Saturday, April 29, 2017
Not only can we ask ourselves this question about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's role in the failed trap against Hamlet that leads to their death, but it is also a question that they ask themselves multiple times. For instance, after they realize that they are on the boat heading to their death, they debate if they ever had a choice not to follow the messenger's call. They conclude that there must have been a moment when they could have said no. Even when they are on the boat, they could have left and fled, but instead they carry out the modified letter, even though it announces their death. Rosencrantz still cannot make his own decision and simply lets fate guide them, regardless of if he will die or not. Therefore, they had a choice, but their choices would not have changed anything because they still must follow the script of Hamlet.
The actual act of watching the play made it a lot less confusing for me. Because it is a play, it is meant to be seen, not to be just read. The movie seemed to add more aspects of scientific inquisition, such as the hanging pots as Newton's cradle and an apple falling from a tree. I think that this added to the visual sense of how Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are lost and try to find meaning and direction in their lives. Another interesting aspect in the movie version are the papers blowing across many scenes. The papers represent the script, but it could be either the script of Hamlet or of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. I think it makes more sense that it would be the script of Hamlet, because Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are obviously restricted by the original script of Shakespeare's play.
Friday, April 28, 2017
I thought Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead was very interesting, and very different from any play I've ever read. Before reading the play I was curious as to how a whole play was written based off of two extremely minor characters from another play. Stoppard masterfully structured the play to portray the two characters who exist simply through what is written about them in Hamlet. Overall, it is an interesting and effective way to comment on existentialism by Stoppard. R & G spend the whole play searching for meaning which they never find. Stoppard seems to also be saying that humans push forward to death, trying to give themselves meaning before it comes, but do have no right to be afraid of death, as no living person knows what it entails.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
I think that the art pieces I covered in this unit resonated a lot more with me than past units. The critiques of the way mass media affects society are very much still relevant today. For example, the feminist arguments that many of the pieces provide still provide great commentary today. Other pieces, like the Barbara Kruger piece included in this post, are very good critiques of consumer society and are still very relevant today.
Thursday, April 13, 2017
In the unit of Post-Modern Art, Pop Art seemed stray the most from traditional art and those pieces from Modern Art. Pop artists often would just reconstruct something from pop culture, or even arrange basic objects into art. Pop Art was defined by Richard Hamilton as being popular, transient, expendable, low cost, mass-produced, youthful, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, and the product of big business. It surrounded pop culture and was a critique on commercialism and mass production. It proved how infatuated people were with celebrities and mass produced items. Andy Warhol was known as the leader of the movement for his paintings of items such as coke bottles and Campbell Soup Cans.
Post-modernism differs from modernism in that it satirizes the seriousness of modernism by making use of irony. Modernism was more of a time for worshiping elite culture and acting superior and refined. Post-modernism was a reaction to this elitism and was enhanced by a more far-reaching media platform. It also carries a need for the viewer to interpret what the subject makes them feel and draw their own conclusions that differ from the ideas of others. It is less of the modernist belief in rationality and intellectualism and more of a satirical view of society.
As skyscrapers became more prevalent in cities around the world, architects sought out ways to make them stand out from other skyscrapers, while at the same time maintaining functionality. A building that is so high must has a certain amount of adherence to code and regulations, so architects were often limited in their ideas. Architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright used angled exteriors to allow rooms to be less uniformed and confined. Also, the Seagram Building, built by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe and Philip Johnson is unique because it has an open bottom level and is basically on stilts. Therefore, you can walk completely under the building and it is more aesthetically pleasing and even has space for some gardens. The invention of ferroconcrete, concrete strengthened by wire and iron, allowed building to have more shape and protruding elements.
I liked the art for this unit. It was fairly recent and I recognized a lot of the pieces I saw. I really enjoyed Persistence of Memory by Dali. I see that painting everywhere. It's very interesting. It's kind of dream like. It has some optical illusions too. I also like Pop art, which is still relevant today.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
I hope y'all enjoyed your independent study books. I honestly couldn't put mine down, I enjoyed it so much. I spent all my time backstage during the play reading it. The thing I liked most about it was that the world the novel takes place in is just as interesting as the plot itself. The characters were all likable, and there were several twists that I just didn't see coming; it was very suspenseful at points. This is honestly the best book I have ever read. I hope y'all had a similar experience.
The existential belief came to fruition during WWII because of a disenchantment with the way things were because of harsh conditions and high death rates. France did not incur these conditions as prevalently as other countries because they did not put up much of a fight and simply let themselves be occupied. French citizens felt weak because of their country's decision, which developed into a strong form of existentialism.
Friday, April 7, 2017
Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre have a unique relationship in that they share similar existential beliefs. They were also soulmates and intellectual partners. Therefore, they shared the same existentialist belief that females are forced to lie because society makes them do so. This allowed their relationship to be more open and very different from other relationships at that time. It is interesting that these two people that share the same beliefs are actually an example that helps prove their point.
Thursday, April 6, 2017
At one point in No Exit, Garcin bangs on the door and it opens up to him, but neither he, Estelle, or Inez make any effort to leave. Just a moment before, Garcin said that he would endure any physical torture if he could escape the mental agony cause by being alone in the room with the two women, but he proves himself wrong by not acting. Instead, he says that he wants to stay in order to convince Inez that he is not a coward and that his sin was unjust. This would go against the existentialist belief that we make our own choices and are defined by how we act because he is trying to put the blame on someone other than himself. Therefore, he is living in bad faith, just like Inez and Estelle. I think that since they somewhat know each other, they would rather be together in the room for eternity than venture out into the unknown of hell. It is clear that even in hell, they had a choice of whether or not to leave, and most likely decided upon the cowardly choice.
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Toni Morrison ends Beloved in a very interesting way. On the last page, she repeats the phrase "It was not a story to pass on" twice and separates it by spacing it out of the paragraph. I like how this double meaning can signify two opposite things. Does Morrison wants us to not pass on the story of Beloved and the suffering of the collective African-Americans? Certainly not, instead, we must read it as "it was not a story to pass on," as in everyone should read it. We can easily see how passing on in terms of distributing the story of Beloved might be undesirable because of the supernatural and unfair consequences brought about by slavery, but I think that Morrison wants us the remember the sufferings of the slaves and learn from the past instead of forgetting it.
Beloved and Things Fall Apart are visibly connected in the way that they include the past culture of African society. Beloved does so in a more reminiscent form, where as Things Fall Apart utilizes first hand details and the lead up to the arrival of colonial imperialism and the subsequent activity of slavery. To me, the concept of the ogbanje is most directly linked to the two. One of Okonkwo's wife's, Ekwefi, is cursed by an ogbanje. In Beloved, Sethe can be interpreted to be plagued by an ogbanje because of Beloved, who seemingly comes back from the dead. This goes to show that after becoming free in the United States, African-Americans still relied heavily on their past culture.
For my independent study book, I am in the process of reading Catch 22 by Joseph Heller. This book is unique in that it not only constantly critiques war society, but also does so in an unconventional method. Many conversations between characters have a cyclical pattern and are very repetitive. Characters seemingly change opinion and perspective midway through the conversation. Most likely, the opposite of what you would be believed to expect happens. This reoccurring theme enhances the critique of war because it proves the inevitability and uselessness of war.