Sunday, June 10, 2012

Blog 15

This is the last blog that we have to write for our English 102 class

This was the first time i have ever written a blog and in the beginning it was quite hard.
The writing process is easy once you have a guide line to follow. When we have blogs to write they are based on the reflections of what we have read in class. They are our own thoughts and feelings of what we discussed on the material. We are graded by our structure and the content of our responses. When we write a blog entry we have to think of what we read and really explain in detail what we feel. The blog must be written in the correct structure making sure we answer all parts of the question we choose to reflect on. What I have noticed is that in the beginning since I didn't really know what to write about they were not as long. Besides I was a little shy. But after the comments I would get by my classmates it made me feel more confident and I noticed I started writing alot more than before. I think that as I have wrote these blogs I have tried to connect to them on a personal aspect. I like to include personal experiences and I know how to acknowledge the sources we use. The only thing that I find a little difficult is including pictures to go with my blogs. I have tried to put them in and they fail to show so I don't know if it is my blog or computer that causes the problem.

My online experience has been a great one. As I mentioned before I had never written a blog and was able to express myself so freely. The writing here was very different. It felt more like free writing where we were able to follow the question, but answer with our own thought and critical thinking about the topic. The writing from this class helped me build my confidence when it came to writing. I felt more comfortable and less shy expressing myself. I also enjoyed reading my classmates writing as well. It helps reading other people's work because it allows you to evaluate your own thinking. Sometimes I could relate, sometimes I learned something new from reading their work. But overall the experience has been a great one. No one has been rude or inconsiderate of other people's ideas or experiences. We all respect each other and that makes it a better environment to get your creativity out on the blog. I do feel that some people have also read my blogs because they leave comments and it shows that they are interested in what I have to say.

This class has been very rewarding, not to be a teacher's pet or anything, I just really enjoyed having professor X as my English 102 teacher. I had previously taken 102 but I dropped the class because it was so boring and the lectures the teacher had would not connect to me in any aspect. I had tried but I could not get into it. Leaving this class has shown me that I can feel confident in what I have to say because I have never been discouraged in any responses. Overall I enjoyed the material we discussed. We were able to read two books that I never would have imagined reading and they were very interesting. Not only were they interesting we learned so many different themes that they had that I didn't ever think of it while I read them. Only after reading and discussing them in class was I able to critically think of the major topics. I feel that now I can read a book and not just focus on the story, but I know that the author has other messages besides the story line. My most memorable experience had to be with the book Kindred. I really liked that book and all the discussions we had about the history of slavery. I enjoyed that book so much that I told a few people to read it whenever they had the chance because I could not put the book down.  What I could recommend anyone that is taking this class, is just to have an open mind about the blog entrys. At first it could be a little nerve wrecking but once you get into it and you enjoy the reading it will make the class so much fun. The professor is very nice and makes everything fun. Especially the jeopardy game we had for extra credit. Thanks again Professor X for making this class worth it =)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Blog 14: Self Evaluation

In class we have finished the blog series of Drama. This is my evaluation.

Out of all of my blogs, I liked number 13 the best. The reason why I liked this blog is because of the analysis of the symbolism of the unmasking of each character. In that blog we were asked if we agreed with the ending and if not what would we change in order to make it different. I liked the fact that I felt that Benedick had changed as well as Claudio in a little way. Beatrice's change left me a bit dissatisfied and in my opinion I wouldn't have changed her into becoming a tamed shrew...

What have I learned in this class:

  • Well I learned of the different aspects of the Literary terms of Drama. I enjoyed reading the play because we were able to see the movie and understand the language because of the book that was chosen for the class.
  • I learned about the the different expectations of marriage through the aristocratic era. The forms of courtship and how women were viewed in that time frame.
  • I learned how men have always had the upper hand since the very begining, till now. Even though a little of the power has been shared with women in current times.
  • In the play we were able to see the different characters and how they would be viewed. we also learned how the bonds of friendship could be broken when love is in the mix. First with Don Pedro and Claudio, when Claudio thinks his friend Don Pedro has lied to him and taken Hero for himself. Thanks to Don John and his lies. Then with Benedick and Claudio when Beatrice asks him to kill Claudio.
  • The symbolism of the death and rebirth of Hero and the unmasking of the true selves.

    This class over all has been interesting and enjoyful. The class discussions have been helpful in understanding the play and how the characters were portrayed to follow with the beliefs of that time.

    Blog 13: Unmasking the true selves...?

    This Blog entry is about the symbolic meaning in the play Much ado About Nothing, of the unmasking that takes place when Claudio is about to marry Leonato's "niece."

    In the play right before Claudio marries the real Hero that is veiled he wishes to remove the veil and see his bride. He is not allowed to do so because they want the full effect of the rebirth of a new Hero.
    Hero "died" because of the slander  that Claudio spread of her being with Borrachio. They faked her death in order to give the symbolic meaning of her innocence. She had never been with a man, she was a maid and in front of the people of the town she was made out to be some whore. So she dies from the lies said about her chastity. This is an important part of the play because after her death Hero would be reborn as the same Hero that she was, innocent. Her slander would die with her because it was never true and instead she is seen as an innocent girl who dies cause of lies.

