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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Vocabulary #9

aficionado: (noun) an enthusiastic and usually expert follower or fan
All of brothers are Laker aficionados and enjoy keeping track of their stats.

browbeat: (verb) to intimidate by a stern or overbearing manner; to bully
When football players are lined up before each play they browbeat their opponents.

commensurate: (adj.) equal in size, extent, duration, or importance; proportionate; measurable by the same standards
Parents try to commensurate the amount of attention that they give to each child.

diaphanous: (adj.) very sheer and light; almost completely transparent
The diaphanous shells was very delicate and easy to crack.

emolument: (noun) profit derived from an office or position or from employment; a fee or salary 
The store manager was given the generous emolument of a trip to Hawaii.

foray: (noun) a quick raid, especially for plunder; a venture into some field of endeavor; (verb) to make such a raid
As soon as the sun went down the bears began their foray throughout the campsites.

genre: (noun) a type, class, or variety, especially a distinctive category of literary composition
Alternative music is currently a very popular genre.

homily: (noun) a sermon stressing moral principles; a tedious moralizing lecture or discourse
The pastor's homily started to become repetitive.

immure: (verb) to enclose or confine within walls; to imprison, to seclude or isolate
I hate being sick because I feel immured to my room.

insouciant: (adj.) blithely indifferent or unconcerned; carefree; happy-go-lucky
I love the insouciant feeling that comes with camping in the Sierras.

matrix: (noun) a mold; the surrounding situation or environment
We are stuck in a matrix of pollution.

obsequies: (noun) funeral rites or ceremonies
A very respectful obsequies was help for her dear friend.

panache: (noun) a confident and stylish manner, dash; a strikingly elaborate or colorful display
Her panache made her really easy to talk to.

persona: (noun) a character in a novel or play; the outward character or role that a person assumes
Hamlet's persona is difficult to follow until the reader begins to read between the lines.

philippic: (noun) a bitter verbal attack
Cyber bulling is characterized by philippic attacks that are getting more and more out of hand.

prurient: (adj.) having lustful desires or interests
They became prurient with the idea of obtaining a large sum of money.

sacrosanct: (adj.) very sacred or holy; set apart or immune from questioning or attack
The sacrosanct plaque depicted  very important part of their history.

systemic: (adj.) of or pertaining to the entire body; relating to a system
Soccer is a very systemic sport at requires every part of the body to work in unison.

tendentious: (adj.) intended to promote a particular point of view, doctrine, or cause; biased or partisan
The tendentious propaganda that airs during political elections is not in the least way effective.

vicissitude: (noun) a change, variation, or alteration
Playing basketball was quite a vicissitude from playing soccer.

tools that change the way we think

"Back in 2004, I asked [Google founders] Page and Brin what they saw as the future of Google search. 'It will be included in people's brains,' said Page. 'When you think about something and don't really know much about it, you will automatically get information.'
'That's true,' said Brin. 'Ultimately I view Google as a way to augment your brain with the knowledge of the world. Right now you go into your computer and type a phrase, but you can imagine that it could be easier in the future, that you can have just devices you talk into, or you can have computers that pay attention to what's going on around them and suggest useful information.'
'Somebody introduces themselves to you, and your watch goes to your web page,' said Page. 'Or if you met this person two years ago, this is what they said to you... Eventually you'll have the implant, where if you think about a fact, it will just tell you the answer."

-From In the Plex by Steven Levy (p.67)

How does use of the Internet, media, and/or technology change the way you think? Focus on your memory, your ability to concentrate, your sense of time and priorities, and the subjects/topics that interest you most. If you find "thinking about your thinking" difficult to assess, try the following strategies: compare yourself with older people who did most of their formal learning before smart phones and 2.0 existed; compare yourself with contemporaries who don't use those tools much today; read up on what education leaders and thinkers have to say about generational differences in thinking.

