Follow by Email

Friday, January 31, 2014


Since Dr. Preston wasn't present in class today, we have to write this post about what we did during class time.

We began by writing our journals.  Lisa read the journal prompt and agenda to everyone in class.  As people were finishing up their journals, I re-read the wiki on free play and took notes on it for better understanding (turned in with my class notes).

Once everyone was done with their journals,  Daniel and Jake led a discussion on Tale of Two Cities and the whole class took notes.  They mostly elaborated on the plot and pointed out symbols and connections.  Then Allyson and Rachel led the discussion on Great Expectations.  This discussion was rushed because we were running out of class time.  The two girls summarized the rest of the plot line for the people that didn't read the book and got cut off in the middle of their talk about the two different endings that Dickens wrote when the bell rang.

Literature Analysis 1

A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Just a warning to those considering to read this book, it has a lot of adult content that might be rough for some readers.

1. Briefly summarize the plot of the novel you read according to the elements of plot you've learned in past courses.  Explain how the narrative fulfills the author's purpose.
The story begins in New Oleans in the the home of married couple Stanley and Stella.  It is immediately obvious that Stanley sees himself as the head of the household and looks down upon Stella.  The conflict begins when Stella's sister Blanche arrives.  Stella and Blanche grew up on a large and lavish piece of family land called Belle Reve.  Previous to Blanche's arrival it is revealed that Blanche's homosexual husband committed suicide and that Blanche lost Belle Reve.  Alone and confused she begins to sleep around and becomes the town slut and loses her job.  She fleas to Stella's with no desire to go back.  One night she witnesses Stanley beating Stella and immediatley dislikes him.  This dislike becomes mutual for the two of them and Stanley reveals Blanche's past that she has been hiding.  Stanley tells Stella and Mitch (Stanley's friend who Blanche wants to marry) about Blanche's past.  While this is happening, Blanche is slowly going mad as her past dwells on her and she tries to surpress it.  The climax arrives as Blanche is waiting for Mitch to pick her up for a date.  He never shows up and Blanche sits at Stella's house alone because Stella is in labor and Stanley is with her.  Stanley comes home and it's just him and Blanche, she tries to leave and her doesn't let her.  She slides to the floor helplessly and Stanley caries her to the bedroom to rape her.  The falling action begins as Stella brings home the baby and Blanche's rape has made her go officially mad.  Stella refuses to believe that Stanley raped Blanche and ships her off to mental institution.  This story portrays the authors purpose in trying to show how important it is to escape from fantasies and facades of perfect lives.  Rather than trying to hide from things that you're afraid of under lavish fantasies, break free and find something better for yourself.  Otherwise, your past and present will eat you up. 
2. Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. 
The theme of this book is too complex I feel to condense into a short phrase.  This play embodies the idea of denying reality and running away from it.  The characters won't accept the way life really is because they are stuck in this ideologized fantasy of how they want it to be.
3. Describe the author's tone. 
The tone was caustic and disgruntled, but also a little sympathetic for Blanche's situation.  Here are some examples from the text:
"Oh, I guess he’s just not the type that goes for jasmine perfume, but maybe he’s what we need to mix with our blood now that we’ve lost Belle Reve." -Scene two
"Whoever you are—I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." -Scene eleven
"I can't stand a naked light bulb, any more than I can a rude remark or a vulgar action. p. 60
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. 
FORESHADOWING  In Scene ten when the author briefly changes the scene to the prostitute, male admirer, and Negro woman.  This foreshadows Blanche getting raped by Stanley.
METAPHOR p. 184 “And then the searchlight which had been turned on the world was turned off again and never for one moment since has there been any light that’s stronger than this – kitchen – candle…” 
SYMBOLISM throughout the play, the Varsouviana Polka plays through Blanche's head which symbolizes her unresolved issues behind her homosexual husband's suicide.
EPIGRAPH  And so it was I entered the broken world
To trace the visionary company of love, its voice
An instant in the wind (I know not whither hurled)
But not for long to hold each desperate choice.
– “The Broken Tower” by Hart Crane
PARALLELISM p.163 "He acts like an animal, has an animal’s habits! Eats like one, moves like one, talks like one! There’s something – sub-human – something not quite the stage of humanity yet! Yes, something – ape-like about him, like one of those pictures."
BIBLICAL REFERENCE  The blind are leading the blind: Paraphrase of a verse in Matthew's Gospel in the New Testament of the Bible. Verse 14 of Chapter 15 says that if one person leads another blind person, both will fall into a pit. Blanche speaks this line when Stella leads her away from the poker game. 
ALLUSION  Ghoul-haunted ghostland of Weir: Line from Edgar Allan Poe's 1847 poem "Ulalume," in which the speaker of the poem is attempting to cope with the loss of his love. While looking out a window, Blanche speaks this line, indicating that she is still coping with the loss of Allen Grey.  
CONTRAST Blanche shows up in shimmering white cloths and pearls, but spends the whole book in the darkness.
FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE  Scene 5 "Have got to be seductive - put on soft colours, the colours of butterfly wings, and glow."
IRONY Blanche leaves her lavish, old fashioned life to move to a current and rapidly growing city.  A change like this expected to boost a persons moral and absolve their illuses, but this change only makes her worse.

