Blog 14

Part One – Reading 


The book that I am currently reading is called “All the Missing Girls” by Megan Miranda. This is a book about a girl who moved away from her home town tens years ago into to create a new life after the disappearance of one of her close friends who was never found. Everything had been going well for her till she received a call from her brother asking her to come home to help take care of her father, and soon after receiving a mysterious letter from her father about the disappearance of her friend. She knew she had to go home but would bring back many memories that she didn’t know if she wanted to relive. Events start to slowly unfold as she returned home. Although I have not gotten too far into the book because I haven’t been reading it for too long I have still have read enough to say that I like the book a lot. I like is mysterious and suspenseful plot and the character. The only thing I would say that I  do not like about the book is that it jumps back and forth between the present day in the book to what has happened in the past. I have not gotten very far into my book because I only read it when we get time to on Fridays. I would like to read my book more often but I have so many other assignments to work on that I rarely get free time to read. 


Part Two – Transcendentalism


In class, we have just ended our unit on Transcendentalism and I would say that I have taken away a few things from what we learned. I would say that my opinion on Transcentenatlims has changed after I finally learned more about it and better understood it. Some of the ideas were confusing to me at first but now they make for sense. For example, the principle of organism, at the beginning of the unit if you were to ask me what that is I would not know how to answer. Now after going through the unit, I understand that it is the idea of life being a continuous circle, so when one life ends another one begins. This is something that gives me a better perspective on the world, that the end of one thing shouldn’t be taken as the complete end but just the start of something new, something different, or a second chance. I have taken away the understanding of this principle and others like it mainly from reading and analyzing Walt Whitman’s work “Song of Myself”. Whitman’s “Song of Myself” really gave me a better understanding of transcendentalism just by going through his work and breaking down what each line means. It really gave me a way to better understand the unit. After concluding the unit on Transcendentalism and after reading Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” I have taken away many new ideas and a new perspective. 


Part Three – Vertigo 


After doing some research on the film “Vertigo”, I don’t really know what to expect. One of the things that I have learned is that the type of genre, phycological thriller, is a type of film that builds up suspense by giving false information that leads to a completely different conclusion and it deals with the psychology of the character or the psychology of the viewer. I have also learned that the director, Alfred Hitchcock, is very famous for this particular movie. He has a very particular directing style in which everything has to be his way and perfect. Although he was known for being a good director he was also known for not being a nice person as well. The things that I have researched have effects the way I think that movie will be by making me have high expectations that it will be good and have a big impact on me. I think that I will struggle with the whole aspect of writing the film critique essay just because I’m not quite sure on who to write a critique. 

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Blog 13 – “Song of Myself”

My initial impression and reaction to the work “Song of Myself” by Walt Whitman is that it is complicated and has a lot of meaning behind each line. After the first section in class, I got the impression that Walt Whitman has a somewhat simple outlook on life but he explains it in a very complex and philosophical way in order to add more meaning behind it. For example, in the first section of his work, he says, “For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” By this Whitman means that simple because what humans are made of we are all equal. He puts things in complicated terms in order to have more impact and have more meaning to what he’s trying to convey. This idea continues throughout the whole poem and is relevant in the section that my group was assigned. My group was assigned to section 6. After reading through the section my initial thoughts are that its confusing and I’m not really sure what it’s about. I think after analyzing it more it will make sense. Whitman uses his devotion to a Transcendentalist philosophy to affect the meaning behind his work. Whitman uses his Transcendentalist ideas about nature in this particular piece of work. In his work “Song of Myself”, Whitman uses different aspects of nature to explain society and the way the world is. This is prevalent in our particular section and he uses these ideas to convey the real meaning behind his work. Some lines in our section that I think are the most important and convey his Transcendentalist philosophy are lines like, “ A child said What is the grass? fetching it to me with full hands;” Throughout his whole work Whitman uses grass as a symbol for society, and in this particular life someone like a child who is innocent comes to Whitman himself and asks him why the world is the way it is. Going through the rest of the section Whitman tries to explain the answer to the child’s question. He uses his Transendeantalist philosophy to answer the question of what life really is in a complex manner. These important lines like the one I mentioned above are what help convey the main theme or meaning behind the section. Even after analyzing the section and trying to get a better understand of what Whitman is trying to convey I am still having difficulty with the main purpose of this particular work. I don’t understand what Whitman is trying to prove through his work the “Song of Myself”. 