When you have the internet as an instant resource, you immediately have abundant resources from all over the globe. Dr. Preston could tell us something that he believes to be accurate and true and we could look up his statement and find numerous answers and facts that differ from what he told us. Before smart phones and even the internet were in wide use; students just had to believe and accept what they were told in school. Every student now has the power to initiate their own learning and come to their own conclusions. Quite frequently students will have questions that know one knows the answer to. With access to the internet in the palm of our hands, Dr. Preston can coin his famous phrase, "look it up." This opportunity makes our education more complete and leaves us open to make our own interpretations to what we find. As a result, every student becomes an individual through their learning and becomes self sufficient. As students we no longer have to rely on any one person for answers; we can think and act more independently and control our own success.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

"To be or not to be..."


Going into Hamlet, I didn't have very much background on the play itself.  I only knew that it was a tragedy so obviously, everyone dies.  I thought that the first one to go was going to be Ophilia, but it turns out that her father beat her to it.  On a more serious note, Hamlet's character has been very intriguing to me as the play has developed.  As soon as I feel like I have him figured out, a twist happens that has me guessing again.   As Dr. Preston has pointed out, a person that is able to control his or her madness can't be mad.  The way Hamlet's character changes for different people is a sign of his control, but the ghost of his father arriving at midnight during act III raises more questions for me.  Was the ghost really there or was Hamlet just seeing and hearing things, hence was Hamlet truly going mad? In act I Horatio and Marcellus can see the ghost of the King, but in act III Queen Gertrude can't.  Is this because Hamlet truly has become mad or because the ghost can control who sees him?  Hamlet's character constantly has me questioning what he will do next.  I'm curious to see if Queen Gertrude will continue to be Claudius's pet as the play unfolds or if she will side with Hamlet.  I know that Claudius is planning to have Hamlet killed, but I don't know how he plans to do so, and I don't know how Hamlet will respond to it.  I have a pretty strong feeling that by the end of the play both Hamlet and Claudius will be dead, but I have trouble predicting what will lead to their deaths.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Act III raises a lot if questions for me.
Going into act III many people were saying that they got the perception that Queen Gertrude was aware of what Claudius has done, but after reading act III I'm not getting that vibe.  Based on my perception, when Hamlet confessed to his mother about what he knew of his father's murder she seemed shocked.  She even then gave off the portrayal that she didn't believe his story and blamed such outrage on his "madness."

Polonius's murder did not come as a shock to me, I expected it.  I also saw Claudius's reaction to the play coming.  What I didn't understand was Hamlet's actions toward Ophilia during the play.  At one point he was laying in her lap and at another he was "shunning her to a nunnery."

My favorite part of the act was when King Claudius was repenting his sins and Hamlet came in and almost killed him.  Hamlet stopped himself because he didn't want Claudius to be able to go heaven, but as soon as Hamlet leaves the room Claudius says, "My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go."  Which gives the audience that engaging feel of regret that Hamlet didn't kill him when he had the chance.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Literature Analysis #3

