Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Tomorrow I find out if I got into LSU or not. "Oh my god you shouldn't be nervous" I'm not nervous I'm just excited to be moving on with my life. Well when I started thinking about college I thought about how I've spent almost all of my life at St. Martin's. And I've just been thinking about our education. Well knowing that I had to blog today I started thinking about Ancient Greece and their education system. So I found a website "Ancient Greece for Kids" and I read a bit about their education. Every citizen of Athens was educated. But as we know the citizens of Athens only consisted of men. The only education girls got was how to cook and clean. Well I also searched a little further into this and found another website, "History for Kids," (don't even ask why only children websites pop up on my phone) and what they said interested me. This site said, " There were two kinds of education in Greece. Formal: this was done in a school or was provided by a private tutor. (Alexander the Great’s private tutor was Aristotle!) Informal: this was usually done in the home, by an unpaid teacher, sometimes a slave.
For more info i added the two links to my kiddy websites below

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Greek and Roman Architecture in America

When you really think about it, so much of our architecture today comes from Ancient Greece and Rome. Everywhere you look there are Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns. Below I have included pictures of two houses very close to mine on my street. In only these two houses, the influence of Ionic and Corinthian columns in our culture today is very evident. A house a few to the right (not pictured below) has Doric columns. I'm sure houses in all of y'all's neighborhoods include these types of columns too. Another major contribution that Greek/Roman architecture has made to our society today is the prevalence of the arch, which is mainly from Rome. Arches, whether they are built for looks (as in making an entrance pretty) or for structural support of constructions like bridges, they play a major role in architecture today. Not only do we see lasting effects of concrete items of Greek architecture in America, but we also recognize Greek concepts of architecture. For example, the idea of a physical monument built for recognition or honor of a specific event or person started in Ancient Greece. Think of all the statues and friezes that were created in order to honor gods and kings. Today, this idea still stands. I think the best place for an example of this concept in America is Washington D.C., where an extensive number of monuments exist in order to honor past presidents, generals, wars, etc. Overall, I think without the influence of Greek and Roman architecture in America and around the entire world, many buildings and structures would not be the way they are today.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Parthenon

I went to Dr. Ramos after class on Friday and told him that we were studying the Parthenon, and he reminded me of the particular word used to describe what Athena's statue was made out of. We know it is constructed of gold and ivory, but more specifically, it is a "chryselephantine" sculpture. Chryselephantine is a Greek word that literally means "gold" (chrysos) and "ivory" (elephantinos). This expensive material displayed the wealth, achievements, and architectural skills of those who assembled these grand works of art.

Over spring break last year, I went to Nashville to visit colleges, and I was surprised to see a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. I was taken aback by how massive the structure was, especially Athena's statue. Included are some pictures from the trip. You can make out the structures and characteristics of the Doric order from pg. 33 of Arts & Ideas.

doric columns

west pediment: depicts Athena's triumph over Poseidon
east pediment: recounts the story of Athena's birth

Euripides-- The Odd One Out?

I find it pretty strange that Euripides wrote this play about a woman protagonist. Women had practically no rights back in these days, and most men went along with and did not question this. As the textbook points out, Euripides's contemporaries were not very fond of his work. I think it may quite possibly be because he takes a sort of feministic approach in his writings (at least in Madea). Euripides is not simply writing about a typical day in the life of a Greek woman. Rather, he addresses social matters from a woman's perspective. One quote that stands out to me in these first few pages is, "What they say of us is that we have a peaceful time living at home, while they do the fighting in war. How wrong they are! I would much rather stand three times in front of battle than bear one child" (621). Of course, the "they" refers to Greek men. Euripides is distancing himself from who he actually is (a man), and showing the audience a side of society they don't typically get to see. Norton sums up this idea nicely when he writes, "The myth is used [by Euripides] for new purposes, to shock the members of the audience, attack their deepest prejudices, and shake them out of their complacent pride in the superiority of Greek masculinity" (615). I don't assume that many writers typically write about matters they do not believe in. So, Euripides probably actually really did support women's rights. It's interesting to consider whether or not there were many more people, besides women, who also were supporters of equal rights in Ancient Greek times.

As a side note, he even sort of "disses" men and writes, "It is the thoughts of men that are deceitful, their pledges that are loose" (625). This is coming from the mouth of a woman in the play (as is my quote above), which may sometimes throw us off. But, when you remember who it is that is actually writing the play, the answer introduces a whole new perspective in our reading.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ionic Order

In class we had to read about the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian Orders. I would like to focus on the Ionic Order; the book mentioned that there is an egg and dart motif at the top of the column but went with out an explanation. So, the egg and dart motif is quite simple, the egg means life and the dart means death. Together life and death symbolize the order of the universe. The universe is vast and has always been a point of topic to human beings. Now a days the egg and dart motif is widely used in many building designs. While researching egg and dart motif I found endless webpages for home decor and design. The popularity of the egg and dart is probably because from a superficial point of view-- ascetically pleasing-- but looking deeper into the motif, a great way to explain human existence.  
Here are some closer looks at the molding:

So in class last week, I said that there is a archetypal occurance in Greek history/literature that emphasizes revealing a persons fate. In Oedipus, when he actually finds out that he is destined to kill his father and sleep with his mother, he takes actions that eventually lead him to his fate. Similarly in the story of Paris and the fall of Troy. The night before Paris was born, his mother had a dream that she would give birth to a torch that would lead to the fall of the Troy. His parents decided that the baby must be killed in order to protect Troy from this prophecy. They gave  baby Paris to a herdsman to kill and the herdsman couldn't do it...(sound familiar?). Anyway when I said this in clas, everyone dismissed me as just making stupid accusation but I actually think it's a pretty important similarity that we see throughout the origins, myths, and history of Greek literature and civilization.