1.  Describe two examples of direct characterization and two examples of indirect characterization. 
Williams writes "her appearance is incongruous to this setting. She is daintily dressed in a white suit with a fluffy bodice, necklace and earrings of pearl, white gloves and hat, looking as if she were arriving at a summer tea or cocktail party in the garden district." This is an example of direct characterization because the author comes out and states that she is out of place p. 14
In Scene Three, the men sitting around the poker table "wear colored shirts, solid blues, a purple, a red-and-white check, a light green." (...) "they are men at the peak of their physical manhood, as coarse and direct and powerful as the primary colors."  Another form of direct characterization.
An example of indirect characterization is, “When Katie stepped on Ryan’s foot, he pushed her, called her a klutz, and threw her binder out the window.”  Another example is, "Ryan’s a jerk. He’s got a pretty serious anger management problem.”
While reading the play, there are side notes where the author directly characterizes people, but in the play itself there is only indirect characterization because viewers can only see reactions and hear what is said.
2. Does the author's syntax and/or diction change when s/he focuses on character?  How?  
This is a play so the author changes other characters' syntax an diction according to who they are talking to.  For example, Stanley and Blanche talk to each other with resentment, but talk to others in a different tone.
3. Is the protagonist static or dynamic?  Flat or round?  Explain.
Blanche is a dynamic character, she begins the book with lies and false images to convince her sister that she is fine. Later she opens up like a book and tells everyone everything convincing her sister that she is crazy.  She is also round because Blanche grows increasingly mad as the book goes on.
4. After reading the book did you come away feeling like you'd met a person or read a character?  
I feel like I was apart of the storyline because reading direct dialogue makes me feel engaged in the character's conversations.  I feel like I met the characters because I was there for all the events, good and bad.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Literary Terms List #4

interior monologue- a form of writing which represents the inner thoughts of a character.
Ex. Hamlet, "To be or not to be."

inversion-  words out of order for emphasis.
Ex.  "Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is." -Yoda

juxtaposition-  the intensional placement of a word, phrase, or sentences or a paragraph to contrast with another nearby.
Ex.  “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…” Dickens A Tale of Two Cities

lyric-  a poem having musical form and quality.
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.''
Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -  
Only this, and nothing more.'  -Edgar Allan Poe the Raven

magic(al) realism-  a genre developed in Lain American which juxtaposes the everyday with the marvelous or magical.
Ex.  Like Water for Chocolate

metaphor (extended, controlling, & mixed)-  an analogy that compares two different things imaginatively directly.
Ex.  The ocean is a grinder, churning up large rocks into tiny grains of sand.

metonymy-  a device of figurative language in which the name of an attribute or associated thing is substituted for the usual name of a thing.
Ex.  Crown, in place of someone royal.