By Toni Morrison

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 main character Sethe is a slave.  The book goes into painful details about her experiences of being a slave and ultimately leads to her planning to escape.  Her first attempt at escaping goes horribly wrong; everyone in her group gets caught and some of them are harshly and graphically murdered.  Sethe is whipped and beaten as punishment because she is six months pregnant at the time.  After this occurrence she is determined to escape.  She sends her three children ahead of her to her mother-in-law who lives across the Ohio River.  She then literally just gets up and walks away from the plantation.  She was so pregnant and badly beaten that nobody on the plantation thought that she would be capable of moving.  A run away indentured servant named Amy Denver found her and helped her deliver her fourth child whom she named Denver.  Sethe then made it to her mother-in-law's and got to see that her children were safe.  Eighteen days later Sethe's owner who is called Schoolteacher comes for her and her children.  They run into a shed and she plans to kill all of her children and then herself so they wouldn't have to go back into slavery.  She only kills her oldest daughter Beloved before she is stopped.  This action demoralizes everyone's opinion of her.  
       Then the story shifts to a male slave named Paul D. who lives on the same plantation.  He is sold and his graphic story is told.  He eventually frees himself and eventually finds himself back with Sethe years later.  Sethe and her children are haunted by Beloved's ghost and Paul gets rid of her.  Sethe asks Paul to stay with them.
       Beloved returns in the flesh as a stranger at Sethe's and Paul's door, but only Denver knows that it is Beloved's ghost.  Denver protects Beloved from Sethe because she fears that she will kill her again and thoroughly enjoys Beloved's company, but Beloved only cares about Sethe.  Sethe and Paul are finally getting close and see a future together so Beloved tries to break them apart by seducing Paul.  Paul is conflicted, but cant tell Sethe what happened.  
       Paul eventually finds out that Sethe killed her daughter and leaves her.  Sethe accepts that fact that the stranger is Beloved returned to her and is at first delighted to have her daughter back.  Beloved slowly eats away at Sethe and as she grows weaker, Beloved grows stronger.  Denver realizes what is happening and goes out on her own for the first time for help.  She convinces the women in the community to help her family and they bring food everyday.  She then builds up the courage to ask for job.  She tells the person who hires her the story about the ghost and the whole town comes together to rescue Sethe and drive Beloved away.  Denver runs into Paul in town and tells him that Sethe is dying. He tells her that she is her own best thing.
     The purpose of the book is show that your past in not inescapable.  By suppressing things that haunt you, it is difficult to move on and embrace the future.

2. Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. Avoid cliches.
       The theme of the novel is to face your past so you can move on into your future.  Sethe continually suppresses her past and never faces it so it haunts her.  

3. Describe the author's tone. Include a minimum of three excerpts that illustrate your point(s).
       The tone varied for each character, but for the narrator Sethe, the tone was characterized by regret and depressed mournfulness.
“Some things you forget. Other things you never do. But it's not. Places, places are still there. If a house burns down, it's gone, but the place--the picture of it--stays, and not just in my remory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my head. I mean, even if I don't think if, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it happened.” 
“Me and you, we got more yesterday than anybody. We need some kind of tomorrow.” 
“It never looked as terrible as it was and it made her wonder if hell was a pretty place too. Fire and brimstone all right, but hidden in lacy groves.” 

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. Allusion: Paul D saying "Red heart. Red heart. Red heart" (page117) is like the phrase"Red rum red rum" from The Shining.
 2. Musical Reference: "Lay em down, Sethe. Sword and shield. Down. Down. Both of em down. Down by the riverside. Sword and shield. Don't study war no more. Lay all that mess down. Sword and shield." (page 86) This refers to the spiritual "Down by the Riverside."
 3. Symbolism: Sethe, Denver, and the "holy ghost" Beloved might symbolize the Holy Trinity.
 4. Dialect: "How come everybody run off from Sweet Home can't stop talking about it? Look like if it was so sweet you would have stayed." (page 13)
 5. Metaphor: "Women did what strawberry plans did before they shot out their thin vines: the quality of the green changed.  Then the vine threads came, then the buds.  By the time the white pedals died and the mint-colored berry poked out, the leaf shine was gilded tight and waxy.  That's how Beloved looked- gilded and shining." ( page 64)
 6. Flashback: "slavery, though repealed, is still with us." (page 6)
 7. Irony: It's ironic that Sethe's like finally starts to come into place as she is dying.  She has acceptance from her community, Beloved no longer haunts her, and Paul is there to take care of her.
 8. Imagery: "Down by the stream in back of 124 her footprints come and go, come and go.  They are so familiar. Should s child, an adult place his feet in them, they will fit.  Take them out and they disappear again as though nobody ever walked there." (page 275)
 9. Repetition: The very last chapter repeats, "It was not a story to pass on'" as the story came to an end. (pages 274-275)
 10.  Biblical reference: When Stamp Paid feeds baby Denver some blackberries (page136), it's like the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:3-3:7).

1. Describe two examples of direct characterization and two examples of indirect characterization.  Why does the author use both approaches, and to what end (i.e., what is your lasting impression of the character as a result)?

