Saturday, May 4, 2013
Honestly, I didn't jump into this last blog knowing what I wanted to write. I figured I'd let one thing lead to another and I'd arrive at some destination that had nothing to do with the start (or at least is far from it). When I think about it though, making associations and choosing which viewpoints to take constitute a large part of how one is supposed to think in STM HUMANITIES. Everything is subjective, but normally hints towards which way we should think, which roads we follow, so that we reach a destination adequate for whatever message we then process from the journey. That's not to say that a journey doesn't require deviation to be appreciated, we could end up in the middle of nowhere, but still end up with a message, or lack thereof, proclaiming nothing at all. Regardless, I think that with each work we've read, each new journey we've taken, we've gained another potential road for some much larger journey we may or may not be aware of yet. Well, would you look at that, all that and this ended up being only a thank you to my peers and teachers for helping me open up those paths. Guess not knowing where you want to go is good sometimes also.
Plato, particularly his Allegory of a Cave. Plato's idea of true forms was indeed interesting, and some aspects of it seemed familiar to some ideas that I myself, not to sound self-glorifying or arrogant, have come across in my thoughts. Nevertheless, my exposure to his idea reignited some of my own and I began to wonder whether the world we live in is what is actually there. Do I actually exist, or am I unaware of some greater degree of existence due to my mortality. Long story short, I'm a real sucker for metaphysics, so reading Plato was definitely a treat.
Many of the books we read were very enjoyable and interesting, but my overall favorite was Voltaire's Candide. Candide was funny at some points, and very serious at others, creating a very balanced, interesting read. I enjoyed everything about it, especially the political and social commentary that Voltaire managed to put into the novel. I would prepare this for the AP Exam, but I feel like it doesn't have the universal themes that other novels we have read have. Overall I liked the class and especially the novel Candide.
Friday, May 3, 2013
I plan on preparing Medea, Cadide, Richard III, and Things Fall Apart. I think these works should work well because they are all at least partially concerned with one social issue or another. They are also spread out over quite a large period of time, which I think will enable me to easily write on a wide range of topics. If I have the time, I might go back and look over from some of my notes from last year in order to refresh myself on some of those works as well.
I plan on preparing Hamlet, A Clockwork Orange, and either The Tin Drum or The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I really enjoyed reading these four pieces and I feel that I understand them enough to write effective AP essays on them. Although I normally don't like Shakespeare, Hamlet was my favorite play we read this year. Having just written a massive paper on A Clockwork Orange, I feel that it would also be a good choice for my AP essay preparation due to its several themes involving the futility of imposed control on an individual and the tendency for society to force conformity among its citizens. I still have to choose between The Tin Drum and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. The Tin Drum is eccentric and overflowing with tons of good themes and metaphors to use, while The Unbearable Lightness of Being is more philosophical, using several abstract ideas and metaphors to define the characters' relationships and views on life and being.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Yeah, I spelled favorite with a 'u'. I really liked Beloved. Toni Morrison finally showed me a real glimpse of what I think it feels like to be discriminated against. While I endured the typical labeling of high school (Dutch? Norwegian? Swiss? who cares) I never have been discriminated against. Being a white male, I don't endure discrimination. I know that sounds bad in what is supposedly a multicultural society, but let's not forget that segregation was only stopped a few decades ago. Racism is still prevalent in the South. Cue Toni Morrison. Morrison really described the unreal effects of slavery on a person in very effective prose. The effects, while they can never be fully felt, are very real in Morrison's novel. I could feel Sethe's struggle to overcome the past, her unreal view of the world from an escaped slave's lens, her desire to let her children live for something better, and most effectively her belief that not all whites are bad. It is ironic, and makes me feel very compassionate about Sethe's integrity and non-discriminating eyes even through all she's been through. Her daughter Denver shows her non-discrimination because her daughter is named after a white girl. That must take an amazing amount of courage and integrity, and a very just mind. So hip hip for Beloved. One of these days I'll watch Oprah's movie.