    Do we have a new Claudio? I think that in some form or another he is consumed with guilt for "killing" Hero. He feels badly for his actions in front of everyone. So by Claudio's acceptance of the mourning in her honor he has been transformed into a more humbled Count. His pride and rage have been replaced by sorrow and longing for his bride to be that is no longer alive because of his own tongue. Therefore his is somewhat reborn as well.

    Beatrice and Benedick, they are unmasked because in the beginning they try to deny their love for each other. However, Claudio and Hero both steal the writing that Benedick has written to Beatrice, and Beatrice's to Benedick. This is the proof that they against their hands have written what they feel in their hearts for one another. I feel that when it comes to their "rebirth" Benedick is no longer the free bachelor that dislikes women. He has truly found someone whom is if fond of and does want to share his company with. However, Beatrice has always been outspoken. This I have liked about her because she states what she feels without letting anyone influence her how she should be. She has always defended women and their honor as well. But once Benedick kisses her, he has won and Beatrice and her feisty self have been silenced.

    So do I feel that these are their true selves? In the case of Hero and Claudio, Hero is still the same innocent virgin that she always was, her death and rebirth are just symbolic in order to save face.

    Claudio is a little different, he is calmer and more willing to see error so therefore I believe he has been humbled by his own doing. This new Claudio is still the same Claudio from before I just think that he would think more before he accuses harshly.

    Benedick, he has changed because he went from being a Bachelor and disliking marriage into falling in love and wanting to be with Beatrice, no matter what circumstances. He was even willing to kill his own friend in order to be in Beatrice's grace and prove his love for her.

    Beatrice, this is the only character that I feel has lost her spirit, yes she may have fallen in love, but she was so outspoken and now she has been made to be like Hero. Docile and submissive, which were not her characteristics before. She has become a tamed shrew....

    Does the double happy ending work for me, in a way I am fine with it because Hero was saved from the slander and she still wanted Claudio even though he treated her bad in front of everyone. She's just a typical girl from that time.  However, I am somewhat  disappointed that Beatrice lost her spark. If I could have done anything differently I would have made Benedick and Beatrice married, but Beatrice still having her loud and outspoken voice. That's the only difference I would make, I would have made her stay as the dominant one in that relationship.

    Blog 12: Beatrice & Benedick

    This blog entry is in regards to the play that we have been discussing in class, Much Ado About Nothing.
    In the play Beatrice asks Benedick to kill Claudio after Claudio has slandered Hero's name publicly and refused to marry her.

    The meeting that takes place between Beatrice and Benedick is a test of their love because Beatrice tells Benedick that he can prove his love for her by accomplishing this task. She wishes that Claudio would pay for what he has done to Hero. It is a form of justice for Beatrice.

    However, since Claudio is his friend, Benedick says no at first. In a sense, Beatrice risks loosing Benedick if he does not accept the challenge. Because since it is a test of their love he can walk out on their relationship. Also he could be killed in the challenge if Claudio wins, so it's a 50/50 chance that she could end up happy that Claudio is dead or sad that Claudio is triumphant and her man is dead.

    When I read the act in the play when Beatrice says it is a man's job but not Benedick's, I think that the reason why it wouldn't be his job is because of the close ties they have as friends. Beatrice herself knows that it is alot to ask that Benedick kill his own friend for the honor of her cousin. I also believe that it may just be another sign that she believes the men are not acting honorably, including Benedick since he too is a man and he has said no to doing such a deed.

    Now as far as Benedick's risks and gains, I feel that Benedick risks loosing his friend since Claudio and him have been close for some time. He may also risk loosing such high regard with Don Pedro and their court because Don Pedro is on Claudio's side. They were both together and saw the same thing when Borrachio was saying Hero's name. Therefore Don Pedro also feels Hero has been unladylike and Benedick can gain another enemy if he does kill Claudio. Benedick if he does succeed with the challenge gains Beatrice's love and respect again since this would prove that he loves her, he would have her at his feet. Anything that he could possibly ask of her she would have to do because she would be in his debt.

    In my opinion I don't think that Benedick should kill Claudio. The reason why I don't think it should be done is because Beatrice also knows the plan between Leonato and the Friar. The death and rebirth of new life and recognition of the innocence of the death would backfire since the plan is so Hero still gets her man. I think that not only would Benedick pay for it, Beatrice would also because even though Claudio slandered Hero's name she still wants to be married to him. Leonato as well wants the marriage to take place and if Claudio is killed the plan would be ruined.

    If Benedict did kill Claudio, I have a feeling that he would no longer be himself and that his feelings for Beatrice would turn into some form of resentment towards her. He would have done it to prove his love for her but then at the end be unsatisfied with her love because he had to do a difficult task of killing his friend. I think the relationship would suffer completely, only driving them farther apart. When it comes to friendships between males, women shouldn't get involved because in the end they will be blamed for making the men choose either their friends or them. The women may win but the men will never get over it. Thus creating a deeper void in their relationships.

    Tuesday, May 29, 2012

    Blog 11: Hero & Claudio

    This Blog is about Much Ado about Nothing, in class we have been reading this play by Shakespeare and  this entry focuses on the courtship during the playwright's time.