-Direct characterization: The grandmother Baby Suggs; "Her past had been like her present-intolerable-and since she knew death was anything but forgetfulness. she used the little energy left for her pondering color." " Suspended between the nastiness of life and the meanness of the dead, she couldn't get interested in leaving life or living it." The introduction of Baby Suggs sort of set the whole tone for the book.  Her hopeless death paved the way for a very mournaful and depressing story.
Indirect Characterization:  Sethe; she is telling the story so we learn about her through her actions.  "Afterward-not before-he considered Sethe's feelings in the matter." "Even if Sethe could deal with the return of the spirit, Stamp didn't believe her daughter could."

2. Does the author's syntax and/or diction change when s/he focuses on character?  How?  Example(s)?
- I didn't notice any difference in the word choice or sentence structure from character to character.  Although, there was a change in tone; for example the plantation owner had a different tone than Beloved who had a different tone from Sethe.

3. Is the protagonist static or dynamic?  Flat or round?  Explain.
 -Sethe is a dynamic character. She experiences many external changes throughout the book and at the very end experiences an internal change.  She is also definitely a round character.  She has multiple dimensions as she deals with internal and external struggles.

4. After reading the book did you come away feeling like you'd met a person or read a character?  Analyze one textual example that illustrates your reaction. 
-After reading this book I felt like I read a character.  I think that the biggest reason for this is that I couldn't relate to any of the characters so the story felt like an actually story rather than an encounter with people.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Vocabulary #8

abase-  v. to behave in a way that belittles or degrades someone.       

       Claudius was openly really to abase Hamlet's mournful lenses over his father's death.

abdicate-  v.  to renounce one's throne.

       Claudius forced his brothers abdication of the throne by murdering him and taking        his place.  

abomination- n. a thing that causes disgust or hatred.

       Claudius murdering his own brother in an abomination to mankind.

brusque-  adj. abrupt or offhand in speech or manner.

       Shakespeare's abrupt plot twists make his tragedies among the best in history.

saboteur- n. a person who engages in sabotage.

       Claudius is a saboteur and killed his brother to steel the throne.

debauchery- n. excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures.

       Hamlet and Ophilia are attracted by the debauchery that they have for each other.

proliferate- n. to increase rapidly in numbers.

       Hamlet needs to proliferate his followers in order to get Claudius off of the throne.

anachronism- n. something that you would expect to see in a different time period.       

The Hamlet videos shown in class had a bold anachronism, a video camera.

nomenclature- n. the choosing of names for things.

       Shakespeare had a knack for nomenclature, all of his characters have interesting name.

expurgate- v. o remove objectionable or unsuitable matter from.

       Laertes is trying to expurgate Hamlet from Ophilia's life.

bellicose- adj. demonstrating aggression and willingness to fight.

       Hamlet's bellicose manner after talking to the ghost of his father worried Horacio.

gauche-adj. unsophisticated and socially awkward.

       The man's gaucheness in appearance made him difficult to approach.

rapacious- adj. aggressively greedy.

       Claudius's rapacious behavior will come back to haunt him.

paradox- n. a statement that leads to a self contradictory conclusion.

       In a paradox, Hamlet realized that his ghost of father was asking him to get revenge.

conundrum- n. a confusing and difficult problem or question.

        Ophilia is at a conundrum on whether she should continue seeing Hamlet or listen to her brother.

anomaly- n. something that deviates from what is expected.

        Deaths in Shakespeare's tragedies are not an anomaly.

ephemeral- adj. lasting a very short time.

        The ephemeral mourning for his father upset Hamlet.

rancorous- adj. characterized by bitterness or resentment.

        After hearing what Claudius had done, Hamlet was rancorous in his feelings towards him.

churlish- adj. rude in a mean spirited and surly way.

       Claudius's churlish behavior toward Hamlet made him suspicious of his uncle.

precipitous- adj. dangerously high or steep.