Ideal Body

The Greeks where always striving for the perfect proportions in their art. Temples and other buildings were not proper unless they were proportional and symmetry. Not only the temple but also body proportions were held to a high standard, shown in sculpture. To depict the human form sets of “perfect” mathematical ratios and proportion were made. The earliest known use of these mathematics was in Egypt. The Egyptians influenced Greek sculptors in the Archaic period-- an example being the Kouros-- by making sculptures perfectly symmetrical, which also made the sculptures stiff looking. Over time, sculptors who wanted to depict the perfect human body did not base it on a real person but on a defined harmony among parts. The Classical and Hellenistic periods became increasingly interested in presenting the human body in more natural poses along with symmetry. As the years go on body ideals change and there are all these new mathematics, like the golden ratio, to figure out if one is "perfect." A video by BuzzFeed I found online shows the different idealized bodies over the centuries, specifying on women.

Helen Keller

At the Poydras Home (where I am doing my service hours) there are normally a few quotes of the day that we discuss with the elderly. One of them that I came across recently reminded me of Oedipus. It is a quote by Helen Keller that says, “I have often thought it would be a blessing if each human being were stricken blind and deaf for a few days at some time during his early adult life. Darkness would make him more appreciative of sight; silence would teach him the joys of sound.” It reminded me of the conversation Oedipus had with Tiresias, where Tiresias says to Oedipus that, “thou hast not spared to twit me with my blindness--thou hast eyes, yet see'st not in what misery thou art fallen.” People often take for granted the ability of sight, and by doing so often over look certain things. Like we discussed in class, Oedipus could have discovered his mistakes sooner, had he not been stubborn and merely heard what he wanted to hear and saw what he wanted to see. I thought it was an interesting quote, and I would have to agree that if someone was stricken blind and deaf for just a few days, they would not only be more thankful for their vision and sight when they returned, but they would probably utilize those abilities more as well. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Today in class something struck me, I realized that Zeus, the God of all gods is married to his sister, Hera. In Oedipus The King, Oedipus marries his mother and it was seen as a great shame in the play. Today, incest is a huge taboo and in Oedipus The King, but during the time that Oedipus The King was written the beliefs in place was to follow the Gods and the Gods were all incestuous. So why was Oedipus so dismayed? Also Apollo himself, the God who is so angry with Oedipus, is a product of incest; his father being Zeus and mother Leto and the two are cousins. The probable out come to why it was okay for the Gods to inbreed and not humans is for the simple reason that they are Gods and need to keep their godly power in a tight group (I would also like to note as a side that this, need to keep certain blood in one group, is seen in history from the Hapsburg family in Europe).  I went on line to see how much incest was in the Greek mythological Gods and was very surprised. Here is a map of genealogy.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Oepidus and American Sniper?

So far in class we have discussed the fact that Oepidus's potential downfall is his hunt for the truth/knowledge. I think another one of Oepidus's possible tragic flaws is courage. Oepidus shows outstanding courage throughout the play. He first has the courage to leave his home and go search out the oracle of Apollo, then to defeat the Sphinx, and to gauge his own eyes out. What I find most courageous of all about Oepidus is the fact that he confesses his wrongdoings directly to the town of Thebes and exiles himself. Rather than taking the "easy" way out and killing himself, Oepidus chooses to live a life filled with tremendous guilt. The first people I always think of when I think "courage" are soldiers. They risk their lives in order to defend a country, but their courage sometimes leads to their death, which we could assume to be their downfall. One movie in particular comes to mind when I try to connect all this. American Sniper is a movie about one American soldier (Chris Kyle) that chooses to go to Iraq to fight for his country because he is so disgusted about what he sees all these terrorists doing. He fearlessly and courageously volunteers his life in order to fight. In the case of this movie, his downfall is not death, but rather, it is extreme post traumatic stress resulting from the war. The most gut-wrenching part of the whole movie is the very end. He is done with all his tours to Iraq, has a family at home, and is slowly recovering. He takes a veteran out to a shooting range one day, and very ironically and horrifyingly, is shot by this veteran. He survived the war in Iraq only to be shot by a companion in his own country. I think this is very representative of Oepidus's situation. Oepidus, unknowingly fated for his life to unfold the exact way it does, many times does very risky things because of the fact that he strongly believes in his actions (like trying to find his real parents and trying to solve the murder of Laius). Like Kyle, Oepidus makes exceptional and commendable progress by doing all the "morally correct" things (granted that murder and incest were not looked down upon then as they are today and disregarding all questions of morality that war evokes). However, no matter how much courage Oepidus and the Kyle have, their courage proves, unfortunately, to be short lived in the end. Kyle's life quite literally ends and Oepidus's life as he knows it changes for the worse.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Gauge out your eyes, why don't ya?

First and foremost I am going to explain the meme I have chosen. Spoken by Professor Farnsworth from the show "Futurama," this image/gif today is "an expression often used to show disgust or disappointment with others." I thought about this statement after finishing Oedipus. 

Oedipus becomes so disgusted and horrified with his actions after learning the truth about his past that he blinds himself. He cannot bear the horrendous guilt of his actions and so he takes out his eyes. He does this instead of taking his own life because he feels he is not deserving of death since it is too easy, among many of the other reasons he lists in the reading. Oedipus now "sees" everything and one could image he "doesn't want to live on this planet anymore" after uncovering the truth (but we know why he does because I just explained that). He must live with the shame and disappointment he has brought upon himself and the rest of society. Though we are not directly told what the Thebans thought, one could imagine they had been thinking the same thing as Professor Farnsworth. Because how could they have lived with themselves once they found out their own king--the one who was supposed to be their leader, who they were told to listen to and look up to, who revered himself as a savior and god--was a murderer and incest-er.


