To start off the blog, the story I am currently reading is called “Gangs”. Gangs is overall about the violence and gang activity in inner Los Angelus and how gangs move around the world so vast and affective. I have had this book I would say since the beginning of the year. This really shows that I only choose to read the book when it is necessary for points in class, which I need to work on finding a more enjoyable book and expanding my focus as a person. With this being said, the Friday readings do help me in fact keep my head in a book at least somewhat.
Next we have the overall unit of transcendentalism. Learning of this way of life was interesting to ME in the fact of how it is a very hard way of living due to the many steps one must follow and the tolerance needed to stick with the journey. We see the journey in the purest way from the “Song of Myself” excerpt by Walt Whitman. We see how Whitman learns to cut off all outside influnce and really key in on only God and nature to guide his life and make himself into a better person. Self-impovement is the main goal of transcendentalism, and that was the big take away from me.
Finally, coming up in classwe have the film “Vertigo”. The film is a very exciting one for me generally because it is a phycological thriller, which are some of them best films to me. having your mind fully manipulated to me sets a more true environment for the audience and having elements such as music and film moving be used will be very interesting to see. Overall a lot has been going on these past few weeks in class and there is so much more coming up.
When first taking a look at the “Song of Myself” Section 1 , it really confused me about how transcendentalism really works and how one practice it. When Mr. McGarry broke it down a little bit, I started to see how serious and self- centered it can really be. It was then when are group got assigned sections 4 and 9 when my understanding for Whitman’s work started to make more sense. In Section 4, it is seen that Whitman doesn’t want to be influenced and or taken off his self-devoted path by any outside influences. Lines that support this are such as; “Trippers and askers surround me, People I meet, the effect upon me of my early life or the ward and city I live in, or the nation”. This is showing how Whitman is not only influenced on his early living space and taught morals, but it still being influenced in his current nation. His main goal it seems in this section is to now only stay to himself and keep moving on his own terms. The other section assigned, Section 9, wasn’t that easy to understand. When reading the section, questions pop into my mind such as “What do the barn doors symbolize?” or “Is the load meaning of something else?”. A lot goes on in this section even though there seems to be less lines. We see the mention of the dry grass and the load Walt is managing. With the string of details and such we see in Section 9 it is very hard to exactly detect a certain idea or vibe. My best assumption would be that it is a mentioned how life is a door of opportunity that comes with the dryness and heavy loads bared on us in the process. Overall, transcendentalism is shown the strongest in this poem than any if the other excerpts in my opinion. We really see how Whitman himself goes into details from his everyday life and shows how the process of being a transcendentalist is tough mentally and how he uses his strengths and mental smarts to form a path to be successful.
After reading the excerpt from Walden, we can see many similarities and differences from Emerson’s perspective as well. When discussing similarities between the two, we see the bring back of . This is brought back due to how the character in “Where I Lived, and What I lived for” is searching for a mass of land to supposedly set up his life to be happy and or to bring his mind to a happy state. The two both have components of nature mentioned and also they discuss how a person’s life should not be determined by the society around them. Differences are then seen because of how in Thoreau’s excerpt we see more movement around and the mentioning of simplicity in life is used. The man in Thoreau’s excerpt seems to want to do things more for himself and his happiness is trying to be naturally found. In Emerson’s excerpt, we see how the woods mentioned is the first and main source of happiness and it seems that the woods will be a place , no matter what, that contains God-like powers and is a place of relief. This contrasts from the woods in Thoreau’s excerpt due to how we see the man struggle to live in the woods and he has to keep moving around to find a place of happiness. His home is hard to construct and it is said to be very open and not ready for the winter. This then leads on to “Could I try this experiment?”. My answer then is simply no, but due to many factors. The reasoning is mainly because of how today us modern teens and young adults see transcendentalism in places such as our home and we feel most comfortable and have confidence to grow in the classroom. Going out of our comfort zone would cause us to mentally collapse and if some of us were faced with this challenge/ experiment, it wouldn’t end well and would not be a successful experiment.
The debate over the Drinking Age going to 18 and the debating process in general has really opened up my mind on what goes into an actual, legit argument. At first when going into even selecting a topic, I always thought leaving the drinking age at 21 was a no-brainier and their was no good points to go against the argument. Then, my mind opened up to the subject and it was overall easier to make valid points when you actually research both sides of the argument. Going into the argument only thinking your side is right will make you seem extremely selfish and can leave a bad mark on the audience, which will affect who wins the debate. For my topic, seeing the views of those who think bringing the drinking age down to 18 has helped me just build logic and maybe even sway me to their side (which didn’t work in reality). When the research was done and we actually debated, it was actually quite smooth to me. It was cool to see how the points you researched of your side and the points from the opponents side came together in the cross-examination. It also made the argument legit and worth presenting to an audience. The process to write a constructive essay and such wasn’t that easy simply because I didn’t know how to organize my thoughts to present to and get to all my important points. When we started going and got to talking, it was crazy to see how the debate flowed and we settled a point without any troubles. If a debate is a formal argument, it will be organized to a certain degree and will not need any yelling or cursing. I did in fact learn as well about how the pro-side of my debate and I saw that it wasn’t just about my side. Overall, people in debates have their own points and we must learn and see what each side brings. We don’t just need to settle a argument, but we can learn from both sides.
