I am currently reading desperate characters by Paula Fox. The book was firstly published in 1970 to wide acclaim and out of print for more than a decade. I have been reading this book for a month and a week now. The storyline is about 2 individuals, Otto and Sophie Bentwood living a childless life in a renovated Brooklyn brownstone. The complete works Goethe line their bookshelf their stainless-steel kitchen is newly installed and their Mercedes is parked curbside. After Sophie is bitten on the hand while trying to feed a half-starved neighborhood cat, a series of small and ominous disasters begin to plague their lives revealing the fault lines and fractures in a marriage and a society wrenching itself apart. The book is complicated because the author used archive English hence it makes it difficult to understand but since I want to know how the story ended I like reading it. Aside from the usual readings in class I sometimes read on my own because our reading in class has encouraged me.
Also, my take away from transcendentalism is that you shouldn’t rely on others to make yourself happy because you are capable to do anything yourself when you are self-reliant. I also learnt from Song Of Myself that life is not as simple as we may see but it takes a lot of courage and determination to make it and no one really knows the true definition of society sometimes is like grass and other times is a different thing altogether. I don’t know anything about the movie but since it was hyped in class am anticipated to watch and see what is all about.
My initial impression was a complete disaster and I acted completely lost because I didn’t understand even the first line of section one. I read through section one 5 times and still, I couldn’t figure out the main idea behind it. It became more complicated when we were assigned the group sections. My group was assigned section 3 and honestly, I was confused when I first read it. I said to myself how can I do section 3 if am unable to understand section 1. But when Mc Garry explained section 1 in class I got a little clue of what the entire poem was about. Also, Mc Garry’s explanation in class was not enough for me to understand so I boarded him with a lot of questions after class which helped me to get the clue of the main idea of section 1.
Transcendentalist tends to be self-reliant and see the good in everything that happens and always want to be a better person living their ideal life. Similarly in Whitman’s Song Of Myself, he focuses on how to become a better person and he also believes that everyone is good and there is no evil in this world hence he loved everyone. The most important lines from my section which is section 3 will be stanza 1,2 and the last stanza. In stanza 1, Whitman talked about how people always talk about the past and future but never act. He continues by saying he’s not like the “talkers” for he only talks about the present because that is what he knows and can witness to. “I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the
beginning and the end,
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.”
In stanza 2, Whitman lists excuses people make to avoid development and becoming a better person “There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.” He interprets these excuses as being invalid because he believes there has been no religion, generation, opportunity and a good time to develop than there is now and would ever be.
Finally, in the last stanza, “Shall I postpone my acceptation and realization and scream at my eyes,” he asked a rhetorical question that should he ignore everything he knows and believes in to go along with what society says. The difficulty we had was how to interpret a certain point. For example: in stanza 10 line 2, “As the hugging and loving bed-fellow sleeps at my side through the
night, and withdraws at the peep of the day with stealthy
Leaving me baskets cover’d with white towels swelling the house with their plenty,” When you read it literally it means Whitman had a one night stand and his partner always sneaks out before sunrise so no one could see her or him. But in contrast, the interpretation is nowhere near the above statement so this made it difficult for us to understand and follow the poem.
Both Emerson and Thoreau’s thought behind their message is similar. They both believe that the world by nature was made for us to prosper from. Emerson spends a lot of time thinking of how he can live a perfect life by searching for where to find land to build a home and confidence in himself to thrive without any societal influence. Equally in the excerpt “Where I Lived and What I lived for”, the main idea behind the first portion was Thoreau trying to find where in nature he can fit and find a place to call his own.
The passage furthermore also interprets how important it is for one to live their life to the fullest potential without letting society boundaries hinder them. When Thoreau in his quest of finding land to build a home couldn’t find anything in the society, he moved into the woods where he believed could explore the beauty of nature.
The main idea of the conclusion is that nature was made full of freedom for us to enjoy hence we should explore its beauty and appreciate ourselves living in it by focusing on the freedom which can be found in one’s mind. When Thoreau realized he had had enough of the woods, he left because there was more life to be lived and he wouldn’t limit himself to that single place. Emerson also made a similar suggestion by encouraging one to live for themselves and no one else. Most importantly, both the authors encourage the reader to follow their own dreams, beliefs, and desires for an ideal life. They also advise that no matter how hard life may be, one should always see the good present in it and live happily which will make everyone’s life special in its own way.
If I was to participate in this experiment, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish much because I will miss my family and friends not forgetting social media.
Finally, even though the modern reader will not want to leave the current life behind and go and live in the woods but what they can emulate from transcendentalism is self-reliance because life is what and how you make and live it. For nature and society are mere spectators and they shouldn’t have control over the choices you make in your life.