I was very interested to see what the Sphinx looked like/was depicted as. When I googled it, she is described as "The sphinx, like many of the other fantastic hybrid creatures, stands as a pre-eminent threat to Greek society and human culture. As a liminal (threshhold) creature, neither one thing nor the other (as a centaur is neither horse nor man, an Amazon neither woman nor warrior, a Siren neither woman nor bird), it threatens our conception of what belongs and what doesn't, of what can be understood and what cannot, of what can be controlled and what cannot. The sphinx has an additional threatening feature in that it is its intellect that is so overwhelming. It is a typical motif of Greek myths that mythic heroes fight such creatures, which represent metaphoric threats against human culture and Greek society in particular. It is no coincidence that monumental sculpture describing victories over such creatures is found on the temples of archaic and classical Greece (e.g., Lapiths v Centaurs on the Parthenon, the Temple of Zeus at Olympia; the Greeks v the Amazons on the Parthenon and others; Theseus v Minotaur on the Hephaesteum...). All are the victory of man's culture over nature gone wild.
The sphinx, too, is such a liminal creature. She has the haunches of a lion, the wings of a great bird, and horribly, the face and breast of a woman. She is treacherous and merciless: those who cannot answer her riddle suffer a fate typical in such mythological stories: they are gobbled up whole and raw, eaten by this ravenous monster. What greater threat is there to a humanity desperate to leave its mark upon history than to be completely consumed and obliterated?" ( The Sphinx, like other mythical creatures, is a destructive creature. Oedipus is able to defeat the destruction of the mythical creature, but is unable to run away from his eventual fate. I think it is nice to see boh sides of Oedipus: weak from being unable to avoid destiny, but also brave and cunning enough to kill the beast that is the sphinx.

Back to the Future

When I got home today I turned on my TV and Back to the Future III was on. It was just ending and all of a sudden I hear Doc say, "...Your future hasn't been written yet. No one's has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one..." I immediately thought of Oedipus and even One Hundred Years of Solitude. I realized this post could go on forever so I tried to compact my ideas into  the "categories" below so it wasn't too hard to follow.

While Doc's statement might be true for normal human beings like us, it is certainly false for Oedipus (and the citizens of Macondo in One Hundred Years of Solitude)!! There is a strong sense of fatalism in both of these stories--the characters, from the beginning, are doomed. Neither Oedipus nor the Macondians had the free will to write their own lives, contradicting what Doc said. Melquiades predicted the future for Macondo in his manuscripts (everything he wrote came true) like the oracle at Delphi prophesied Oedipus's life. When Oedipus learns he is going to kill his father and sleep with his mother, he tries to avoid his fate just like Ursula tried to avoid the fate of the incest taboo. Let us not forget that Jocasta and Laius, too, tried to escape their fates and thwart their destinies. Neither character is able to escape their pre-determined lives and everything just comes full circle in the end and the prophecies are fulfilled. No matter what they try to do, it will, unfortunately, not matter. Oedipus's major downfall comes from him trying to gain more knowledge and learn the truth just as Jose Arcadio Buendia's destruction comes from his persistence to acquire more knowledge.

Oedipus complex:
In Back to the Future (the first one), Marty McFly travels to the past when his mother, Lorraine, was his age. Long story short, Marty's mom ends up becoming deeply infatuated with Marty, not knowing that he is her future son. (For those who have not seen the movie, this interaction interrupts the timeline and almost prevents Marty's birth because Lorraine fell in love with him instead of his father.) This reminded me of Jocasta and Oedipus. Oedipus, unlike Marty, did not initially know Jocasta was his mother when he married her. Jocasta, like Lorraine, had no idea Oedipus (in Lorraine's case, Marty) was her son at the time. There is a sense of dramatic irony in both cases. The viewer/reader is a little weirded out because he/she knows the actual relationship between both "couples." Had Marty not gotten mixed up with time travel so had he not tried to gain more knowledge, the idea of his existence not happening would not have been possible. And had Oedipus not been so determined to change his future, his story would not have ended the way it did.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Oedipus on Netflix

So today in class we talked about how in Oedipus, the chorus asked if a sacrifice to the gods would save Thebes from the plague. The plague had an overlying theme of fertility, and how it inhibited growth in Thebes. That reminded me of this show I used to watch on Netflix, supernatural. It’s about these two brothers who kill demons, and reapers, and mythical stuff. In this one episode, they saw reports that a newcouple would disappear from a road outside of a small town in New York (around the same time each year). They later find out that the town elders would sacrifice a couple every year to this weird demon/archangel thing. Once they made the sacrifice, the town's apple orchard would prosper and they would have a successful year at harvest. This parallels to how the chorus in Oedipus wanted to offer a sacrifice to end the plague on fertility. A proper sacrifice would

Supernatural is a pretty cool show. It’s not really related to English class other than this instance, but if your into ghost stories and stuff I’d check it out. 