I will be preparing Native Son, Oedipus Rex, and The Tin Drum for the AP Exam. They cover a wide variety of themes and their topics are different. I feel like they cover a wide variety of possible essay prompts and that they will provide me with a good chance to make a good grade on the AP Exam. I also want to say that I have enjoyed this class and I want to thank Ms. King and Mrs. Quinet for dealing with our immaturity and teaching us well.
For the AP Exam, I think I'm going to prepare my independent study book, Catch-22, Oedipus, and Beloved. I'm choosing Catch-22 because it's so fresh in my mind, plus I've just written a 10+ page essay on it, and not to mention I really liked it, so it's easier for me to recall. I chose Oedipus because it deals a lot with self-punishment and mistakes that affect ones life and physical state. I then chose Beloved because of how many different themes and messages I can take from it from Sethe killing her children, to the significance of the 124, and to Paul D and his past. There's so many different angles form which I could answer an essay with the book.
My favorite book of the year probably had to be Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. I really liked the messages the Achebe gave to his readers and especially the kind of action-adventure story the book was. I don't know, I just kind of like those action-adventure books. It keeps me interested and engaged. Anyway, I also really enjoy reading about the rural African tribes because it's almost like reading about things in the history books from years ago, but then there actually are some areas of Africa where tribes as primitive as the Igbo still live in their traditional way. I just think that's so cool and mind boggling.
I was going to prepare Crime and Punishment (deals with judgment, redemption, religion, poverty, etc and I've already written an essay on it) and Beloved (deals with racism, the female slave experience, symbolism. I enjoyed Beloved and I think it covers topics that are very different from Crime and Punishment) and the Eternal Lightness of Being (deals with people's relationship with their country, art, human relations. Once again, a book that covers different topics than the other two). I tried to select my books so that they would have different themes (example, not selecting bother Crime and Punishment and Oedipus since they both deal a lot with the concept of sin).
Posted by Linz A at 4:17 AM
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
I really enjoyed Candide because it was super funny, clever and satirical. It was very entertaining illuminating on the human condition, and provided an interesting commentary on "Enlightened" society. I like it when hypocritical people are called out for it and he certainly attacked several groups. He satirized religion and high officials in the government or judicial structures in a playful but striking way. Overall- i thought it was an easy read and easily understood novella.
I am going to prepare my independent study book, Invisible Man, Oedipus and Tin Drum for the AP exam. Invisible man is good for a question about self-discovery, symbolism, the power of language, and racism. Oepidus would be good since it deals with fate and free will. It also has a complex character with a complex flaw. And the tin Drum has powerful symbolism, existentialist threads, identity issues and questions personal responsibility.
The books that I want to prepare are The Sun Also Rises, Oedipus The King, and Beloved. I am choosing The Sun Also Rises because I just wrote an essay on it and have been familiar with it over the past few months. The ennui of life is presented in this novel and also the characters are influenced by their enviornment. I am choosing Beloved because it does in depth about the struggles people face and people making tough decisions (such as Sethe attempting to kill her children to save them or Paul D leaving 124.) Oedipus The King is my favorite work that we have read this year so I think I'll be able to re read this easily. Also the topic of revenge comes up in this story, or fate versus chance. The hero also comes up in AP exams and I feel like they go to greek mythology a lot so its good to have at least one Greek tragedy.
I couldn't decide on my favorite thing we've read this year, so it's a tie between Hamlet and The Tin Drum. I'm not normally a big Shakespeare fan, but I found Hamlet pretty easy to understand and I actually really enjoyed it. I also really enjoyed seeing Hamlet at Tulane and it helped me to visualize the characters and scenes we had read about. I also loved The Tin Drum. I'm very fond of books with anti-heroes and unreliable narrators and Oskar was both of those things x1000. As I was reading it over the summer, I was weirded out by certain things that happened in the novel, but I realized afterward that that's what I loved about the book -- Oskar was manipulative and self-delusional and selfish and I simultaneously hated him and loved him for it. It was just very strange and German and I loved it.
Alright, I'm not gonna lie. This video was a big part of why I liked Hamlet so much. A+ study tool.
Alright, I'm not gonna lie. This video was a big part of why I liked Hamlet so much. A+ study tool.