When we started arguments I imagined the ones that we see on televisions, in politics and even among individual peoples. I thought we were going to “yell” at each other just to try to prove our point on a topic that may or may or may not be valid. But over the course of this unit, I have learned many things about a valid argument that I never had any clue of. For instance, I had no idea of “the fine art of argument” which teaches you how to tackle topics and help you to find evidence to support your argument. It also teaches you how to structure your argument by using persuasive, logical, emotional and ethical appeal to win the hearts of your audience during arguments. With this, I realized that people often enter into arguments with no evidence to support their claim especially among my peers and adults. They also tend to use the 1st person pronouns which make their argument weak.
During the debate in class among my peers on the various topics each chose to argue on, it was interesting to see how each side of the argument prepared themselves and the techniques they used to prove their point. Some students used both logical and emotional appeal during their presentation, others also spoke louder and confidently in whatever they said and it was an awesome presentation. I also realized that most of my classmates used YES or NO questions during the cross-examination section to trick their opponent into saying that they were right and convince them to support their side of their argument. I used most of these techniques in developing my own argument
Finally, I have come to learn that to develop a valid argument, one must use a logical, emotional and ethical appeal approach by finding concrete evidence, being bold and confident and persuading your opponent to admit you are right. Also, there shouldn’t be any kind of 1st person pronouns in your argument because it reduces the quality of your argument and makes it weak. All these put together ha totally changed my knowledge about and now I like it because is totally different from my initial thought of an argument. I learned that an argument has a structure and rules too and not just “yelling” at one another.
The topic that I will be debating is “PAY TO PLAYSCHOOL SPORTS.” and my position on this topic is the contrary side so I will be arguing against the motive as stated above. I actually have a personal attachment to this topic and I do not accept that students should pay to play school sports so this is my personal position on this topic.
Prior to research and other resources, I know that participation in high school athletics is associated with many physical and psychosocial benefits. School budget cuts and increased program costs have resulted in policies requiring student-athletes to pay fees for the choice of sports participation. The main reason behind the implementation of the fee policy is a result of an increase in the program cost, revenue loss or decreased school budget. The growing trend of charging high school participation fees has resulted in opposition from parents, athletic administrators, and school sports advocates.
One way I decide to approach this topic using logic is to find proof which will show that it is not acceptable for one to pay to give out their own services. Also, there are many situations where I can utilize emotional appeal to deliver my stand.
Following Franklin’s motives why he proposed these virtues in the first place made it really difficult for me to abide by them and the personal ones that my group added. Over the course of the week, I didn’t pay much attention to strictly following the virtues but I did notice every time I broke the rules. On the account of Franklin’s reasons for these virtues, I observed that I can not be able to reach moral perfection because there is a saying that “no man is perfect”. I am not saying this because I believe is true but because everyone has their own definition of what it takes to reach perfection. Though it might be possible for some people to reach perfection but in my case, I couldn’t.
During my unintentional experiment, I managed to have control of some of the things I did and did make some corrections in it but still that couldn’t guarantee me reaching the point of perfection. To begin with, I was able to follow most of the virtues but temperance and order gave me the most trouble. For instance, I made a schedule to follow over the break but getting up in the morning as I scheduled was always difficult which made me end up doing things late and even to the point of procrastinating certain things which were needed to be done earlier. I also ate a lot of junk foods because I could see , smell and meet them everywhere I went. Even though my stomach begged for mercy because it could no longer digest them, my mouth kept on consuming it to the extent that I couldn’t do anything but just to sit for a while without doing anything productive.
As I was battling with temperance and order, cleanliness and obedience were easy for me to fulfill. In all, I would say I have come to realize that it does really take a lot of effort to reach moral perfection and truthfully in the past days of this experiment it wasn’t easy at all. Sometimes I had to just walk away or pretend to not have heard what was happening around me just because if I had responded or reacted to it I would have broken the virtues.
When we started reading “The Dodo’s Conundrum”, I enjoyed it even though the poet used different forms of rhyme patterns. Both the free verse and the rhyme scene all together made the poem serve the theme. After reading the poem several times I figured out the theme of it is related to everyone wanting to live in the perfect world. A world where they can do whatever they wanted and not be controlled by the forces around them. The poet went a long way using symbols and literally devices in revealing the theme. For instance: Some days Thoreau had it right
About the teeming masses yearning to be free–
“(That’s not right, but close enough)
And other days he had it
I and we stifle the voices innocuous imagined ignored instigated interrogated;
Reliant self asking the mass for guidance
That we can not give.
