Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Kundera also shows how humans struggle to be authentic because they are too busy living in delusion, kitsch. Kundera explains that the more people try to find meaning and purpose in something, the less true and real it becomes. This is a critique of society which makes it seem that there are always going to be cracks and imperfections wherever you arc, it's about embracing them and attempting to find the beauty in what is true.

Body vs. Soul

Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being depicts the contrast between mind & body. Kundera is exploring the dichotomy between the soul & the body. Here, Kundera depicts the human condition signifying how the body represents the more materialistic side of life whereas the mind symbolizes the intellectual side of things. Tereza struggles to find purpose for herself because she can't seem to get the right balance between material & intellectual things in life. Kundera is illustrating how in general, human existence is measured by how well an individual is able to juggle both realms, but also highlights the parts of human existence where people struggle to have either.

What is a Tragic Hero?

Looking over my notes in preparation for the midterm in English, I recall discussing how both Oedipus and Medea do not completely conform to the ideals of Artistotle's tragic hero. For example, Medea cannot truly identify as a tragic protagonist or hero because she never gets a justified punishment, rather, ends with everything turning out how she wanted them to. Medea ends up more as the antagonist in the sense that whereas the reader once pities her in the beginning of the play, we ultimately realize her evil, manipulative ways which changes our viewpoint of her character. In Oedipus, the debate over free will vs. fate is discussed. If Oedipus's actions are predestined, then he can't be classified as a tragic protagonist because his downfall did not stem from his own error in judgment, rather, something he couldn't control. This signifies him as the antithesis of the typical tragic hero. These two plays do not completely conform to Aristotle's definition of a tragic protagonist.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Voltaire on Free Speech

Voltaire was a huge advocate for free speech in the 1700s. This really wasn't a good time for freedom of speech in Europe, and many of the issues he faced back then are still issues we face today. Voltaire's name came up a lot in talks about the Charlie Hebdo attacks that happened in 2015. In many parts of the world, like China and North Korea, people are still heavily censored, especially when it comes to critique of government.

Voltaire loves you! Unless you're Turkish

Voltaire was super ahead of his time when it came to his views on humanity. He believed that all men were created equal, and only their actions should determine their standing in life. He said, "All the citizens of a state cannot be equally powerful, but they may be equally free." But, it is widely known that he was skeptical of organized religion as a whole, which is fine. You can disagree with someone's ideas without hating them. And, for the most part, this was true of Voltaire. He respected many of the important people of his time, regardless of their religious affiliation. This, however, did not apply to the Turks. In this case, he said that simply the fact that they were born in the ottoman empire that they were predisposed to believing the superstition that is Islam.

Critique of religion and Jesuits

Voltaire consistently critiques most religious establishments in Candide. Everywhere Candide goes, he sees priests and other religious figures doing sacrilegious things such as having male lovers, having mistresses and children, and being more involved in war and the economy instead of religion. The Jesuit baron is a prime example of this. He becomes a Jesuit because he was a "pretty boy," which insinuateshomosexuality. Also, he is described as both a colonel and a priest. Finally, even after Candide buys him from slavery, the baron refuses to allow Candide to marry an ugly Cunegonde because his family history goes back one less mark than Cunegonde's.

A sharp wit

How does Voltaire like his fruit?
Voltaire may not make use of many puns such as the one above, but instead his humor is more subtle. In Hamlet, we saw direct puns, but Voltaire keeps with the theme of satire by hiding his comedy and therefore indirectly mocking his enemies and others instead of directly insulting them. Voltaire's situations seem so bizarre that they are unbelievable, but he does this to further his criticisms. For example, characters such as Cunegonde and Pangloss seem to come back to life after dying.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Bestiality is the new incest

Bestiality is becoming the best. Voltaire suggests that the natives have sex with monkeys. There are two monkeys that are lovers to the native women. Candide shoots the monkeys because he is afraid of them. Voltaire is European and thinks less of the native people. He basically thinks they are animals, which is why he writes them as having sex with animals.

Voltaire is a savage

Voltaire is the greatest savage of the 18th century. He attacks virtually every group of people he can think of. He calls the native people "Biglugs" as a way of referencing their earrings. However "biglugs" also sounds gross. It makes them sound fat. At the time, Europeans thought they were better than everyone, especially native peoples. He also attacks the aristocracy. He tells a story of a slave and the suffering this slave has endured to produce sugar to export to Europe. He tries to prove that the Europeans are cruel to other people has long as they get what they want. He also can't forget about his savage "division of booty pun."

Monday, November 28, 2016

Saturday, November 26, 2016

humanities in real life

Over the break I took the time to fill out several college applications. While researching one college, it described the campus as having a lot of "Doric Columns." I immediately thought back to when we had to memorize and label three different types of columns for one of Ms. Quinet's tests, "Doric" being one of the types. If I was not in humanities, I would have no clue what that meant, and that statement would mean nothing to me. It made me think that humanities class is a great source of information that is immediately relevant to the world around us.


The most fascinating link in the Great Chain of Being is man. Humans straddle both the spiritual world and the physical world at once. Humans are described as having spiritual capabilities such as having emotions and knowledge. However, humans are also weighed down with a physical body and sins and pains that come with it. For example, lust, hunger, thirst, etc. Humans are in an interesting place where they are part of both worlds. We saw parts of this explained in Plato's allegory of the cave earlier in the year. The separation of spiritual and physical worlds also reminded me of the lightness vs. weight theme in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Humans are described as being weighed down by their physical body and sins. The Chain goes most in depth and descriptive about the link of man most likely because the Chain was "invented" by man.

Great Chain of Being

I always thought that the Great Chain of Being just referred to a sort of chain reaction, but never really thought of it to have specific order. In doing research for my project,  I learned that the Great Chain of Being is structured and has many divisions and subdivisions. The Chain starts with God and progresses its way through angels, the moon and stars, humans (separated in social classes), animals, all the way down to minerals. In reading Macbeth last year and Hamlet this year I have seen references to the Great Chain of Being but never understood or appreciated it fully for what it was. I initially thought the Great Chain of Being was a sort of omen or response where nature reacted to some sort of bad event. I now know the chain is broken down and each division effects the other.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Killing yourself

The suicide Motif is frequently brought up in Hamlet with the purpose of showing Hamlet's depressed state and overall outlook on life and other people. His indecision goes back to the thought Motif which causes him to delay in his task of avenging his father. I believe at this time period, suicide was not accepted because the grave diggers wonder if Ophelia should have a Christian burial or not. Hamlet and maybe Shakespeare go against this value by saying that the only reason people don't commit suicide is that they are scared of the unknown afterlife. Hamlet frequently calls himself a coward like this when debating the best time to kill Claudius.

The art of being savage

The part that I enjoyed most about Hamlet is the wit and sarcasm of Hamlet. Throughout this whole play, Hamlet is consistent with this. His words often include double meanings that go over the heads of other characters, which makes it even more comical for the reader. One of my favorite parts is how after Hamlet stabs Polonius, he tells his mother that this murder was almost as bad as killing your husband, which is intense sarcasm directed towards his mother.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Does Hamlet think incest is the best?

As we all know, incest is the best.  But does Hamlet think so? I would be mad too if my mom married my dad's murderer who is also my uncle. It is very strange that Hamlet is so interest in his mother's sex life. That's pretty gross. But he's REALLY mad about her incestuous relationship. Its all he talks about with her. He just keeps berating her and calling her a whore. He needs to calm down. Clearly, he does not think incest is the best.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


So, whats up with Hamlet? Is he crazy? When he is talking to Gertrude in the closet, he sees the ghost of his father and even speaks to it. However, Gertrude does not see or hear anything. This really raised into question the existence of the ghost. The guards have seen the ghost, so why can't Gertrude? Maybe this is because King Hamlet is furious with Gertrude, so he does not allow her to see him. Is that how ghosting works?

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Puns play a major role in the dialogue of the play. When Hamlet is talking to someone he often throws in a pun somewhere, that the other person will not pick up on. For example, Hamlet's first words of the play are "a little more than kin and less than kind," referring to Claudius. Here Hamlet is really saying that Claudius is "a little more than kin" because he is now technically his father and uncle. Also, Hamlet is saying that , while he is related to Claudius, he does not like him and is not like him. This is just one example of the many puns that Hamlet uses throughout the play. Hamlet's ability to craft these puns to the disregard of the other characters helps portray Hamlet as more intelligent than the others. The craftiness of the use of puns in Hamlet's speech shows how skilled and clever Shakespeare was as a writer.

Christian faith and afterlife

In Hamlet's famous "to be or not to be" soliloquy, he says that he and all humans would not be reluctant to kill themselves if they knew what the afterlife consisted of. The main fear is the dread of the afterlife, but it also could have Christian implications of fear. Suicide is a terrible sin in the Christian faith, and the afterlife is vague and not guaranteed. The Christian afterlife consists of Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory, but does not ensure that you will be happy after your death. This is especially the case for someone who commits suicide, as we saw in Dante's Inferno with the Wood of Suicides. Hamlet states that all people who fear the afterlife, including himself, are cowards for not killing themselves. Hamlet's view is very morbid because he hates his life on earth and would rather be dead, though this could be a part of his madness act.