modernism-  literary movement characterized by stylistic experimentation.
Ex.  Walt Whitman, James Joyce, and T.S. Elliot.

monologue-  an extended speech by a character in a play, short story, novel, narrative poem.
Ex.  Crispian's Day Speech

mood-  the predominating atmosphere evoked by a literary piece.
Ex.  Gloomy, hopeful, pessimistic, ect.

motif-  a recurring feature in a piece of literature.
Ex.  In Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, childhood is a reacurring 
myth-  a story often about immortals, and sometimes connected with religious rituals that attempt to give meaning to the mysteries of the world.
Ex.  Bigfoot is a myth.

narrative-  a story or description of events.
Ex.  Newspapers are full of narratives.

narrator-  one who narrates, or tells a story.
Ex.  Huck Finn is the narrarator in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

naturalism-  extreme form of realism.
Ex.  Jack London

novelette/novella-  short story; often satirical.
Ex.  The Awakening by Kate Chopin

omniscient point of view-  knowing all things, usually third person.
Ex.  She felt a cold chill shiver down her spine.

onomatopoeia-  use of a word whose sound in some degree imitates or suggests its meaning.
Ex.  Swish! They won the game!

oxymoron-  two contradicting words or phrases are combined to produce a rhetorical effect.

Ex.  Bitter sweet

pacing-  rate of movement; tempo.

parable-  story designed to convey some religious principle.
Ex.  The Boy who Cried Wolf -Aesop

paradox-  a statement apparently self-contradicting but containing a possible truth.

Ex.  "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others" - Animal Farm


Why did Charles Dickens write Great Expectations? What in your analysis of literary techniques led you to this conclusion? 

Charles Dickens wrote "Great Expectations" primarily to save his paper business that was losing money.  It was written as a serial so two new chapters would come out each week.  Dickens wrote as he went so he could capitalize on readers' reactions and please his audience.  For a deeper answer I would say that Dickens wrote "Great Expectations" as a book that he could pour himself into.  There are many aspects in the book that relate to his biography.  For example, his own father was put into jail because of debt just like the prisoner.  The book ended up being shorter than Dickens had planned making it much more concise that his other works and causing it to flow much quicker.  The over all mood of the story is what defines the novel.  You can tell that Dickens is familiar with the events that he is writing about because the mood connects so well with the storyline.  He also cleanly depicts settings and happenings through his figurative language.  It's much easier to paint a picture for your reader when you know personally all the sights, sounds, and smells that a specific place has.  He also embeds a lot of symbols that connect with a class based society.  Social status is a large part of the time period and everyone strives for wealth.  Through Mrs. Havisham's garden, Dickens shows how wealth seems so grand, but is actually decaying and rotten.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tale of Two Cities Lecture Notes

  • Dickens traveled to France and England and was entranced by his surroundings
  • He got caught up in the events happening there
  • Then came "Tale of Two Cities" (France and England)
  • The story came out in chapters or sections in the "Weekly Serial"
  • He wrote it in short spurts so he could adjust the story-line based on the audiences reactions
  • The French Revolution was the influence
  • He wanted to dramatize the French Revolution for theater, but never did.  There were still public readings though
  • He referred to it as the best story he had written
  • Dickens put suspense behind the already known history through his figurative language and really good use of literary devices.
  • Self note: when Williams read the text aloud, the language was amazing
  • Dickens met Thomas Carlisle in 1840 who developed a deep friendship with Dickens
  • Carlisle wrote the "History of the French Revolution" 
  • Dickens turned to Carlisle for assistance in writing "Tale of Two Cities" to make sure that it was historically accurate
  • He also allowed Carlisle to read it as he went
  • Put in his research before he wrote
  • Williams claims that many of the events depicted in the text  have personal representations to Dickens

I decided to type my notes because they aren't very legible in the picture.  I wrote fast to keep up with the speaker.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Literary Terms List #3

exposition-  beginning of a story that sets forth facts, ideas, and characters in a detailed explanation.
Ex. The exposition for Julius Caesar is when readers discover that Caesar has conquered Pompey and are introduced to some of the characters.