The price is nothing more, nothing less than what
so much depends upon . . .
Not everything with wings can fly.”
The poet at this point explained how you can have everything at your disposal to do whatever you want but yet still you can not do it. In fact, I was able to relate this poem to real-life matters and was also able to understand that whatever that happens in life happens for a reason and all put together makes a perfect life because if everyone is to have their perfect world, the world will be a boring one and no one will have to look out for the other. I will say the dodo’s conundrum by far was the best poem as compared to Eldorado. In Eldorado, there were more than two themes that were harder to find. Even though
the dodo’s conundrum was complex and confusing at some point but was it was much easier to perform the sound and scansion.
I didn’t have a lot of experience in poetry except for the ones I read in elementary school and those ones are no where near what we are learning now because I was not required to identify the parts but just to only learn how to read and they were extremely easy.The few ones that I was taught were really simple and easy to understand but the poems we are learning now in class is very confusing and I barely understand it.I do like the terminologies in poetry but when we are asked to identify them in poems, I suffer because poetry is not as blunt as a novel will be.
Our current poem “ELDORADO” is not a bad poem but I will say is not my favorite either.Even though is short and simple,I couldn’t understand it until we discussed it in class which gave me a tiny clue of what it was about.Whiles reading ELDORADO and based on the discussions in class,the poem at some point talked about hope and mystery at some other point.All these together makes it really hard for me to understand it.
Finally,poetry is not bad but is not my favorite because it confuses me and I have a hard time analyzing poetry.
when we were asked to write our own short story after reading The Devil and Tom Walker and the explanation of how the story was presented basically the elements of the story,I chose to write on “No Taxidermist loved her daughter more” from the six word short stories we were given but after our discussions in class on how the story should look like,I changed the title and used “With Bloody Hands,I say good-bye”because I realized it best fit my short story.
In my story,the protagonist,Chai is a loving little boy who stays with his uncle and siblings after the death of their parents and has a heart problem.One day he went out to play with his siblings and got a heart attack resulting from a conflict they were involved and was running away from, when they noticed they picked on the wrong people so they had to flee.Chai was taken to the hospital and his family were told he needed a heart transplant or he would die but the hospital at that time didn’t have any heart so they called a different hospital to bring one.The antagonists, Shun on the other hand is a beautiful young girl who lives with her father after the death of her mother but unfortunately for her,her father also gets shot and died in a war because inter-tribal conflicts used to be popular that time in her country.So she goes into hiding and return years after to avenge her father’s death from the minister,on whose command her village was attacked that time.She attacked the hospital from which Chai was going to receive the heart from and stopped their operations and also threaten to kill everyone if the President refused to send the minister to the hospital.
Whiles writing the story,a lot of things changed.For instance;I couldn’t figure out how to even begin the story but along the line as we learned new things to incorporate in our story,it made a great impact on my thoughts and I managed to some words together to create a short story.As am about to finish my story i believe I still insert some humor and dialogue to make my story more lively and not just a piece of writing.
In conclusion,reading “The Devil and Tom Walker”did help me but the explanation of the elements in the story and my independent reading section all together gave me ideas and vocabularies to write my story.I will say my initial thought about writing our own short story was something very simple,but as time went by i managed to improve it.
Some elements that I can imitate from the book am reading “Palace of mirrors” to incorporate into my short story will be how the author revealed the characters aside the settings.And also the conflicts in the story will play a major role in my short story.
In the book am reading,the author described Cecilia as a peasant girl living in an unrecognized village.This shows that they are poor similarly in my upcoming story too,It talks about how a small boy called Chai and his siblings had to suffer when they went to live with their uncle after the death of their parents and the obstacles the siblings had to overcome in other to save their little brother’s life after the encounter at the field of play.Also the conflict between the sualam’s and the ferdesia’s on who is the most powerful community in the story will be featured in my short story.
The complicating factor in my short story will be when the three siblings decided to buy a remote control car for Chai on his birthday which is also similar to the book am reading where Cecilia flew to the city to claim her right on the throne.There she finds out that Desmia believes she is also the true princess and she has been told to be aware of imposters like Cecilia who will come and claim they are the true princess.Similarly in my short story, after the siblings had bought the car for Chai, he insisted they go out to play with it.So they joined a racing competition in their neighborhood.During the race,a boy pushed Chai so he lost control of his car and the car clashed.He went to pick the pieces of the car crying and out of anger stepped on the boy’s car to destroy it.This resulted into a misunderstanding and as Chai and his siblings ran away because the couldn’t face the boy and his friend’s ,he got a heart attack and is rushed to the hospital.