Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Literature Analysis #3 (Semester 2)

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

1. Charley Marlow speaks of when he went "freshwater sailor". He landed a job as a steamboat captain quite quickly and it took him some time to reach his steam boat. Once he arrived, they informed him that it was at the bottom of the river and that it would be 3 months for it to be repaired. When Marlow is there, he describes the "cannibals" or "criminals" that are put to work producing ivory. He describes their physical condition and mental state. You can see he thinks he is better than them because of he is white, but not as much as is evident with the other white characters. Kurtz, who is known for producing the most ivory from all the stations and Marlow wants to meet him and becomes enveloped with the idea because he feels he has nothing to look forward to. Marlow picks up his boat and sets sail with some "pilgrims" and "cannibals". They find a hut where fire wood is left for them and Marlow finds an old book. Natives soon attack from the jungle, but they manage to make it out. They finally get to Kurtz's station but meet a Russian man who tells them that Kurtz has made himself a god with the workers and goes raiding to get more ivory. After trying to escape back to the natives, Kurtz gets on the steam boat ad starts to die. He leaves Marlow with documents and a pamphlet on civilizing the savages. His last words are "The Horror! The Horror!" which Marlow later lies about to his Fiancee and says his last words were her name just as Europeans in Africa used to lie about what was actually happening in Africa because they knew the truth was harder for Europeans who lived in Europe to grasp.

2.  The fine line between light and darkness. This isn't just color tones, but black and white, good and bad, African and European; very contrasting subjects. Through the book, you find yourself greeted with phrases such as "so dark green as to be almost black. Fringed with white surf..." or "paddled by black fellows.' You can see from afar the whites of their eye balls glistening." where black is comes in and is followed by white. "It looked startling round his black neck, this bit of white thread from beyond the seas." We see the theme when Conrad describes his black helper and how he finds himself wondering if this cannibal might have some humanity within himself. This conveys that although one is dark skinned and the other light skinned, they are both humans. We always choose to see the differences between black and white, light and darkness and Conrad paints a picture where both are intertwined and the line is blurred. 

3.Conrad's tone seems very detail oriented. He doesn't describe everything with every detail, but only the most important pictures and with selectively picked out words which help the story and message come across better.  
 “Black shapes crouched, lay, sat between the trees leaning against the trunks, clinging to the earth, half coming out, half effaced within the dim light, in all the attitudes of pain, abandonment, and despair. Another mine on the cliff went off, followed by a slight shudder of the soil under my feet. The work was going on. The work! And this was the place where some of the helpers had withdrawn to die. "
Conrad, from what I found, also has an outspoken and open tone. He tells of the horrors of Africa without speaking of the more graphic descriptions and he doesn't hold back about how the Whites treated the Natives. 
"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. The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it too much."
4. Metaphors are greatly used by Conrad to describe many aspects of the book. The use of metaphors when describing the wilderness and the natives are my favorites. Conrad compares the natives to phantoms and corpses in order to show that they were sure of death. He presents the wilderness in different lights and compares them to different things to show that the wild has many different sides to it. 
"the playful paw strokes of the wilderness." 
Imagery is of importance in Conrad's works because they are based on the combination of images and dialogue.
"The tidal current runs to and fro in its unceasing service, crowded with memories of men ships it had borne to the rest of home or to the battles of the sea."
Similes are also an important aspect and are noticeable throughout the text. The similes help the reader see what the narrator sees, which in turn helps the reader have an easier time grasping every picture the narrator captures. 
“A beardless, boyish face, very fair, no features to speak of, nose peeling, little blue eyes, smiles and frowns chasing each other over that open countenance like sunshine and shadow on a wind-swept plain.”
Personification is a great way to bring the themes of the novel to life. It also established his tone for the book. Using personification, Conrad helps the reader imagine, for example, the characters of the ships.
"But the ships wouldn’t even look at me."
Symbolism is important to this work because it gives the story another layer that the reader has to analyze to completely understand the author's piece as a whole. Conrad uses symbolism in describing subjects that come out just once and also continue for the entirety of the novel. 
"The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed sombre under an overcast sky—seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness."

Monday, May 19, 2014

Masterpiece: UPDATE

I've been having difficulty finding a platform besides blogger itself for my presentation. Unless I find something else within the next couple of days, I'll use Prezi to import my pictures to present. Hopefully I find a platform I can play with and use so I can have another skill under my belt!

Suggestions welcome (:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Masterpiece: UPDATE

What with all of the Senior activities happening the last few days, I've hardly noticed my schoolwork! Being that it's been a long day and I just finished 2 literature analysis I think I'm gonna call it good for tonight.