Friday, November 11, 2016

to be mad or not to be mad

One of the most debated topics from Hamlet is if Hamlet is actually acting the part of being mad or if he is in reality mad. It is hard to tell and can be argued either way. He specifically says that he plays the fool and will act mad to achieve his purpose of killing King Claudius. The movie interpretation of Hamlet shows the madness of Hamlet in a very exaggerated way through things such as weird facial expressions and the skull mask that are the director's interpretations. Contrarily, when Hamlet stands in front of the mirror and says his "to be or not to be" lines, he is most likely not aware he is being watched, but still argues the benefits and detriments of suicide. Therefore, I would say that Hamlet is mad in some way or another because of his actual depression and the weight of his responsibility to kill King Claudius. Hamlet is so intelligent and has so much control that it is hard to tell if he is acting or letting his own emotions out.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Incest strikes again

This is the 4th instance of incest we have seen so far in Humanities. Why? Because I guess incest really is the best. In Hamlet, Claudius marries his dead brother's wife Gertrude. Even though they are not technically related, this is still considered incest at the time. I do not understand why they would marry each other even though it was considered incest. I know the English and Spanish royal families committed incest, but I do not know if the same applied to Denmark. Hamlet is shocked at his mother and uncle's action. Perhaps this is an indicator that incest was not accepted.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Final thoughts on dante

Overall, I was simply amazed by the creativity of Dante in the Inferno. It was very brave of him to write about Christian teaching in this way. Not only did he greatly help average people to understand the Bible. Not only that, he also wrote it in vernacular. Overall, it is really apparent how much Dante cares about spreading knowledge to the average person .


I think that Dante thinks a little too highly of himself. Why does he think that he is so great to go on this journey? He tries to act humble by saying that he isn't Paul or Aenas, but he goes on the journey anyway and he wrote the poem telling everyone how hell is. Why does he think he is worthy enough to come up with the idea of hell?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Aeneid vs. mythology

Throughout the entire scope of Dante's Inferno, we see him put ideas from the Aeneid above traditional mythology. For example, the oarsmen for the rivers of Hell are in different rivers than traditional mythology dictates. Dante does this because he follows the Aeneid most of the time. Another example is the queen of the underworld, Proserpina. In actual mythology, Hecate is the queen of the underworld, but Dante has changed it to go in accordance with the Aeneid. The purpose of idolizing the Aeneid shows Dante and his belief of the optimum form of society. He wants to restore society to the unity and peace that was achieved under the times of the Pax Romana, as opposed to the discord that he sees in his current time period.

Old Man of Crete

Of all the many allegories that Dante utilizes in Inferno, the Old Man of Crete is the most unique and interesting in my opinion. It alludes to the Bible by having the different body parts made of a decreasing level of sturdiness, all the way from the head of gold until the right foot of terra cota. Dante uses these aspects from the Bible to show his idea of the decline of human history over time. He therefore idolizes the Roman unity and peace that was achieved during the time of Augustus's rule. Augustus's rule would be represented by the gold, and the current time for Dante would be representative of the clay. Since most of the weight is on the right foot of clay, Dante foretells an upcoming collapse of society. Not only does the Old Man of Crete symbolize the Bible, but it also relates to the mythological story of Saturn eating his kids. Therefore it also mixes classical and Chrisitian. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Why do we read so many books that have incest?

In Circle 2, Lust, we meet Francesca and Paolo. Francesca was married to Paolo's brother. Francesca and Paolo were caught having an affair and damned to Hell. This isn't directly incest, but it still counts. Francesca's husband is damned to Caina for murdering them. However, shouldn't Francesca and Paolo join him? They betrayed family, yet they are in circle 2.

Et tu Brute?

One of the main subjects of Dante's Inferno is his use of Roman tradition in combination with Christianity. A prime example is in the deepest portion of Hell, Judecca, Satan has the three worst sinners in his mouth. It makes perfect sense that Judas would be considered the worst sinner because he betrayed Jesus, the Son of God. The other two sinners are Brutus and Cassius, the murderers of Caesar. In my opinion, this is the most outright merger of Roman tradition with Christianity.  At other points in the epic, Dante uses mythological figures from Roman tradition, or mentions characters from Rome. However, no other points seem as blatant as when he groups Brutus and Cassius on almost the same level as Judas. Dante could have used other, more world renowned or more evil sinners, but instead he chose Brutus and Cassius. To Dante's audience, this probably made perfect sense and people would agree. However, reading it today, there is many other sinners Dante could have used.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Time isn't real

i found it very frustrating that the damned souls cannot see the present. The present is merely the instant in which you are currently in. Every instant, your future becomes the present and your present becomes the past. Even if a soul can only see the future, then they can see the instant before the present which,  in a moment will be the present. Therefore, being able to see the instant you are in is unecessary if you can see an instant into the future.

Hell no!

Date's he'll is ridiculously unfair, at least by today's standards. I can understand that virtuous pagans belong in he'll, but the fact that people who died before Jesus was born are there is ridiculous. There is nothing they could have done in their lives to prevent going to he'll. It is ridiculous that none of these people are allowed into heaven.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Hell Yeah!

Dante the Pilgrim's attitude towards Hell progresses as he visits the various circles of Hell. In Canto V, he feels pity for the two lovers: Francesca and Paolo. Contrarily, in Canto VIII, Dante is ruthless towards Filippo Argenti, the shade that attaches itself to the boat while Dante crosses the Styx. He transcends from pitying the shade of hell, to believing that their punishment is just or even that they should be punished farther. Therefore, he has a more positive attitude towards the necessity of Hell then he did at the beginning of his journey into Hell.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Christianity vs. Mythology

Dante manages to blend Christianity and Mythology. Normally, we think of these two things as irreconcilable. But Dante makes a whole epic poem containing both. Obviously, Hell is a Christian doctrine. However, Dante inserts Roman poets and mythological creatures into Hell. Charon, Cerberus, the River Styx, and Phlegyas, to name a few, are mythological people who appear in the Christian Hell. Dante also compares himself to Paul and Aeneas by saying "I am not Paul, I am not Aeneas." Dante blends these two religious beliefs together to great an amazing epic poem.


I am really enjoying Dante's Inferno. The Bible does not really give us a really a description of Hell, so Dante wrote an epic poem about it. He inserts himself in the poem to give it a personal aspect. His construction of Hell is very interesting. He includes Pagans in the first circle because they weren't really sinners; they just didn't believe in God because Christianity did not exist yet. The farther down in Hell, the worse the sin.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Nudity in Ancient Rome

In the Roman baths, people did not wear clothing most of the time. But, this was in stark contrast to the normal values of Rome. Unlike the Greeks, Romans often thought that nudity was distasteful. Unlike Greek sculptures, Roman sculptures were often clothed unless specific figures were being portrayed. Despite this, interestingly, the Phallus was a very prominent symbol in Roman culture.

Rulers Trajan and Augustus

During this period of Roman history, two main rulers made significant impacts on not only the overall Republic, but also the people that encompassed it. Augustus's rule is interesting because it directly followed his uncle's, Julius Caesar, assasination. After much conflict with Antony and Cleopatra  during the Battle of Actium, Augustus sealed his role as the first real emperor of Rome. With titles like, Augustus, a name given to him by the Senate, and "First Citizen of the State," it is evident that Augustus wanted to relate to the people, especially Caesar's followers, rather than rule by fear. Similarly, Trajan was all about ruling for the people. Both leaders attempted to beautify the city and make economic improvements such as better roads, aqueducts, and systems of protection, like the Praetorian Guard.  All these public works signify both leaders as in line with Cicero's ideal of the best and most fit ruler.