    Based on the acts and the movie we saw, the way in which marriage came about was like a business transaction. Hero in this case is nothing more than merchandise with a warranty. Don Pedro and Claudio talk about Leonato's heir, in this case it was only Hero. Therefore, what ever was Leonato's becomes Claudio's once him and Hero are married. 

    The situation is very complex to understand, on one hand he asks about Leonato's heir. This makes it seem like he is interested in Leonato's inheritance. However, on the other hand he explains that when he first saw Hero before he went to war he was stricken by her beauty but the thought of war was far too consuming to think of matters of the heart. Then when he returns victorious he feels confidant and when he sees Hero once again he feels that he is "sick with love" for her, and he wishes to be married.

    The courtship back in the Shakespearean era was a few meetings with the family of the bride and a few exchanges of words between the couple. Then it is off to the ceremony and then the night of the wedding, which the bride must be a maid in order for her to have all the riches her father leaves her. Another reason why she must be a maid is because if she has lost her virtue she is nothing in that society but a whore or a temptress. The honor of women was based on her chastity.

    Do I think that Claudio truly loves Hero? Not really, I think it is lust and business more than love. I don't think you can truly love someone in that short amount of time. For matters of the heart, I believe that getting to know someone is very important. In the partnership between Claudio and Hero, there isn't enough time for them to truly love each other. I think that there may be physical attraction and lust, but not love. Love takes longer to develop and I think that in this era they didn't really care about the true feelings they felt for each other as long as there was stability and the woman was a virtuous maid without losing her honor. They cared more for the appearance and what the people thought than what the couple felt for one another.  It seems though that after the lie Don John plants in Claudio's head that he becomes jealous of Don Pedro. He believes that letting someone else do the work doesn't pay off because the attraction can make a loyal friend turn on them and just act for themselves. Claudio really seems hurt by the lie because he may have feelings for Hero after all... I just don't think they are real love.

    Sunday, May 13, 2012

    Blog 10: Self evaluation and Reflection

    In this Blog entry I chose #8: The Fight, I picked teh definition of Kindred.

    The reason why I am proud of this blog is because of my understanding between the connection of the definition of the word and of Dana's own Kindred in the book. I see the irony of the word as the title of the book itself, and then of Dana's discovery of her own ancestors. Another big reason why I liked this blog is because of the Topsy Turvey Doll. The doll is unique and i believe it has a double meaning in American Society. If you haven't read the blog I think it's pretty good.

    In regards to what I have learned based on the narrative it's sooo much to explain.
    First I knew about slavery but never to the extent of what I learned in this class. With all the masks and all the cruel forms of puishment that slave masters gave the slaves it's very upsetting. I learned of the importance of education back then and how important it is today. Everyone should have the right to learn to better themselves intellectually.

    I learned regarding the system of slavery as control. One of my blog entrys focuses just on that aspect. What it takes to make a slave and how a slave owner is made. It's mind boggeling to accept such inhumane treatment because your life has been terrorized and beat all the way down to the point that you feel helpess and afraid to take any type of stand.

    This blog entry should have so much detail but I can't put it all down in words. I am left with a great feeling of sadness for all the slaves in the past and the current slaves that exist in the shadows. Slavery is just cruel and shouldn't exist but it still does. Today's society accepts it because once again everyone turns a blind eye. Everyone it out for themselves and I think this is the biggest mistake we all make. We never stop to think of the things we buy and remember how they are made, and at the expense of who.

    I didn't get to do my house evaluations, but I will read all of my group's blogs because they are all very smart and insightful and I think that everyone's opinion counts.

    All I can say is this, Professor X you rock!! The book choice was excellent, I cried, I was angry, and I felt happy that Dana made it out alive, incomplete, but alive. The incompleteness I understand is due to a greater meanining and that's because no one who lives in this time and doesn't know slavery would be fine, but someone taken from now and placed into slavery would never be whole once they returned. There just is no way to ignore the past and that symbolizes why she isn't complete.

    Blog 9: Looking back in Kindred

    In this blog entry, I will be discussing the second question which is regarding the symbolism in "lost" and "home."

    The way that the question is asked, "lost" means trauma, and "home" is Dana's desire to be back in her world and her "real" time. The first question is what traumas are indicated by the loss of Dana's arm? When Dana looses her arm after she kills Rufus, she is left incomplete. During her times back and forth between time periods Dana has endured so much pain and suffering. Her life before as a wife to a white man will never be the same. Her knowledge of her ancestors brings darkness into her life. As a black woman in her present time she didn't know what it was really like to be black in a white man's world. She had her so called "rights." She was working and able to marry her white husband with the objection of his family and her own. But the fact was that she could do so. However, after she starts going back and forth between past and present, her future will no longer be the same. She has been marked by her past and the trauma she experienced as a black woman in the past. This will be with her forever, so much that the loss of her arm shows the pasts grip on her life and her present. She was able to survive the Antebellum- Maryland, but this survival comes with the experience and the traumatic events she endured.

