I am currently reading Games of Thrones, and I have been reading this book since the summer. The highlights of the story are not yet obvious as it is a slow-moving story that takes its time building plot. I like how the story takes time to build the characters to allow the reader to really understand them. I have always been someone who enjoys reading, but I have been very busy this year and have not really had the time to read like I normally do. These weekly reading times have not necessarily encouraged me to read more, but they have given me the time I have barely had this year to just sit down and read. I do really enjoy being given fifteen to twenty minutes to try and catch up on my reading a bit.
My takeaways from our unit on Transcendentalism are not really extensive. I found the concept a little strange and, quite honestly, still do not really understand it. Whitman’s “Song of Myself” just felt, to me, like a jumble of ideas that are all slightly related. All the sections talked about completely different subjects, then somewhere in them, he would talk about learning from Nature. All in all, I did not enjoy the unit, and I did not really take the time to try and understand it more than I felt I had to to get it over with.
I am excited to be viewing the film Vertigo. I have heard a lot about it and am happy to finally know what these people have been talking about. I actually did not learn much about the film during the initial research because I tried my best not to. I wanted to go into the film with an open mind without any outside influences or spoilers. I think the most difficult aspect of the film critique will be pretty much everything. Writing a critique on the second or third best film made will be very difficult seeing as how well done it must be. I am really excited to be watching the movie and analyzing it, but I am not excited to have to try and find what flaws such a well done film could possibly have.
Thoreau’s thoughts and Emerson’s thoughts are similar because Thoreau spends a lot of time thinking of how he can rely on the nature around him. He spent a lot of time out in nature thinking about farms and the nature around him. He also spent a lot of time thinking where on the land he could build a house, which shows him yet again relying on nature, as well as on himself. The main idea of the first portion of the excerpt “Where I Lived and What For?” is all about him finding a place to put a house where he is currently living. He is thinking of how the land could support him, and how he would conduct himself living on said land. He also wrote a lot about the farms that surrounded his land and how he could use the farms to support him. The main point of the portion of the excerpt from “The Conclusion” is about how much of an impression he left in the land he is now leaving. He speaks of how after only a week he had made a path from where he walked to the pond from the cabin that him and Emerson had built. The benefits of Thoreau’s leaving behind society to live in the woods experiment would be some time to reflect upon himself and to consider in what ways he can improve himself and become a better person.
If I were to conduct this experiment myself, I think I would most miss my friends and boyfriend. I do not know whether or not I would be permitted to take my pets with me, seeing as how they are not people, but if I was unable to take my pets with me, I would miss them as well. Especially my oldest dog, Vito. He has gotten me through a lot of hard times, and he is always able to cheer me up. I think that I could definitely conduct this experiment, but I do not think it would be a good idea for many reasons. Humans are inherently social creatures. Separating yourself from people and completely cutting off contact is unhealthy and is not good for your mental health. I know that when I am left home alone for a long weekend, I get very anxious and depressed during the first day. By the time the rest of my family would come home, I am extremely relieved to see them, and I can not wait to get out of the house.
My argument, in general, was that the United States should not interfere with the Hong Kong protests. I argued in favor of not helping the Hong Kong protesters by discussing finances, economy, and isolationist views. I relied mostly on facts and logic, admittedly putting in some irrelevant facts that I thought would appeal to the emotions of the audience. Similarly, my peers constructed their arguments relying mainly on facts. Developing a valid argument was difficult for me when taking my topic into consideration. It is a newer topic, so there are not many valid sources on the subject. My peers also each had logical fallacies within their arguments, which I am sure I am guilty of too. My understanding of my topic has greatly changed. I went into this project knowing next to nothing about the Hong Kong protests. I left knowing what their five demands are, what the leader of China thinks about all of this, and the “one country, two systems” policy. I still personally believe that the United States should help the Hong Kong protesters, regardless of what I was meant to argue. I think that this particular persuasive piece was so difficult for me to develop because I did not agree with what I was writing. I had to write four persuasive papers in my Medical Ethics course at Bloomsburg University. Those were really easy for me because I had to argue for whichever side I personally agreed with. I learned what to do and what not to do when answering questions and forming a rebuttal. However, I am not sure what argument was the best. I think all of the debates had similar things that went right and things that went wrong. People tended to make similar mistakes. I believe this is because this is the first time any of us has most likely done an argument in this manner. Any little things that we had not been told to do or not to do come through during these arguments. I believe that this assignment was a good way to introduce us to debates we may have in the future, whether in real-life situations or in a college setting.
