Sunday, December 9, 2012

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller


GENERAL
1. Briefly summarize the plot of the novel you read, and explain how the narrative fulfills the author's purpose (based on your well-informed interpretation of same).

The play begins with Willy Loman returning to his house in Brooklyn after a failed sales trip. Linda, his wife, asks him to talk to his boss, Howard Wanger, about working in New York so he wouldn’t have to travel. Willy and Linda argue over their son Biff who, according to Willy, has yet to make something of himself. Willy departs to the kitchen as Biff and his younger brother, Happy, reminisce about their younger years. As Biff and Happy, dissatisfied with their lives, dream about buying a ranch out West, Willy begins to daydream. In Willy’s daydream he praises his sons, children in the dream, for washing his car. Still in the dream Willy confides in Biff and Happy that he is going to open his own business one day, even bigger than his neighbor’s, Charley. Charley’s son, Bernard enters looking for Biff, and Willy comments that although Bernard is smart, he is not “well liked”. A younger Linda enters and Willy boast about his hugely successful business trip. Linda, however, is able to coax out of him that the trip was only meagerly successful and soon he won’t be able to make payments on their appliances and car. From nowhere Willy hears the laughter of his mistress, which leads him off on another daydream, this time off her.
Willy soon fades from the daydream of his mistress back to his prior dream. Willy begins to fade from daydream to daydream and eventually shouts at his daydreams. Happy attempts to calm Willy down but Willy continues to shout. Willy begins to shout his regret about not going with his brother, Ben, to Alaska. Charley enters and they begin to play cards. Charley offers Willy a job but Willy refuses feeling the offer was more of an insult. Willy then imagines Ben entering and telling him he must catch the train soon to go to Alaska. Confused, Charley questions Willy who intern yells back at him. Charley leaves and Willy begins to slip off into daydreams once again.
Linda finds Willy outside and Biff and Happy begin to discuss Willy’s condition with their mother. Biff and Happy offer to take Willy to a nice restaurant that night.
The scene changes to Willy and Howard in Howard’s office. Willy tries to talk to Howard about working in New York and Howard, who appears rather uninterested, rejects the idea. Willy launches into a lengthy rant about Dave Singleman, a legendary salesman. Howard leaves with the remark that Willy should take sometime off and as Howard leaves the younger Linda, Ben, and Biff enter each talking of past events. Ben leaves and Bernard rushes in, eagerly awaiting Biff’s big football game. Charley enters to tease Willy about the game and Willy chases him off. The lights dim on this portion of the play.
Charley’s secretary asks Bernard to quiet down the still yelling Willy. Charley enters and sees Bernard off. Willy asks money that Charley usually loans him and Charley, again, offers Willy a job. Willy again takes this as an insult and again refuses.
Biff and Happy are chatting up girls at Frank’s Chop House and Biff tells Happy that he waited six hours for Bill Oliver and Oliver didn’t even recognize him. Biff wants to clear up the illusion that he was a salesman for Oliver but at that moment Willy enters and blurts out that he had been fired. Happy cuts in with remarks suggesting Biff’s success, and Willy eagerly waits good news. Biff yells at Willy for not being able to listen and again Willy drifts off into a dream. Only once Biff claims that he might be receiving money from Oliver and his partner does Willy return to reality. Biff becomes more irritated and shouts at Willy and in return Willy hits Biff. Biff and Happy argue about their father till both of them leave.
A flash back arises with Willy and his mistress flirting. A knock at the door causes the mistress to hide in the bathroom. Biff enters telling Willy that he failed math. Willy tries to usher him out but when Biff imitates his math teacher’s lisp the mistress laughs and Biff uncovers the affair.
Back again in the Loman kitchen Happy enters looking for Willy. He finds Biff and Linda and Linda begins to scold the boys, slapping away Happy’s flowers. She yells at them for abandoning Willy and Biff leave to find Willy. Biff finds Willy planting seeds by flashlight and supposedly talking to Ben about a $20,000 proposition. Biff brings Willy inside and Willy once again becomes angry over Biff’s failings. Happy attempts to calm Biff but Biff and Willy erupt into a full blown argument. Everyone in the house hold eventually goes to bed except Willy who renews his conversation with Ben. Linda calls out to Ben and all anyone can hear is Willy’s car speeding away.
Linda and Happy stand in shock after Willy’s poorly attended funeral. Biff states that Willy had the wrong dreams and Charley defends Willy as a victim of his profession. Biff invites Happy to go out West with him but Happy decides to stay in New York. Linda asks Willy for forgiveness for being unable to cry. She beings to sob, repeating “we’re free….”
  
2. Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. Avoid cliches.

