Blog 14: Read-entalism-tigo

I am currently reading Gone With the Wind. I have been reading this book for the school year. I feel like there are not really too many highlights. Scarlett is interesting because she has drama surrounding her. It is funny to see what she is worried about and the plans that she comes up with to steal a girl’s fiancee. I like her drama but I also find her annoying. The weekly reading have not really encouraged me to read more. Reading is not typically something that I do during my free time.

I did not necessarily enjoy the Transcendentalism unit. It was somewhat difficult and it took a lot of work but once I started understanding it, I thought it was an interesting idea. The idea of self-improvement was a good idea and I agree with the ideas that we all come from nature. My favorite part was Whitman’s idea about the trippers and askers being in a fog. I like the idea that there are always people trying to bring you down and if you respond to their criticism then you are going back down onto their level. He keeps his head high and is letting them come to the same realization that he is. They will eventually realize how juvenile that they are being. It was my favorite concept from the entire poem.

I am kind of excited to watch the film. I have heard about it and It’s a Wonderful Life is my favorite movie so I am interested to see how Jimmy Stewart is in this movie. The genre that this movie seems interesting and it seems like it would be something that is a hard concept to grasp and I usually like movies that are similar to that. I did not want to figure out the ending so I am still not completely sure what the movie is about. I think that the most difficult part about watching this will be separating my feelings from how the movie actually was.  If this movie is going to be frustrating to me then I will probably end up liking it but it might be difficult to write an unbiased critique.




Blog 13: Song of Myself

I was initially confused by the poem. I still do not understand it in its entirety but the sections that we were assigned are starting to make sense after going through and dissecting it line by line. The sections that my group was assigned was fairly straightforward. Section 3 was about finding yourself and the purity in your soul. There is good in everyone. Section 4 was about how it takes all types of people to make a community. The people that you are around helps develop your personality. The encounters that you have with people become important events in everyone’s life.

Whitman’s devotion to transcendentalism is apparent in his poems. The poems are about bettering yourself. Everyone has the opportunity to have good prevail and we are not meant to be bad people. We are capable of making ourselves better and the people that we around help make us better people.

The important lines in our section are “Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not my soul”. I believe that this is going back to the pureness in our soul. “Age vexes age” is also another important one because it is the idea that the morals and beliefs of the past are challenging those that were important while this was written. It is the old ideas challenging the new ones and it is difficult to get people to change what they have believed for generations. This is still an issue that we are currently facing. As the times are changing there is a cultural lag between generations. The younger generations do not believe what the older ones do, but the older ones do not want to change their views. It almost has to be integrated in over several generations. I think it is important because there are views that need changing and that is what the transcendentalism is trying to do. 

The issues that we are encountering the most are just small misinterpretations. This is different than what we have been exposed to previously and it is a new idea and way of thinking so we are having some trouble interpreting some of the lines especially with any hidden meanings within the work. I think that some of the references and ideas might be going over our heads.


Blog 12

There are similarities between Walden’s and Emerson’s works. One of them is the idea of nature and how we are apart of it. Walden speaks of living out in the woods in nature. Another connection is the idea of self reliance. Emerson wrote about understanding yourself even if other people do not believe in you while Walden’s ideas were almost individualistic about living alone and away from everything else.

The main idea in “Where I lived and what I lived for” was that he needed to simplify his life and that we should consider doing the same. He plans on buying a farm but it falls through at the last minute which makes him realize that he can live unattached to anything for longer.  He thinks that simplicity is the best way to go so he goes to live in the woods. The house that he was living in was not something that most of us would want to live in. He describes it as “merely a defense against the rain”. He spoke about the chimney being unfinished and about how the boards in the house were weather-stained.  It was as simple and he liked it that way. The main point of ” The Conclusion” is that a person needs to do what is right for themself. He said that he left the woods for as good of a reason as he went there. He got what he wanted out of the experiment. It was like a little vacation from society for him and now he is returning to the real world.

The benefits were being able to see how you would survive without any societal pressure on you. It is the most real form of yourself without anyone around. I think that I would miss having people and I would want to know what is going on in the world even though that defeats the purpose of the experiment. I think that I would be able to do it for a short period of time but definitely not for long. It would be nice to get away from everyday stresses for a little and live simple though.

I think that a modern reader should take out of this that even back then they were trying to go back to having a simple life and every once in a while we should try and take a step back and do the same thing. We become too concerned with everything around us sometimes and do not see the big picture.




Blog 11: Argumentative Reflection

My understanding of my topic has most definitely changed from the start of the debate to now. I had Free State College Tuition on the pro stance. I originally agreed with the topic. I thought that it should be free and there was no reason that it should not be. Now after doing research, I realized that it is not financially possible. It only works in Europe because of all the other systems that they have in place that would work in the same way. In the U.S., it would raise taxes a large amount and people would not be happy nor would they be able to afford it. I still think that it is a good idea in theory, but as of our current financial situation, it is not possible.