expressionism-  movement in art, literature, and music consisting of unrealistic representation of an inner idea or feeling.
Ex. James Joyce

fable-  a short simple story usually with animals ar characters, designed to teach a moral truth.
Ex. The turtle and the hare.

fallacy-  a false or misleading notion, belief, or argument.
Ex.  The radio stopped working, Taylor kicked it, it started working again, Taylor fixed the radio.

falling action-  part of the narrative or drama after the climax.
Ex.  The falling action in Romeo and Juliet happens when the bodies of Romeo and Juliet are discovered. Their parents then decide to put aside their fight.

farce-  a boisterous comedy involving ludicrous action and dialogue.
Ex.  Saturday Night Live

figurative language-  apt and imaginative language characterized by figures of speech.
Ex.  The charming young prince swept her off her feet like a magic carpet soaring away into the moonlight.

flashback-  a narrative device that flashed back to prior events.
Ex.  No Exit uses flashbacks when the sinners refer to their past lives.

foil-  a person or thing that, by contrast, makes another seem better or more prominent.
Ex.  Mercutio is a foil for Romeo in Romeo and Juliet.

folk tale-  story passed on by word of mouth.
Ex.  The story about Big Foot is a folk tale.

foreshadowing-  a device to prepare the reader for the outcome of the action.
Ex.  She began thinking of different poems that have no conventional metrical pattern.

free verse-  verse without conventional metrical pattern.
Ex.  Walt Whitman did many free verse poems.

genre- a category or class of artistic endeavor having a particular form, technique, or content.
Ex.  Science fiction, drama, comedy, and romance.

gothic tale-  a style in literature characterized by gloomy settings, violent or grotesque action, and a mood of decay.
Ex.  Frankenstein 

hyperbole-  an exaggerated statement often used as a figure of speech or to prove a point.
Ex.  There are over a million people outside waiting for us to open up the doors!

imagery-  figures of speech or vivid descriptions conveying images through any of the senses.
Ex.  The tears ran freshly down her cherry red face like a babbling brook flows down  hill.

implication-  an understanding that is to be arrived at by the reader but that is not fully stated by the author.
Ex.  I can't wait to see Mickey's smiling face this weekend and Cinderella's castle.

incongruity-  the deliberate joining of opposites or of elements that are not appropriate to each other.
Ex.  A wealthy actor that lives in an old beat up house.

inference-  a judgement or conclusion based on evidence presented, the forming of an opinion which possesses some degree of probabiltiy according to facts already available.
Ex.  I infer that I am almost done with this assignment.

irony-  a contrast between what is said and what is meant.
Ex.  In Romeo and Juliet, it's ironic that they both kill themselves because they think the other is dead.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Literary Termes List 2

circumlocution- a roundabout speech or writing in which many words are used but a few would have served.
Ex.  I would have been to school on time but time just moves so quickly and it's so difficult to keep track of; time just never stops and keeps moving and moving.

classicism- art, literature, and music reflecting the principles of Ancient Greece amd Rome tradition.
Ex. Shakespeare, Dante, and Dickens.

cliche- a phrase or situation overused within society.
Ex. Opposites attract!

climax- the decisive point in a narrative or drama.
Ex. The climax in Romeo and Juliet is when Romeo challenges Tybalt to a duel.

colloquialism- folksy speech, slang words.
Ex. Y'all wana mosey on over for a gander?

comedy- originally a nondramatic literary piece of work that was marked by a happy ending; now a term to describe a ludicrous, farcical, or amusing event designed to provide enjoyment or produce smiles and laughter.
Ex.  Mid Summer Nights Dream

conflict-  struggle or problem in a story causing tension.
Ex.  Hamlet has the internal conflict of how to avenge his father's death.

connotation-  implicit meaning, going beyond dictionary definition.
Ex.  Pushy refers to someone loud-mouthed and irritating.

