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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Character Study 3


     The six girls begin their journey on their quest to look for Lindsey.  Melissa and Becky take the lead with the rest of the group shortly behind them.  Melissa has trouble keeping up a conversation because she is troubled over the state that Lindsey might be in.  She senses that Becky is feeling the same way so she just tries to keep herself distracted by the passing scenery.  
     Suddenly Becky and Melissa hear this shrill scream and run to where the sound came from.  When they trace where the scream came from they find themselves in a strange situation.  They see a man that looks fresh out of a penitentiary half way up a tree shaking, and two men down below, one laughing hysterically, and the other blurting out random facts about giant spiders.  The two girls skeptically walk up to the men and they introduce themselves.  The man that was blurting out spider facts was Dan Smith, he seems really intelligent but incredibly annoying, the man laughing jovially was Javaris Jamar Javarison-Lama, it was really hard to take him seriously, and the man in the tree was Quatro Quatro.  It turns out that Quatro Quatro is extremely afraid of bugs and was freaked out by a fake tarantula that Javaris stuck to his water bottle.  By the time the three men finish introducing themselves, Ally, Brenna, Miki, and Rachel catch up.
     The three men tell us that they're heading back to the trail head and try to scare us into not continuing any further by telling us stories of eerie sounds and strange happenings once the sun falls.  Melissa feels very suspicious and doesn't believe a word they say.  She is determined to continue on and she can tell that her friends are on board as well.  They thank the three men for the advice and politely decline it.  The girls decide to stick closer together and walk at quicker pace to distance themselves from the strangers.  The six girls begin to worry as the light beyond the horizon slowly dims.  They find a place to set up camp for the night and wait for morning to come.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Character Study 2

     With her friends by her side, they embark on a journey that they will never forget.  Miki, Brenna, Becky, Ally, Rachel and  Melissa all begin their long journey not knowing what to expect.  The most daunting part of setting out on this adventure isn't its length, but the fact that the seventh person in their group tried to tackle this trail alone two months ago and there has been no sign of her since she left.  There was a missing person report of the news so Melissa told Rachel to contact their group of friends.  Now this motley group of six plan to set out in hopes of finding their dear friend, but they don't know what to expect around each corner that they take.
     Melissa feels reassured to have her five friends by her side as they begin to embark on this daunting journey.  Ever since she was little, Melissa dreamed of completing the Pacific Crest Trail, but never did she dream that she would be doing it for this reason.  She tries to make herself feel excited for what's to come and hides her fear of finding out the truth about their friend Lindsey.  She puts on a happy and confident face for her friends because she knows that they are depending on her to use her preparation to help everyone make it out safely.  Without a moments hesitation, she leads her friends into the unknown.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Canterbury Tales (1)

   In the prologue, Chaucer pretty much establishes himself as the king of characterization.  He describes each and every character that he meets in an ironic and satirical way that erases the dividing line between the strict social statuses of the period.  England in the 14th century was characterized by a strict social pyramid with knights on the top and servants on the bottom.  The way that Chaucer describes each of these characters shows that one person is no better than the other just because they have a higher status.  For example, the Friar will give anyone repentance if they pay the right price.  This portrays the Friar as corrupt and greedy.  You can tell that Chaucer will eventually tell each of characters' stories.  I want to read about the clerk and the monk.  They are the two that I am most curious about knowing.

Character Study (1)

The minute that the first sliver of sunlight rises over the horizon her eyes shoot open, butterflies fill her stomach.  She says to herself, "today is the day!"  Melissa excitedly begins packing her backpack. She grabs a mat, a sleeping bag, pocket knife, rope, flint stones, all of the essentials to surviving alone for  twenty two weeks.  She had spent her whole life preparing for this moment; the moment that she could embark on her journey along the Pacific Crest Trail.  She would begin at the border of Mexico and end at the border of Canada; 2,663 miles of brute mental strength and courage.  Hiking through the beautiful forests and majestic mountain ranges has always been her dream; now she just hopes that all of her preparation until this point will pay off.  Once the sun is fully up she prepares to begin her journey, feeling nervous and excited at the same time, she takes her first steps.

