Category: English IV Honors

So Many Choices…

So, I’ve been given a questions. On I’m not entirely sure how to answer, but here it is. What literary subject would you write about if you had the freedom to choose? 

First, I think I’ll address the smaller questions Mr. Wilson has imposed on me. If I had a choice, I think I’d pick either a novel or a short story to read. I’m not a big fan of nonfiction or poetry, so those are out of the question. Most of the books I have read for school have not really interested me. I know i life there aren’t happy endings, but when I read, I don’t want my stories to have a depressing ending. I don’t mind if they aren’t entirely happy, but most of the books we’ve read for school have no shred of happiness in the ending.

No, most of the stories that I have enjoyed reading haven’t been for school, they’ve been for pleasure. Most of those stories revolve around a seemingly ordinary character that have extraordinary events happen to them and yet, they overcome all of the obstacles to get their happy ending. While I do love a hero, stories about monsters and villains are also fascinating. During the summer I read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and while the story itself was a bit confusing, they way the author developed the characters was fascinating.

So, maybe that’s it? Maybe I’ll find a story about an impossible hero or a monster and write about how the author develops their character, how the struggles and tragedies they face shape them throughout the story. Is that an acceptable topic Mr. Wilson?

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What’s In A Name, or Rather A Number?

number-1

First, since I have to write about this, what do YOU see in Pollock’s No. 1? Well, I can tell you right now, I see nothing. I have never understood abstract art, or modern art, or whatever you would classify this as. I don’t particularly like this painting, quite frankly I think this painting could be done by anyone with a brush, canvas, and some tubes of color. Don’t get me wrong, I love art; however, I modern. I don’t get ipollock1t. It looks like nothing. What’s the point of art if you can’t tell what the artist is/was feeling? What’s the point if you can’t tell what the painting was meant to do? Although, maybe that could be his point I suppose. This painting would be much more impressive if it were viewed in person; while I do believe that anyone could have made this painting the first time, I don’t think anyone could perfectly recreate Pollock’s chaos. I think that if this piece was viewed in person in it’s whole 6′ by 9′ glory, rather than it’s whatever inch by whatever inch online, it would be much more impressive. In person you could see the brush strokes, the splatter, the use of color and line; in person you could possibly see, maybe feel more of what the painter is/was trying to say.

Second, I must say I also don’t really like this either, is a poem by Nancy Sullivan titled Number 1 by Jackson Pollock (1948). Her poem, unlike this painting is rather short, but like this painting, it is lacking in detail. She talks about how the painting doesn’t have a real name, only a number. She talks about the chaos of the painting, the “maze” that the paint creates, and how all that is on the canvas is paint. By the end she says something along the lines of how are we to decide the painter’s question, let alone his answer. I feel sort of like that, what is the reason behind this painting? What is the painter wanting to ask, or say?

Commencement

Attention seniors. Before the merriment of commencement commences…wait, sorry that’s from Grease.

Let’s try this again, as I’ve probably said in a previous post, I am a teenager, and what do teenagers have to look forward to other than getting a driver’s licence and the wonderful process of apply for college? Graduation.

Yes, as Spring break approaches kids around the U.S. begin the gleeful journey towards Summer vacation, but for Seniors it’s different. As a Senior I get to look forward to my last Spring break as a high school student, which means I will most likely be sitting at home catching up on sleep and playing some video game (which right now would be Dragon Age Inquisition). But, as a Senior it also means that soon will come Ap testing, Prom and Graduation.

9a52447be4f3d0579129c7730da9116cEveryone tells you that as you reach the end of high school you’ll look back and start to miss things, but that’s not entirely true. Yes, I’ll miss seeing my friends everyday, and I’ll miss most, if not all of my teachers. However, school itself I will not miss. I’m looking forward to going to college; heck, in college I can wear pajamas to class! Can I do that in high school? No. Also, I get to pick when I eat lunch! No more with the school assigning me when I can and cannot eat and what a can and cannot eat!

After four years of hard work, late nights, and going to school with over a hundred degree fevers so I won’t have make-up work or absences, I finally get to walk the stage and get my diploma and be done with high school and the public school system! Besides, after graduation I get to go on an exciting trip across Europe before I head off to college.

They Call It A Tragedy Because…

So, my current English assignment is Hamlet, which I’m going to make a general assumption and assume most high schoolers have to read this. However, I’m sure most high school students are lucky enough to not have to read the First Quarto of Hamlet. After reading the first couple Acts of the First Quarto I think Hamlet can be considered a tragedy for a different reason.

First, the spelling of one of the soldier’s name. In the version of Hamlet that I read for school it is spelled Bernardo (which is and actual name), but in the First Quarto they spell his name Barnardo (fyi, as I type that version of the name I’m given the dreaded red squiggly line of spell check). How do you pronounce Barnardo? Is it Barn-ar-do? Or is the a suppose to sound like an e? Also, I get that Bernardo and Francisco are only in Act I so they aren’t all that important, but they completely unidentified Francisco, he is now the unnamed First Sentinel.Also, Act I.ii. seemed really short in the First Quarto. I remember the King and Queen having asked Hamlet to stay in Denmark, but I didn’t see that in the First Quarto. Also, the line the King says before everyone but Hamlet leaves I don’t remember being in my version of Hamlet.

So, whoever wrote the First Quarto tragically butchered Shakespeare. I know, spelling of names is a minor infraction, but they cut out important lines and it seemed like they added their own in-eloquent wording into new lines that should never be included in Hamlet.