        The precipitous cliffs made the girl feel dizzy.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Dear O,
The conundrum that has been set forth in front of you is a difficult one.  Your father and brother's brusque abomination of this man's debauchery towards you is understandable.  I would listen to their advise for they care about you and are only trying to expurgate this man that they don't feel is right for you.  It does not seem that they are trying to churlishly abase your judgement, it simply sounds like they are caring for your well being.  Falling in love with a prince seems glamorous, but in reality he won't have any time for you when his state needs him.  His ephemeral love for you will be quite the anomaly of what you would expect from true love.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Based on this article, reading literary fiction helps you build a higher capacity to understand people's emotions.  Literary pieces such as Hamlet let you become the main characters and experience their thoughts, emotions, and hardships.  This alone helps readers develop a higher capacity to understand people in real life.  Reading into characters like Hamlet gives readers the chance to understand new emotions that they have never experienced before.  By discovering these new emotions through literature, readers have a higher capacity to understand them in real life.  For example, if someone has never experienced the emotion of losing a parent, they could experience it through reading Hamlet.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


a) What do you know about Hamlet, the "Melancholy Dane"?  
-I only know Hamlet from what I've heard from past students and that is that it's hard to understand,  or the reason that its Shakespeare but for the reason that it jumps around and there is lot going on which makes it hard to follow.  Oh, and everybody dies.
b) What do you know about Shakespeare?  
-Let's see, I know that he writes in iambic pentameter, and that his plays are mostly, if not all, tragedies.  He wrote Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and of course Hamlet.
c) Why do so many students involuntarily frown when they hear the name "Shakespeare"?  
-I feel like Shakespeare is taught as a daunting task.  When I was introduced to Shakespeare in seventh grade my teacher introduced his writing as something that was impossible to understand and said she hated teaching it.  She basically went about it with that "Let's just get it over with," kind of attitude.  Of course, before even looking at text we think its difficult because we are taught that it is difficult.  If the teacher doesn't look forward to it, then neither do the students.  I must say though that Mr. LeClair did an amazing job with Romeo and Juliet and Mrs. Byrne made Julius Caesar quite enjoyable as well.  I like studying Shakespeare because my past teachers have made it really fun. 
d) What can we do to make studying this play an amazing experience we'll never forget?
-I'm already pretty excited, but I think that it would be fun to do some kind of group project, maybe assign groups different sections of the play to recreate on video and share with the class.  It would be so much fun and pretty hilarious for everyone in class to take part in acting out Hamlet.


In the time given, I tried to formulate a thesis that would lead into a four paragraph essay.  The first paragraph talked about Chaucer erasing social dividing lines by poking fun at stereotypes through his characterization. The second paragraph should have talked more about how Chaucer's point of views in each tale relate to the people telling them and how this affects the audience, but it wasn't clear in my thesis and I veered off topic while trying to make sure I included enough comparisons to answer the prompt.  The main thesis statement of my essay was, "By doing this, Chaucer effectively erases the dividing line between the social classes of his time period."  I followed this statement fairly well throughout my essay, I just needed to make mu topic ideas more clear in my introduction to keep the essay more organized.

New Thesis:
Through Chaucer's use of characterization he has an extraordinary impact on his audience.  He describes every one of his characters in depth and effectively erases social dividing lines by poking fun at their stereotypes.  By telling each tale from the point of view of the storyteller, Chaucer brings characters to life for his audience.  Chaucer's detailed characterization bridges the strict social dividing line of his period.