Image result for supernatural scarecrow
Image result for supernatural scarecrow
Image result for supernatural scarecrow


So here I am being a good little student reading my 500 lines in Oedipus and I literally only got through 15 lines before I had to stop and blog. Tiresias is trying to tell Oedipus that he's the murderer but of course Oedipus won't listen, so the blind prophet is just like okay I'm going to riddle some bit more. Tiresias says "Revealed at last, brother and father both to the children he embraces"(520). Let's just stop there; if you really think about it, Oedipus is half-brothers with all of his own children. How gross is that? What I cant believe is that Jocasta doesn't realize he is her son! I get that she left him to die in the mountains and everything but there should be some maternal sense that kicks in, shouldn't there be? Anyway, Tiresias continues, "To his mother son and husband both -- he sowed the loins his father sowed" (521). That is just repulsive to me. Can you imagine not just marrying your dad's ex-wife, but it be your mom too? What was Sophocles thinking????? I think I'm so weirded out by all of this because I'm putting all of this in modern times. The reason is because my mom told me a story not so long ago about how her friend knows of this woman. So this woman's husband got with the son's girl friend (sorry if this is hard to follow)! So then, the girl friend left the son and the husband left the wife,  now they're married!!!! So I guess Sophocles wasn't really sick, maybe the myth of Oedipus wasn't really a myth at all just a really messed up twist on a already weird situation.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Chorus in Oepidus Rex

Already in Oepidus Rex I have noticed a few specific things about the chorus that I thought I'd mention real quick. First, as we've talked about, the chorus is representing a group of people. In this case, it is representative of the citizens of Thebes. The chorus usually provides insight and/or a summary about the action of the play. Lines 168 through about 244 do just this. The chorus gives a quick recap about what's happening in the city of Thebes due to the plague and also provides a form of insight, I think, by evoking the various gods and asking for help curing the plague. I also recall that one of the purposes of a chorus can be to mediate conflict. The "leader" in Oepidus, who I presume is sort of the head of the citizens, does exactly this in lines 460-63. He tries to keep the peace between Oepidus and Tiresias. These are just a few of the major things I noted about the role of the chorus as I was reading. I think it's really cool to see how the function of something like the chorus, which was conceptual to me until now, actually fits into an authentic Greek tragedy.

Why was adding more actors such a big deal after Thespis incorporated the first actor in drama?

Unless I'm misinterpreting something, it seems as if every actor added to the Greek drama stage was a major breakthrough, after Thespis distinguished the first actor from the Chorus. Why was it such a big deal? Why couldn't a playwright just incorporate, say, five actors on the stage at the same time? That would have allowed for a lot more variety and complex dialogues. Instead, they seem to have just waited until someone finally decided to add one more actor to a play, as if it was some kind of social taboo.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Oedipus Rekt

Since our recent discussions, I am going to assume everyone is familiar with the story about Oedipus. This post is a simple summary/analysis on the reading assigned in Norton.

In Oedipus's very first speech, he says "...I would be blind to misery not to pity my people kneeling at my feet" (574). This is an obvious example of foreshadowing because we know Oedipus, "blind to the corruption of his life," later takes out his eyes when he learns the truth about his family. The city of Thebes has been struck by a plague and Creon, brother of Jocasta, who Oedipus's wife and mother, comes with good news from the god Apollo. He informs the people of Thebes that the plague is result of the murder of the former king, king Laius--if the murderer is found, the sickness that corrupts the city will be lifted. In order to find who committed the crime, Oedipus calls for Tiresias, a blind prophet. At first delighted the prophet has arrived, once Tiresias does not tell Oedipus what he wants to hear, Oedipus reacts very negatively; thus, my first impression of him was someone who was quick to anger and maybe a little hostile. He even makes fun of Tiresias's blindness! :( Tiresias, although he cannot see, "sees" everything and he knows what Oedipus has done. He finally announces that Oedipus himself is the murderer, and because of Oedipus's short fuse and the way he reacted to the prophet's words (while he didn't say much), it is not outrageous to think he could have, in fact, been the murderer (and as we already know, he was).

"Tiresias: This day will bring your birth and your destruction.
Oedipus: Riddles--all you can say are riddles, murk and darkness.
Tiresias: Ah, but aren't you the best man alive at solving riddles?" (585).
Oedipus, who equates himself with the gods and thinks he is some god-send to lead the Thebans, is very rash. He steps on the prophet and doesn't bother listening to what he has to say because it is not what he had expected. Oedipus became king of Thebes because he was able to solve the riddle of the monster that terrorized the city, so when Tiresias came back at him with this, I literally lol'ed. This was such a good comeback by Tiresias- he puts Oedipus in his place.

The Emperor's New Groove

In order to cure Macondo from the insomnia plague Meliquides brings a potion to the town. This potion rids the people of their disillusionment and brings back their memory. Whenever I think of potion, I think of The Emperor's New Groove when Yzma turns Cuzco into a llama. In this movie the potion does the opposite of what it does in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Rather than helping to get rid of the confusion, it throws Cuzco into a period of bewilderment and abandonment. No one believes that a llama is actually the emperor. The reason Yzma even gives Cuzco this potion in the first place is to get rid of him in order to take his place as emperor. She, like the "invaders" in One Hundred Years, tries to manipulate a population of people for her own benefit. In the end of the movie Cuzco eventually finds his way back to his kingdom, and the clip below shows what happens when he returns (it's one of my favorite scenes). I think his struggle to change himself back into a human (he eventually does in case you didn't know) is really kind of representative of the struggle the Latin Americans face. They try and try to succeed, but they usually get no where and at times even make it worse for themselves.

