Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In Character

Eric Cartman: I believe this character has had a tremendous influence on American Culture even if some may disagree. Cartman is an extreme reality check for a lot of people. Sometimes, things get excessive or are much too dramatic (The swearing for example) but this is also a window into what the world is actually like. Although most parents would never admit it, their 7 year old, 8 year olds, whatever, have dropped a few swear words and the outrageous things that Cartman does (Although gross exaggerations) are not unfamiliar to the real world. He may provoke some behavior, but in reality, he’s an 8 yr old that mirrors what the world is like, full of racism, discrimination, swearing, and obscene stuff.

Jack Bauer: This character has had a really strong influence in society. He’s the kind of hero in the modern day world, the hero people can identify with. His choices have consequences and sometimes there’s never a good choice, just a better one. The old times showed a character saving the day and coming out of it with close to nothing, if anything, loss. Jack is the brute, realer hero that also so many identify with as the “secret US agents” we have abroad. He’s hope in a time of crisis and a scared audience and brings thrills and suspense to a once frightened country.

Frodo Baggins: This man, half the size of us humans, has revolutionized the way people think of heroes. This old story written back in like the 50s was recently resurrected in the early 21st century came back with a bang. Winning Best Movie along with other titles and grossed an amazing amount of revenue showed how popular it was to the viewers. The one with the most crucial role, the one who’s gone through hell in back, isn’t the King or his valiant companions but a small, frail, small town hobbit. He carries a burden like none other and fights through many perils. The viewers like to identify with him because he’s a different kind of hero; he proves that the heroes are not only the big strong men in the world but that every day people can rise to the call as well.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Stories for children are very important to their development into teenagers and adults. Short stories are modeled to teach children the difference between good and wrong, the proper way of acting, and life lessons that influence their behavior and guide their actions. These stories offer hope and excitement to the children they are read to because it exposes them to a new world outside their comfort zone.

I think for the majority of teens in high school, the stories they read are not stories they read for fun or because they want to but because they are “forced” to in order to receive a good grade. Though, there are a few who do enjoy reading and absorb the material and come out of it differently than before. Myself, for example, I’m not much of a reader and I do legitimately read when I need to but never for fun. Recently though, after reading the literature that I have during this school year, I’ve learned a couple of lessons or two that do in fact apply to my life and these connections I’ve made have actually inspired me to maybe pick up a book for fun and enjoyment, outside the requirements of school.

I remember, as a child, reading some of the classics. The three little pigs, Cinderella and Snow White (Saw them on TV even though I feel they’re kind of girly), and there were probably some other big titles that I just can’t think of. These stories were fun, showed me a world outside my own, but one day, during my very young days of being about five year old, maybe four, I remember reading one story in particular that changed me. It was, The Little Engine That Could, the story was one of perseverance, struggles, and endurance as the train overcame the obstacles in his way and made it up the hill. That story taught me to never give up and keep on pushing especially during times of extreme hardships.

Stories should include the following to be as great as they can be: 1) A strong character exemplifying desired skills or traits, 2) A central theme with which the readers can identify or warp to fit their own, 3) A non abstract problem or conflict that’s easy to identify and connect with, 4) Repeating the problem at hand to keep the story focused, 5) A solution to the problem that teaches the readers or shows them something they should get out of it, 6) Possible antagonist that clearly separates themselves from the protagonist and shows what is “good” or desirable and what is “bad” or wrong, 7) A life lesson for the reader to apply to his/her life if the occasion arrived. Focusing on the character development, they don’t need to be fully developed in a sense. You don’t need to know every single detail to understand who that person is but a good author should include enough for the readers to figure out what kind of person he is and why he does things the way he does. As readers, we should be able to pick up on this character development and take away something from the story that we haven’t from another that is useful towards application in the real world or allows for greater insight into that which the author tries to convey within the story.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Wonders of Our World