contrast-  a rhetorical device by which one element is thrown into opposition to another for the sake of emphasis or clarity.
Ex.   Black and white.

denotation-  plain dictionary definition.
Ex.  Definition: statement of the exact meaning of a word.

denouement-  loose ends tied up in a story after the climax, closure, conclusion.
Ex.  The denouement in Great Expectations is Pip and Estella's marriage.

dialect-  the language of a particular district.
Ex.  Mark Twain uses dialect in a lot of his stories.

dialectics-  formal debates usually over e nature of truth.

dichotomy-  split or break between two opposing things.
Ex.  Nature versus nurture.

diction-  the style of speaking or writing as reflected in the choice and use of words.
Ex.  The Adventures of Hucklebery Finn and Hamlet have very distinct diction choices.

didactic-  having to do with the transmission of information.
Ex.  Teachers have a very didactic profession.

dogmatic-  rigid in beliefs and principles.
Ex.  Perhaps we are all being a bit to dogmatic.

elegy-  a mournful, melancholy poem, especially a fimeral song or lament for the dead.
Ex. “With the farming of a verse/Make a vineyard of the curse,/Sing of human unsuccess/In a rapture of distress;/In the deserts of the heart/Let the healing fountain start,/In the prison of his days/Teach the free man how to praise.” - "In Memory of W. B. Yeats" by W. H. Auden 

epic-  a long narrative poem unified by a hero who reflects the customs, morals, and aspirations of his nation or race as he makes his way through legendary and historic exploits.
Ex.  Beowulf 

epigram-  witty aphorism
Ex.  "Little strokes/Fell great oaks." - Benjamin Franklin

epitaph-  any brief inscription in prose or verse on a tombstone.
Ex.  Rosamond Clifford (died 1177)
          [Mistress of King Henry II]
          In this tomb lies Rosamund,
             the rose of all the world,
             the fair, but not the pure.

Epithet-  a short, descriptive name or phrase that insults someone's character.
Ex.  You have pushed me in a delicate corner.

euphemism-  the use of an indirect, mild or vague word or expression for one thought to be coarse, offensive, or blunt.
Ex.  Seed away instead of dieded.

evocative-  a calling forth of memories and sensations.
Ex.  Evocative of the period was very stylish.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Broadcasting Your Aspirations Scholarship

               Contrary to public belief, television encouraged me to go outside, play, and feed my imagination.  When I was in elementary school, I would watch the same show every morning before I started the day.  I always looked forward to turning on Animal Planet in the morning and watching Backyard Habitat.  It made me excited for the day and ready to learn.

                The show was about a group of contractors and landscape architects that would turn people’s backyards into natural habitats for local wildlife.  After watching the show I would spend the entire day outside building houses out of twigs and leaves for snails and building “nests” for birds.  I even built a sad excuse of tree house for some squirrels in my front yard.

                This show inspired my passion for nature and animals. All throughout elementary school I was convinced that I wanted to be a veterinarian.  I absolutely love animals and I have never met an animal that doesn’t love me back.   When my cat died and I realized that I could never emotionally handle not being able to save the life of someone’s best friend.  Then I decided that I wanted to be a landscape architect like the ones in the show.  I started studying the types of plants that would thrive in my local temperate zone and drawing out “blueprints” with all of the changes that I wanted to make to my own yard.  My Dad went along with some of the plans, but I was never able to convince him to put in a fish pond.

                Once I became a Junior I knew that it was time to start seriously thinking about what I wanted to do in the future and wanted I want to major in.  Still convinced that I wanted to be a landscape architect, I sought advice from my close friends and family members who all told me that I was capable of doing something so much bigger than landscaping local areas.

                This took me by surprise because I had always been so set on landscape architecture.  Based on the advice that I received, I was supposed to find a career interest that would be impactful, but still involve all of the things that I love.   Two interests that developed for me outside of television were math and the National Park System.  My goal was to find a career that still involved my childhood passions of being outdoors, building things, and being creative, with my math interest and love for the National Parks.