Tomorrow is a new day, which for us Open Source Learners means Masterpiece time :)

More to come soon! Cheers.

Literature Analysis #2 (Semester 2)

Bleak House Charles Dickens

1. A court case has been going on for years called Jarndyce and Jarndyce. The case led many people who became involved into thinking they would inherit large amount of money when the case was settled. However, the late Mr. Jarndyce left many different versions of his will that were all written at different times during his life. The case has never been concluded and it has thrown people's lives into chaos. The most recent participants of the case are announced to be Richard Carstone and Ada Clare; both who are orphans and fall in love. Ada is given a companion named Esther Summerson to accompany her to their new home, Bleak House. Mr. John Jarndyce owns this estate and he's a fun guy, but he has been a part of the J&J case so much that he refuses to have no more part in it. He made his way in the world without leaning on the possibility of the case ever being concluded. Mr. John wants Esther to marry him, but she loves Mr. Woodcourt. In the end he notices this and releases Esther from her acceptance of his marriage proposal. Many people die, Lady Dedlock , Mr. Tolkienhorn, Jo, Richard and Captain Nemo who was the start of the case in the first place. The J&J case is finally concluded after the most recent will is discovered by Mr. Smallweed under Mr. Krook’s cat. What was supposed to be happy day for the wards in J&J ended badly as the cost of the case had eaten up the inheritance fund money because of its lengthy proceedings. This kills Richard, Ada has her baby, but is single mother and Esther marries Mr. Woodcourt.


 2. "And yet, in the clouded, eager, seeking look that passed over him..." (ch.37) Obsession in the book shows the reader the difference between passion and obsession. Richard becomes enveloped in case while Mr. Jarndyce is in love for Esther. Richard, went too far and because of his infatuation with the case, ended up not taking care of himself and dying.


3. I love reading Dickens’s novels because you know that in the end, everyone gets their just consequences. His vision of London is close to mine. Dank, rank, putrid, cruel, cold, foggy, and unrelenting. His tone seems knowledgeable of the subject. He grew up with those experiences and he knows what the world is like, therefore he writes from his own experience with the knowledge that there are evils in this world and at the same time, goodness. "With so much of itself abandoned to darkness and vacancy. With so little change under the summer shining or the wintry lowering; so sombre and motionless always." Truth. "And don't you know that you are prettier than you ever were?"

Harsh truth and yet love and hope. "Allan, standing at the window, was as pleased as Caddy; and I was as pleased as either of them; and I wonder that I got away as I did, rather than that I came off

laughing, and red, and anything but tidy, and looking after Caddy, who looked after us out of the coach-window as long as she could see us." The people who do find each other as friends love each other so much and are so contented in each others company that they remain friends through out the story. I wonder if that's possible today...



4.  Many symbols were used in this story:

- Miss Flite’s birds, all with names like Hope, Joy, Freedom, Despair, Ruin, Dust, Disease, and         

 The Wards of Jarndyce. Only to be set free from their cages when J&J is concluded.

- Mothers, to me were also a very big symbol. In many of Dickens’ books he writes about mother figures being extremely negligent and treating their children horribly. Lady Deadlock gave Esther away and put her in a house where the nanny dashed her self esteem greatly. Then there’s Mrs. Jellyby who is so obsessed with her mission to “save Africa” that she neglects her children. The irony is she is so wound up with the children of Africa that she scars her own children very deeply. She isn’t even the slightest bit interested when Caddy tells her she’s marrying Mr. Turveydrop.

- The Jarndyce and Jardyce case itself is a symbol of ruin and despair for all those who become entangled in its web. It has made people obsess over its verdict that they forgot how to live, eat, and sleep, killing them with each passing moment of its dreary life-time.


 Dickens uses very interesting and descriptive language:

- “There is much good in it; there are many good and true people in it; it has its appointed place. But the evil of it is that it is a world wrapped up in too much jeweller's cotton and fine wool, and cannot hear the rushing of the larger worlds, and cannot see them as they circle round the sun.

 It is a deadened world, and its growth is sometimes unhealthy for want of air.” (ch2)

- “I say seemed, for the windows were so encrusted with dirt that they would have made midsummer sunshine dim.” (ch. 5) Stopping in mid-sentence to help the reader better understand what Esther was looking at.