The topic chosen for debate is “Drinking Age to 18- Con”. I am assigned the “Con” side of the argument. To me the con side is actually my position on turning the drinking age to 18. It is very immature and unsafe to move the drinking age down this low. Teens/young adults may be considered grown up, but still being in high school and such makes a bad influenced environment for this individuals and drinking alcohol can bring danger. We see things such as hazing, DUI incidents, and overall danger. When we type in this subject to a Google search, we see many cons. We see Cons such as it is medically irresponsible and also younger ages would be permitted in night clubs. These two cons popped out the most to me due to how medical health concerns should come before the law. With night clubs, it is overall a dangerous environment to be in. We see many cases of rape and crime in night clubs and having younger, less mature kids drink could lead to more crime. We also see the risk of traffic accidents and fatalities. Drinking and driving is very serious. Even though it has declined ever since the drinking age was set at 21 in 1984, lowering it back to 18 will just raise the cases of DUI and traffic dangers. This leads on how to approach the con of lowering the drinking age, it is just overall life threatening. Medical dangers and road dangers are only the start of the cautions that can occur because of young people drinking alcohol. School and social life can be affected due to committing dumb acts at parties and such from drinking alcohol, which can now be easier acquired by teens. Young people will think twice hopefully if they see all the ACTUAL dangers of drinking underage, and won’t see the cons as another school research. Emotional appeal can be presented by showing stories of young people personally being affected by drinking alcohol and their friends passing away from the substance. The Cons of the Drinking Age going to 18 is a topic I’m excited for other students to see and wake up to how dangerous it is to drink at a young age.
It’s amazing to see what virtues in life we break when we break down our days of living and reflect on what we actually do and think. When Mr McGarry introduced this project I told myself “OK, there’s no way people are truly going to want to track these virtues of Franklin”. I gave myself the chance to try a day truly tracking my virtues, and it turned into the situation where I wanted too see how it all would end and how I really came across all my days of life. The experiment came with some surprises and expectations met. Ill first start with the virtues I knew would be broke off the bat. These include things such as temperance, order, silence, and sincerity. To break these down is quite simple. Order was expected to be broken due to how people are not walking calender’s, and I will always tend to plan thing and not get them done accidentally or even purposely. Temperance was expected simply due to how it is human nature to overall eat and or enjoy things that aren’t good for you. Christmas Eve and Day were a big time to break this virtue. Silence to me was a no brainier that was going to be broken. I just am a loud and route person to be around and I will contribute to a conversation even if it doesn’t bring any relevance or value. Sincerity also was one broken a lot mostly due to how the break being here has made me like a “bunny rabbit” and I can’t help but say random and hurtful things to try to be “funny” and relevant to friends. It may sound weird and very immature to have sincerity a virtue that was broke, but I just don’t know what got into me. With these being the ones I expected to break, there were also some that were broken unexpectedly. Even though there aren’t many, some include cleanliness and equality. I was so very surprised to even break these once due to how cleanliness to me is usually first nature to me and not “being clean” is almost like breaking the law, and breaking equality I knew in my head would make me a bad person by breaking but there were just simply times this past week were I wasn’t equal to my peers and the virtue couldn’t go on being innocent. This experiment overall was worth giving a chance due to how we see how we are in daily life when surrounded not only by others, but our own mental stature. The biggest thing I took away from this whole virtue tracker is that we as humans do things to either up our own stature or to even downgrade others. I get this message just by seeing all of those tally marks showing me the virtues broken each day. Franklin made these virtues to try to perfect our lives and build ourselves through these virtues, but it goes to show how we aren’t perfect and are due to fail to ourselves or at least someone else moral.
