to how they are now, there has been a change in thought. The biggest thing that has changed for me is the way I argue. I now try to think logically instead of letting my opinions and emotions get the best of me and possibly ruin my side of the argument. When we were assigned to write a persuasive speech for our debate, I struggled with creating something that I felt would be strong enough to use for an actual debate against an opponent. I took me awhile to find statistics and information for my topic that wasn’t opinionated. After that it wasn’t too hard, it’s just that sometimes I’m awful at trying to prove my side right. Overall, even though I was not thrilled at the idea of debating against one another, I enjoyed learning how to debate properly. I never knew how to argue properly before, so maybe I can have a chance this time in winning a small debate once.