- ”In the shade of Cook's Court, at most times a shady place, Mr. Snagsby has dealt in all sorts of blank forms of legal process; in skins and rolls of parchment; in paper--foolscap, brief, draft, brown, white, whitey- brown, and blotting; in stamps; in office-quills, pens, ink, India-

 rubber, pounce, pins, pencils, sealing-wax, and wafers; in red tape and green ferret; in pocket-books, almanacs, diaries, and law lists; in string boxes, rulers, inkstands--glass and leaden--pen-knives, scissors, bodkins, and other small office-cutlery; in short, in articles too numerous to mention, ever since he was out of his time and went into partnership with Peffer.” (ch. 10)



- “I had never heard my mama spoken of. I had never heard of my papa either, but I felt more interested about my mama. I had never worn a black frock, that I could recollect. I had never been shown my mama's grave. I had never been told where it was. Yet I had never been taught to pray for any relation but my godmother. I had...” (ch.2)

- “... like inferior blood unlawfully shed, WILL cry aloud and

 WILL be heard. Sir Leicester's cousins, in the remotest degree,

 are so many murders in the respect that they.” (ch. 27)

- “Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls deified among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city. Fog on the Essex marshes, fog on the Kentish heights.” (ch. 1)



- Many Shakespeare references, "will out." and quoting some of the Tempest.

- Referencing to Rip Van Winkle

- The Flying Dutchman, “with a crew of ghostly clients imploring”



- Many people were worried about Richard and we learned about his obsession through Ada's worried looks, Mr. & Mrs. Badger warning Mr. John that if Rich doesn't settle down soon he we become too entangled and Esther warning him against letting Mr. Skimpole run his affairs.

- We can tell that Mr. Jandyce likes Esther when they have their talk about Esther being unhappy. She says she sees him as a father figure only to make a connection and reassure him that he wasn't doing anything wrong. When she says this, however Mr. John gets pretty upset and she doesn't know why, but later she understands it when he tells her how he feels.

- Lady Dedlock's obsession with the hand writing of a particular law document suggested she had a much deeper past than her husband gave her credit for.

- The final one is dear Mr. Guppy. Having been rejected once by Miss Summerson he would stalk her

 and try to find out everything he could about her past, this only meant that he was still in love with her and would try again, soon, to see if her mind had changed.

Literature Analysis #1 (Semester 2)

All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

1. John Grady and his friend Rawlins decide to lead the life of cowboys, so they head down to Mexico. On their journey they run into a boy named Belvins. Belvins gets separated from John and Rawlins and gets mugged. He is left with no horse and no gun. The two boys try to help their new friend but they end up getting separated from him once more. After that they find work at a ranch. John Grady proves himself to be a great cowboy with a great understanding of horses. He soon becomes distracted by the ranchers daughter, Alejandra,; whom he has an affair with. John Grady is warned by Alejandra's great aunt that becoming involved with her is a bad idea, but he refuses to listen. When Alejandra's father finds out about the affair, he turns John Grady and Rawlins over to the police. They are charged as being in league with Belvins who is being held in prison for murder. Belvins is executed and Rawlins gives a false confession. Grady and Rawlins have hit men sent after them, but they survive. Alejandra bribed the prison guard to set them free which the guard did. Grady goes back to her and begs her to come with him back to Texas, but she refuses because she can’t leave her family. He returns back to Texas but he is emotionally scarred without his love and his best friend who no longer associates with him.

2. The theme of this novel is similar to that of Romeo and Juliet. About two star-crossed lovers who can never be with each other. The difference in All the Pretty Horses is that neither of them die, they are just forced to be separated and can never see each other again.

3. The authors tone is that of an average narrator. He seems indifferent to his characters development and story, but every author has feelings about their work so the true tone could be uncovered with a more in depth study.

4. Ambiguity- they were never sure of what would happen with their criminal life.
Assumption- Grady assumed life would be easy as a cowboy.
Climax- Rawlins and Grady are attacked by assassins and then released from prison.
Conflict- Grady battles his issues with his friend and his love for Alejandra.
Dogmatic- Alejandra refuses to leave her family for Grady.
Falling Action- Grady gets back his horses and returns to Texas.
Omniscient Point of View- Narrator is all knowing.
Pacing- The story develops very fast.
Pathos- The author attends to the readers feelings by including a love story.
Purpose- to show that being an adult as a teenager is difficult.

1;No, the tone and diction are constant through the work. The tone of the novel also helps to depict that each character is described in the same way.

2.;The protagonist, John Grady, is a static, flat character. His views on life don't really seem to change by the end of the story. He doesn't seem to learn anything from his adventures in Mexico.

3. I felt like I had met a person. When I read a story, I usually feel like I have met a person, especially when the author does a great job at conveying his/her characters. Cormac McCarthy is a favorite author of mine and I always enjoy reading his books. I feel like I know John Grady, but I don't feel like I fully understand him.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Masterpiece: UPDATE

My Masterpiece is going well, I have decided to use blogger as the general platform for my presentation. Since myself and my peers are in the midst of senior activities and the transition into adult life, finding time for everything can seem difficult.