My Dashboard

     I love the idea of having a dashboard.  It is really helpful having everything in one place.  On my dashboard I have bookmarks to all the links of all of my class websites, my Facebook feed, email, world news, soccer news, and the weather.  I saved it as an app icon on my iPad for easy access.  I used Netvibes but after reading Brenna's comment, I am tempted to check out Symbaloo to see if I like it better.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Vocabulary #6



obsequious- adj. obedient, dutiful.
  • The intern obsequiously got coffee for his boss.
beatitude- n. extreme blessedness; exhaled happiness.
  • I was filled with beatitude when I read my acceptance letter to Stanford.
bete noire- n. a person or thing that one particularly dislikes or dreads.
  • My dentist appointment is the bĂȘte noire of my day.
bodev. to be an omen of; to announce beforehand; predict.
  • The news bodes evil days for him.
dank- adj. unpleasantly moist or humid; damp and often chilly.
  • "Your life is your life, don't let it be clubbed into dank submission." -Charles Bukowski
ecumenical- adj. general, universal.
  • The significance of the book of John is ecumenical to the entire Christian faith.
fervid- adj. heated in spirit, enthusiasm.
  • The fans fervidly turned the game around with their cheering.
fetid- adj. having an offensive odor, stinking.
  • The skunk released a fetid odor all over my dog.
gargantuan- adj. gigantic, enormous, colossal.
  • Planning a wedding is a gargantuan task to take on.
heyday- n. the prime stage of great vigor and success.
  • I wish I could return to the time when jazz was in its heyday.
incubus- n. a nightmare.
  • She was awakened by an intense incubus.
infrastructure-n. the basic, underlying framework or features of a system or organization.
  • The core infrastructure of the corporation effectively help it together after the stock market crashed.
inveigle- v.  to entice, lure, or ensnare by flattery or artful talk or inducements (usually followed by into)
  • The young woman inveigled the handsome man into buying her dinner.
kudos- n.  honor, glory, acclaim.
  • He received kudos for raising $5000 for children in need.
lagniappe- n.  a gratuity or tip.
  • The restaurant gave out mints as lagniappes after every dinner to thank their customers for their purchases.
prolix- adj. extended to great, unnecessary, or tedious length; long and wordy.
  • Roxanne's prolix explanation about relativity bored everyone in class.
protege- n. a person under the patronage, protection, or care of some one interested in his or her career or welfare.
  • My little soccer protege took directions so well.
prototype- n. the original or model, on which something is based or formed.  
  • The engineers initially built a prototype of their robotic arm to see if it would work.
sycophant- n.  a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.
  • The sycophant woman felt that her wealth put her above the common population.
tautology- n. needless repetition of an idea, especially in words other than those of the immediate context, without imparting additional force or clearness, as in “widow woman.” 
  • Our principle speaks with such tautology that it's hard to figure out his point of the conversation.
truckle- v. to submit or yield obsequiously or tamely (usually followed by to  ).
  • Don't truckle to unreasonable demands.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WHAT A CHARACTER

     When I think of characters that stand out and are memorable I immediately think of the Mad Hatter.  In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland the Hatter's character immediately made an impression on me.  What I love about the Mad Hatter is the fact that he is such a small character in the story, but his characteristics are so easily remembered.  He is as significant to the story as the Dodo is, but nobody remembers the Dodo's characteristics and significance to the story like they do the Hatter's.  So what makes this minor character so memorable?  What catches me as a reader is the way he is characterized.  He turns Alice's hopeless condition of being lost into something almost sadly comedic.  His overpowering characteristics that so perfectly define the insane meaning of the word "mad" so effectively catch readers' attentions.  A small little hatter perpetually stuck in "tea-time," who enjoys frustrating the poor protagonist Alice; what's not to love.  The Hatter is almost like Alice's antithesis, the incongruity between the two characters provide a comparison that enhances the reader's knowledge and understanding of both characters through their reactions toward each other and the actions they take in the presence of one another.  As I earlier stated, most readers don't remember minor characters, so the fact that the Mad Hatter is almost as recognizable as Alice shows how well Lewis Carroll was able to characterize him.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Vocabulary #5