Allusions and Hamartias: The Literary “Kiss of Death”

Congratulations! We’ve made if back to another post about literary terms. This week’s instalment will be about allusions and hamartias. So, here we go.

Just for kicks, let’s go back to March 23, 1775. Now, you may ask yourself, what was written, spoken, alluded to on this day; well I’ll tell you, Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. You might think this is a rather random choice for allusions, but this speech is chock full of them. So, here’s just a few.

“listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts”. In this quote Henry is referring to the Odyssey and the sirens who lure ships and sailors to their doom.

“Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?” (eyes, see not, and, having ears hear not) Mark 8:18

“Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss.” This is a reference to the betrayal of Judas.

So, we move on to Hamartia. First, since this term is not well known, I’ll give a definition. Hamartia: a fatal flaw leading to the downfall of a tragic hero or heroine. Now for some examples:

Achilles and his heel. We’ve all probably heard this story somewhere, Achilles was bathed in the river Styx as an infant, but he was held by the heel so, unlike the rest of him, it did not become invulnerable. So what happened? His heel later become his undoing.

“To be, or not to be–that is the question (Hamlet III.i.). Hamlet’s tragic flaw is his indecisiveness. Hamlet wants to kill his father’s murderer, and he has several opportunities to do so, but he keeps finding reasons not to. As the story goes on, Hamlet’s indecision leads to the death 9 people, including himself.

P.S. If you don’t get my title…I’m sorry, I’ll explain it. A “kiss of death” is another way to refer to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, so it’s an allusion to go along with the post…about allusions.

Slytherin To These Literary Terms

Hello, and welcome to another blog post about literary terms. On this week’s instalment we’ll be discussing sarcasm and puns.

Now, if you haven’t noticed yet or this is the first post of mine that you’ve read, then you’ll soon discover I’m rather snarky. Also, being a teenager, sarcasm makes up about 70% of my brain, just as water makes up 70% of our bodies. Sarcasm is my, if not most teenagers, life blood. Without it, I would live a rather dull life. So, here’s some of my favorite examples of sarcasm.

hp5_b“‘Yes…yes, good point, Petunia! What were you doing under our window, boy?’

‘Listening to the news,’ said Harry in a resigned voice.

His aunt and uncles exchanged looks of outrage. ‘Listening to the news! Again?’

Well, it changes every day you see,‘ said Harry” (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling).

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Hermione: “Stop moving! I know what this is –
it’s Devil’s Snare!”

Ron: “Oh, I’m so glad we know what it’s called, that’s a great help.

Hermione: “Shut up, I’m trying to remember how to kill it! What did Professor Sprout say? – it likes the dark and the damp -” (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling).

 

Okay, so now that we’ve got the fictional teenage sarcasm out of the way (thank you J.K. for verbally accurate characters), we’ll move onto puns. Who likes puns show of hands? Okay…well that won’t work since I can’t see you, so oh well. Anywho, we all either have friends that make puns (and they’re terrible) or we are the friend that makes the puns (and I’m sorry, but they’re terrible). However, there are also lots of literary characters that make puns. So, here’s a few examples to make yourself feel better.

“The 9th Doctor disables the plastic arm and says to Rose, “It’s all right, I’ve stopped it. There you go (tosses plastic arm to Rose), you see? ‘armless” (Doctor Who Season 1, Episode20867-1-1281271307 1: Rose).

Goddard: “Uh, sire, with respect, there’s something more urgent. We arrested two intruders 53 floors down. We don’t know how they got in.”

Van Statten:”I’ll tell you how they got in — in-tru-der window [in through the]” (Doctor Who Season 1, Episode 6: Dalek).

The Intelligence: “You are not of this world.”

Doctor: “Takes one to snow one [know]” (Doctor Who Season 7, Episode 6: The Snowmen).

Now that I am done with this post, I will just point out this one last thing. The title of this post is a pun…sorry, I’m one of those friends.

An Awfully Good Blog Post

Now, let’s talk about literary terms. I always have a hard time remembering definitions, yet after looking at examples I tend to realize, I actually use these without realizing it. So here it goes:

Oxymorons:

So, first I’ll give two examples people my age probably won’t recognize because I’m a jerk and it’s fun. Then, I will give two more common examples. Also, see what I did with the title? Awfully Good huh, huh? (Well, I thought it was clever).

First: The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel. Just the title itself is an oxymoron, sound of silence. Silence doesn’t have a sound, that’s why it’s called silence.

Second: It’s Been a Hard Day’s Night by the Beatles. I’m not sure if I really need to explain this one…Day’s Night. There you go, oxymoron.

Now I’ll give you some more common sayings that at least I have used. “I’m busy doing nothing” (No you’re not, you’re always doing something; you’re breathing, that’s doing something). The “Great Depression,” there is nothing/was nothing great about a/the depression. “Act naturally,” if you’re acting it’s not natural, it’s acting.

Next term, paradoxes…I’m still not sure what this is. Sorry, Mr. Wilson. Anyway, here it goes.

Paradox:

First: “For it rained all night the day I left; the weather was so dry.  The sun so hot I froze to death” from Oh Susanna (which was written in 1848). So, it rained yet it was dry and the sun was so hot that he froze? All of those are contradictory…so I’m gonna call paradox?

Second- “I close my eyes so I can see…I burn a fire to stay cool…Shut the door so I can leave” from Shut the Door by Fugazi. Everything in this excerpt is a contradiction. If you shut your eyes then you can’t see anything, if you light a fire you’ll warm up not cool down, and if you shut a door you can’t really leave the room…unless you’re a ghost, then by all means shut the door and leave.