My topic for the debate is United States interference with the Hong Kong protests. The stance I must take on the issue is that the United States should not interfere with the Hong Kong protests. My personal opinion on the topic is that the United States should interfere. In all honesty, I really only know what I have heard about on the social media site Reddit. I know that the Chinese government is filtering what people can and can not see, but besides that, I am really in the dark. Most of the results I get with a basic Google search are why the United States should interfere with Hong King protesters, and there are very few stating that the United States should not interfere. I plan to try and take a logical approach by gathering the facts of what is going on in Hong Kong first. After that, I will then start to research people’s opinions and why they feel that way towards the Hong Kong protesters. An ethical issue regarding interfering with Hong Kong is that the United States and China participate in a lot of trade between each other. If the United States interferes with Hong Kong, it could make China not want to trade with us, and we would lose a lot of our trade. Many businesses have corporations set up in China that sell back to the United States. They can not risk losing this business. Both our economy and China’s would suffer if this were to occur. Emotions that could be brought into play are sympathy and pity. The United States was founded on people fighting against the government. These protesters are trying to do the same thing our ancestors did over two hundred years ago. Not only is that how our government came to, but the United States is accepting of protesters. We protect them and listen to what they have to say. If there are enough people rallying together in protest, changes will be made as a result. Many people, myself included, believe we should extend these rights to other people. Especially the Hong Kong protesters who obviously want to have these rights.
I did not pay much mind to the virtues as I went through my week. I chose to just go through my days as I normally would because I think that trying to follow all of these virtues would take away from life. The results of which virtues I did and did not follow throughout the week were not surprising to me. There are a few virtues that I broke every day. These were tranquility, diligence, guidance, industry, silence, sincerity, resolution, and justice. I violated eight out of the fifteen virtues every day. That is over half of the virtues, not counting the ones I did not violate daily. Some would argue that this would make me a bad person, but I believe that it says more about the experiment than it does myself. These virtues were drawn up by someone trying to reach moral perfection, excluding the three my group came up with. Keeping this in mind, there was no room for error, and I believe that a large part of being human is not being perfect. We are meant to make mistakes and live life with a bit of selfishness. No human has ever been morally perfect, and I believe that trying to achieve this level of perfection is not only impossible but also damaging to this person’s mental and emotional state. It is well known that people who are pressured into perfection often wind up mentally damaged as a result of trying to pursue the impossible, which is why this should not be done. Pressuring people into perfection will cause them to never feel satisfied with themselves. I believe that instead of trying to achieve moral perfection, we should aim to better ourselves a little bit each day. We also should not have a set list of virtues to follow, we should so what we believe is best for ourselves and others. Different people have different views of what is and is not ethically acceptable, which causes us to believe that different things are ethically required to live a morally good life. An example of this is when we did our presentations on the virtue we eliminated and the virtues we added. No group added the same three exact values, and different groups eliminated different values. We should not heed the word of some dead white guy from the late 1700s for what we should do in the twenty-first century.
I think that this study was not an appropriate study to do in a high school setting. I believe that doing such a study could, under different circumstances, prove to be a good way of seeing what things people find ethically important and valuable. Doing this in a high school setting, however, almost guarantees that the results will be inaccurate. My group chose to remove chastity, but I am assuming that the groups who chose to keep it were not honest if they violated this virtue. It is an uncomfortable question not only for it to be asked, but to be expected to answer it and provide a date as a high school student. I think that this study would have been better done if it were in a college setting as compared to a high school setting. I also believe that expecting those who were truthful about violating this virtue to write about it in a blog that can be accessed by the public is unfair. If this study were to be done in a more professional setting, it would most likely be anonymous, which I think would be more appropriate.
My first impressions of “The Dodo’s Conundrum” was complete confusion. I did not understand what anything meant until somebody else explained it to me. As far as the theme is concerned, I am pretty sure the poem is about how life can not be what we hoped it would be, and there are always going to be flaws and tough times to deal with. There are many parts of the work that are still confusing to me. I only know what I know from my fellow classmates. I am not very sure about the theme of the work that I have concluded or how to interpret it. All of the allusions are also making the poem harder for me to interpret. I am unaware of all the authors and literary works that were referenced. The only allusion I was familiar with was the Sirens from Greek mythology, and I did not understand why they were used within the poem. The questions in Sound and Sense were much more difficult to answer than the Sound and Sense questions for “Eldorado”. Writing poetry has not impacted the way I read and analyze poetry. I think this is mostly because I made both of my poems pretty straight forward, and they do not really have any deeper or hidden meanings. My poetry was not anything extremely complex or symbolic like “Eldorado” and “The Dodo’s Conundrum”. The poems were extremely meaningful to me, but I got my point across without being confusing or cryptic.
My reaction to the poems that we’ve read is mostly neutral. I have never been horribly impressed with poetry, and I still struggle to enjoy it. I think that the reason I do not like poetry is because of teachers forcing students to pick apart poems and place meaning to every little word or phrase within the poem. I also do not like it when teachers say there is one specific theme to a poem. I believe that poems are supposed to mean something different to each individual, and the meaning and interpretation of the poem is whatever you think it is when you read it.
