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.