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Blog 12

Thoreau’s and Emerson’s thoughts are very similar to each other. Both believed that man was a part of nature and that you should be self-reliant. In Emerson’s excerpt from “Nature”, he talks about how there is a lot of beauty in nature, and nature is a good place to go in order to get your mind off of the many distractions that life holds. Emerson as talks mainly about how man is directly connected to nature and nature has a huge impact on men. Thoreau also has similar ideas about this in his experiment. Thoreau leaves his life in the village in order to escape taxes and goes to be one in nature. He lives off the land and tries to connect with nature to find himself more. Emerson and Thoreau also share ideas about self-reliance. In Emerson’s excerpt from “Self-Reliance,” he talks about how you should rely on yourself and not worry about how other people influence you. The in Thoreau’s other expert he talks about how he can live to rely on himself. Both Thoreau and Emerson have very similar thoughts and a connection can be made between the two through their thoughts.
The main idea of the first position of the excerpt “Where I Lived and What I Lived For”, deals with the ideas that men is connected to nature and when he lived in nature he lived for nature but when he lived in the village he lived to please the people in the village. The main point of “The Conclusion” is that you have to rely on yourself and you can make ur life what you want. The benefits of Thoreau’s experiment of leaving society and living in the woods that he could clear his mind, find himself and get a better understanding of the essential things in life that he needs. I could definitely leave behind society and live on my own. I am a very independent person and could totally live on my own enjoying what nature has to offer. I would miss having someone to talk to every once and a while but I feel that my life would be a lot less complicated. I think a modern reader should take out of this to try and connect with the world around them more and enjoy life for what it is and not get so distracted by stuff that really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. People nowadays get so caught up on technology and don’t just enjoy quality time with people around them or life in general. I also feel like this is important to take away because many people these days get caught up on trying to impress people and rely on what others think but that should be focused on doing what makes them happy instead of trying to please others.


Blog 11 – Argumentative Reflection

Over the course of this unit thoughts and understanding of arguments have changed. At the beginning of the unit, I was pretty excited and interested debating but now that we are almost one with the unit I’m glad it’s over. I was originally excited in the beginning because it was something new that I have never learned about in school but when we started getting into everything I realized how much work it takes to construct an argument for an actual debate. An argument occurs when people disagree. Constructing an argument for a debate is very different from an argument that it had in everyday life. When an argument is constructed for a debate, there is research that is needed to formulate a solid and logical argument. When it comes to an argument in everyday life there’s usually little logic behind it and is based more on emotions or how people feel. For me personally, when it comes to arguing in my everyday life I do not take the time to research the thing I’m arguing about and come up with evidence to support the opinion. This is because I don’t have the time and what I’m usually arguing about isn’t something that can be researched really, it just a silly disagreement, but I’m to set in my way to change my opinion. My peers tend to construct an argument is the same fashion as me there not really much logic behind the matter its all just emotional and based solely on thier opinion. With adults, I feel lime this tends to be different in that they take a more logical approach to the topic and try to keep their emotions out of it, which might not happen all the time. In order to develop an actual valid argument, there is a lot of work and time that goes into it. To support the claim you are making on a particular topic you need to research in order to have evidence. Having data or any other form of research and make your argument stronger and more valid. After completing the unit and finalizing the debate I found that my thought has changed. I do think about argument differently and tend to take a step back and really think about the logical side of things before letting my emotions take control of my opinion. Developing the persuasive speech was more on the difficult side for me just because I had so many thoughts and ideas about what I wanted to write but I needed to make them more concise. By watching other students in my class debate I learned that everyone takes a different approach to the debate. 