Pot-ostratie! (pottery and ostracism)

When learning about ostracism in ancient Athens, I was dumb stuck to how a group of people could banish someone for ten years. I went ahead and did some research on line. First the the person who would be ostracized was seen to be threatening the state in some way. Ostracism was not only practiced in Athens, but also in Argos, Megara, and Miletus. Once the ten years of ostracism was paid the ostracized could return to their property and status. The first recorded uses of ostracism was on a man named Hipparchus, under the thought that he was following a tyrannical rule. The procedure used to ostracize someone was a voting process. the votes were cast on shards of pottery. The name that appeared the most on the pottery was then ostracized. I was also interested if there were any historical artifacts of these shards of pottery and they are. Here are some pictures.


I thought it was interesting how even though we had been learning so much about Athens, we didnt really talk that much about their favorite god, whom they were named after, Athena. When speaking of Athens, I always think of Athena. Not just because their names sound alike, but also because of what she is known for. It seems that Athens really took the whole Athena thing to heart, and modeled themselves after her image. Athena is the goddess of wisdom, courage inspiration, and war. This lines up completely with what we know of Athens. They were very artisitic and intellectual, and that had a fantastic Navy, which is interesting because the story of Athena states that she won the write to name the city after her because she won a battle with Poseidon, god of the sea. And the Athenian people became like bullies over the sea, and stuff... It all lines up incredibly nicely. I feel that Athens was so cocky with Sparta cause they thought they were invincible with Athena on their side. I thought this was interesting and thought I would share. Also, it could help you remember the main ideas about Athens.

If your interested, many of the other cities we talked about also got their names from Athena:
"Athena is associated with Athens, a plural name, because it was the place where she presided over her sisterhood, the Athenai, in earliest times. Mycenae was the city where the Goddess was called Mykene, and Mycenae is named in the plural for the sisterhood of females who tended her there. At Thebes she was called Thebe, and the city again a plural, Thebae (or Thebes, where the ‘s’ is the plural formation). Similarly, at Athens she was called Athena, and the city Athenae (or Athens, again a plural).[5]" - 

How to: Go down in history

During our studies of history, and reading blog posts, specifically abbeys about unreliable history, ive realized that the best way to go down in history is to be an author. Almost all of what we know about the past is from the study of old writing . Such as how everything that we know about Socrates is based on the writings from Plato, and how we know next to nothing about the dark ages because no one wrote down anything. Whatever the accepted writing for the time is, is what delegates what this time will be referred to as by historians of the future. In theory, we could write something different from the truth and it would be accepted as the way of the world during our time. If for some crazy reason, the only thing the future people had of this time was the twilight series, they would think we were pretty messed up. (which we kinda are) So I believe that the best way to truly make your mark on the world is to become an influential author whose work will go down in history. Because anything else would only be those achievements how one person chose to write them, if they even chose to write about it at all. So in response to Kundera- its only meaningful if someone writes it down, and it passes on.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Who Does This Guy Think He Is?

Thespis, as the class learned, was a man who lived during the 6th century B.C. The classes learned that Thespis was a member of the Chorus in ancient Greek drama, but Thespis did something magical, he stepped away from the chorus and took on the role of an actor. Upon first hearing this story, I was thinking one this sounds made up and two if the story is factual then Thespis must have been really full of himself to walk out of some play writes choir and add his own twist. I went surfing the web to find out if Thespis was a real man. I found that he was and was the 1st documented winner of the Great Dionysia festival in 534 B.C. He was a play write himself and was apart of his own chorus and had planned to break away form the chorus. Thespis was a real rule breaker, but for the better, because without Thespis western theater could be completely different.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Family Dedication

When I was on Instagram last night, I came across this picture of a man who lived in the middle of a mountain range. His wife had recently died because of their isolated location from society and far proximity from a hospital. The man, as shown below, cut through the mountain range with hard work and lots of time so that no one else would die in his village because of their location. This reminds me of Jose Arcadio Buendia doing whatever it takes to provide for his family in Macondo. JAB settled in Macondo because it was best for his family, and I know that he would have done the same thing that this man did to better provide for his family. The isolated location of this man's village also reminds me of Macondo itself. It is also important to note that this man is probably very dedicated to medical research, like JAB was dedicated to new inventions, because his wife had died due to the lack of medical help available to her. This man was truly dedicated to his people's wellbeing, just as the Buendias were in Macondo.


Yesterday in class Ms. King brought up the new show on Netflix called Narcos. I watched this show within two days, it was so good. The show is about the Medellin drug cartel and its infamous leader Pablo Escobar. The show focuses on America's DEA's involvement with the drug cartel and explains how they went about defeating each drug lord. I personally got into this show because I had no real knowledge about the drug cartel or any of the people in it. While reading reviews of the show it came across that the people who actually hunted down Pablo Escobar helped make the show. When Ms. King brought up the show, Mrs. Quinet mentioned that Gabriel Garcia Marquez worked as a journalist during the time of the drug cartel. I looked this up because I was very intrigued. It turns out that Marquez actually wrote a story about it called "News of a Kidnapping." If you're interested in the show you should watch it, and here is the link describing what his book is about.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Is this real?