Because Miki was hiking more slowly than the rest of the group, she turned a corner and the group was gone.  Miki was lost and sat down on a rock, only to fall backwards through a wall of ivy.  She discovered a cave, which at the other end, opened up in view of a giant tree house.  Miki heard a noise in some of the trees, and Lindsey came swinging in on a vine, only to ricochet off a tree.  Miki was now involved in Lindsey’sshenanigans.  Lindsey was ebullient when she saw Miki, filled with a plethora of excitement.  She becameloquaciously garrulous and asked Miki how she found her.  Then, suddenly, she burst into a harangue and started verbally attacking Miki.  Lindsey’s ephemeral happiness, then capricious attitude scared Miki.  Miki called her a dipthong, but secretly wished that they would get along and be interdependent with each other.  Lindsey’s sanity was at a point of no return; everything she muttered was undetermined codswallop, with the use of a sesquipedalian.  By the time the rest of the group arrived, they figured Miki had become wonky.  
Meanwhile, the group’s inchoate plan to find Miki caused them to search along the trail for hours.  Finally, they found Miki’s water bottle by a rock and Rachel stumbled into the wall of ivy.  When they found Miki with Lindsey, the Lindsey they saw was juxtaposed to the one they knew in high school; she wore mungoclothes and her hair was messy.  When Lindsey saw the group, she tried to eschew them away from her hideout.  After talking to Lindsey and trying to see the composed and tame Lindsey they once knew, the group knew that they needed to get Lindsey back to civilization, but she refused any help from them, saying that the world was too stressful.  A schism formed in the group over whether to stay with Lindsey or leave her.  Then,perspicacious of this controversial decision, Melissa suggested that they compromise by taking turns to come visit Lindsey every so often.  Everyone in the group, besides Lindsey, agreed, and then, the group became uncertain as to what they should do next.  They didn’t see much of a need to continue hiking the Pacific Crest Trail when they had “found” Lindsey.  Then, Rebecca had an idea.  She was thinking of the times they had had in high school and remembered how they had all wanted to go to explore Egypt together.  She didn’t want this reunion to be over so she suggested this trip to the group.  After some hesitation, they seemed genuinely excited about the prospect of adventure.  They said goodbye to Lindsey, each of them promising to return, and headed back the way they had come so they could all travel to Egypt.

Sunday, October 6, 2013


How could I improve my preparation and or performance on Friday's midterm?  Hmmm... Let's see, if I only had more time.... No just kidding.  I think that I could have been much more prepared than I was if I would have just planned a little better.  I had a lot of important due dates and events that fell on Friday and I should have gotten more of head start on getting everything done.  Another thing that would have been extremely helpful in studying for the vocabulary would have been to flip my flashcards over after I learned the definitions and studied the words.  As I was trying to recall all the words and definitions that we have learned so far this year, I was having all kinds of definitions run through my head but I couldn't remember the words that went with them.  A positive from the midterm though is that it was a helpful studing tool for the SAT the next day because it was fast paced, I wrote an essay in twenty minutes, and had a lot of vocabulary under my belt.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Literature Analysis #2