obsequious- adj. obedient, dutiful.
  • The Christian family obsequiously followed God's will.
beatitude- n. extreme blessedness; exhaled happiness.
  • An immense beatitude overtook her as she found out that her family had survived the crash.
bete noire- n. a person or thing that one particularly dislikes or dreads.
  • The flat tire was the bĂȘte noire of my day.
bodev. to be an omen of; to announce beforehand; predict.
  • The news bodes evil days for him.
dank- adj. unpleasantly moist or humid; damp and often chilly.
  • The dank cellar had musty wine smell.
ecumenical- adj. general, universal.
  • The significance of the book of John is ecumenical to the entire Christian faith.
fervid- adj. heated in spirit, enthusiasm.
  • The fervid speaker got everyone on their feet.
fetid- adj. having an offensive odor, stinking.
  • The forgotten carcass on the side of the road filled the air with the fetid odor of death.
gargantuan- adj. gigantic, enormous, colossal.
  • Planning prom was a gargantuan task to take on.
heyday- n. the prime stage of great vigor and success.
  • I wish hat I lived while poodle skirts were in their heyday.
incubus- n. a nightmare.

  • She was awakened by an intense incubus.
infrastructure-n. the basic, underlying framework or features of a system or orginization.

  • The cliff-side road had a very detailed infrastructure to prevent landslides during intense weather.
inveigle- v.  to entice, lure, or ensnare by flattery or artful talk orinducements (usually followed by into)

  • The young woman inveigled the handsome man into buying her dinner.
kudos- n.  honor, glory, acclaim.

  • He received kudos for making the winning basket at the buzzer.
lagniappe- n.  a gratitiuty or tip.

  • The restaurant gave out mints as lagniappes after every dinner to thank their customers for their purchases.
prolix- adj. extended to great, unnecessary, or tedious length; long and wordy.

  • Roxanne's prolix explanation about relativity bored everyone in class.
protege- n. a person under the patronage, protection, or care of someoneinterested in his or her career or welfare.

  • My little soccer protege took directions so well.
prototype- n. the original or model, on which something is based or formed.  

  • The engineers initially built a prototype of their robotic arm to see if it would work.

sycophant- n.  a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.

  • The sycophant woman felt that her wealth put her above the common population.
tautology- n. needless repetition of an idea, especially in words other than those of the immediate context, without imparting additional force or clearness, as in “widow woman.” 
  • Our principle speaks with such tautology that it's hard to figure out his point of the conversation.
truckle- v. to submit or yield obsequiously or tamely (usually followed by to  ).

  • Don't truckle to unreasonable demands.

DECLARATION OF LEARNING INDEPENDENCE

Throughout life's journey, everyone is always afraid of making mistakes.  I am a nasty culprit of this statement; why am I and so many other people so afraid of messing up?  It has been drilled into the heads of many that mistakes are learning tools; "You will learn from your mistakes."  Even knowing this and seeing examples of the learning process in action; people, including myself, are still afraid of doing something wrong.  When headed towards a goal it's almost impossible to achieve it without doing a few things wrong in the process.  Most of the time, even when something is done incorrectly, the objective is still met; it just took longer than expected because the mistakes had to be gone back to and done the right way.  Now you are even more prepared because not only do you know the right things to do, but you also know the wrong things to do.  Mistakes are part of life, so why are they outcasted?  If I could learn to accept the fact that making mistakes is inevitable, maybe reaching my goal of going to Stanford next fall to study civil engineering would stop making me feel sick with stress every time I think about it.  There are thousands of alternatives to explore that could possibly make me just as happy as I would be studing at Stanford.  I am determined to find a way to conquer my fear of making mistakes by the end of this course, and possibly figuring out why so many people are afraid to make mistakes as well when it is impossible not to learn from them.  The people already getting involved with creating collaborative working groups are my models; big shout out to Lisa Malins.  She doesn't let the fear of striking out keep her from playing the game.  I hope to learn from her fearlessness and hopefully use her as a tool to figure out how to answer my big question.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