Architecture and art matches values

Nowadays, people don't necessarily think of architecture as a way to see the values of modern society. This is because you must look at something from the past in order to make assertions on the progression of values. Knowing this, the architecture from the times of the reign of Augustus and Trajan definitely portray the values of Roman society at that time. For example, the Ara Pacis Agustae was built under the command of Augustus and related to the total peace that he wanted under his Pax Romana. Under Trajan, the values are different in that they stress expansion and regional domination more. The most clear example of this is Trajan's column, which was located in the new forum that he had built. On this column, there are depictions of the Dacian wars that Trajan himself took part in to dominate the barbaric empire. Therefore power and strong leadership was a more important value in the reign of Trajan.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Roman Country Clubs

One thing I found interesting while doing research for the presentation, was the Roman Imperial Baths. These "baths" had hot and cold swimming pools, gymnasiums, restaurants, bars, walking paths, libraries, shops and more. The baths were open to everyone, and were a common hang out spot for the Roman citizens. The baths seem very progressive and close to modern day country clubs that would be open to the public. The Roman rulers were expected to give back to the people in some way, and the imperial baths were a way to build something to provide entertainment for the citizens of Rome. Today country clubs and community centers are similar, but I do not think either draw as much attention as the imperial baths did. The sense of community also most likely strengthened Roman culture.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Aeneid

In doing my research on the spirit of Rome, I found that the Aeneid was actually written for Augustus by Vergil. They were friends, and Vergil wanted to paint Augustus in a good light. Augustus was the first emperor, which was the end of the Republic. People weren't thrilled about having an absolute ruler, so Augustus needed some propaganda. Vergil was able to insinuate that Augustus is related to Venus and Aeneas through a long lineage. He also made Aeneas a very loyal and virtuous person, suggesting that Augustus is the same way.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Cicero and the Communist

I think several parallels can be drawn between Cicero and the communist party in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Cicero very much wanted what was best for his people, as did the communist. But they were both often blind to the truth. The communists failed to see that they were actually hurting not helping people until it was far too late. Cicero also went too far trying to better the lives of his people. At one point, he enacted martial law, and later he even executed people without a proper trial.

Cicero and Alexander Hamilton

Learning about Cicero reminded me a lot of one of our founding fathers, Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton's number one priority was always ensuring the best for America. Hamilton wasn't perfect; he made many mistakes in his life, such as having an affair. Cicero made a few mistakes in his life too, such as executing conspirators without a trial. Both dies honorably: Hamilton died in a duel after firing his gun in the air, and Cicero willingly gave way to his assassins. Overall, both men did a great deal to further democracy in their countries.

Democracy vs. Tyranny

Cicero's letter to his son Marcus is also an important piece in detailing the transition in Greek culture from democracy to a period of tyranny. First and foremost, a tyrant isn't a dictator that oppressed the people, but instead is one person that the people support who rules mostly by himself. Cicero idealizes the past in which public officials didn't take bribes and were less corrupt. This past with less political corruption was held in check by the power of the people in places such as Athens. Here, we see the difference in Roman society from Greek society and also the transition from democracy to tyranny. Tyranny by itself isn't bad, but it is an easier system to take advantage of and obtain too much power.

Friday, October 14, 2016


Cicero is a very confusing person. On paper, he says he supports the republic and the people. He plays peacekeeper after Caesar is murdered. He was also a lawyer who defended controversial cases. However, he does not always live up to his own expectations. He executed conspirators without a trial. He thinks the people should hold power, not the military, however, he enacted martial law. To me it seems like he was very wishy-washy.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Cicero's perspective

I find Cicero's perspective and life very interesting. He is a person that lived and interacted with such well known Shakespearean figures such as Caesar, Pompey, and Brutus. He was also ordered to be executed by Marc Antony. Cicero seems to be a philosopher of worthy moral standards, but that is not the case for his entire life. He starts off by wanting to defend the poor in court and other times, and he believes in right to a fair trial. He follows the ideas of Plato and is an example of something similar to the philosopher king because he is a philosopher and he also was a Roman consul and political leader. Later in his career, it seems that the political power might have gone to his head. He was exiled for not giving someone a trial, even though this was one of his key beliefs earlier on. Perhaps Cicero's firm belief in justice led him to wrongly administer the justice himself...

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Hellenistic art

I really enjoyed studying the Hellenistic sculptures. I like these a lot more than the Hellenic sculptures because they are more realistic. They focus a lot less on idealism and more on realism. They even show bodily imperfections and deformities unlike the Hellenic period which only sculpt "perfect" humans. I like how the Hellenistic sculptures also convey how the person is feeling by their facia expressions.
Hey guys, hope you're enjoying your three-day weekend! Some of you may be stressing out over Tuesday's test, so I found a resource to help everyone study.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Artifact complications

Almost all of the artifacts including items and statues that we have studied have been taken from their original land and are in some foreign museum. Some of these items were legally attained by donations to the museum, but the countries that the items originally came from want their historical items back. A few examples of such items that countries want returned are the Rosetta Stone, Chinese imperial treasures, and the Old Fisherman from Aphrodisias, which was from the Pergamon. Such artifacts as they range in their acquisition. For example, the Rosetta stone was discovered by French officers in Egypt, but later changed hands to the British when they defeated France in 1802. The Old Fisherman from Aphrodisias was bought for the museum at an art market, and therefore they do not think that it should be given back. Museums in general have no reason to give artifacts back, because they might have gotten them legally even though the people who owned the artifacts before might have attained them illegally. This creates a problem for countries that want to maintain their own historical pasts through items such as these.
The link to the article I used follows:

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Medea and Jason's changing roles

In the beginning of the play, the audience is inclined to feel sorry for Medea. She was lost her husband to another woman and is heart broken. We originally think of her as the protagonist. We dislike Jason because of what he is done to Medea; he is the antagonist. However, as the play progresses, their roles change. We learned that Medea betrayed her father and killed her brother for Jason. Medea also becomes obsessed with revenge. She eventually ends of killing Jason's bride, her father, and even their kids. By the end of the play, the audience is disgusted by Medea and considers her the antagonist. When Jason loses everything, we feel sorry, making him the protagonist. It is interested to see the flip-flop between the two characters, and a clever move on Euripides' part.

Then vs. Now

Today in class, we talked about if we felt Medea's actions were appropriate. Obviously, by today's standards, her actions are completely unwarranted and insane. It is understandable that she would be furious with Jason, but committing murder is too much. Certainly, Athenian men of the time would've also thought that her actions were crazy. But I am not so sure women would've thought the same thing. Women back then were probably very frustrated with having no rights and being a slave to their husbands. Although they realistically could do nothing if their husband left them for another woman, they probably wished they could. Perhaps Medea's actions were the fantasies of Athenian women. Although they are insane, being able to do something would probably satisfy the women.


Euripides was very brave in writing Medea. The play focuses on the bad treatment women in ancient times. They had no rights, were not citizens, and were force to stay home. No woman could speak out against their treatment, and no man was going to stick up for them. Men liked the way society worked because they were in charge. Euripides was really the first person (that I've learned about) to draw attention to the gender inequalities.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Guys, incest is still the best

OK, after reading Oedipus I'm sure a lot of you might be convinced that incest is no longer the best. I'm here to prove that it is. Some animals actually use incest to their benefit. For example, wasps use inbreeding to actually strengthen their gene pool. That is because wasps and other similar insects are haplodiploid. This means that, while females inherit genes from both their mother and father, males only inherit genes from their mother. Because of this, any inbred negative traits will be expressed in males, even if they are recessive. These males will soon die, therefore strengthening the gene pool of the population.

Greek Mythology in Oedipus the King

The role of Greek gods is apparent in Athenian society and translates into Sophocles's use of invocation to the gods to depict their significance in society and in his play. One of the first instances where the role of gods is mentioned is when the chorus tells Oedipus that he is not as great as the gods, but is the best fit to help save the Athenian people. Oedipus, a very confident ruler, often tries to put himself on the same level as the gods. This is significant of his character because he lacks humility. Another point mentioned throughout the play in connection to Oedipus is blasphemy. As mentioned prior, Oedipus's confidence leads him to feel superior to the gods at some points, especially when he describes how he solved the Sphinx riddle and the gods did not. However, the Athenians recognize this and know that ultimately, the gods hold superiorty over anyone else in all they do; the gods are the supreme power. The Athenian people often call out and pray to the gods seeking salvation because they know that the true power lies in the hands of the gods.

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Role of Chorus

I find the chorus an interesting part of Oedipus the King that is unseen in most of today's literature and plays. When I think of a chorus, I think of something that only provides a musical part to a play, but this is not the case in Sophocles. The leader of the chorus, called the Choragos, participates in conversations with the main characters, and the chorus also converses as a whole. The chorus represents the ideal citizen of Athens and therefore provides a moral basis also. The chorus's fist ode, Parados, begins the play, and the Exodus, or exit song, ends the play. This play also has more than the two of three traditional characters, though an actor would normally play multiple roles, but the chorus still has a very important role.


In Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, we discussed the duality of concepts such as body and mind and lightness vs. weight. This duality encompassed a society and the human race as a whole. A somewhat similar duality exists in Sophocles's Oedipus the King. In contrast to Kundera's duality, Sophocles's duality only applies to one character: Oedipus. Oedipus has the dual roles that result in the fact that he unknowingly killed his father and accidentally married his mother. Therefore, he is both father and brother to his sons. He is also son and killer of his father. He is a son and husband of his mother. These dualities are a sharp contrast and therefore are very rare in reality and fiction alike. This uncovers the genius of Sophocles in his ability to write innovative plays.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Incest is not the best?

In Oedipus the King, incest is presented as taboo. Tiresias looks down on Oedipus for sleeping with his mother. However, the Greek gods commit incest all the time. The two rulers, Zeus and Hera, and married and are brother and city. If the Athenians looked up to and worshipped the gods, why wouldn't they be ok with incest? It seems rather hypocritical to me. The incest also reminds me of The Unbearable Lightness of Being. In Latin America, incest was perfectly acceptable. This is an example of how the modern world has strayed from Athenian and Greek influence.