My perspective on arguments has changed significantly. I now realize that there are different components that are required to make an argument successful. Where most people are lacking, is in the knowledge of the other side. If you cannot make a rebuttal to a point that the other side has made, then they consider it a win. Another thing that I have learned was how hard it is to avoid any fallacies within your argument. They are easy to make especially with assumptions. If you try and avoid the fallacies then your case will be much stronger and the opponent will have less material to work with.

My experience with the debate was relatively easy. I think that I had the harder stance to make a case on, but I felt that I was well prepared within my argument and having knowledge about what my opponent would say. The most difficult thing was coming up with my rebuttal on the spot because my opponent hit some points that I was not expecting. For the most part, I felt it was easy. It was a little stressful the day of the debate but I felt fine once I was up there.

I learned from watching the debate that it is extremely important to know the other person’s side of the argument because if you are uninformed then you just end up looking dumb. I think that the best debate in my class so far was Coby and Lily on Physicians Assisted Suicide. They both made strong points and Coby had a fantastic rebuttal with statistics that contradicted Lily’s. Overall, I thought that everyone seemed well prepared for their debates and they were all decent so far.



Blog 10: Debate Topic

I was assigned Free state tuition on the Pro stance. I did not have a huge opinion on the topic before I was assigned it but I feel like I agree with it. I think that everyone should have a chance at higher education without going far into student debt. I do think that there is a downside to how large the classes are going to be, but in my opinion, no one should be denied an education. They are willing to give up their time in an attempt to better themself and give themselves and their families a better chance.

A search shows that college is free in nearly twenty states as of now. There are also nine more attempting to instate free tuition. It has been successful as of now in several states which means that it can be successful in all of the states. It is not entirely free to go to college. You would still have to pay room and board but that decreases the cost to go to college a large amount.

A logical approach I am considering taking is that it has been successful not only in other states around the country but also in Europe. Not only are European countries paying low rates of a few hundred dollars a year, but there are several countries such as Denmark, Germany, Poland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and several more that pay nothing for a higher education. If they can do it, then we certainly can.

An ethical approach is an argument is that by forcing people to pay mass amounts of money for college which may result in large amounts of debt, we are basically saying that the upper class is the only one deserving of a higher education. The lower class cannot pay for it in an effective way which makes it harder for them to get that education.

An emotional approach would be that families with children could want to go to college to get a better job to make more money to support their children. They obviously do not have the money to start off, so the free tuition would benefit them. They are being robbed of their chances of starting a better life for their family. Your empathy for the family would help the argument.


Blog 9: Virtues Experiment

Benjamin Franklyn came up with a list of virtues in which we should try and live by to get the most out of life. We modified our virtues slightly to relate closer to contemporary time.

I am going to start with the virtues that I did not have much trouble with. Frugality went well, especially with it being close to Christmas. I do not think that I wasted any money that I should not have. Our group decided that we can spend money sometimes and not always save every penny, and I did not come close to spending as much money as I received.  Moderation went well also. I do not think that anything in my life was unbalanced. For cleanliness, I shower every day and have good personal hygiene so that was not an issue. As for respect, I do not think that I truly disrespect anyone in my life. I try and treat people well. For humility, I believe that I keep myself in check and realize that there is always someone better than me. I do make comments occasionally that make me seem arrogant, but they are always jokes or sarcasm. For the virtue that I think is most important, Carpe Diam, I try and live by that as much as possible. I spent time with my family, I went out and had fun with friends, I try and always talk to new people that I am diving with. I just try and have as much fun with my life as I can, and I believe that I was successful in that aspect.

Now for the virtues that I violated. Sincerity and Justice went hand in hand when I violated them because my sister upset me. She knows how to get under my skin. I said some hurtful things to her and also reacted to her. Temperance was violated on Christmas Eve because we had a family Christmas party and there was a decent amount of good food, and again on Christmas day because there was candy and chocolate around the house. I gave up on doing all schoolwork by the end of the week which ended up with me violating resolution. For order, my room is normally clean with everything in its place but because of Christmas, there were extra things in my room. The mess was bothering me but I was also too lazy to fix it. I violated tranquility because I was stressed about school work that I had to finish before going on vacation, and I waited until the last minute to do. Also, some dives are stressing me out when I know that they should not because I have done them successfully several times.  Industry is one of my bigger problems. I should have been working on school assignments but I kept forgetting. I also wasted time on people that I should not have. Confidence is the virtue that upsets me the most when I violate it. I do not like worrying about what other people think of me because I just want to have fun. There were a couple times when I was worried about what I was wearing or about what other divers would think about how my dives looked. I need to focus on myself more than what other people are thinking about me. Finally, my biggest issue is silence. I am a sarcastic person and I make a decent amount of snide comments that I should not. I honestly could not count how many times a day that I violate this virtue.

All in all, the experiment teaches you a lot about yourself when you start to take notice of the bad habits that you have. I do not think that I did awful, but I definitely did not do well.