LITERATURE ANALYSIS #1


Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison

1. Briefly summarize the plot of the novel you read according to the elements of plot you've learned in past courses (exposition, inciting incident, etc.).  Explain how the narrative fulfills the author's purpose (based on your well-informed interpretation of same).
The story is being told by a black man who is never given a name.  He explains the story of his life and how he became "invisible."  The story begins in the present with the narrarator explaining that he is an "invisible man."  He's not invisible to the eye, just invisible because people refuse to see him.  After introducing himself, he goes back and tells his story.  The narrarator is a strong public speaker and gives a speech in front of some important white men.  In return, they give him a scholarship to a prestigious black college.   The rising action begins when he is expelled from the college three years later for showing an important white man what black life is really like rather than idealizing it.  The narrarator goes to Harlem to look for a job and finds one mixing paint, but his boss doesn't trust him and turns on him.  They get into a bit of a fight and the paint mixer explodes putting the narrarator in the hospital.  He is taken to the home of Mary to heal.  He is offered a job to speak for the Brotherhood and only takes it so he can repay Mary for all she has done for him.  Leading into the climax, a member of the brotherhood is shot and killed by white police for selling dolls on the street without a permit.  The narrarator holds a funeral for him and the Brotherhood gets angry for his act of independence.  Into the falling action, a riot breaks out due to the pent up anger about the murder.  The police try to lynch the narrarator so he runs and falls into a man hole.  The police laugh and close him in.  The narrarator remains underground forever.
This story fulfills the author's purpose of uncovering a common black man's hidden emotions during the Harlem period by guiding the audience through his story. The fact that the narrator doesn't have a name adds to the feeling of invisibility that he explains facing throughout his story.

2. Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. Avoid cliches.
Individual identity being hindered by racism.  The narrator goes through life trying to make a name for himself.  Every time that he would get close, the color of his skin would get in the way.  For example, when the narrarator finally finds a job in Harlem working for the paint mixer, his boss (the paint mixer) suspects him of coalescing with unions which eventually leads to the narrator being hospitalized.