All my life and today, still, I want to travel across the world. In my lifetime I’ve been to about 6 other countries and there’s still a lot of the world I wish to see. Places like Asia and Europe are continents I haven’t set foot on yet and I’d love to see places like France, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Ireland, Greece, and even the Czech Republic when he gets safer. All the Asian countries as well seem very cool and interesting like China and Japan, Indonesia, and maybe India. People always claim to want to visit different parts of the world but most of the time they don’t even know why; they just want to be able to. I enjoy seeing old historical things like the homes of Pablo Neruda in Chile, South America and the ruins down in Mexico. In Asia I can see all the really cool Monk/ Buddhist Temples and the magnificence of the countries. I like going back to seeing what life was like in the past, the Pyramids ( and the ruins of ancient cultures truly amaze me and draw me in. There are a lot of things in this world to be explored and they’re loads of fun. But, even with all these adventures I know it’s important to be safe in the other countries. I have to watch what I eat and drink nothing except bottled beverages and what places I visit. There’s many ways to easily be sick and in places like Africa I have to be really careful that if I visit that continent I watch for disease carrying mosquitoes that can deposit parasites into my body. There’s a lot of culture, art, and different atmospheres that these countries have to offer and also, maybe I’ll pick up on the languages a little because knowing as many different languages possible.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Poetry Critique

To Help the Monkey Cross the River,Thomas Lux
which he must cross, by swimming, for fruits and nuts, to help him I sit with my rifle on a platform high in a tree, same side of the river as the hungry monkey. How does this assist him? When he swims for itI look first upriver: predators move faster with the current than against it. If a crocodile is aimed from upriver to eat the monkey and an anaconda from downriver burns with the same ambition, I do the math, algebra, angles, rate-of-monkey ,croc- and snake-speed, and if, i fit looks as though the anaconda or the croc will reach the monkey before he attains the river’s far bank, I raise my rifle and fire one, two, three, even four times into the river just behind the monkey to hurry him up a little. Shoot the snake, the crocodile? They’re just doing their jobs, but the monkey, the monkey has little hands like a child’s, and the smart ones, in a cage, can be taught to smile.

The reason why I chose “To Help the Monkey Cross the River,” by Thomas Lux was for various reasons. The first that even led me to open up the poem was the title itself. The title seemed interesting and fun and I wanted to check it out. The poem rhymed here and there which was fun to read and the light mood and almost comical story told by it. The title describes what the poem is telling the readers and seeing the word monkey in the title of a poem seems to always be an eye catcher. One of the things that first jumped out to me was rhyme, and the lack of it. At certain lines the author would make rhyme where as other lines he wouldn’t. The rhyming seems to be used primarily to end an idea with an “ah ha” kind of moment. Like an extra something that shows he’s proven his point and successfully told his story. Also, the monkey for the author may be a metaphor to people. Things are always pestering us and bothering us and sometimes we can be oblivious to everything around us like the monkey to the predator and even with someone guiding us or helping us they can’t do everything for us. At the end when he says, “...and the smart ones, in a cage, can be taught to smile,” the author communicates that only when settled down and taught how to act/behave can we be “smarter” as the monkey who learned to smile. The tone is light and playful but the words are chosen carefully. There’s no shift in the poem because the narrator is steady and still like most people patiently waiting with a gun and looking to aim for targets(in this case snakes and crocs). The words are simple, shorter words, and minimal alliteration help the poem also run at a face pace removing deep and emotional effects from the poem. Though I do not know much about the poet, the poem seems more like an observation of a monkey in it’s surroundings with someone over top watching over him and a practical application to humans.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Writing Territories

1. As a reader, my favorite kind of literature to read with out a doubt is Novels/ Short Stories. Fiction rather than non-fiction but some non-fiction novels like Miracle in the Andes, is a really well written story and is based on a true story. When writing, my favorite things to write are not plays and poems but short stories and novel type stories as well. I find this type of literature to be the most entertaining and intriguing. I’m not much of a writer at heart so besides typing to chat to people online and miscellaneous things here and there, writing isn’t too big of a part in my life. I really enjoy writing and/or reading mysteries, horror/ suspenseful stories, and action packed stories. The occasional drama isn’t too bad but sometimes it feels a bit slow.