Heart of Darkness
By: Joseph Conrad
1. The story is centered around the main character Marlow.  The rising action begins as he joins a Belgium trading company in the Congo as a sailor in hopes of meeting a man named Kurtz.  His journey begins along the Thames river and takes him up to the Congolese river.  As he is traveling to the central station he witnesses the horrors within the Company.  There are workers that are underfed being treated poorly and overworked by their European overseers leading Marlow to think that the African atmosphere is causing the men to lose their sense of humanity.  When he arrives at the Central Station he finds out that his boat has been sunk so he spends three months repairing it as his desire of meeting Kurtz increases.  Once Marlow gets the parts he needs in order to repair the ship he sets off on the difficult journey up river joined by the manager of the central station, some agents, and some cannibals.  On their way up river a thick fog rolls in and as soon it clears up they are attacked by the arrows of natives.  One of the arrows kills the African Helmsman before Marlow scares the native away with the steam engine whistle.  Marlow and his crew later arrive at Kurtz's Inner Station where they expect to find him dead because it was rumored that he was very ill.  Someone came out of the station and assured Marlow that he was not dead.  Expecting to finally get the chance to meet the brilliant mind of Kurtz, the climax begins when Marlow realizes that Kurtz left his European style of humanity behind and established himself as a god among the native savages.  Obviously still very ill, Marlow takes Kurtz on the boat for the night before they plan to leave in the morning.  Marlow realizes that Kurtz went missing and finds him crawling on all fours toward the village of the natives.  Marlow finds him and encourages him to return to the boat.  Marlow finds out that Kurtz ordered the natives to attack the steam boat earlier in hopes that Marlow and his crew would turn back and let him finish his business with the natives, but Kurtz's plan was unsuccessful.  Now on the boat, Kurtz's illness is causing him to talk in riddles.  The falling action takes place as Kurtz entrusts Marlow with his documents that explain his legacy.  Soon after, Kurtz dies which causes Marlow's health to fail.  He barely makes it back to civilization before his health begins to return.  Once finished with his voyage, he refuses to give the company Marlow's documents and instead gives them to his fiance.  The author wrote this after a trip to the Congo so this story was inspired by his travels and is meant to portray the madness that imperialistic companies in the Congo has created.
2. The theme is madness as a result of imperialism.  The book portrays all of the people that work for the company in the Congo as almost savages themselves; succumbing to their savage surrounding and losing their sense of humanity.
3. The tone was uncertain, the narrator sees the results of the company and it's affect on people but can't help continuing his same path.
  • "Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire. What greatness had not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth!…The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empires."
  • "They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force—nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others. They grabbed what they could get for the sake of what was to be got. It was just robbery with violence, aggravated murder on a great scale, and men going at it blind—as is very proper for those who tackle a darkness."
  • "I had then, as you remember, just returned to London after a lot of Indian Ocean, Pacific, China Seas - a regular dose of the East - six years or so, and I was loafing about, hindering you fellows in your work and invading your homes, just as though I had got a heavenly mission to civilize you."
4.  I read this on ibooks so page numbers won't be very accurate because they vary on how big you make the text size. Second, I don't know the version because I just downloaded a free copy the was available.
  • Historical reference to El Dorado: "Eldorado Exploring Expedition." Ch. 1 p. 72
  • Biblical reference to Matthew 23:27-28,  "a whited sepulchre." Ch. 1 p. 22
  • Symbolism, flies symbolize death.  "A continuous shower of small flies streamed upon the lamp, upon the cloth, upon our hands and faces." Ch3 p. 44
  • Motif, the story is always leading back to darkness.  "It had become a place of darkness." Ch. 1 p. 10 " The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds...seemed to lead into the heart of an
    immense darkness."p. 113
  • Imagery, "The water shone pacifically; the sky, without a speck, was a benign immensity of unstained light; the very mist on the Essex marshes was like a gauzy and radiant fabric, hung from the wooded rises inland, and draping the low shores in diaphanous folds." Ch. 1 p. 4
  • Diction, the language and word choice used has a huge impact on the author's purpose.  "The simple old sailor, with his talk of chains and purchases, made me forget the jungle and the pilgrims in a delicious sensation of having come upon something unmistakably real."Ch. 2 p. 9
  • Personification, "Flames glided in the river." Ch. 1 p.9
  • Simile, "Swept and ungarnished staircase, as arid as a desert." Ch.1 p.14
  • Simile, “I watched the fog for the signs of lifting as a cat watches a mouse.”p.62
  •  Imagery, "In the offing the sea and the sky were welded together without a joint, and in
    the luminous space the tanned sails of the barges drifting up with the tide seemed to stand still in red clusters of canvas sharply peaked, with gleams of varnished spirits." p. 1

1. Direct characterization is
the process of conveying information about characters in narratives by means of description, through their actions, speech, or thoughts.
Examples:  "Marlow was not typical." p.9 "This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man."  The author mainly uses direct characterization to develop Kurtz's character because we don't meet him until the second half of the story even though he is introduced way before he is met.
In indirect characterization, characters are presented by means of description, through their actions, speech, or thoughts.  The author uses indirect characterization to develop Marlow's character because he is the narrator of the story so we get to learn about him through his thoughts and actions.
Examples: “I was within a hair’s-breadth of the last opportunity for pronouncement, and I found with humiliation that probably I would have nothing to say."  " I know nothing as to the fate of the less valuable animals."