Blog 8: The End of Poetry

My first impression on the Dodo’s conundrum was that it was confusing. I did not understand what was happening within the poem the first few times that I read it. I still do not fully understand the entire poem, but I think that I understand it enough. 

  I think that my interpretation of the poem is wrong but, I think that the theme is that you can not live in a “perfect” world if you are unhappy with it. Nothing is actually “perfect”. I think that the stanza that was in a form was supposed to represent the perfection of his model world while the free verse was representing the chaos of reality. I do not think that the narrator is happy with his perfect world and eventually has to leave it. 

I would like to know more about the meaning of the two different stanza forms, why they are alternating and especially what the “perfect” model world is supposed to represent. I also do not necessarily understand the Dodo reference.

I did not think that the sound and sense questions were too much different from this poem to Eldorado. I thought this was slightly harder because the setting was harder to figure out. The allusions were easier in this poem though because most of them were explained at the bottom and I missed all of them in Eldorado.

Writing poetry has not really changed the way I analyze poetry. I still do not understand it well and find it confusing.



Blog 7: Poetry

I had an extremely neutral opinion starting the poetry unit. In middle school when we last did poetry, I did not have a bad experience with it. I was in a non-honors class so we did not go in-depth and just covered the basics. Most of the work was spoonfed to us instead of having us figure it out on our own. Starting poetry this year has been a shock.

In all honesty, poetry is so much worse than I expected it to be based on my past experience. I feel like different things within the poems could be interpreted in different ways because there were a lot of basic concepts that I have missed and I am trying to catch up now. I did not know about the different types of poems or the rhythm and stanza forms. The only thing I had a slight idea about was the sound effect. It was a lot to take in all at once, and it makes sense on its own but then it gets confusing once it is all put together. My biggest problem is determining the rhythm with the stressed and unstressed syllables. It sounds the same to me no matter what way I say it. I think that is my biggest problem with analyzing poetry because it leads to other things. All of the symbols are starting to make sense within the poems. It is usually not something that I can pick out right away but after reading it a few times I can figure it out. I miss a lot of the allusions to religion though because I never learned what I should have. Everything is starting to come together but I definitely cannot wait for this unit to be over.

As for the poems we have read in class, I am not hating them. I also do not love them but it could be worse. I am starting to understand them better which makes it more enjoyable. I liked Eldorado after reading it a few times. Once I started understanding it, the symbolism is interesting and so is the use of specific words to portray a mood. It is amazing how an author can portray a theme in such a small amount of words. I need more practice with it to truly appreciate it though.


Blog 6: Finishing my Story

My first idea for the story was more horror oriented because that is how I thought of the “music came from the abandoned house” sentence. Now, it is still “horror” to some extent, but my protagonist is a psychopath. He is mentally unstable,  because of a girl turning him down. In some ways, that is more frightening because it is a more likely situation in current times than a serial killer. I feel like it has a different take on what you would normally find from a unsettling story. Also, one of my minor characters turned into my antagonist, and the original antagonist is now more of a minor character. I thought it made more sense because the antagonist is protecting her best friend who therefore she is the main person getting in the way of everything that my protagonist is trying to do.

Changing the plot slightly made it easier for me to write. It was fun to write a character who is mentally unstable and trying to hide it along with the best friend getting in the way of everything. It made more sense to me after i changed around the characters, and I was able to develop the story better.

I like the plot of my story. I think it is interesting and has a good idea behind it. It needs to be developed more though. I feel like I had to force situations. I want everything to run together smoother than it currently does. It seems choppy to me and I am trying to fix that.

The independent reading that we have done in class has only slightly influenced the way I want to write my story. I want to add in more independent thoughts from each character. I feel like it will help understand their personalities better. I feel like we never really get insight from what any characters thinking and feeling.


Reading Log 5

In Gone With The Wind, jealousy causes a conflict between characters. Scarlett wants to get involved where she should not be. She is acting exactly like a teenager. For my short story I was thinking that it would be centered around teenagers. I could use a typical jealous, self absorbed girl who is always on her phone as a stereotype. Obviously, they did not have a phone but that has to do with modern times. Scarlett is also obsessed over a boy. A teenage girl obsessing over a boy is, again, a major stereotype.

I was also thinking that I could take the character trait of a jealousy and make a character that would fall under the caricature category. I could make their actions entirely motivated by jealousy. I think that I would be able to turn it into the antagonist. Jealousy is something that everyone experiences in their life, so it is something that a reader would relate to.

Scarlett is slightly obsessive. As another conflict, I could make a character that is strangely obsessed with one of my other characters. I am using that small trait and making something bigger out of it. I had the idea to take the “crazy ex girlfriend” stereotype and flip it around. I want the mood of my short story to be unsettling. By the end, I do not want any of the characters to be able to trust each other. I think that an obsessive character who is consistently harassing another character would be a small conflict that adds to the feeling.

Gone With the Wind has a much different tone and conflicts than I want in my short story. I want my short story to be creepy and unsettling. I do not think that Gone With The Wind has the same elements in it as I need for what I am trying to write.