2. One of the places I’d love to visit would be Japan or China. I really like the ancient culture embedded in those countries. From the origin of karate and the discipline and skill involved to the samurais of the past, the rich culture and scenic views all around China are well worth a trip. I have heard many things about those two countries; ancient Buddhist Temples, beautiful oceans, the famous little rafts with people selling things going down the rivers, and the country side is awesome. I’ve also heard how Japan has the bullet train which is the fastest on the earth and they also have the world’s largest building. I realize that in places like China, life isn’t very easy for everyone and there is plenty of instability and poverty but the country seems like an overwhelming breath of fresh air from the constant same routines and sights here in Minnesota. I’ve traveled several times out of the country and I love visiting those places and have seen my fair share of poverty and I’m not “shocked” by it and I rather see the true side of a country and fully experience it than just visiting the tourist attractions.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Play Response

1. After writing my play, I came across many difficulties but some things turned out great. Probably the hardest thing about writing the play was keeping in mind the limitations of the “set” and staying true to a play drama and not being like some new movie director. But the nice thing was that even with those limitations; the play came out more creative than it may have otherwise. I doubt I’ll ever want to do this when I grow up but it wasn’t a bad assignment at all.

2. Growing up today’s world seems very hard for any person especially a 10 year old. The biggest thing for a 10 year old to focus and be aware of is the internet and the media. Every day people are exposed to high amounts of media and now with technology becoming much more integrated into every day life even at 10 years old a child becomes fairly well acquainted with the internet. You have to watch out because there are a lot of bad things on it but use it to your advantage and grow intellectually and culturally with the access to a limitless source of knowledge.

3. There’s so much literature out in the world and so many people love some works while others don’t care for it or despise it that I find it difficult to pin point why some are as “great” or beloved as they are. I don’t think it’s because the work is so good that everyone loves it but that the author was/is talented enough to make people remember what they write and love it. There are thousands of Greek texts but we only read certain ones during school. It’s kind of a band wagon effect I believe. 1 person really likes it, has someone else read it but already influencing them and so on until as many people like or love or whatever the piece of writing that is being revered. I could never imagine writing something like The Odyssey not because I don’t want to or am a horrible writer, it’s that I don’t have the passion or skill for writing that is required to create a piece of writing such as that.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Themes of life in our plays?

1. A theme is what a piece of writing is about. It could be as simple as boredom or as complex as puberty. Our stories reflect these themes and what we write about or how we write it is the best way in which these themes can be expressed while staying true to the story. Most great pieces of literature have themes and I think it’s important for all pieces to have one, however minimal. Look at any great piece of writing, works such or Shakespeare and Mark Twain teaching their readers lessons and morals through stories or events that stay true to the story but descriptively and cleverly express those themes. The Adventures of Huck Finn, for example, shows the evil side of racism and society and how it can be overcome by the friendship of a young boy with a man both looking for freedom. Some may disagree and feel that themes limit how you can write or what you write but in reality, the challenge makes the writer’s work stronger and much better than it would have been otherwise

2. A theme I might consider communicating in my play, is an old one, yet strong and powerful in meaning. Vengeance, it’s a nasty human feeling we as humans get that can lead to arguments, broken relationships, anger, and even violence such as wars. Vengeance in my story is going to be my secret weapon that I can use as structure for plotting out the events in my play and how I will describe them so they show vengeance as a motive for whatever being done. Of course, other themes will be present but this theme will root out to all these other themes and all be connected giving a fuller, richer, story to be told

3. A topic I’m considering about writing for my play is going to be like a war of some sorts and the events in the life of one of the war generals. I’m not sure if I will base this off a real war and if I did, I’m debating whether or not to use the names of real people during those times or generate fictional characters. I’ll probably make fictional characters to be able to freely depict them as I want them to appear and connect their struggles with the ongoing war and their hunger for revenge