I've always wondered how if what we know today is actually what happened in the past. This sounds weird and kind of doesn't make a lot of sense so I'm going to try my best and explain myself. To provide an example related to what we are currently learning, most of what we think we know about Socrates and his works is because of what Plato, his student and scribe, recorded in his dialogues. However, we are getting only Plato's perspective. While many of his dialogues are considered accurate, how do we know for certain that Plato did not disclose some information or alter it, mixing in his own ideas with Socrates's? We rely on accounts that have been passed down over time, but it is impossible to understand truly what happened during that specific moment in history. I suppose this idea can be related to exploration (ex: Banana Massacre)--it is the conqueror's history and stories that prevail and survive in the history of exploration. Once again, we are not getting a full perspective. While most of what we know today about the history of the world is definitive, there are some parts in the timeline that are blurred. It is like playing the game "telephone." One person starts with a phrase (or in this case, an event in history), but as it gets passed to the next person (or, generation), the phrase (or, event) is often altered due to a mistake made by an individual/group of people. This mistake could be caused from forgetting or mishearing the phrase (event) and telling the next person what they think they heard, or purposely substituting the phrase with something else to add some zest. Thus, how do we know that someone didn't get bored and decide to rewrite history? Although it can be argued that this is highly unlikely, the basic answer is, we don't know. My main point is that as time goes on, history is bound to get lost or mis-logged. Another example that really messes with me involves what we know about language--Latin, in particular. After taking Latin for five years, I can say that the Latin language is very complex. There are five noun declensions, and four verb conjugations, which may be affected by one of three persons, one of two numbers, one of three genders, one of six tenses, one of three moods, and one of two voices. It is extremely confusing to distinguish, among several things, the difference between a gerund and a gerundive since both words have an indicative "nd," or 4th declension accusative with second declension accusative plural since they both have the same "um" endings. How do we know therefore, that somewhere along the way translators did not misinterpret what the Romans meant? One simple mistake could change the entire meaning of the language itself. Historians could be mistranslating some of the greatest historical documents that exist today and we would not know. We trust what was passed down to us without considering that something could have happened along the way.

Old Time Architecture

I always think about how people living in times like Ancient Greece can build such amazing objects. I am researching the Epidaurus theater for our project and it is baffling me. The people of the time carved 55 rows of seats out of a mountain! It drives me crazy not knowing how they did this amazing architecture. What really amazes me though is how the Egyptians built the great pyramids. No one knows how they carried those huge stones up so high, or how they have stayed in place for so many years. It just amazes me that the Egyptians and the Greeks built such amazing structures without our current day technology or advancements.

Monday, September 14, 2015

60 Years of Solitude

The other day, I came across an article about an 80 year-old Iranian man, Amou Haji, who hasn't bathed in 60 years. He claims, "cleanliness brings him sickness" and "the thought of a bath makes him angry." Haji lives in extreme isolation, sleeps in a hole, lives off of rotten porcupine meat, drinks water from a rusty can, and smokes animal feces or 5 cigarettes at a time when he is bored. He apparently adopted this lifestyle due to "emotional traumas" from his youth. He reminded me of Jose Arcadio Buendia, who also lived in complete solitude. Both men voluntarily removed themselves from society because they wanted to do their own thing. (I know JAB did not go to the chestnut tree on his own, but by obsessing over the inventions and being so hungry for knowledge, he emotionally disconnected from Macondo.)

Saturday, September 12, 2015

What's Wrong With Your Face?

When learning about Ancient Greek drama in class I wanted to learn more about the mask that the actors wore on stage. The mask were used to exhib the emotions that actors were trying to protray. The facial expression were often exaggerated so that there would be no confusion for the audience. The actor could also reappear with a different mask, thus making him another character. Mask were also used to distinguish characteristics of the character, such as sex, social status, or age, even a change in appearance. An example of a change of appearance would be In the play Oedipus, the actor must have changed mask so that the audience would understand that he blinded himself and could no longer see. 

I also wondered what the mask would look like; here are some pictures.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Tangled Chains

Once again, something from class has reminded me of Disney. While I was thinking of all the different light associated sayings:

"im in the dark"
"shed some light on the situation"

I thought of the song from Tangled that goes "at last I see the light" and "all at once, everything looks different"this is a pretty accurate description of how the prisoner feels once he gets out of the cave. While afterward, Rapunzel gets to be a princess and marry her true love, while the poor prisoner has to go right back into his prison to try and help others out. Not really a fair deal. Rapunzel achieves eternal happiness and enlightenment (wow maybe rapunzel is actually dead and has joined The Good) while the prisoner is doomed to be a philosopher.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Sometimes I think that my mother is a nut bag. My mom has all these wild superstitions that were passed down to her by my grandmother. In One Hundred Years of Solitude there are many passages where the supernatural comes into play. In the video that the class watched, Márquez states that his grandmother's stories (from his childhood) of the supernatural was what created this dimension to his book. A couple instants in the novel that come to mind is the ghost of Prudencio who haunts José Arcadio Buendía and of course the famous pigs tail. The ghost of Prodencio hits home for me because my grandmother and mother had convinced me there was ghost haunting my bedroom till the second grade. This "ghost" appeared whenever I had not cleaned my room, which was often. The pigs tail reminds me of when I was told not to lie and if I did my nose would grow like Pinocchio (I do feel this warning was common with most parents). The technique of mixing reality and imaginary in literature, as the class, learned is magical realism. The use of this technique makes the fantasy aspect of the novel more life like and relatable. The way in which Márquez uses magical realism and the old fables of his grandmother made One Hundred Years of Solitude, for me, a relatable story, that is the superstition layer of the story. 

Who is To Blame For the Banana Massacre?

I think it is so crazy how the government actually played the banana massacre off as a rumor. It's really hard to believe that over 2,000 lives can be taken without people even properly acknowledging it. Obviously the government is to blame for the massacre--they senselessly murdered people. However, as we were talking about today in class, there is the question of whether or not Latin Americans are slightly to blame? Personally, I don't think they could have prevented the massacre. The massacre was more of an impulse decision made by the government rather than a thought out solution. But, I do think that Latin Americans could have prevented many events leading up to this incident. For example, the political division within the region (Conservatives and Liberals) sent a lot of mixed signals within Latin America and also to foreign nations. The United Fruit Company was really able to utilize land in Latin America because of the 26 year rule that the Conservatives held when they came in, as we said today. However, when the Liberals unexpectedly regained control, strikes occurred without warning. As a result, the Latin Americans really threw the United Fruit Company for a loop when they changed their attitudes so quickly. The Latin Americans really never made up their minds as to what they wanted, which left a lot of the decision making to foreign powers.