2. When Marlow is talking to Kurtz the diction changes a little because he struggles to find words.  The story is told in the past tense so other than dialogue, the syntax and diction doesn't change to much.
3. The protagonist Marlow is a dynamic character and he is very rounded, as he tells his story of going into "the heart of darkness" to his crew mates, we learn more about him as he talks of his experiences.  We also learn about how his experiences changed and affected him.
4. I felt like I met Marlow because as he was telling his story, the audience could read into his thoughts, feelings and emotions.  As he got deeper into telling his story, his character became more real and the audience could sympathize for him and what he was going through. 

“I was within a hair’s-breadth of the last opportunity for pronouncement, and I found with humiliation that probably I would have nothing to say. This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said it. . . . He had summed up—he had judged. ‘The horror!’ He was a remarkable man.”

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


My group read The Wife of Bath's tale which has one very big similarity to the tales that we learned about today from our classmates.  In each tale, Chaucer writes in a way that sounds how the person telling each story would talk.  For example, the tone and diction used in the Wife of Bath's tale matches the type of speech that a woman might have.  The way the imagery is described and the emotions are portrayed sounds like the Wife of Bath is telling the story.  This is similar to the Lawyer's tail in that even though the tale talks of graphic hardships, everything is said plainly and to the point just like a lawyer would describe it.  Another similarity that many of the stories share are the profane and graphic events that lead to each journey.  In the Wife of Bath's tale, a knight rapes a young maiden before his journey begins.  In the Lawyer's Tale, Constance's fiancĂ©'s mother slaugters everyone of their guests on their wedding day  before she begins her journey.  In the Merchant's tale, January's wife May sleeps with another man in a tree!  Everyone of Chaucer's stories begin with some kind of graphic and profane sin.  Most likely to catch and appeal to his audience.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


The story begins with a knight.  He comes across a fair maiden and steels her maidenhood.  The king wants his execution for punishment but the queen begs him otherwise.  The queen gives the knight a choice, he can die then and there or answer a question.  He choose the later of the two.  The question was "What do women most desire?" He had a year to research and come up with his answer.  An old hag gave him his answer but in return he had to marry her and love her.  The knight answered the queen's question correctly, but was not happy about marrying the old and ugly lady.  He was rude to her so she went on this long tangent basically saying that he could either accept her the way she was as a supportive and loyal wife or take her as an unfaithful fair maiden.  After listening to her long speech, the knight gave her her own choice, wanting her to choose what would be for her.  Touched by this, she decides on both.  She could be both fair and loyal.  Once she was beautiful, they lived happily ever after.

Wife of Bath (indirect characterization):
Characterized as an elderly hag.  She doesn't object to it.
"For though I may be ugly, elderly, and poor."
Knights initial reaction to her after she asks for his hand in return for saving his life.
"For love of God, please choose a new request.  Take all my goods and let my body go."
"You are so old and loathsome and descended, to add to that you're from such a lowly kind."
Rather than be offended by this the women try's to make a deal with the knight.
"I could amend the stress you are under, if you desire, within the next few days, if you'll treat me more kindly in your ways."
Once she turned young and beautiful, the knight fell in love with her.
"And when the knight had truly seen all of this, how she was young and fair in all her charms, in utter joy her took her in his arms."

Chaucer's Purpose:
Chaucer's purpose in telling this story is show that there is true beauty within and all it takes is the acceptance and love of someone else to bring it out.  Once the knight realized how beautiful the woman was on the inside, it was no longer difficult to see her beauty on the outside as well.  This story teaches the importance of acceptance.

Happy 123rd Birthday Yosemite!

Your beauty continues to astound people.  It's a shame that no one was allowed into the park today to celebrate the amazing and glorious wonder that you are.

(Photo taken by Nick Steller from the top of Yosemite Falls)

(Photo taken by yours truly from the trail leading up to Inspiration Point)