                This is when I decided that I wanted to study Civil Engineering with an environmental concentration.  My goal is to design and built structures that draw more people into the National and State Parks.  Similar to Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park and the Skywalk in the Grand Canyon, I want to create places that draw people in and encourage then to love nature just as much as I do.  

                All of these dreams began with the Backyard Habitat.  The people on the show made it easier for animal species to strive in a human environment.  My goal is to switch things up and make it easier for humans to see and respect wild environments.

Literary Terms List 1

allegory- a tale in prose or verse in which characters, actions, or settings represent abstract ideas or moral qualities.
Ex.  The Cave is an allegory.

alliteration- the repetition of similar initial sounds, usually consonants, in a group of words.

Ex.  Shelly sells sea shells by the sea shore.

allusion- a reference to a person, a place, an event, or a literary work that a writer expects a reader to recognize.

Ex. As he continued his story, his nose began to grow.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Anything is Possible

All you need to do is jump in.  If you don't believe me, just ask the guy that runs with the lions!  Read more about it here.


1.  If you were the river, would you be enlightenment or would you know enlightenment? (
The passage that we read didn't mention the river, but having read the book, the river was a huge part of Siddhartha's life transitions, it was his scapegoat and sanctuary.

2.  What becomes of Siddhartha's "glorious, exalted awakening" that he had experienced in his youth?  (
It becomes a memory and passes away.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


       I spent a large portion of the first semester working on my big question.  Why are people afraid to make mistakes when you can learn from them?  I kind of tacked on a new twist to this question.  I want to know how to get more people to try new things outside of their comfort zone which corresponds with my question because most people are afraid to try something new in fear of failing at it and making a fool of themselves.  This semester I would like to use myself and my classmates as guinea  pigs.  The first semester threw a lot of new twists at all of us and some people responded to these changes and new experiences better than others.  I want to figure out what held some people back and why others so easily excelled.

     This semester I would like to continue to do things out of the ordinary that pull us out of our comfort zones in hopes to help us become better prepared for the curve balls that will be thrown at us later in life when we no longer have "each other" to fall back on.  This is the main reason why I became one of the game masters.  Now that we are all seniors, we all want to be ready for the future, but it's scary to think of all the possibilities of different things that we will face each day.  If we can continue to try new things in this class and become adaptable to new experience and change while we still have each other, we will be better prepared for the future when we are off on our own.

       By new experiences I mean: building connections, contacting professionals, creating a voice in our community, and turning ideas into reality through collaborative working groups.


What do I want to know?
I want to know how we can continue incorporate new and  memorable experiences into this English learning environment.

What skills do I want to demonstrate?
I want to demonstrate that it's ok to make mistakes as long as you are learning along the way and taking advantage of every opportunity given to you.

What experience do I want to have under my belt?
Every experience possible.

What's in it for me?

       I was asked to elaborate on a goal for this second semester of AP English, but my goal doesn't specifically have to do with this class.  My goal is to make it as easy as possible to pay for college.  The only way that I can relate this to English is that my essay writing skills need to be perfect for all of the essays that I am writing for scholarships.  Also, I need to get at least a four on not only my English AP exam, but also on my other exams because I will save more money if I don't have to retake these classes in college.

        Now that my applications are submitted, grades and assignments don't really mean as much to me anymore.  For me, this semester is about experiences.  So if I had create a goal specifically for this class, I would say that I want to share as many new experiences as I can with my classmates before school ends.  These experiences could involve meeting new people, going new places, and doing new things that bring me out of my shell.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Base of Bridal Veil Falls

       On New Year's Day I had the opportunity to do something that very few people will ever say that they had the chance to do.  Under perfect conditions I was able to climb up to the base of Bridal Veil Falls (the beloved waterfall seen from Tunnel View) in Yosemite National Park.

What would you do for some tea?

Many people tackle what is considered the most dangerous trail in the world just to get to it's intriguing destination.  Click here for pictures and to read more about it!