    How  is a the loss an indication of Dana's personal traumas? Well, when she was in Maryland, she witnessed so much pain and suffering from her friends at the time. She understood Sarah's attitude and way of being after her children were sold for Margaret to gain fancy things. She witnessed the rape and beating of her Ancestor Alice, and all the pain and suffering Rufus caused her that made her commit suicide. She had to endure her own whippings when she tried to escape to find her husband that was lost there from her previous return to her Los Angeles home. She was never complete after she knew of all the damage the people had to withstand in order for them to survive living as slaves of that plantation.

    How is it an indication of a national trauma caused by the dark historical facts of slavery? The way that I see this symbolism of "lost" as a trauma in the historical  facts of slavery is the same way that Dana may have seen it. Before she experienced this time traveling, she didn't really pay much attention to the past that blacks had to endure. She was living in her own time with her own rights. Back then however, blacks didn't have any rights whatsoever. I think that by being aware she lost the naive sense of worth she had as a black woman of her present time. The time traveling served as a purpose so that she could know he family's history and gain an understanding of what it was like to have to live in that time period. She basically had no idea, only in her literature. Whatever she read could never compare to what she actually experienced once in that era. This loss i believe is of her pride to be an American. The history should never be forgotten and that's what happened. This served as a big wake up call and reality check. The mediocre rights people have come from the suffering of others and that should never be ignored or forgotten.

    Are you also mutilated by the counrty being founded on slavery? I think that people that have survived all the past and live in a time like ours, they have to feel some anger and pain. Anyone who had an ancestor that was a slave would know that it was not an easy life. The fantasys created were done to convince themselves that what they were doing wasn't wrong, but it was. That lifestyle is not right for anyone, and people that had slaves just wanted to pretend everything was fine. I believe that America is mutilated, that's why there is so much hate and crime. There isn't real unity with people, they have just accepted it and moved on, but the real feelings will just be underlying and never fully come out because people have gone with their time.

    How can these traumas be healed? I don't think that they ever can be, I think it's all a mask of hidden resentment. Everyone worries about themselves now and for their families and friends. We live in fast paced life where things need to be done and everyone is basically in their own world, not really caring for anyone else. I think these are the effects of all the past. Once everyone had their "rights" thats all they cared for. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I believe slavery still extist in different forms. I think that people just don't think about it because they want to turn a blind eye just like the past slave owners did. They don't want to think that what we all have is through the expense of others. Therefore, it is just a continuation of history in a milder form.

    What would it take for America to get home, or for us to be at home with the memory of slavery? People are at home with slavery, they just don't think about it. They hold their celebrations for the 4th of July. No one thinks about the past. They live in the now and in the present we don't talk about slavery. People know it was bad so they prefer not to mention it. People have moved on like i stated above, and they carry on about their lives not thinking about the lives of others.


    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Blog # 8: "The Storm," "The Rope," and "Epilogue"

    This week in class we have been finishing up the book, Kindred by Octavia Butler. Our assignment for this blog, is to answer a question. The question which seemed most interesting to me is this one: " Look up the word "kindred" in the Oxford English Dictionary (or at least in a good dictionary and a thesaurus). What does the word mean in relation to Dana? Who are her kindred in this novel? What does the word mean in terms of American society as a whole? Would you say the title is ironic? Literal? Metaphorical? And, how does the picture of the Topsy Turvy Doll in my Day 13 entry symbolize the meaning of this word?

    When I did my research on the definition of the word "kindred", I used the following source :
    • :
      1. a person's relatives collectively; kinfolk; kin.
      2. a group of persons related to another; family, tribe, or race.
      3. relationship by birth or descent, or sometimes by marriage; kinship.
      4. natural relationship; affinity. "
    The definitions were all similar, they pretty much said the same thing and the most common definition was blood relative, and ancestor. In relation to the novel's story and title, Dana's "kindred" was Rufus Weylin and Alice. The fact that she never knew about her family's history and the fact that she had white blood in her is metaphorical in a strange way. She was living in a time where there still was some unacceptance to her interracial relationship. She was able to work and make a living for herself without having to take degrading jobs, however Kevin's sister and Dana's family also did not approve of their relationship.

    I find it a little funny that Dana's aunt was forgiving because she wanted Dana's kids to have a lighter complexion. The reason why I think it's significant and ironic is due to the fact that her great, great, great, grandfather was in fact white. The book contains certain situations which makes you stop and think of how she must have felt being transported in the past and watching how her ancestors came to life. She was able to see Hagar the most important person which started her family line. This was her kindred, her interracial race and now she herself was in an interacial relationship with Kevin.

    In terms of American Society, the word "Kindred" means that we exist in a world that tried to live in a fantasy. Slaves were constantly raped and bore children of slave owners. Therefore the population was always mixed. America was founded by the slaves and together we are one. No matter how in denial the white people are, at some point in their own ancestrial tree they should have some relation to a slave. So the thought of being superior should not exist. Even though it does still exist today, back then it was harder to accept for themselves. That's why the idea of happy slaves made them feel better about slave as a whole. They tried to justify it, but it will never be right. In today's society, you still see the black nannies taking care of the white babies. History doesn't go away, it just comes in moderate forms. I see this in our society, especially since I work in the city.