Characteristics of Oedipus the King

As we begin reading Oedipus the King in class this week, I immediately notice several characteristics that Oedipus possesses which make him a tragic hero like we discussed in the Greek Drama  presentations. For example, Oedipus is very confident, which can also be seen as arrogant and having excessive hubris (pride and ego). Also, he volunteers himself to look for the murderer of Laius which symbolizes him as courageous. An unfortunate characteristic that represents him is oblivious. He has been affected by the insomnia plague and, therefore, cannot remember that his wife, Jocasta, is actually his mother and that in reality, he is the murderer of Laius who he has condemned  and threatened. Around line 1000, we begin to see Oedipus realize that the prophecy he dreaded and attempted to avoid his entire life is coming true and that Polybus is NOT his father, setting in motion the revelations that ensue.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Parthenon

I found the historical video on the Parthenon to be very interesting and informative. The Parthenon changed ownership many times throughout its long history, and each culture either added or took away something from the Parthenon. The Catholics made it a church and took away the nude sculptures. The Franks added a chimney and made the Parthenon more industrial. All of this culminated in Lord Elgin's removal of sculptures for a museum in Great Britain. The Parthenon lasted from 433 AD to 1683 AD, a very long period of time for a region that suffered from many wars and different takeovers. I recently had the opportunity to visit the recreation of the Parthenon in Nashville, Tennessee. Seeing such a grand building in person, even if only a replica, reveals the expert craftsmanship of the Parthenon that was well above its time. Every detail, from the angles and shadows of the frieze was masterfully planned ahead of time by Pheidias, who supervised the building of the original Parthenon. Pictures can tell one story, but actually experiencing something gives a whole new perspective.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Athenian Influence

In a previous blog post, I discussed how I thought Athenian democracy set the foundation for future democracies and held a great influence on government. Similarly, Greek theatre had a major impact on theatre in the future. When researching Aristotle's definition of tragedy and tragic hero, I found many similarities to Shakespearean tragedies, and I thought of many of the characteristics in Macbeth. Greek theatre developed the first actors and performances in their celebration to Dionysus. This shows that not only did Athens hold a great impact on government, but also on entertainment. The Athenian civilization proved to be very ahead of their time and many aspects of their culture is still relevant today.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


as part of my project, I researched ancient theaters in Greece. Specifically, the theater in Epidaurus. This theater is fascinating. With the lack of modern technology, the Greeks were able to build a perfect theater with perfect acoustics. This theater is so amazing because without microphones, people in the back could hear the actors whispering. I think this is insane how smart the architect must've been to figure out how to do this with little technology.

Masks in Plays

Part of my research for our project included looking into the role of masks in Greek theatre. In Ancient Greece, masks were often used so that one actor could portray many different roles. I think this correlates to the fact that the Athenian democracy only represented 10% of the people. Women and slaves were not represented in government, and they were portrayed in plays by men. It is weird to think that back then men played the roles of all the characters. It makes much more sense that masks are used much less often today then they were in Ancient Greece. Today women play a large part in performances as well as government.

Plato & the Allegory of the Cave

Plato's Allegory of the Cave truly fascinates me. I think his Theory of Forms is quite unique and his correlation between the material realm (Earth) & the Transcendent Realm of Forms (perfection) signifies his portrayal of the importance of the 5 senses along with an intellectual quality: knowledge. Plato is said to have believed education and knowledge can only truly be obtained by discovery and experience; people already possess it, but must uncover it themselves. This is why I believe he depicts the prisoner's ascension from the cave as a means of uncovering the truth, although the man is initially confused as to what is real. Plato also alludes to the Good which is the ultimate form, source of all things (somewhat connected to Christianity's depiction of God). In the end, Plato's ultimate argument is to try and figure out how to run government (he was not an advocate for democracy) so that the people are ruled by the very best and most fit in society.

Importance of Historical Context

Several days ago in class, Ms. Quinet detailed the Minoan historical background in order to depict the relevance of events such as the Persian Wars, Dark/Golden Ages for the Athenians, and impact of Pericles. I think this context has given me greater insight and understanding of the historical and socioeconomic setting that influenced the Greeks. I think some of the most important events and details that she mentioned include the struggle between establishing democracy for the Athenian government while having tyrants in place, the role of women, slaves, and metics ("foreign aliens") as being rather insignificant and nonexistent in late 500 BC Athenian society, along with the Council of 400 & 500 that dictated voting. I also believe the outcome of the Persian Wars, which Pericles depicts in his funeral oration, signifies the outlook Athenians had toward their future prospects, symbolizing why Pericles attempts to "market" Athens in a positive manner and suggest their lives are balanced all the while promoting nationalism. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Greek Drama

After researching on the topic of Greek drama and its history, I think it's interesting how much of the theater world today evolved from those early Greek plays. Many plays took place in an amphitheater which are still found around today for theater performances. In addition, Greek tragedies seemed to be the most popular play genre and consisted of many tragic tales of love, mistaken identity, etc. Many of these themes are similar to those preformed today and still keeps the audience engaged despite the idea of such a story coming from many centuries beforehand. I find it interesting that the greeks popularized such a magnificent form of art that it is still present in current day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Athenian Democracy

Athens had one of the earliest forms of democracy in the known world. Even though the democracy of the United States resembles the Athenian democracy in some ways, they are very different. To be allowed to vote and be a citizen in Athens, you had to be a male with both parents born in Athens. This consisted of only 10-15% of the Athenian population. In Pericles's funeral oration, he spends most of his time commending and flaunting the achievements of Athens and its people. The Athenian democracy was also a direct democracy as opposed to the indirect democracy of the United States, but American citizens would not consider Athens a full democracy because such as small percentage of their population could vote. The middle ground of democracy in Athens allowed it to flourish in the arts and expression while still being a strong and powerful military and colonizing force.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Insomnia or Alzheimer's

While reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, I recognized the significance of the insomnia plague in Marquez's narrative. However, I began to draw parallels with Alzheimer's disease that currently affects roughly 5 million Americans today (according to the Alzheimer's Association website). Both illnesses result in the loss of memory. I think Marquez's depiction of the effects of insomnia in his novel triggered my brain to connect to Alzheimer's as a correlation to the amount of deaths in both the novel (because of the government-controlled massacre) and in real-life (due to incurable diseases). Below I've attached an emotional article that discusses a woman's journey as she discovers she has Alzheimer's.

Ice cream

On Friday, Ms Quinet treated us with lovely peach ice cream and plum sorbet. Although the ice cream was a delicious treat that I was very grateful for, I got to thinking about where the ice cream came from and how it related to the United Fruit Company. We who dwell in countries such as the United States often think little about where our fruit and different products come from. Sadly, the peaches used in the delicious ice cream could have very well come from workers in places such as Latin America who slaved to harvest the fruit maybe even against their will. The peaches could very well be a symbol of oppression just as the bananas were. They could have been forced by an oppressive company to complete the arduous task of collecting all those peaches for little to no money so some kids in a private school could eat ice cream. Whether this is the case or not is unclear, but I just thought it was an interesting parallel between modern day and the book.

Underlying meanings

Upon first reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, I did not make the connection between Aureliano Babylonia and his friend Gabriel, even though Gabriel says his relative's last name was Marquez. Therefore the author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, leaves the town of Macondo right before it disappears in order to document and preserve the town. We see this preservation of the town through the actual novel. This hidden meaning makes the novel more interesting to me, even though I missed some of these details the first time.
I think Marquez's ability to hide details such as this so that they are only visible to an observant eye plays an important role in his overall purpose of writing the novel. For our paper on use of history, I  wrote about how Marquez utilizes historic events to show the oppression of Latin America and draw the citizens to action. His skill in doing so proves that this novel must undergo careful analysis to dissect the full meaning.