I'm currently moving out to Tepesquet Canyon, which is near The Sisquoc, and I'm going to take advantage of the situation to document the process, as well as my learning experience. There is much to do so I'll be back soon for more to come!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Masterpiece: UPDATE

Every time I see a photo of animals I really like, chances are, when I look at the photo credit; it will always be National Geographic.

I've always enjoyed taking pictures of animals. Mostly because animals don't have to worry about politics, finances, jobs, etc. They just go on doing what they do, living. With photography, you can catch a glimmer of their perfect world and you can see the contentment on their faces. Just imagine what it would be like to be a Polar Bear, roaming the Arctic; or an Emperor Penguin, gracefully sliding across the frozen tundra in search for breakfast; an Arctic Fox awaiting a Ringed Seal pup to peek out its den. That is all they know, and personally, I'm quite jealous of them.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from National Geographic:

(An Ivory Gull spots a quick snack)

(The Emperors have spotted the paparazzi)

(The Arctic Fox surveys his frozen home from a concealed position)

(Family drama amongst the Elephant Seal Bulls)

(Two Chinstrap Penguins start the long trek home)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Masterpiece: UPDATE

I was lying in bed last night thinking about the certain photographs I wanted to take for my project, and I came to the realization that I need some input from other students because I want to create something that can be related to everyone and not just me. So if you have any cool ideas for a picture you would like to see in the project send me some feedback!

Project Outline: The differences between a snapped pic and a composed photograph using day to day activities we may take for granted.

 Snapped Pic: You can tell that there is not an inherent sense of detail that went into this picture. It was just taken with no attempt to tell a story. 

Composed Photograph: Much more detail. A story is present and uses the angle which it was taken to create a sense of longer depth. (The desk is set clean, ready for someone to work on something they're passionate about.)

Snapped Pic: Some objects serve no purpose in the picture yet have not been taken out or had less emphasis put on them. The eye sees the coffee mug but also intakes much more in the picture. (The desk, flyer, cabinet, etc)

Composed Photograph: The use of "Manual Focus" as opposed to "Auto Focus" eliminates objects in the background which are less important to the photo while also adding more clarity to the subject. Other items, such as the flyer, have been removed and more emphasis was placed on the cup. (School spirit, the angle of the shot bringing a sense of looking up to our school)

Friday, April 11, 2014

I'm Alive!!! (A much needed update)

Sooooo, I haven't been on my blog for a couple months (woops). However, that doesn't mean I am a total loss. I still have the understanding of any pupil and this post's purpose is to create some substantial evidence of my presence in this world.

    My Masterpiece is a mish-mash of photography, school spirit and life in general. I started with my passion and love for photography. As this project was meant to open up and expose the deeper academic areas of our passions, it covers that. However, what's a Senior Project without PICTURES? :) My decision was to incorporate the school spirit with the academic portion of photography to create this beautiful mess of a scrapbook and resource for students of photography and to showcase some world-class Warrior Pride.

To start on the process, I have taken references from my first textbook, The Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video, to create a solid foundation of facts and processes involved in photography. I am now in the process of creating the portfolio of pictures I will be using to demonstrate the basics of photography as well as our school spirit. My hopes in the end are to have a giant collage of pictures that each tell a story in the moments I have captured, as well as short paragraphs that elaborate on the subjects and processes. Links to various websites and resources will be included and I hope to also demonstrate any other techniques I find online.


Active reading notes aside, Macbeth is a play I have held onto more easily than most. Mostly thanks to the more in depth conversation and class reading of the play itself. When you're in a room with all of your peers, ideas and observations seem to flow and it makes for a much easier time holding the information in. The experiences and laughs we have shared in class about the play are very important to me. The idea of having a memory to tie to very important information is true.

Macbeth is a very dark play. Full of deceit and murder, it's very easy to get hooked into reading this play. From the very start of the play, we learn that "Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair" meaning everything isn't what it seems. Death comes quickly, from the time the witches tell Macbeth he will be king, the ball of murder starts rolling with King Duncan and his guards. All of this leads to Macbeth's guilt as the Great Chain of Being is disturbed and everything is thrown into chaos (includes Macbeth's mental state). Also considering that this play was performed in front of a real king, the guilt in Macbeth plays a huge part because it's showing that all that comes with trying to get into pore by disturbing the Great Chain, is death, chaos and insanity. In short, don't kill the king. We also see Macbeth go more crazy when he starts to see the ghost of Banquo after he has him killed to secure his reign as king since Banquos' sons were to be kings according to the witches.

More to come on Macbeth as we go into the weekend and finish Act IV :)