    Iin relation to the Topsy Turvy Doll, the concept of the doll it's self is ironic because the doll foreshadows the new birth of American Society. As professor X said, it does look as if the black side is having the white side. This relates to the idea of Dana's Kindred because Alice is the one that has the baby of Rufus and then creates Dana's family line. The doll is suitable because many black slaves bore their slave owners children and this created the mixed blood lines. The doll's concept is a little weird because the purpose was to be able to play with the white side when no one was around. This allowed the slave children to have a white doll, but the fact that they wanted one because they weren't allowed to have one is sad. They went to such extremes to create a two in one doll which symbolizes once again the idea of the unity between slaves and master and the birth of the American society, which wouldn't exist without slaves.

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

    Blog # 7: "The Fight"

    In class we were told to choose a from a few statements and elaborate on it, I chose this question: How does Rufus’ “destructive single-minded love” (Butler 180) shape the lives of Alice and Dana? What are the choices Alice and Dana make to cope with Rufus’ love? Do you agree with their choices?

    When Rufus met Dana and Kevin, their relationship had a big impact on him. He saw that in the future White and Blacks could be married and this made him become obsessed with Alice, his childhood friend. She never felt the same way about him because she was a free black woman, who saw the treatment of slaves on the Weylin plantation. Rufus would never be the same as black person. They didn't have the same rights but Rufus' single-minded love caused him to do the worse damage he could have ever done, he forced himself on Alice and raped her. When she fled with her husband Issac she was captured and enslaved. Rufus bought her to save her from other slave owners, but his intentions were also based on his obsession with her. Now she would belong to him and he could have her whenever he wanted. 

    Dana cares for Rufus, she has saved him from death and danger since he was little. She has a connection to him because of her ancestral history. He is one of her relatives and she saves him in order to preserve her family's history and her own life. Because Rufus is aware of his power over Dana, he manipulates and black mails Dana into accepting to heal Alice and send her to him. She is torn by her situation because if she doesn't do as he pleases, he can hurt Alice even more by getting her whipped and then still rape her. Her decision to cooperate with Rufus and somewhat coax Alice to sleep with him is done not because she wants to help Rufus, instead she does it in order to save Alice from further humiliation and pain. 

    At first Alice is extremely angry with Dana, and she insults her because she is upset that Rufus has sent her to do his biding. She feels betrayed to some degree. Alice agrees to go and sleep with Rufus, her actions make her more subdued. She is angry but still does it because she knows that she doesn't have it in her to run away again. Dana understands the "destructive single-minded love" he has for her because of the last beating she has. She runs away because Alice finds her letters that she has written to Kevin, that should have been sent months ago. That was enough to make her see the liar that Rufus is, and the extra push she needed to run away and search for Kevin. She is captured and beat by Tom. When she confronts Rufus she realizes that Rufus has lied to her in efforts to keep her with him. He doesn't want her how he wants Alice, but he enjoys her company and the fact that she in fact does care for him and listens to him when he want someone to speak to.

    Alice's and Dana's lives are shaped by Rufus' "destructive single- minded" love because Alice is raped and raped over and over again by the man that "loves" her. She allows it and lets him have his way with her. Dana lets this happen because she knows that her relatives and ancestors depend on it. Dana also suffers because she trusts his word and is always helping him even though he is using her and lying to her in the process. She is connected to him and so is Alice because now they are both subjected to him without being able to run away. 

    In the situations that Dana and Alice are in, I understand why they chose to go along with what Rufus wanted. However, this affects Dana because this makes her feel betrayed by him and when she is beat by Tom, she suffers cause she trusted Rufus. Alice's life now is in Rufus' hands and he can do whatever he wants to her since she didn't fight him. This has the potential to cause problems in the future for her. Ultimately they don't want to be hurt or suffer more than they have to so they just go along with it. They aren't happy but either way they are living in a time when slavery existed so they pretty much don't have a choice either way. Their lives will be in constant danger and unfair treatment.

    Tuesday, April 24, 2012

    Blog # 6 :The Fall

    In class we have been discussing and researching slavery during the 18th century. Along with our research we have also been discussing the book Kindred by Octavia Butler. We were given the option to choose out of three quotes that we want to discuss. I choose option # 2 :

    “I never realized how easily people could be trained to accept slavery,” says Dana to Kevin (Butler 101). Discuss some of the situations or methods that make people accept oppression in the antebellum South. Do some of these situations and methods to oppress people still exist today? Explain with examples.

    In the book, Kindred Dana is transported through time and arrives in the antebellum South. During her time there with Kevin, Dana overhears children playing. When they get closer to make out what they children are saying, Dana notices how the little slave children are playing the slave owners and they are selling a little girl for $200. Dana is stricken by this because she can see how just by imitating their owners they are mentally preparing themselves for their own roles in the future to come. This is the training that Dana is talking about since the little kids think it is a game but it is a reality they will have to face later on in their life.