Nanjing Massacre

I came across this interesting article on CNN from 2012 about a Japanese politician covering up a massacre, much like the banana massacre. In 1937, their was a terrible massacre which involved the rape and murder of thousands of people. Japanese troops invaded Nanjing (a city in China) and the result was horrifying. Instead of honoring and remembering the lives lost, one Japanese politician defended the troops and tried to cover up the murders and rapes. He said that only "conventional acts of combat" took place when, in reality, an estimated 300,000 people were slaughtered. The fact that this type of stuff actually still goes on in the world is crazy to me. Some people will do anything to try to keep their reputation in tact even if it's at the cost of others. No crime, especially such a vulgar one like this, should be downsized because thousands of lives were lost, and the men who participated and orchestrated this attack were very wrong and do not deserve to be justified.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Banana Perspective

Yesterday in AP Econ, we used the banana market as an example for productive efficiency. In the example we deduced that it would be much more efficient for the U.S. to produce bananas somewhere like Honduras or Columbia because the climate is much more suitable. It made me think because to most people in the U.S. this seems like no big deal, especially if we were to trade for the bananas and make a fair deal. In the novel; however, the banana farmers begin producing bananas in Macondo without trade. Marquez depicts the farmers as making a lot of changes in Macondo and doing everything to benefit the production of bananas. It seems like no big deal to the banana farmers, especially because they view the people of Macondo as a lesser society. To the people of Macondo, the banana farmers are not simply producing bananas more efficiently. The production of bananas in Macondo has major effects on the people. Not only is their town changing, but they are being used as workers and receive no fair trade. To what appears as a simple business decision to producers from the U.S., actually has huge, life-changin effects on the people of Macondo.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Breaking news: Insomnia outbreak at STM

The Indian princess Visitacion must have walked down the halls of St. Martin's, because everyone seems to have gone down with the insomnia sickness. While at their houses during the weekend, many students of St. Martin's forgot they had school on Monday and therefore didn't come to school. After writing notes and labeling objects to remember about school before the insomnia fully kicked in, the people forgot how to read and never made it to school. Where is Melquiades when we need him?

The episode involving insomnia in the town of Macondo has an unclear significance to me. It is only a short episode in the entirety of the book. I believe that it shows the struggle for Latin America to find its identity and maintain control over itself. The insomnia was an obstacle that sidetracked the town of Macondo for a while. It made them forget their own identities and by association all of their beliefs. If the microcosm of Macondo lost this, then all of Latin America lost their identity and will to stand up for themselves. Therefore, the insomnia is symbolic of an obstacle for Latin America that was overcome.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

View on the Indigenous

Marquez shows the view that the Europeans had on the indigenous Latin Americans through the characters of Visitacion, her brother, and Rebeca. Rebeca is described as eating earth and white wash. While we talked about in class that this could represent how she is natural and wants to keep the true culture of the land, it could have other meaning as well. Her eating of earth and whitewash is very abnormal, and I think it could show how the Europeans viewed the indigenous as lesser and not quite as advanced. Another example is how the people of Macondo put the blame for the insomia plague on the indigenous.  Marquez also uses the insomnia plague, where people not only lose sleep but lose memory, to show the loss of the identity of the Latin American people. If you lose your memory, you lose your sense of identity, similar to the Latin American's loss of independent culture.

Same names

One aspect of the novel that I found very confusing was the use of similar names for so many characters. At first I was extremely confused as to why Marquez would make this choice. Now, after discussing the book in class, I think that Marquez uses the similar names to represent Latin American independence. In class we talked about the prevalence of incest in the book, and discussed how it could be used to represent keeping it within Latin America, and being left alone by Europeans. I think similarly, Marquez uses the similar names to represent keeping the culture of Latin America and not being influenced by Europeans. Another approach Marquez could have taken in using similar names would be to represent how the Europeans viewed the Latin Americans. The Europeans did not see the Latin Americans as up to their level and sort of viewed them as a group as opposed to individuals. This correlates with the point in the book where 17 sons are all given the same name. Marquez's use of the same few names for many people in the family is very interesting and appears to have a much deeper meaning.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

So College?

After reflecting on my college essay Thursday afternoon and submitting it to Ms. King on Friday, I have a surreal feeling of how close college is for the rest of the seniors and myself. It's truly crazy that after 14 years, I will no longer be an STM student after graduation in May. One thing this realization has allowed me to do is look back on all the great memories I've experienced and I can't help but describe it as bittersweet. Although this is just the first step of many in applying to colleges, I can't help but feel like it's somewhat of a beginning to an end. However, I am very optimistic and excited for the future that college entails.

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

I liked The Unbearable Lightness of Being much more than One Hundred Years of Solitude. I think it was much less confusing and was much more interesting. The only thing I liked in One Hundred Years was the magical realism because that was kind of cool, but I like the love stories better. I thought it was much more intriguing. One Hundred Years was so confusing to me.


On friday, we learned about the history behind the novel. I also asked a question about why America intervened in Latin America, and I still do not understand why they did. At the time America invaded, the Latin American president was trying raise minimum wages. I do not understand why America had a problem with this. I think that for a communist regime, this was rather progressive. I understand America had a containment policy but this seems a little extreme to me. Maybe my classmates can answer my question.


I savannahs post on incest is very interesting. This was explored a lot in the book. This makes no sense because Marquez wants Latin America to be independent and not have any European influence, but he explores incest in the book with European people. This to me is very contradictory.

Marquez and Faulkner

In the English translation of Marquez's acceptance speech, he refers to Faulkner as his "master". But, in the original Spanish version, he refers to Faulkner as his "maestro". In Spanish, maestro can mean either master or teacher. I think that translating it as "teacher" would be much more proper. In my opinion, Marquez was trying to emphasize all the things that he learned from Faulkner, so I think it would be better to refer to him as his teacher.But I do think this is up for debate. What do you guys think?

Friday, September 9, 2016

Incest is the best?

Incest is frowned upon and even in illegal in the Western world. However, it is an important part in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Ursula and Jose Arcadio Buendia are cousins. who marry and have kids together. There are also many other instances of incest in the book. We discussed in class different theories for why Marquez included this aspect. One interesting theory is that incest represents Latin America trying to be independent. By not mating with Europeans, the natives are moving away from relying on the Western world and from their oppression.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Magical Realism

I think the term and idea of "magical realism" is very interesting. The term itself is kind of like an oxymoron. How can something be magical and real at the same time? We generally regard magic as something that is made of tricks and illusions. To some extent, it could also be applied to things we cannot explain in the real world. We think of "realism" as something that reflects reality, what is true and known in the world. These words seem to be opposites, but Marquez brings them together. Magical realism is a dream-like state of writing. Sometimes it seems to make no sense, just like dreams. While it mostly sticks to reality, there are some supernatural elements thrown in. I think the oxymoronic word reflects it meaning. This genre intrigues me and I look forward to learning more about it.

William Faulker and Marquez

In Marquez's Nobel Prize speech, he mentions William Faulkner as his master. Both he and Faulkner believed in creating a society where people can decide for themselves how they want to live. While working on my college essay, I found an interesting comparison between the two different topics. My essay involves the towns of Waveland and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. More, specifically, it involves Market Street, a street  that my great-grandparents built a house on in 1947. William Faulkner stayed at a rental house for a few months around 1920 on the same street, as this article discusses. Therefore, my ancestors and I have been to some of the same areas of the beach and places as William Faulkner. I found it very interesting that the two different assignments turned out to be related.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Motorcycle Diaries

     In Marquez's speech, he talks about how Latin America has a terrible problem with oppression. In Spanish class, we recently watched a film called The Motorcycle Diaries. It is an adaptation of Che Guevara's autobiography about his journey throughout South America. You can view the trailer right here. Che Guevara was born in Argentina and was studying to become a doctor. Just before he finished his PhD, he went on a motorcycle trip around South America. Throughout this trip, he and his friend Alberto Granado helped a huge number of people living in terrible situations. Che sees the great atrocities that took place every day in South America during that time. After his motorcycle journey, his pursuit of making life better for the poor led him to Fidel Castro.
Guevara and Granado on a raft given to them by a leper
colony they had cared for
     Eventually, Guevara came to the conclusion that capitalism was the cause of the problems he had seen. He saw communism as the only way to dig Latin America out from under the rubble. Unfortunately, during the time the United States aided in the overthrow of several socialist governments in South America, so safe to say this didn't make him crazy about us. Guevara grew to be Castro's second in command and was a major figure in the Cuban revolution. After the revolution in Cuba succeeded, He once again traveled throughout South America, helping other countries to overthrow their oppressive leaders. This came to an end in 1967, when the Bolivian military, with assistance from the CIA. captured and executed Guevara. His last words were "I know you've come to kill me. Shoot, coward, you are only going to kill a man."
 Guevera is respected by many prominent historical figures, such as Nelson Mandela. Although he is not viewed very favorably in the United States, he is still viewed as a hero in many parts of South America. No matter what your opinions of him are, Che Guevara serves as a shining example of just how much a person can do in their lifetime. Even to this day, a portrait of his face is still used as a symbol for leftist movements.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Joseph's post on samizdat

I think that Joseph's post was very interesting. And I think that samizdat was very admirable because I personally wouldn't have been brave enough at the time to go against my government and publish my work anyway. Some people had underground works published and I think that that was very brave of them.


i did my project on the literature and arts of the time. I think that it was completely unfair for the arts to be so supressed because of communism. This really shows through Sabina who is an artist. She rebels against communism and really everything that people make her do (kitsch). Her art shows what is really underneath. I think she is an admirable character for sticking up for her beliefs.