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Blog 10 – Debate Topic

The debate topic that I got was to pay college athletes and my assigned position was opponent or con. My personal position on this debate topic is that I think college athletes should get paid. I feel that college athletes should get paid because of the fact that they put in so much hard work in order to perform well in their sport and academically. College athletes spend all their time at practice or studying that they don’t have time to get a job so they have no income. Also with schools making so much money off of sporting events, college athletes should rep some of the benefits. This specific topic of debate on paying college athletes is something I do not have a lot of prior knowledge. After doing the basic Google search I found that there is a lot of information that supports the paying of college athletes. Some certain athletic organizations, like the NCAA, said they want to pay their athletes and many people seem to be in support of the whole idea. Since there is really not much information on why student-athletes should not be getting paid. With the lack of information on the topic and not being my personal stance on the topic, I think this will be challenging to make a good argument. In regards to the topic of debate, I’m going to need to figure out a way to have a logical, emotional, and ethical approach. I plan on taking a logical approach to the con of paying college athletes by talking about the money. To pay college athletes would cost a lot of money that could be used on other beneficial things. My logic behind this is that student-athletes make up a lot of the student body and paying them each a salary would tremendously cost the colleges. I will take an ethical approach to the argument by talking about how many student-athletes already get scholarships from the school so they would be putting even more money back into athletics. When it making an emotional approach I’m not really sure how to tie emotions into my argument There are really no emotions that can be brought into my argument. For my debate topic of the con of paying college athletes, I plan on taking a more logical and ethical approach. 


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Blog 9 – Virtues Experiment

When Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea of creating a list of virtues in order to try and real moral perfection, he thought it would be an easy task. At the end of his experiment, Franklin concluded that it was impossible to achieve his original goal of being morally perfect simply because we are human and make mistakes, but he simply became a better person by having better self-awareness of some bad habits he might have. After coming up with some virtues, defining them, and trying the experiment myself, I have come to a similar conclusion as Franklin. I know by being self-aware of my actions that I make mistakes and might say the wrong thing, or do the wrong thing, but this is how we learn and become better people. When first starting the experiment I found myself having awareness of the virtues but not really trying to change myself but just seeing what I might have the worst habits in, so I could see where I needed to make the most changes. Through the next days of the experiment, I focused on the ones I know I was the worst at and tried to alter myself in order to not violate the definition of the virtue. Once I did this I came to a realization that there were habits in my life that I was forming and I needed to change in order to be a better person. The virtues I found I struggled with the most wasTranquility.  This was the hardest virtues for me because I find myself often worry about the things in life that I can not control instead of worry about what I can control. The Virtue I struggled with the least is Cleanliness, which we defined as basically cleaning yourself and your clothes and not littering. These were things I already did on a daily basis and had no trouble keeping up with. Towards the end of the experiment, it was harder to keep track of what I was doing wrong, mainly because of winter break, and it was hard to really get time to self-reflect on the busy day I had remember everything I might have did wrong. Now being done with the experiment I am not going to forget the things I have learned about myself and my habits but I will probably not focus on it as much. In today’s time, I think it gets harder and harder to find time to really reflect on yourself as a person because there are so many distractions within our hectic life’s that it is very easy to form bad habits. In conclusion, coming into this experiment I felt a little like Benjamin Franklin, confident in myself that I could get pretty close to perfect because I thought of myself as a pretty good person for the most part. I have found that I am not, I have more flaws in the personality and actions than originally anticipated but I have become more self-aware and every day I am working on fixing those things and become a better version of myself. 

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Blog 8 – “The Dodo’s Conundrum”

My first impressions of “The Dodo Conundrum” is that when first reading it was super confusing and tough to follow what was going on. Going back and forth between the stanzas that have structure to the stanzas that were free verse made the poem hard to follow. The stanzas with structure were easier to understand but the free verse stanzas did not make any sense. I had to read the poem a couple of times before getting an understanding of what was actually going on. In regards to the theme, I think there are a couple things that could be taken from the poem but to me, the theme that is shown pretty clearly is that life is not perfect, no matter how hard you try and there will always be things that you can not change. I mainly got this theme from the structure of the poem and how the poem goes from creating this perfect world to compare it to things that occur in the real world. The part of the work that is still very confusing to me is the free-verse stanzas. I understand that the certain allusions that were selected were for a reason and each of them has a specific function, but each of these functions is still unclear. The footnotes did help with the understanding of the free verse but they still do not make sense to me. The sound and sense question for this poem were harder to understand compared to when we answered them for “Eldorado”. The poem “Eldorado” just made more sense and was easier to interpret compared to this poem. Having to write poetry has also affected the way I read and analyzed this poem because I think more about how the poem was written in a way that it was. I think more in-depth about why the poet chose the stanza form, rhythm pattern, and chose certain words and symbols. I think writing poetry has given me a greater appreciation for poets who actually made a career out of it and are famous for it because it is hard to write a good poem.