3. Describe the author's tone. Include a minimum of three excerpts that illustrate your point(s).
The tone ranges from bitter and cynical to optimistic and encouraging.
Examples:
1.) Bitter: "I looked at Mr. Norton and stood up, thinking that now was a good time to leave; but he was listening to Trueblood so intensely he didn't even see me, and I sat down again, cursing the farmer silently.  To hell with his dream!" P. 57
2.) Cynical: "Meanwhile I enjoy my life with the compliments of Monopolated Light & Power.  Since you never recognized me even when in closest contact with me, and since, no doubt, you'll hardly believe that I exist, it won't matter if you know that I tapped a power line leading into the building and ran it into my hole in the ground."  P. 13
3.). Optimistic:  "I listened with fascination, my eyes glued to the white line dividing the highway as my thoughts attempted to sweep back to the times of which he spoke."  P.  38-39
4. Describe a minimum of ten literary elements/techniques you observed that strengthened your understanding of the author's purpose, the text's theme and/or your sense of the tone. For each, please include textual support to help illustrate the point for your readers. (Please include edition and page numbers for easy reference.) 
1.) Motif: invisibility- "but he was listening to Trueblood so intensely he didn't even see me."  P. 57 "He's invisible, a walking personification of the Negative, the most perfect achievement of your dreams sir!"  P. 94. The author utilized this motif as part of the title; the main character was "invisible" because everyone refused to see him for who he really was due to the fact that he was black.
2.). Imagery: "I remember the yellowed globes of frosted glass making lacy silhouettes on the gravel and the walk of the leaves and branches above us as we moved slow through the dusk so restless with scents of lilac, honeysuckle and verbena, and the feel of spring greenness."  P. 109. Ellison uses really detailed imagery because the places being described are from the narrator's memory and the narrarator is portrayed as an intelligent speaker.  The detailed characteristics show the main character's intelligence.
3.). Onomontopia:  "...now vibrant with somber chapel bells.  Bong!  Bong!  Bong!"  P. 109  This added to the tone of the moment.  The narrator dreads going to church in fear of getting kicked out of the school and the bongs show that it's time for church to begin.
4.). Oxymoron:  "I looked at the guests on the platform; they sat with that alert relaxation with which they always met our upturned eyes."  P. 115. This observation just adds to the narrarator's character.  It shows his high level of thinking.
5.). Parallelism:  "Gradually she increased its volume, until at all times the voice seemed to become a disembodied force that sought to enter her, to violate her, shaking her, rocking her rhythmically, as though it had become the source of her being, rather than the fluid web of her own creation.  P.  116
6.). Characterization:  Ellison uses direct characterization when introducing new characters because each character is developed by the narrarator's perception of them.  Which he explains whenever he meets someone new.  "Like some of the guests, he wore striped trousers and a swallow-tail coat with black braided lapels topped by a rich ascot tie."  P. 114
7.)  First person narration: "It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization that everyone else appears to have been born with:  That I am nobody but myself.  But first I had to discover that I am an invisible man!"  P.  15  The fact that the main character is telling the story supports the theme and he describes how he becomes invisible.
8.)  Protagonist:  The narrator is the protagonist throughout the story and he talks of his hardships in life.  "But now I felt a sudden fit of blind terror.  I was unused to darkness.  It was as though I had suddenly found myself in a dark room filled with poisonous cottonmouths.  I could hear the bleary voices yelling insistently for the battle royal to begin."  P. 21
9.)  Music references:  Ellison made many references to songs; he tied music and the Jazz Age into the story by having the narrarator make references to songs.  "Then somehow I came out of it, ascending hastily from this underworld of sound to hear Louis Armstrong innocently asking, What did I do to be so black and blue?"  P.  12
10.)  Diction: The author used slang when black people spoke in dialogue to make their characters more convincing and believable.  "We ain't doing so bad, suh.  'Fore they heard 'bout what happened to us out here I couldn't git no help from from nobody."  P. 52

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Beowulf Essay

Compare Beowulf with a modern hero, both as characters and as symbols of the times in which both were created.  Support your thesis with at least three (3) literary techniques and three (3) textual examples that strengthen and illustrate your ideas for your readers.

     Heroes, past and present, all follow the same goal of using their special abilities to conquer evil.  From Beowulf to Batman this same premise applies.  Generally most modern heroes have special powers outside of general abilities, but Batman doesn't; this is why he so nicely compares to Beowulf's character.  Both Batman and Beowulf use strength and intellect to conquer their villains.  The differing qualities between these two heroes lie behind their intentions of conquering evil.  The intensions of both men correspond with the differing time periods that they exist in.  Beowulf takes on the beast of Grendel with bravado.  Great strength and bravery is what establishes a man and leader during his time period.  Beowulf displays his heroism to prove himself worthy of praise.  Batman, on the other hand, is set on fighting villains for vengeance.  His unstoppable drive for vengeance shows the division between current day good versus evil; the people that create problems and the people that fix them.  Batman's drive to avenge his parents shows the drive of most people in the twenty first century.  Both Beowulf and Batman have similar external characteristics, but their internal thoughts and intensions are derived from the customs and beliefs of their time periods.