Czech New Wave

If any of you are at all interested in film, I highly recommend you check out some of the films from the Czech new wave. They are truly beautiful films that are unlike anything you will every watch. During this time in Czech history, Czech films were nominated for and won many Oscars for foreign films. Many also received Golden Globes. Perhaps the most remarkable thing is that some of these films that won awards were not even published in Czechoslovakia! Kundera was also heavily involved in this movement, as he worked at FAMU. If you want to watch some of these films, I'd start with  The Firemen's Ball. Many of the films are very abstract and hard to follow, bu this film is a fun comedy and it will be a good starting point. Image result for the fireman's ball

War of Words

In researching the history of the Czech Communist Regime, I came to realize that a lot of the battle between the Czech citizens and the Regime took place through writing. Journalists and writers may have not had physical power or strength individually, but the power of influence helped to create a public opinion desiring freedom. The Communist Party overpowered and intimidated the Czech people not only through "purges" and physical punishment, but also through censorship and the fight to control the press. The Party put a lot of importance on combating the press and creating their own pro-Communist content. If not for the press and actions such as Charter 77, people may not have been inspired to fight back. After all, the Regime was ended by the Velvet Revolution, a student union protest turned into a strike by the Czech citizens. The press had a great influence over the public opinion and in the fight against Communism. When Dubcek came to power briefly in 1968, one of his major reforms was to take away censorship. This was vitally important in allowing people to publish their thoughts and create a more unified fight for freedom. The press and their influence over public opinion is really what controlled the fight against the Communist Regime and shows why the Party fought so hard to keep censorship.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Czech Literature- samizdat

Samizdat is an interesting term that is used to describe books or magazines that were published against the Communist regime in all of the countries that the Communists controlled. Most of the samizdat works were in Russia, but there were also many in Czechoslovakia. Samizdat writers were the most rebellious people in Czechoslovakia because they risked their lives to write articles and other literature to oppose the Communist regime. They had to go to great extremes to distribute and reproduce their works in order to avoid the Communist censorship. Milan Kundera was one of these such writers, to an extent. He was forced into self-exile and moved to France in order to continue his writings. It is sad that some of the best minds of Czechoslovakia were forced to flee from the country. Like in other countries under Communism, some of these bright authors and scientists fled to America and helped advance technology and literature in America. Therefore, Czechoslovakia suffered in ways other than only physically by losing important people who stood up for their beliefs.

Historical Importance

Kundera says that one does not need to know the historical background to appreciate The Unbearable Lightness of Being. However, after researching the history for my project, a lot of scenes in the book make a lot more sense. I now can understand better what the characters are dealing with in their country. In my project, I used the scene where Tomas writes a newspaper article against the Communist Regime. It makes a lot more sense now that I know it was during the period when Dubcek was in power in 1968. I appreciate the book more now that I have the historical context. I think Kundera is wrong in his statement.


Before researching, I didn't know how involved the USSR was in the everyday lives of Czech People. While reading the novel, Kundera focused on the characters' personal struggles while placing Russian influence in the background. The influence of the USSR troops seemed as though seemed little in connection to the grand scheme of everything and the only place in the novel where it seemed pertinent was during the time when Tomas lost his job due to his remarks made about the Soviet troops. However, after researching I learned that the troops affected almost every activity for the Czech people. Not only did the USSR censor literature, but also movies, films, and basically anything anti Communism. The goal of the troops seemed harmless enough on the surface being to make society better and equal for everyone. Yet the ends didn't justify the means because the troops didn't even fulfill the goal they so hoped for in the first place and ended up destroying the lives of many people for ultimately nothing in the end. Overall, I think it is interesting to look back on that point in history where a desired paradise lead to the decimation of many lives through the taking away of freedom and livelihood.

Communist Censorship Past & Present

In discussing censorship of literature, film, and protests this week in the Humanities' projects, I realized a connection between the Communist party's influence in Russia during the 1940's and China present-day. In several groups' presentations, the Russian party was depicted as being an oppressive force over Czechoslovakia after their liberation from German forces. This led to the resentment of Communist leaders (Stalin) during the time because they were initially seen as "heroes" to the Czech people, but quickly became as dominant and controlling as Hitler and the Germans. However, propaganda distorted the reality of the situation in Czechoslovakia which connects to Kundera's portrayal of kitsch in his novel. Present-day, this relates to the Communist party in China regulating the content of social media outlets to "squelch news that might put its governance in an unfavorable light." See the attached link for the full article on China's restrictions of their internet.


During the research for my project, I found it very upsetting how none of the writers got to have a voice at the time. Having to leave your own country just to be able to write is insane to me. I applaud Milan Kundera for sticking up for his beliefs because it could not have been easy to leave his country and have all his works banned. He probably lived in the fear of being arrested for writing against the communist regime. I cannot even imagine how he must've felt. I understand why many authors chose to not write against communism because I personally would've been too scared to. It is very sad that censorship is still going on today in some parts of the world.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Our discussion the other day about characters trying to find their paradise in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" gave me a new potential perspective on the novel. If Tereza, Tomas, Franz, and Sabina live their lives in order to achieve their own version of Paradise, then are they that different from the Communist regime that oppresses them? All of these people and groups try to implement a plan of action to find the most idyllic way of life. Tereza marries Tomas because he represents a higher way of life for her, Franz divorces his wife for Sabina, Tomas has his concept of body and soul and the rule of threes, and Sabina's betrays and flees constantly. All of these  o supposed means of achieving Paradise, though none of these actually are successful. If the reader takes an introspective look on him or her self, he or she can most likely find examples of trying to find personal paradise in their own lives. Therefore, the philosophies of "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" can influence the reader's life and perhaps change their perspective in a way unique to this novel.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Bailey's post about Kitsch's ideas on authenticity was very intriguing. Sabina's distaste for bodily functions is somewhat hypocritical. Not only, according to Kitsch, it is inauthentic, but considering her familiarity with the human body, she should be used to its functions. Kitsch's ideas on inauthenticity, go against the views of the general population. Most people would prefer not to discuss orgasms or excrement but according to Kitsch, accepting these ideas are essential to being authentic.


The idea of The Unbearble Lightness of Being is interesting to me. Tomas is the perfect example of "lightness" being a burden. Because he has no attachments, he has created an elaborate system of "erotic friendships" which, while they seem like a good idea, weigh him down when he falls in love with Tereza. His lack of attachment becomes a burden to him. Tereza on the other hand is burdened by her over attachments, and must force herself to overcome them. Her extreme aversion to her body is one that plagues her throughout the novel and she must learn to become light. 


I think kitsch is a very interesting idea because when you think about it, it is very disappointing that society cannot accept certain aspects of our lives. Every single person does things that are "gross" but everyone does them so it shouldn't be so unacceptable to talk about. I completely understand why Sabina rebels against everything that has to do with kitsch. She wants to be an individual and not be told what to do.

Oedipus Comple

I enjoyed discussing Tomas' comparison of the communist regime to Oedipus. Oedipus as a tragedy is very interesting. Oedipus as a character is forced to deal with the guilt of actions that's he was predestined for. While the communist regime was obviously not predestined to occupy Czecholslovakia, the two situations still parallel one another. The communist regime ruled over many people and destroyed all freedom of expression. Oedipus killed his father and then as King ruled over his people. The just like Oedipus, the communist regime committed horendous acts due to their ignorance. However, Tomas contrasts the two situations by pointing out that the communist regime feels no guilt for the otrocities they have committed and poses the important question:Does ignorance equal innocence?
Throughout the novel, it is very apparent that Tereza and Sabina are very different. Tereza is very protective of her body. She tries to equate love to sex, so she only has sex with people she loves. Meanwhile, Sabina sleeps around. She does not equate love and sex. She's very free with her body. Tereza settles down with Tomas, but Sabina leaves as soon Franz tries to get serious. Tereza wants commitment, but Sabina is afraid of it. However, over the course of the novel, Tereza transforms. She has an affair with the engineer and likes it. From then on, she does not equate love with sex and becomes more like Sabina. She doesn't sleep around as much, but she is more free.

Kundera's Opinon

Throughout the novel, Kundera debates with the reader on whether it is better to live life in terms of lightness or weight. Kundera never decides on which is better, but I believe that he favors weight. One aspect that lead me to suspect this, is that Kundera mentions that life is novelistic, such that it shares aspects of fictional novels. Many people use the term "novelistic" to mean fake or made up, because it is associated with fiction. While the stories in novels may be made up, or fictional, they are similar to real world experiences, which is why they are so relatable to the reader. Kundera defends this concept and says that there are many of the same moments and experiences in the real world. This shows that Kundera believes the world has meaning, and favors weight over lightness.