    Another form of oppression in the book, is how the slave owners make the whippings very public. The reason why they do it in public is to show the other slaves that it could be them, if they refuse to do what they are told, and if they try to escape. This is a form of mental and physical oppression because the fear the slaves have of being beaten or whipped will make them stay and do as they are told without questioning or defying their slave masters. Other forms of oppression exist in the book, the fact that all of Sarah's children were sold  except for one who is mute is another way slave owners oppressed slaves. The method was to make the slave feel the pain of loosing her children, and then use the only one left to manipulate the mother to do whatever the slave owner wanted her to do. Slave owners didn't care if they broke up homes or relationships of the black slaves. They never treated them as humans with rights. Women were used to make babies and then sell them for more profit. They would rape their slaves and then sell the kids without any form of remorse or attachment to they children because they were never seen as equal.

    These forms of punishment, and the mistreatment created an environment where the slaves would acquiesce into slavery without fighting. The slaves were beaten down by the abuse and by the emotional loss of family ties and love that they gave up completely. Even if they wanted to fight back their fear of being killed or sold to other owners which could be worse stopped them in their tracks.

    Slavery in the 18th Century was awful and inhumane. People now in the 21st Century may not witness slavery in the public eye, but it does in fact still exist. People in different parts of the world still experience the mistreatment that the African slaves would endure. It's just not limited to only blacks. There are Asian, Hispanic, and many other kinds of people that are slaves today. People that work in toxic areas manufacturing products sold overseas, with less than minimum wage and work in hazerdous conditions because their economical status may drive them to do that line of work just to make a living and support their families. There is also the racial profiling which exist today with hispanic immigrants that must provide their legal papers in order to stay in the country, if not they are deported. It's another form of the black slave's written pass. Without it they could be sold to someone else and sent to another land.

    To sum it up, slavery along with racism does in fact still exist today. The methods of keeping people oppressed may have changed slightly, but unfortunatley we all should be aware that it is a system that still continues to have its roots in the world today.  So the next time you buy clothes, or regular household products think of the people who have been oppressed and mistreated in order to make the items accessible to you.

    Monday, April 16, 2012

    Blog #5 :Education...18th century

    What was it like to be a slave in the 18th Century? This blog is a short summary of what slaves had to face when it came to education.

    There were no free public schools that would allow slaves to learn to read or write in the south. The whites feared that if the slaves or colored people learned how to read or write, they could potentially ruin the slave system that was already established. In 1740, South Carolina passed a law that forbade anyone to teach or employ a slave to learn ,to write, and become a scribe. They would be charged with a fine of 100 pounds in current money.

    However, there were brave people that risked their lives to teach the less fortunate. There was a night school that was established which was taught by John Chavis, I don't know if he was ever caught. There was also an unfortunate Margaret Douglass who did get caught and she was convicted and imprisoned for teaching black kids.

    The first free school was established in New York City, in 1787. When it started, it was just a single room that had about forty children of slaves. Another six more schools emerged and in 1824 they were receiving public funding. The city of Boston was sued in 1849 for not accepting black children into their schools, "they lost but in 1855 the Massachusetts Legislature changed its policy and declared that "no person shall be excluded from a Public School on account of race, colour or prejudice."

    "Mary Battey, created a school for black people in Andersonville . She wrote in December, 1866: "Our school begun - in spite of threatenings from the whites, and the consequent fear of the blacks - with twenty-seven pupils, four only of whom could read, even the simplest words. At the end of six weeks, we have enrolled eighty-five names, with but fifteen unable to read. In seven years teaching at the North, I have not seen a parallel to their appetite for learning, and their active progress... Their spirit now may be estimated somewhat, when I tell you that three walk a distance of four miles, each morning, to return after the five hours session. Several come three miles, and quite a number from two and two-and-a-half miles."

    Although the places that still had slavery were trying to scare off people that wanted to teach,  the teachers still believed in the power of education and in the rights of the slaves.  That's why some were willing to risk their freedom as well to help the kids. When the schools were opened for the children of slaves; the students made a real effort in traveling to get an education. This shows their will and their desire to learn and that above all things is the most important. Education is the key to success. They all knew it, and that's why we are all here today as well. Education should not be restricted, everyone has the right to learn!

    These quotes are from:

    Saturday, March 31, 2012

    Blog # 4: Time to self Reflect

        This Blog is of my own personal reflection of all the blogs I have written, and what I have learned so far in class...

        The directions of this blog are to choose which blog I am most proud of. However, I am not sure which one I think is best. I am stuck between blog 2 and 3. The reasons why I do not know which one to choose is because of all of the emotion I felt when writing the two. Blog 2 was a personal account of a lost one that was reflected through the poem I chose. And Blog 3 was an emotional account of my interpretation of a poem I felt connected too. I think that because of my emotional involvement this task is somewhat hard to do. So since Blog 2 received more positive feedback from my classmates I'll go with Blog 2. In the Blog we had to pick a poem and give our reaction to it's message and then choose an image which we felt made sense with the poem. Then we had to write as if we were emailing the poem to someone and why. I am proud of it because of the connection it made with my other classmates, and how they were able to see death in a different light. With that said, I am satisfied that I was able help others through my interpretation.