     Every story that has a hero must also have a villain.  In Beowulf, Beowulf is the protagonist and Grendel is the antagonist.  Grendel is a monster that hides in the marshes by day and lurks in the halls of Herot by night.  He finds enjoyment in eating the guards in their sleep.  Grendel being characterized as a mythical beast ties into the time period of the story.  Beowulf is a narrative that was passed down for generations.  Grendel's character was exaggerated to make the story more interesting.  Beowulf is portrayed as brave and loyal to make an impact on the audience listening.  The fact that he took on Grendel will no armor or weapons shows how brave he truly is.  In Batman, Batman is the protagonist and the Joker is one of his many antagonists.  Batman captures evil villains committing crimes in Gotham City.  The storyline is fictional, but shows how in present day, heroes are fighting evil people rather than evil monsters.   Batman helping the authorities capture robbers and murders with no super powers creates an idea that anyone can become a hero if they have the right kind of drive.  The different antagonist in each story shows the different intensions in each hero.  Beowulf fights for praise and respect, while Batman fights for justice and inner vengeance.

     The characterization of heroes hasn't changed for centuries.  Comparing Beowulf, one of the oldest heroes in history, to Batman, they don't have very many external differences.  They both take care of the common good by defeating evil, and they both do it using brute strength and knowledge without the cliche superpowers that other modern day superheroes have.

   
       

Monday, September 9, 2013

Vocabulary #4


accoladenoun: any award, honor, or laudatory notice.
  • The press expressed accolades for the play write.
acerbitynoun: harshness or severity, as of temper or expression.
  • The acerbity in his voice and manner drove his audience away.
attrition-  noun: a reduction or decrease in numbers, size, or strength.
  • Our soccer team has experienced an attrition due to girls leaving for college.
bromide-  nouna person who is platitudinous and boring.
  • The bromide young man had no people skills.
chauvinist-[shohvuh-nist] noun: a person who believes one gender is superior to the other.
  • There was a group of male chauvinists protesting the fact that women were allowed to join the military.
chronic-  adjective: constant; habitual; inveteratecontinuing a long time or recurring frequently.
  • Lilly has a chronic habit of biting her nails.
expound-  verb (used with object): to set forth or state in detail; to explain; interpret.
  • The chemist expounded theories on how to find a cure for cancer.
factionalism- noun: self-interested; partisan within a group forming a minority inside another group.
  • There was a sign of factionalism forming within the company.
 immaculate-  adjective: free from spot or stain; spotlessly clean; free from moral blemish or impurity; pure; undefiled.
  • When my brother had finished washing the dishes they were immaculate.
imprecation-  noun:  cursing; the act of calling an evil curse on someone.
  • The imprecations the football fans made toward the power line company when the power went out were not deserved.
ineluctable-  adjective:  incapable of being evaded; inescapable.  inevitable, unavoidable, irrevocable, unpreventable,unstoppable.
  • Growing up is ineluctable so you might as well embrace youth as you have it.
mercurial-  adjective:  changeable; volatile; fickle; flighty.
  • The host had a very mercurial group of friends and none of them showed up to her party.
palliate- verb (used with object): to relieve or lessen without curing; mitigate; alleviate.
  • The Advil palliated her stomach pains temporarily, but they later returned.protocol
resplendent- adjective: shining brilliantly; gleaming; splendid.
  • The children looked resplendent in their brand new uniforms.
stigmatize- verb (used with object): to set some mark of disgrace or infamy.
  • Hester was stigmatized with her scarlet letter after committing adultery.
sub rosanoun: confidentially; secretly; privately.
  • The Christians would meet sub rosa to avoid being persecuted. 
vainglorynoun: excessive elation or pride over one's own achievements, abilities.
  • He did not hesitate to flaunt his personal vainglory in public.
vestigenoun: a mark, trace, or visible evidence of something that is no longer present or in existence.
  • A single chard frame was all that was left of the house after it burnt down.
volition noun: the act of willing, choosing, or resolving; exercise of willing; a choice or decision made by the will
  • The young woman decided to pursue a path of her own volition.