A Little Love Goes a Long Way

In Kundera's final section, Karenin's Smile, Tereza and Tomas face the difficult realization that their beloved dog, Karenin, is going to die. Being a current pet owner myself, I know the amount of love an animal can provide. My little Yorkie, Callie, is one of my best friends because she constantly shows me affection which I reciprocate to her as well. Any animal lover and owner knows that having an animal be in your care requires you to be responsible, attentive, and caring towards your pet's needs (food, water, love, etc.). Kundera points out in Part 7 that "Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test [...] consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals" (pg. 289). I believe this statement perfectly explains how animals under human care are totally reliant on their owners to provide them with the care they need. Animals cannot communicate with humans, so they are dependent on all mankind to still love and care for them without being able to say what they need. Having a pet pass away is one of the hardest deaths to cope with. In certain situations, an animal can be seen as another member of the family (I know this is very true for my family & Callie). Below I have attached a video & article from Inside Edition that depict how a little love for an animal, can ultimately go a long way in their life and signify how strong of a bond animals and their owners form.

Internal Struggles

Throughout Kundera's novel, one of the main characters, Tereza, struggles to define her self-worth and obtain confidence in her body and individuality as a woman. This battle is specifically depicted in parts 2 and 4 which focus on the dichotomy between body and soul. I believe Tereza's insecurities are relatable to all women in today's society. Due to social media, people every day are able to post what is happening in their lives. This has allowed for women across the globe to share their struggles with body image, relationship turmoil, and family problems which Tereza also faced in the book. Below, I have attached a link to an article that describes a young woman's weight loss story as she documented it for roughly a year on an Instagram account. In today's society, so many women have to battle with their self-confidence because they don't like what they see when they look in a mirror. I think this reflects Tereza's struggle to accept herself in the eyes of her mother, Tomas, and her mirror. I believe the overlap in both scenarios shows how a fundamental part of the human experience is finding one's value and place in the world (and ultimately trying to love oneself) which I think is one of Kundera's main points in his novel.

Friday, August 26, 2016


I really enjoyed learning about the philosophy and history behind the book. Learning the history of Stalin and the USSR take over of the eastern world. Stalin's policy of totally orthodoxy (and normalization later) makes sense in the novel. These policies are reflected when Tomas is asked to write a retraction letter or lose his job. He ultimately loses his job because he refuses to bow down to communism. Later, when the petition is published, the press focuses on its negatives rather than what the petition actually stated. This is an example of how to government censored and controlled the press. I like learning about the history behind the novel because it helps us better understand the setting.

History's influence on Kundera

Kundera frequently references the 1968 Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia in "The Unbearable Lightness of Being," but history has a definite impact on the entire scope of the novel. Even though Kundera specifically denounces the claim that history has influenced his work, there is an evident correlation between his life and the events of the novel. For instance, he was driven from his own country and forced to live in France. His works were even banned in Czechoslovakia for a time. This parallels to how Tomas had to flee from Czechoslovakia, and how he was not allowed to continue his profession of being a doctor. In this way, Tomas and Kundera are very similar. The freedom of expression in the novel, such as Tereza's job photographing protests, relates to the time in 1968 where Czechoslovakia had more freedom of press and self-expression such as art and film. These freedoms were restricted with the 1968 Russian invasion and the establishment of Communism. Therefore, I believe that history not only influences the characters, but also Kundera's perspective. This is good because it helps Kundera blend reality and fiction.


Heidegger's idea of authenticity and unbearable lightness of being is kind of grim in my opinion. Saying that life has no meaning is very discouraging. I do like the idea of being honest with yourself and living your life "authentically" but I think that life does have some sort of meaning. What that purpose is, I have no clue. I just think it'd be hard going through life thinking that you are pointless and that the world will be the exact same without you. I think Heidegger went in the right direction trying to make the idea of the unbearable lightness of being less grim by adding the idea of authenticity, but I also do think that someone can be a good person and make mistakes without having "bad faith".

Monday, August 22, 2016


Nietzsche's concept of the ubermensch, or overman, creates an ideal way of life according to his beliefs. This way includes living life in the moment by embracing uncertainty and getting rid of necessity. The most interesting part of this theory is that this way of life contradicts the most common tenets created throughout time. Most works intended to guide the human race to achieve greatness involve being morally correct by planning actions beforehand and debating cause and effect. Therefore, ubermensch is an unconventional approach to directing human life. This unearths Nietzsche's rejection of God/ religion, science, and truth because these items are traditional methods and concepts that people tend to use to guide their lives. 

Nietzche's Beliefs vs Christianity

I thought it was very interesting to learn about Nietzsche's take on Christianity because it was very nontraditional, but he made such good points to back up his ideas that it was hard to argue with. He explained two basic morals - one of the master and the other of the slave. The master morality is very self-involved and based on the will to power. The slave morality is all about generosity. The slaves feel resentment towards the master so they make themselves feel superior by saying that because they suffer in life now, they will be rewarded in the afterlife while their masters will suffer in hell. Nietzsche says that the master morality is superior because they are living happily and doing whatever they want for themselves without a care in the world. Because Christianity is all about doing good for others and being self-sacrificing so you will be rewarded in the afterlife, Nietzsche says that Christianity comes from the slave morality which is inferior; therefore, Christianity is inferior. He asks, what's the point of suffering for your whole life when you can live your life happily and enjoy it?


Nietzsche talks about ways that we can endure the idea of recurrence. He talks about how we must be very well disposed to our lives as well as ourselves in order to be able to withstand the idea of eternal recurrence. If we can achieve this, we will desire nothing more than to live this same life over and over again. But in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Kundera states at the bottom of page 298 that man cannot be happy because of the fact that he longs for repetition. The fact that time is not a circle is what causes man unhappiness, not the fact that it is. This seems to be a large disagreement between Kundera and Nietzsche. What do you guys think?

Nietzsche and Eternal Return

I enjoyed learning about the concept of eternal return and "amor fati." In order to be happy with eternal return, you must accept and love your fate. I think its an interesting but true concept. If you are miserable in your life and want it to end, you would obviously be distraught when you found out that life is cyclical and will basically never end. Eternal return is a concept for happy people, not depressed people. That makes me wonder why Nietzsche came up with it. For what we've learned so far, he seemed to be a friendless and sickly. Why would he come up with the concept of eternal return if his life was miserable? Perhaps maybe he wasn't depressed, but it seems like no one would want to relive the kind of life he had. It is interesting to me that a person like Nietzsche would come up with concepts of eternal return and amor fati.

Saturday, April 30, 2016


My favorite style of painting is surrealism along with Miro and Dali being my favorite artist (I'm going to forces on Dali for this post though). What I love about Dali is his hyper realistic paintings with very unrealistic subject matter. I don't want to anatlize one of his works though because the surrealist were not meant to be understood since they were representing dreams that were only interpreted by those who dreamed them. I love with fact about surrealism because it really makes it as though the painter is painting for himself and not for the public... Maybe to me it makes the work more pure. 


I am definitely going to use Beloved as one of the pieces to prepare for the AP exam. Beloved by Toni Morrison is full of essential details regarding slavery that are not normally discussed. It brings a new perspective to the situation especially to different cultures. The character Beloved is an extreme representation of the past continuing to come up regardless of how long ago it occurred. This is important because it shows how the concept of slavery will never just go away. It impacted so many lives and like Beloved, it will come back from the "dead".

Andy Warhol

In class we were talking about Warhol's paintings and how they might be commenting mass consumerism. I read a book about different celebrities and the different disorders they had and one of the celebrities was Warhol and he was a horder. My interpretation of his art work, purely from reading about his disorder and the type of worthless things he "collected," that his paintings are another way for him to find an outlet from his disorder. Again I am not a doctor 

Just a thought

Back to Beloved, I want to talk about Paul D. There is one moment in the novel where Paul D is having a flashback and he recalles one woman being nice to him after he escapes his imprisonment. He remembers that instead of the women letting him stay with her and making him sleep on the coach or the shed, she offers him a bed with cotton sheets. I found this particular part very powerful because Paul D say he was about ready to cry from her offer and interpreted it as it is the first time he is offered a bed like any human being, so therefore he is now considered a human being because he has freed himself from slavery. 


 Hi there everyone, I decided to create my own post rather than commenting on someone else's for this last post of the year.  I'd like to discuss what her favorite assignments/units of the year were.  In English class my favorite story that we read was Candide. I found it's hilarious plot entertaining and absolutely loved watching the play in class. In  humanities my favorite unit was studying renaissance art. Something about my Italian heritage and just the beauty of the art made that entire unit enjoyable for me to presentation and ultimately studying for the test. Special thanks to Mrs. Quinet and Ms. King to making me a better student during all of those 90minute periods  over the past 9 months.  I'm so glad that I took Humanities/AP English IV as it has better prepared me for college than any average English class would.