    Throughout this class we have been working with poetry and our interpretations.
    •  I have learned that poetry is a very beautiful way of writing one's emotions and when read and internalized many people can apply the poems to their own lives or situations. 
    • I learned of the power of metaphors, similes, and imagery to transform the poet's writing to create beautiful, and vivid pictures and scenery that come to life.
    •  I learned that the symbols and allusions create more meaning in the poet's words which can create depth in their poems. 
    • I learned how to understand the tone and theme in the poem. 
    • I have also learned of the correct way to cite and work with quotations in order to give the correct acknowledgment and recognition to the writer's words.
         In our group work we helped another class understand a poetry assignment. Overall I think the group work was fun, we all were able to share our opinions on what the poem meant. Everyone for the most part was cooperative. However, during assigned group work you run the risk of encountering people that are unresponsive and just receive a grade. That has been my experience with group work. The way the assignment was, was different as compared to other group projects or work because in this class we were helping another class with their work.  I wasn't able to check back and see what the other class had written in response to our interpretations because I didn't know how to find the document. I would have liked to see if they did agree with us or not. In general I like working with groups because we all come together and share our thoughts and ideas to form one voice and we all tried to give it our best. To know that what we shared can be of use to another class is rewarding to know. I hope they got a good grade for their assignment and that our collective thoughts could be collaborated through their own writing. In the future I would like to work with my group again, I just hope that if it does happen we only get credit if we participate, instead of having people just receive a grade without putting in any effort. Sorry, I don't want to sound like a mean person. I just like to be fair and as I said before, working in groups is risky because some people do not care while others do, and yet they still receive credit. That is my only negative feedback on group assignments.
        I didn't do the house evaluations, but I did read their blogs. I have to say that they were all very informative. What I like the best is that poetry can be interpreted in so many different ways and by reading their responses it helps to see how we are all so different and similar at the same time. I liked reading their reactions and interpretations it was a learning experience.

    Monday, March 19, 2012


    This week in class we are learning how to analyze Poetry. This blog entry is regarding the poem I choose which is, "Variation on the Word Sleep" by Margaret Atwood published in 1981. This is my interpretation:

         This poem is written in open form and it is made up of four stanzas. Throughout the poem the speaker refers to herself/himself as "I" and their beloved as "You". This makes it a bit confusing to describe so please bare with me...

          The first stanza starts off with the speaker stating the desire they have to watch their loved one sleeping. The speaker wants to be engulfed by their beloved's unconscious and travel through the journey of the dream. He/She then describes the beautiful settings as they enter and go forward. The second stanza is the description of a colorful scene which is in a forest/woods. The way the description is given of the sun, it seems as if they are in a bubble of water looking up and that's why the sun appears to be in a "watery" or wavy shape. They continue towards a cave where he/she will follow their beloved as they go down deeper and face the beloved's fear. The third stanza describes the speaker's desire to be the force of protection or shield that will save their beloved of all the grief they must come face to face with in the center.  He/she would like to follow their loved one as the they go up the stairway that will lead them up and where he/she will become the boat that will take them back to safety. Then he/she describes an image of a fire being cupped in his/her own hands that will illuminate the way back to where their bodies lay asleep. The stanza ends with them entering back into their own bodies as air fills your lungs. The fourth and final stanza shows how the speaker wants to be the oxygen that flows deep in their beloved's lungs briefly and then is released. The poem ends with the line that shows how much the speaker cares for and loves their beloved because he/she wants to be a part of them forever without being in the way. There is a sense of sadness in the end because they want to be needed as oxygen but in a way they want to be invisible.

         This poem is beautiful and it is about a love that is so strong and pure for the other person. The speaker is the person who is in love and the audience is the person with whom the speaker is in love with. This poem can also be interpreted as a secret love, where the audience is not aware of the speaker's feelings towards them.

         The tone in this poem feels like longing. The speaker throughout the whole poem has this desire and love that they wish to fulfill, although it is unrealistic. This also makes the reader feel compassion towards the speaker's yearning and desire.

         Margaret Atwood skillfully uses imagery to depict the journey the speaker is traveling through. There are many examples, here are a few:
    • "to enter your sleep as its smooth dark wave slides over my head"
    • "lucent wavering forest of bluegreen leaves with its watery sun and three moons"
    • "a flame in two cupped hands to where your body lies beside me"
         There is also a nice example of personification when she says, "& become the boat that would row you back carefully."

    Here is a list of a few key words that stand out of the poem:
    • Sleep-- symbolizes the state of unconscious, portal to the dream realm, and also peacefulness. 
    • Wave--symbolizes transportation into the unconscious, it can also mean time and how its setting is somewhere between sleep and awake.
    • Cave--represents darkness, unknown territory, can even symbolize hell in the dream. Something to fear because of the unfamiliarity.
    • Boat--indicates a means of travel, and the cradling in the ocean can represent the soothing feeling that the speaker is giving to the the audience while he/she brings them back to safety.
    • Flame---represents light and the ability of the speaker to bring back his/her beloved back to their bodies. It can also represent life and consciousness out of the darkness that the unconscious brings.
    • Breathing--represents air and oxygen which are essential for our lives to continue. Breathing also symbolizes life and transparency which is how the speaker wants to be seen, as a necessity without being presently noticed.
         Of all the other poems that we have discussed in class, the one that I can compare or contrast with this poem is the one of Rupert Brooke, "Sonnet Reversed." The reason why I choose this one is because Brooke's poem is this one is also about love and marriage. In this poem the love affair was short and brief. However, in Atwood's poem her's is about lasting love because of the fact that air is necessary for life to continue. In Atwood's poem the speaker wants to be a life long partner and nurture and protect their loved one, as opposed to Brooke's poem that shows how easily love fades and all that is left are the daily mundane lives they lead and children grown to continue their legacy. Atwood's shows pure love and strength the real obligations of a marriage, till death.