I couldn't help but think "Aureliano Babilonia" sounded a lot like "Babylon." Of course, this is another Bible reference to add to the growing list of allusions in 100 Years. Babylon was a very corrupt and sinful city in the Bible. Similarly, over time, Macondo became corrupted from all the inventions, advances, and outside influences. AB's main role in the book is to translate the manuscripts, which brings about and leads to Macondo's destruction. I had to do some additional research on Babylon, but the internet said, "God called for Babylon's ultimate destruction." Jeremiah 51:58 says, "The broad wall of Babylon shall be leveled to the ground, and her high gates shall be burned with fire." It might have been a coincidence (but considering the significant amount of allusions, it probably was on purpose) that AB's last name is "Babilonia" for a reason--to add yet another level of depth to the novel. Macondo (Babylon) had to be destroyed because of fate, and Bablionia indirectly and directly carried out those orders. (I say indirectly because he was not the tornado that swallowed Macondo and he also did not know that reading Melquiades's parchments would cause its end; I say directly because he was the one who translated the papers, initiating the destruction.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


The comment Jack made about the people of Macondo being subjugated got me thinking about how true this statement could be. From what Marquez provides us with, we know that people welcome Melquiades and his inventions with open arms. However, it is true that in a real situation like this that took place during times of exploration, whenever explorers invaded, there were some people who were excited for change while others opposed it. Melquiades and the gypsies bring these gadgets to Macondo, changing the community politically, scientifically, and technologically. Some people in Macondo might not have wanted all of these inventions or changes, but they had to go along with it because that was what was popularly accepted. While they were not exactly forced to accept the inventions, not embracing them would cause them to be stuck in the past since Macondo progresses along linearly with technology. This is similar to when the Spanish colonizers, for example, came into Colombia and forced new ideas and ways of living on the people. Therefore, Melquiades could be seen as a Spanish explorer, although he was not oppressive, and we already know that the people of Macondo represent the people of Colombia.

The end is near

My favorite part of the entire novel is the final pages, which we discussed in class today, when Aureliano Babylonia is reading his fate as it happens. It made me curious what it would feel like to know your fate as it was happening, and to be able to read your unknown past. It happened not only Aureliano, but also to Amaranta while making her funeral shroud. She knew that as soon as she finished completing her task, that her end was decided. The characters are unable to prolong their lives, and panic, yet accept their tumult. This is the ultimate climax! What do you do once you know you're on your way out? That brings up the current day question such as "would you rather know when you were going to die, or not have any idea and just die one day?" The thought of Armageddon is frightening, however, I would rather have no idea when the end of the world is coming. If you knew your demise, you would act totally different than if you didn't know your impending death. 

Thought provoking, but quite nerve racking. 

don't sweat the small stuff

It is interesting to think about the Buendias have problems with remembering things. They cannot seem to overcome the memory loss during the insomnia plague . The Buendias remind me of a family who is so over-prepared for every situation that they seem to overlook the small, yet crucial, factors of life. The significance of things you wouldn't consider important, like remembering the names of everyday objects, is something you wouldn't even consider. The Buendias start to panic as soon as they realize that they will not be able to remember how to speak about common objects, or eventually even speak at all! It got me truly intrigued about memory loss, and even current day memory loss such as Dimentia or Alzheimers. I found this link that I was intrigued! Take a look

Friday, September 4, 2015


I think it is very interesting that in both novels we have read repetition seems to be a big theme. The Unbearable Lightness of Being starts off talking about eternal return. If you forgot, it talks about how human existence doesn't matter at all compared the infinite time. ULoB also talks about how humans are never happy because they live a linear life, but Karenin is happy because he lives the same live over and over again every day. I was thinking of this idea when I was writing my response to Abbey's post about the town of mirrors. If everyone in 100 years is reliving their ancestors lives, then shouldn't they have learned from their ancestors mistakes? If they learned from their ancestors, the family would be happy because they live such a circular life! I fell like the longer life goes on for the Buendia family, the more depressed they become. This is because they haven't learned from their mistakes. I believe if they would have paid a bit more attention to their ancestors' choices, the family and the town wouldn't have been swept up by the wind.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Unbearable Lightness of Being vs. One Hundred Years of Solitude

Throughout our studies of the summer reading books, I have noticed so many similarities between One Hundred Years of Solitude and The Unbearable Lightness of Being. An important idea in both of these novels is time or history, and whether it is linear or cyclical. In The Unbearable Lightness of Being time for Karenin is cyclical but time for humans was linear. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, time for the whole city of Macondo is cyclical and the members of the Buendia family are also constantly repeating generation after generation. I also think a big theme in both of these novels is fate vs. chance. For example, fate and chance represent lightness and weight and the debate about how Tereza and Tomas ended up together. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, the whole story of Macondo and the Buendias is said to be fatalistic and cannot be changed by the Buendias regardless of their actions.