Monday, April 25, 2016


When I was in Boston this past weekend I started thinking about the future and all of us going off to different cities and states for college. Boston was an entirely new world - it was completely unlike what I am used to down in good ole' Old Metairie (don't get me wrong, though, I loved the city) When I was there and I was forced to think about my future, I became nervous - one day we'll develop a life different from the life we have now. We'll be different people - ones who have matured and experienced the world around us, we'll know new people and develop new connections, etc. Who knows what the future has in store for us! Right now, we know where we're going to college next year, but what is going to happen when we're there? We might think we have an idea of what is going to happen next, but we truthfully have no clue. We will always remember growing up in Louisiana, but one day we might find ourselves living in California or Florida based on the paths and opportunities we chose to take. Some of us are going to school closer to home and others are going farther so while we might all have differing circumstances and opinions, a real fact we must acknowledge, whether we want to or not, is that we are growing up and we're entering the real world faster than we could've imagined. I can't believe I'm beginning my last week of high school, I can't believe I had my last plate of STM red beans and rice today, I can't believe senior chapel is only 4 days away, I can't believe after 4 years that I'm turning in my last papers and completing my last high school assignments. I remember being a freshman and going to my first senior chapel, waiting for the day that I would finally be able to do that with my class and would finally be able to ring the bell after waiting 13 years. Now that it is here, everything seems so surreal and I wonder where all the time went.

Saturday, April 23, 2016


I really like the connection that is made in the book between Buddha and Saleem. Buddha searched for his purpose and enlightenment for so long and has difficulty finding these factors. Saleem also knows that he has a larger purpose in life and he can't quite figure out what it is. Finally Buddha acquires this enlightenment that he has been searching for by meditating under a tree and realizing the Four Noble Truths. It also seems that Saleem reached a kind of enlightened state in a sense when his memory is wiped out by the bomb. He is then able to reinvent himself without the ties to his family and past. I found it to be a very interesting religious comparison.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Nuclear Bomb

When we learned about the backdrop of Hinduism behind Midnight's Children, it brought up a vague memory for me. I remembered that a nuclear scientist in the Manhattan Project once quoted "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds," a line from some ancient Hindu scripture, when he was asked how he felt about the Trinity project (the first nuclear weapon detonation test in the world) years after the experiment.

So I looked it up, and the scientist happened to be J. Robert Oppenheimer, who said in a TV interview:
We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, 'Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.' I suppose we all thought that, one way or another. 
Besides the brilliant insight into the development of nuclear weapons, I was surprised to find out that the quote was from the story in the Bhagavad Gita that we learned about in Humanities and thought it was cool that I know exactly what he was talking about.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ultimate Reality

Today in class, we talked about how post-modernists don't believe that there is a specific ultimate truth. According to them, there are multiple realties for each situation. These ideas reminded me of the discussions that we've had in religion about differences between Hinduism and Buddhism. One of the major differences between the two religions is the fact that in Hinduism there a ultimate reality of everything and one essence. In Buddhism, they argue that there is no ultimate reality and that things are constantly changing over time. Buddhists back this up with the three marks of existence. It is a very confusing concept but it reminded me exactly of these conflicting ideas.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Saleem's Ransom Note

I thought the way Rushdie wrote how Saleem composed his note to Commander Sabarmati was incredibly clever. Saleem got the letters for his note from pieces out of newspapers and each sentence he used referenced something political going on. The note was assembled from fragments of relevant history and current events in India and Pakistan, which is literally what Midnight's Children is based on. After Saleem tells us how he gets the letters for the note, he goes on to say how he rearranges history when he glues the note - another very creative move by Rushdie! Because Saleem rearranges history when he tells us his story and India's story, constantly confusing dates and events. Then Saleem tells us how he played "Murder in the Dark" and slips the note inside Commander Sabarmati's uniform. Notice the name of the game...because there is actual murder as a result of Saleem placing the "lethal" note in the Commander's jacket. I really appreciate Rushdie's creativity!

Violation of Privacy

There's definitely something really cool about being able to read someone's mind - who wouldn't want to have this power like Saleem? But thoughts are better left unread. All someone truly has to himself/herself is his/her thoughts - what goes on in our heads cannot be accessed by anyone else unless we put it on paper or we express what we're thinking out loud. Mind reading violates our privacy. I though Saleem abused his powers when he used them to find out what his crush, Evie Burns, was thinking in order to see what he had to do to get her to like him. It is so invasive and unfair. Not to mention, a mind is a terrible thing to read. As much as I would like the ability to read minds and find out what people honestly think about, I might end up regretting it... There are a lot of people out there who have disturbing thoughts, to know the truth about what people think of me, to look inside someone's thoughts and experience their guilty pasts, etc... it is all very uncomfortable to think about.

This is irrelevant, but as I read the part about Saleem not being able to read Shiva's mind, I thought about Edward not being able to read Bella's mind in Twilight lolol


I went to TCU this weekend to see some friends and the school. As most of you know, I have been set on LSU since I was a fetus. That hasn't changed, I am very excited to be attending Louisiana State University in the fall, but I do wish I kept somewhat of an open mind before deciding. Being at TCU was so interesting, it was my first time being at a college campus that was not LSU. I got there friday at about 1:30 so I had time to see classrooms, students, and I met some professors. I did not go on a scheduled visit, my friends brought me around I just thought it was so interesting seeing a different school. I could not be happier with my decision of LSU and I think I would have chosen LSU no matter what, just looking back on it, I wish I visited more places. Does anyone else wish they would've visited more colleges or done anything differently during their college searching process?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Tear Drops

One scene in the book that keep playing over and over in my head and a constant battle on whether or not I like the Brass Monkey, is when the Monkey beats up Sonney. That whole scene was so vivid in my head, I could just picture Sonney bunched up in a ball with beefy swimmers towering over him and kicking and punching over and over again and poor Sonny just crying his eyes out because all he did was love. For the importance of this scene, I am not sure, other than it being incredibly disturbing. The only thing that I can think of, but sounds like a stretch, is a relation to the language riots. The language riot is all about how the language said indian loves is the one they one to be prevalent, but there are multiple groups who want the same thing, so they beat each other up about it. The Brass Monkey and Sonney both have different view on love so the monkey beats him up with her swim gang.

French Quarter Beggars

I was walking in the French Quarter today and I saw your typical beggar on the side of the street. I noticed that a lot of them had dogs and I got really sad, but seeing them also reminded me of the beggars in Midnight's Children. Wee Willie Winkie wanted to break Shiva's legs in order to get people to want to donate more money to them; likewise, I felt that most of the beggars in the quarter bring their animals so people will feel upset for the animal and thus give more money. If you think about it, there is definitely something very corrupt about this system - tugging at people's heart strings for more donations and using someone innocent (like a dog or your injured children) to gain something. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Women Leaders

Today in class, Mrs. Quinet said something that stuck with me. She was talking about Indira Gandhi and she said "It was weird because her husband died and she was not tied to any man at that point except for the fact that her father was Nehru." I thought that it was interesting that a woman had to be tied to a man to mean something. But if you thought about it, Indira Gandhi did so much for India as a country. She did all of this without a man by her side and did it very well. She reminds me of Queen Elizabeth. Even though the current queen of England has a husband, she is the one you always hear about. Both of these ladies are strong leaders who did great for their country. I just hate that women always need to be compared to the men they are with when women can shine all alone.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Definition of Nation

The other day in class we discussed what exactly it means to be a nation. They split up the territories of India based solely on their languages. Is that what it should be based on? Nations are thought of as one shared culture. Language is definitely a major aspect of a culture. In some ways, this split could be thought of as more understandable than if the territory was actually just split up by natural divisions such as rivers. It's hard to define what makes a nation a nation. My younger sister came home from school the other day with a paper that had the pledge of allegiance on it. However, each word that would be considered tough for a second grader had a flap and under the flap was a simpler and more understandable word. The world for nation was simply country, but as we discussed in class, there is so much more to the meaning of nation than that. What do y'all think it means to be a nation?

Passing On Your Story

I was listening to a song in the car yesterday and the lyrics were "I'm well acquainted with villains that live in my bed / They beg me write them so they'll never die when I'm dead". It reminded me of the whole point of the story of Midnight's Children. He is writing the story in order to pass it on to the readers and share his story. That way when he finally "falls apart" his story will still live on. This song lyrics by Halsey is saying that these "villains" want her to write about them so that when she dies their beings will live on. This has been the main purpose of the past few stories that we've read so it immediately clicked in my mind as extremely relevant.


Throughout the entirety of Midnight's Children, Salem is meant to represent India. Upon the language march, there is definitely a parallel between this situation and Saleem. Saleem has to hear the many different voices in his head and he has no choice about that. Just as he must hear these many voices in his head, the Indian government and India in general must hear the many languages of the protestors in this march. This is yet another way that Saleem represents India as a whole. The government would probably rather not hear the protesting voices but they have to. Just as Saleem has no choice but to hear the voices of others and of all of the midnight's children who also represent India.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Taj Mahal

Today in class Mrs. Quinet was discussing the Taj Mahal and I thought I would look up some background on this amazing building. So here it goes! The building was commissioned in the year 1632. It took more than 20 years to build the whole complex. It was built of white marble on the bank of the Yamuna river. This amazing structure was built to house the tomb of Shah Jahan's dead wife. The whole complex cost about 32 million rupees, the indian currency, which equals about 52.8 billion rupees today, or about $827 million today. I just thought it was interesting that this amazing building was built such a long time ago.