“The Dodo’s Conundrum” is to me the embodiment of a poem with a theme that will take a lot of soul searching. The poem itself was very interesting, being about a man building his own world through a train set. After reading the poem and considering what it all means, a theme popped in my mind. My interpretation of the theme was that “We sometimes are given the tools to change society, but society isn’t always meant to be changed.” The theme comes to mind due to how the man speaks on how this train set he is building is one with all his liking, including things such as no crime and no bad noise, and with the train set he can move around and change whatever in this little world of his. With this being said, this is only in his little world and whatever he claims is in this world will never affect the real world. He is simply just the passenger as he mentions in the last passage. Overall after finding out this theme through occasion and other literary elements such as symbolism (train set) and simply just reading the poem, I’m not a very big fan of it. Like I’ve stated in the past, I’m not a big fan of poems with confusing text due to I like reading text that is simply and straight forward to the point. “The Dodo’s Conundrum” isn’t a poem of simple text and can take a lot of digging like I did to not only figure out the theme, but to take a part all of the poems different forms and understand the text as a whole.
Poetry is a type of reading I’m not quite sure I will ever get into. Sure, there are some poems we have read so far that have in fact interested me, but poetry overall I feel is for a certain type of person. One poem that at least opened my mind up more to this type of reading is “The Cremation of Sam McGee”. This poem was about two men going on a trip in the cold and winterous setting of Yukon. These two are on the search for gold, but one of them (Sam McGee) can’t handle the cold and passes on in the process of the trip. His wishes were to be cremated if he passes, which is the other character’s job (Cap) to make sure he in fact does get cremated. The ending results in Sam getting cremated, but in a very creepy and paranormal matter of himself smiling in the furnace and wishing to be left alone during this process of cremation. This poem was very interesting to me and it felt like I was reading a normal, detailed story. With this, most poems to me are very confusing and the idea of the text isn’t delivered in a matter I understand. A poem I didn’t really enjoy that we read was “Eldarado”. This was mostly due to how it was two short of a story and used confusing text to try to make the reader understand the story in a certain way. You think because it was shorter and easier to read I would like it more, but that simply isn’t the case. That is why I said earlier; poems are really meant for a certain type of experienced reader. That is why to me “The Cremation of Sam McGee” was a good poem because it felt more like a story, not a poem in MY own mind. I guess you can say after all of this I’ve said that I still am not a big fan of poems. I believe they can be very interesting if you find one that relates to a topic you enjoy, but the overall matter of all this “stanza” and terminology in poetry is very confusing and unnecessary to me. Poetry has a very far way to go to impress me.
Looking at “He Lied, She Cried, He Died” , I see it has defiantly changed a lot every since I started writing it. It has been hard to come up with ideas as I write and basing my story off of six words, but my ideas have improved as I developed elements of the story and wrote the story out. Starting off I didn’t really know where to start, being given only six words isn’t the best way to start a story. A thought of family came to my head though and I decided to incorporate a character like my grandpa, who served his time for the army and was a man who loved and still loves his country. I came up with the character Sebastian Hilfiger, who was a man from Pennsylvania with a quest to help out his beloved country. I changed my idea though by not using my grandpa’s war of Vietnam, but using a whole new character in a setting of Germany during World War II. The reason why I did this was because why use my grandpa’s legacy as comparison, when I can make my own hero. From here, Sebastian would have his own story, not a comparison. I think so far the rough draft of the story looks very good and detailed, but the main thing I’m working on is the dialogue. It needs to be spread out a lot better and used more overall, I didn’t even see it being that important of an element at first! Writing my final draft will consist of a lot of my original details, but I will work to add and edit dialogue and make sure I make the story full wrote still. The independent reading and such we have done in class has affected this whole process mainly due to how stories such as The Devil and Tom Walker have showed me how elements (such as milieu and symbolism) are used in a story correctly and in good taste. My story has already made it so far and I’m excited where it will head as I make the final touches.
When preparing to write my short story, taking elements from “Gangs” did come to mind. One element that came to my mind was the way characters got brought up and developed. In “Gangs” the characters, such as Wesley McBride, are brought up to be hard headed and tough in handling gang affiliated crimes and also living in a crime filled Los Angeles. In my story, the protagonist (Sebastian) is going to war in a very harsh environment such as World War II, which isn’t a war one can just enter. The main character Sebastian will have to under go some sort of harsh training and mental challenging to make him ready for the war. Wesley McBride went through many hardships such as years of training and crime experience in his field to build up for position of sheriff and such. I chose this element because I want to try to incorporate physiology of the characters into my story and overall how they end up reacting to very real situations. “Gangs” is based off of true people and stories of gang violence, so I want to try to make my story as real as possible by maybe relating Sebastian and others to a real war hero from World War II with my own twist of my plot. My story, in the end, will only succeed by showing the way charters develop from the beginning of the war to the end. Like “Gangs”, characters don’t just turn into experienced workers/ fighters in a field and in my story I want to make sure the reader of my story knows what hardships Sebastian is going through as he fights in this war and prepares to fight for his country. The element of character development will really be what makes my story a standout over others.