Meme's Solitude

I really liked what we did in class today so I just wanted to elaborate on it some more by describing how these different characters that we discussed become solitary. One that I found especially interesting was Meme because I don't think that her solitude is truly her fault. Her and her mother don't really get along from the start. Although she has a better relationship with her father, he doesn't even live with her; he lives with Petra Cotes because even he doesn't get along with Fernanda. As she grows up, she falls in love with a boy and proceeds to meet with him secretly. As you may remember, once her mother finds out about her meetings with him (in the bathroom, especially), she lies and says that he is coming every night to steal her chickens and has him shot. He is yet another person that Meme loses a relationship with. After this event, Meme refuses to speak to anybody and her mother, Fernanda, sends her away to a boarding school, isolating her from all of the people she's ever known. Then, in the boarding school, her child (from her lover that her mother shot) is taken from her and brought back to Fernanda. Throughout the book she in some way loses everyone that ever meant anything to her.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Plaza de Mayo

As I was doing Ms. Quinet's homework assignment, I came across some really interesting stuff. All of the events Marquez references in his speech still have lasting effects; however, the incident about the women of Argentina giving birth in prison stood out to me. Note that most people in prison at this time were there solely because they spoke against the dictatorship. I came across this article and video that I think are both really informative. The article basically talks about how after Argentina gets rid of dictatorship in 1983, women across the country come together in a group called the "Plaza de Mayo" to search for their lost children (the ones they had given birth to in prison). However, most of these women are actually the grandmothers of the children, considering that while in jail, the women "were allowed to give birth in prison - only to be murdered a few days later." The babies had then been given to military families, and now the "Plaza de Mayo" group is attempting to locate these children and reunite them with relatives. The article and video provide a lot more information, so if you're interested, here's the link. (It was written in 2013, so the lasting effects of this whole situation are really evident)

City of Mirrors

I mentioned in class today how Macondo, named the city of mirrors, really acts like a mirror. A mirror reflects a clear image. When one looks into a mirror, they see a reflection of themselves. In 100 Years, there are so many characters with repeating names (e.g. Jose Arcadio, Aureliano, Remedios). Johnston said in his article, "Once a person has been named then the major characteristics of his or her life have been determined, and the person is doomed to repeat the events of the lives of their ancestors" (6). Time in Macondo is cyclical. The Buendia family history is obsessively circular. The characters in this book experience the same events as the characters with the same names before them. It is as if they looked into a mirror and instead of seeing them as themselves, they see a reflection of their ancestors because they are essentially the same person. There is not a large sense of individual identity in this book. Macondo is reflecting like a mirror in the sense that it reflects repeating history.

Oceanic Irony

When answering the question for homework, which was: what Johnston says about the founding of Macando, Johnston makes the point that Macando was just a spontaneous decision to just stop at that point because they were tired and had yet to find the ocean. When I thought about that, I found it very ironic that the first thing that Jose Buendia found when trying to discover a path out of Macando was in fact, the ocean. If he had only gone a little farther, he would have found what he was looking at the beginning.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Different Views on Historical Impact

While reading over Johnston's lecture, I really began to understand what Marquez is trying to say about Latin America and its inhabitants' views on history as related to the novel. Johnston's concepts really remind me a lot of Kundera's in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. According to Johnston, North America (Europe is probably included here) has a completely different view of history's impact on life than Latin America. We, North America, see history as a factor that really helps to determine our destiny. We refer to the history of our ancestors for moral guidance, and from that, we try to create our own history to, as Johnston puts it, "construct a project-based life, and carry it through, so that in a way the world we have acted in will be transformed from the world into which we are born" (7). This reminds me a lot of Kundera's concept of weight. Every move we make determines the future of not only ourselves but of others also. In other words, our actions form a chain reaction, meaning that time is bound to move in a linear way (a concept which both Marquez and Kundera analyze in great detail). Both authors, to be vague, view linear time as a result of the huge impact of history on a civilization.
Johnston then goes on to describe how Latin America's culture disregards history as a significant factor in life. The people of Latin America believe that reality is almost unfathomable (for example, the massacre, as we said in class). And so, they choose to accept an imaginative state of mind rather than the truth. Johnston says, "Latin American life is a dream--the unreality imposed by almost five hundred years of colonialism..." (8). Such horrible things happened during this time period in Latin America that the people cannot accept it as real, authentic history. This is interesting because it ties into Kundera's argument of lightness. If history does not determine our future, then our existence is essentially meaningless. Because of this meaningless existence, time can exist only in a circular cycle, with history endlessly repeating itself to no avail.

I think this explains the reason why the people of Macondo (the Buendia family) exist so futilely and Macondo progresses so rapidly.

Early Macondo

"In the Beginning," (allusion!) Macondo has numerous similiarities with Eden.

  • no death
  • no government
  • no war or rivalries
  • no children
  • no real knowledge
  • equal opportunity for all civilians (communist-like)
  • limited families, very young citizens, few- if any- children
However, when the Buendia Family starts to modernize the area, their previous Utopia starts to diminish. Jose Arcadio Buendia, who one would consider either God or Adam, depending on a viewpoint, unintentionally introduces his people to the gypsies. When they first arrive, they bring:
  • games of chance
  • magical elements such as flying carpets
  • prostitution
  • knowledge of the outside world
  • alchemy
Jose Arcadio Buendia, obsessed with Melquiades, starts to become consumed with knowledge and power. We debated the other day in class whether JAB was truly power-hungry or knowledge-hungry. I consider him knowledge driven. He wants to preserve Macondo in any way possible, as a benevolent dictator or even a God would. He is obsessed with alchemy and the stories and information that Melquiades provides him with so he in turn can present that to the people of Macondo. He intends to advance Macondo in knowledge and exposure to the outside world. His creation and preservation of Macondo easily compares JAB to a God.