    The theme of Atwood's Variation of Sleep is the unconditional love that we are supposed to feel when we are in a relationship. There will always be obstacles but if you have someone that will be there to protect, love, care for you and nurture you no matter what stands in your way, love will be the breath of life that will carry you through all the trials and tribulations.

    The ocean by the night

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Blog # 2: HOLY SONNET X


    In class we are learning to analyze poems. This week's assignment was to choose a poem that stood out to us and I chose John Donne's Holy Sonnet X:


    Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

    Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so ;
    For those, whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
    Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
    From rest and sleep, which but thy picture[s] be,
    Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow,
    And soonest our best men with thee do go,
    Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
    Thou'rt slave to Fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
    And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
    And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well,
    And better than thy stroke ;  why swell'st thou then ?
    One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
    And Death shall be no more ;  Death, thou shalt die.

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    on October 20, 1999. Last updated on September 8, 2003.
            This poem stands out to me the most because I have been a person that has feared death and has mourned for the loss of my best friend Victoria May Chin  (1985-2007). I  have never come across a poem with so much depth. I too at many points of my life have given death such a powerful force, and never looked at dying as a gateway towards eternal life. I do not wish to offend anyone with my religious view, but for me the thought of dying and then waking up in eternal life with the ones we love and have lost is a consolation to me. I've always believed in God and Heaven and I hope that when the time comes I too will be reunited with the people I care for. The message of this poem to me is that even though death may come to take away someone we care for, the thought of the power that death holds can be taken away in an instant as soon as it is compared to sleep. Sleep is just a moment of peace that everyone must have in order to live. So if death can be seen as sleep a peaceful feeling, the darkness behind it seems to fade away. The reason for this is because anyone that sleeps must awake, and therefore awaking in eternity is actually a reassuring feeling. Death too will die because those that have been taken will no longer fear death again. Death shall cease to exist so it doesn't matter in which way we go, as long as when we wake death will be no more. 

         The reason why I choose this image to go with my blog is because the setting is a cemetery. We all know that cemeteries are where the dead are buried.  Although it is a sad place to be, the way the sunlight is shining behind the tree shows life. If you look closely it's almost as if the rays provide a path towards the sky, and to me that reminded me how death is a portal to eternity; as the light can symbolize the Heavens above ready to receive the ones that have passed away. Another reason is because there is a big tree which provides oxygen for all of us that are still alive, and oxygen is vital for our lives to continue on.

         The person that I would send this poem to would be my bestfriend's family. The reason why I would send it to them is because I would like them to see that life although it continues without her, eventually we will come face to face with death and I wouldn't want them to be afraid. Instead I want them to embrace the peaceful sleep that will reunite them with their daughter, sister, niece, and granddaughter. I hope that with this new found metaphor of eternal life it makes the process of coping with their loss easier. And that like for me it gives them some kind of closure because I know now that this is only temporary....

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Blog # 1: Thorns on a Rose

    Today is the 1st time I am creating a blog, this is our first assignment and hopefully I get the hang of this. If not please bare with me as I experiment with this site. I hope you all enjoy my take on the use of symbols and allusions of thorns on a rose.

    This is the quote I choose to use:

     A familiar proverb, repeated in many poems, is "Roses have thorns" (Shakespeare, Sonnets 35) or "ne'er the rose without the thorn" (Herrick, "The Rose"). If you go about plucking roses, gentlemen, you may get pricked. In his famous "Heidenröslein," Goethe presents a dialogue between a boy and a rose: "The boy said,'I shall pick you, / Little rose on the heath.' / The little rose said,'I shall prick you / So you'll always think of me.'"

    The truth is that every rose grows with thorns, only after the rose is plucked or cut are the thorns removed. They do this in order to make a nice bouquet of flowers, and also in order to protect people hurting themselves with the thorns. The quote shows that this is true in regards to every rose and the reason why this quote stood out to me is because the little boy that picks the rose may be drawn to its exterior beauty. However, he does not stop to think of the consequences of picking the rose and that's why the rose responds to him about her thorns leaving behind a memory.

    Once a rose is picked from a garden, it lives only for a few days if cared for correctly. Unfortunately the end result will always be the same and that is, that it eventually will wither and die. Yet a prick provides pain which can be associated with a memory. Once you feel the puncture of a thorn on your finger, you will remember the drop of blood and also the pain that lasts; which helps to make you remember not to make the same mistake in the future. It serves as a lesson that will be learned and never forgotten unlike the rose which has already come and gone, only leaving behind a form of a memory.

    "Rose." Dictionary of Literary Symbols. Ed. Michael Ferber. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge, 1999. 172-177. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 7 Mar. 2012.