I thought that Eldorado was an okay poem. It was easy enough to read, but beyond that, I again, am not really impressed. I think that after having to analyze it, I started to like it less and less. I do not think that poetry is an “awful monster”, but I do not enjoy it, and it just feels like a waste of time. Poetry is not something that will affect me later in life, unlike other topics dealt with in English. Reading and writing stories helps improve grammar, vocabulary, and diction skills for when students are older and have to write, whether it is for a college paper, a job application, or other aspects of life where you must properly convey your thoughts and ideas. Poetry does not help me in these situations. It throws most grammar rules out the window, diction is usually used to make the poem rhyme and be a certain amount of syllables, and it may increase your vocabulary, but then you must worry about if a word truly means it definition in the poem. Instead of analyzing why Edgar Allan Poe was feeling sad when he wrote a poem, we should be learning how to write a sound college research paper, or presenting an opinionated piece in a way that is not aggressive and has evidence to support it. Once I finish school, I will never again have to write, read, or analyze a poem. I would not compare poetry to a monster, it is more like an annoying niece you have to deal with during the holidays, nobody really likes her, but she does not ruin the day.
My first concept has changed a lot between what I have now and what I started with. My first concept was vaguely about a guy murdering another guy because he slept with his wife. My story is now about a serial killer who kills racist and sexist men. I wanted to do something a little more original than my first concept, so I decided to have the serial killer a girl, and have her kill off people who are not stereotypically targeted by serial killers. I am not really satisfied with my story right now. I do not like the wording I use throughout the story during the narration, and I feel like my dialogue between my two main characters is lacking. I think that the dialogue does not captivate Gary’s fear of being murdered. I also think that the dialogue does not captivate Roselina’s disgust and willingness to murder Gary. I am happy with the symbolism I put on the story. Every time Roslina is present in the story, there is purple within the setting. I am also happy with all of Gary’s other dialogue. I think I captured Gary well as a character in the dialogue that is not spoken with Roselina. I also liked my introduction of Roselina when she kills Joseph Malone.
I believe that the reading we have done in class has not affected my story very much, but I do believe that my independent reading, as well as other works I have read, have greatly affected how my story was written. My writing style closely mimics that of Cassandra Clare, the author of the Shadowhunters series. I read that series three years ago after watching the show, which I thought was pretty good. Although I was severely disappointed with the books, I read all six of them, and I do think that the author has pretty good diction, although the plot was bad.
In the book that I am reading, each chapter focuses on one person at a time and describes an event they are involved in that reveals them as a character. For example, this chapter focuses on Jon Snow. During this chapter, Jon Snow, the bastard son of Lord Ned Stark, is not permitted to sit with his brothers, sisters, and father during an event to honor the king. He is grateful in this instance to be a bastard because he is able to drink as much as he wants, although he often is not grateful of his illegitimate birth. After having a few too many drinks, he is then met by his Uncle who serves the Knight Watch at the wall. His uncle describes being a part of the Knight’s Watch, and Jon begs him to become a part of it. His uncle tells him that he is too young to make such a big decision and that the conditions of the Knight Watch are no place for a boy. His uncle later makes a joke to Jon about fathering a few bastards of his own, and Jon becomes extremely angry at this statement This reveals to the reader that even though Jon Snow tries his best to act as if being a bastard does not bother him, it is something that constantly troubles him.
I could use this sort of style to reveal my characters in the exposition of my short story instead of simply giving them a brief introduction. This style of character development will help my short story become more advanced and interesting to read instead of being a basic and simplistic story. It fits into developing my story because it will help me dive into the phycology of the antagonist, who is a serial killer. Since getting into the mind of someone so detached from reality is difficult to understand, it will help to show her acting in response to a situation. It will also help with the protagonist, who is a white supremacist. He also has difficult phycology to understand, and showing him in a situation where he acts on these behaviors might help the reader understand why he is the way he is.
The setting in this chapter is mostly a crypt under the castle that serves as a cemetery. All former Starks are buried under here and their graves are marked with stone statues of themselves, and the lords with iron swords. Ned Stark and King Robert, who are brothers, go down to this graveyard of sorts together to mourn their sister whom Robert had been in love with. The setting of the dead’s gravestones is used to darken the mood of the chapter. The king decides to give Ned the opportunity to be the Hand of the King. This position would give Ned all the power of the king without the title, and he would be left to run the kingdom while Robert carries out his selfish lifestyle. During this, Ned attempts to refuse to which Robert tells him he must get out of the cold North and come to the South with him to experience the sun. Ned feels that he belong in the North and does not wish to join him. He then feels as if all the statues of the former Starks are looking upon this arrangement disappointedly. He can feel their gaze looking upon their descendants and what a terrible position Robert has put his brother in.
The setting of the chapter also reveals Lord Ned Stark and King Robert had a sister and brother who had died nine years ago in a war against the self-proclaimed King of the Iron Land. We learn that the King had once been an in shape warrior to be feared, and he is now an overweight self-indulgent king. Both Robert and Ned had been in love with Lyanna, their sister, and Robert was supposed to marry her before she had been killed by Rhaegar when she was sixteen. Robert had then gone into battle and killed him to avenge his sister. Robert said that one thousand death would not be suitable for his crime against Lyanna. Robert also is saddened by Lyanna being in the dark cold crypt with the other Starks. He wants her to have been buried on top of a hill with a fruit tree growing over her. These comments made by Robert show that he is still greatly upset by the death of Lyanna and that he may never stop grieving her. He also wants to join together his son and Ned’s daughter to replicate what was supposed to have been between him and Lyanna.