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Blog 7: Poetry

In class as we discussed poetry we have looked at an assortment of poems, discussed terminology, and started considering how to analyze poetry, my reaction has not really changed. Throughout middle school when we first learned about poetry I never understood it and did not like it at all. The teachers made it boring and gave us so much work to go along with it. This year learning more about how to analyze poetry to truly understand it has had a positive and negative effect on my reaction to it. I still do not like poetry just because of all the work that has to go into it to really understand the meaning that the poet was trying to convey. I still find poetry to be overly complicated with all the technical terminology that is involved with it. I just think that no matter what poetry will always be over complicated but actually learning how to understand it is helpful even with all the work that has to get put into it. So although I still find poetry really complicated I have learned ways to better understand it and analyze it. Through the work we did in class I was able to finally understand how to truly analyze a poem in order to understand the true meaning behind them. Now that I know how to analyze poems, I am able to enjoy them more because I understand what the poet is trying to get across to the reader. Learning about the supporting elements that are used to reveal the theme was also helpful in order to understand the poem. Through doing all the work in class I was able to better understand how to analyze poetry but I still dislike all the complicated work that comes along with it. My reaction to poetry has changed slightly because I’m able to actually understand poetry but they still remain complicated.

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Short Story

Throughout the process of writing my short story, based on my selection from the six-word short story list, the concept of my story has stayed relatively the same. The one thing that did change throughout the writing of my short story is my conflicts. I changed some of my conflicts in order to have the story flow better and make more sense. I also changed some of the elements of my characters to improve my story. The initial version of my short story and the final version remained mostly the same when going through and revising everything, there were only minor changes that had to be made just to improve the understanding of the story. I feel that myu short story is pretty good. I like the concept and I feel that I added plenty of detail and dialogue. Although I feel that my short story is pretty good and there is not much I would change there are still a few flaws. I feel that I could improve my ending more so that it not as open-ended. I do not really like the way my story ends just because that does not completely resolve the main conflict of the story. I also need to make sure that I have all the elements required in my short story. The reading that we did in class on, “The Devil and Tom Walker” and also my independent reading selection “Grit” by Gillian French, has had an impact on the short story. The other readings have an influence on some of the elements of my short story. I used the way of revealing charactering from my book in my short story by slowly reveling through there thought and their actions that occur during the story. My short story was influenced by the reading we did in class by adding the level of detail that was used to describe the setting and set the tone. So far I am happy with my short story and I feel that it only needs some minor changes and it will be finished


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Blog 5 – Imitation

In the book that I am currently reading called, “Grit” by Gillian French, some concepts that I could incorporate into my own short story is the character development, and some of the conflict. The elements from the story I am reading and would like to incorporate in my own short story is the way the author develops character and some similar conflicts. In the book, the author develops the characters slowly throughout the entire book instead of just introducing them fully in one chapter. This way of character development creates a more mysterious mood throughout the book. This also keeps the story more interesting to get to know new characteristics of the main character through their different activities.I will incorporate this into my own story by slowly revealing the characters instead of telling everything about them in the first chapter. I choose this element to incorporate because I like the author’s style of revealing characters. I think it fits in my story because the character changes and learns about herself through the plot of the story. I also would like to incorporate some of the similar conflicts in my short story as well. In the book, an underlying conflict is the main character going inn between liking two different guys and not really knowing which one she is into more. The main character also doesn’t know if it would ever work out with the guy she longed for the most. My short story has similar concepts so I would like to incorporate some of the elements that my book has. I think I can include similar conflicts in my short story in order to make it more interesting and not like any other high school relationship story. In my short story, I can incorporate some of the different elements form my book that I am currently really like the characterization and some of the conflicts 


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