The theme of the novel is the failure of the American Dream. Willy believed whole-heartedly in it and it inevitably causes him nothing but dispair.

3. Describe the author's tone. Include a minimum of three excerpts that illustrate your point(s).

The tone of the play can be considered gloomy and rather depressing. Willy’s hallucinations and the tendency of the play to take place either at night or in the rain contribute to this tone.

4. Describe a minimum of ten literary elements/techniques you observed that strengthened your understanding of the author's purpose, the text's theme and/or your sense of the tone. For each, please include textual support to help illustrate the point for your readers. (Please include edition and page numbers for easy reference.)

· Symbolism – “What the hell is that seed?” (pg 127) Seeds are Willy’s attempts to prove his worth. His last ditch attempts to grow vegetables at night symbolizes his shame of not being able to provide for his family.
· Foreshadow – “From the darkness is heard the laughter of a woman.” (pg 37) The laughter of the woman is foreshadowing the laughter of Willy’s mistress with betrays him to Biff.
· Allusion – “Smell the stink from that apartment house!” (pg 17) The apartments are an allusion to the early days of urban development in New York and sets the time period of the play
· Characterization – “He is past sixty years of age, dressed quietly.” (pg 12) Throughout the play stage direction and descriptions are offered to the actors but not the audience. A view of how the writer views his own characters.
· Conflict – “Don’t you care whether he lives or dies?” (pg 123) Willy’s conflict is with himself and his hallucinations but this causes secondary conflicts that the rest of the Loman family must deal with.
· Epilogue – “Linda doesn’t react. She stares at the grave.” (pg 136) At the end of the play a requiem is written in. It acts very much like an epilogue providing information about after the end of the play.
· Euphemism – “Ah, it’s a dog’s life.” (pg 99) This is used to express the same level of distaste as more fowl language.
· Foreshadow – “The Woman enters, laughing.” (pg 116) Nearly every hallucination in the play is a flashback to a period in Willy’s life where he was much happier than he is currently.
· Point of View – “The curtain rises.” (pg 1) The fact that this is a play complete with stage direction and instructions to the actors makes it that you, as a reader, is something other than the audience. The actors act, the audience watches, and we read as more of the director of the play who knows exactly what is happening.
· Tragedy – “I can’t cry.” (pg 139) I’m not sure if this play is considered a tragedy but it certainly seems like it is.

CHARACTERIZATION
1. Describe two examples of direct characterization and two examples of indirect characterization.  Why does the author use both approaches, and to what end (i.e., what is your lasting impression of the character as a result)?

Direct

“…she more than loves him, she admires him…” (pg 12)
“He is past sixty years of age, dressed quietly.” (pg 12)

Indirect

“I’m tired to death.” (pg 13)

“I’m the New England man.” (pg 14)

Direct and indirect characterizations have different purposes in this work because it is specifically a play. The direct characterization is meant for the actors so that they could imitate the character and the indirect is meant for the audience during an actually production of the play.

2. Does the author's syntax and/or diction change when s/he focuses on character?  How?  Example(s)?

When the author focuses on a character description in this case it is generally through stage direction not in actually dialogue of the play. So the diction and syntax become much simpler and more directed towards specific people, the actors.

3. Is the protagonist static or dynamic?  Flat or round?  Explain.

I feel like the protagonist is a static flat character. It doesn’t seem like their character values really change over the course of the play nor does it seem like Willy, the main character, have the full gambit of characteristic that a person should have.

4. After reading the book did you come away feeling like you'd met a person or read a character?  Analyze one textual example that illustrates your reaction.

I feel like I have read a character but that is not it is poor characterization. It is because it is a play, meant to be acted in front of an audience by actors, not so much read like a novel. The actors bring the character to the characters, not the piece of literature itself.

“The curtain rises.” (pg 1)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens


GENERAL
1. Briefly summarize the plot of the novel you read, and explain how the narrative fulfills the author's purpose (based on your well-informed interpretation of same).

The story begins with Pip, a young orphan living with his sister and her husband in Kent, sitting in a cemetery looking at his parents’ tombstones. A convict jumps up from behind a tombstone, grabs Pip, and orders him to bring him some food and a file to break his chains. Pip obeys. The convict is soon captured and during the capture the convict claims to have stolen the items himself, protecting Pip.
            Pip is taken by his Uncle Pumblechook to the Satis House, home to Miss Havisham. During the visit Pip meets a beautiful young girl named Estella, who only treats him coldly. Pip falls in love with her anyway and dreams of becoming a gentleman and winning her heart. Pip’s hopes are eventually dashed after Miss Havishman decides to help him become a laborer in his family’s business.
            Under Miss Havisham’s guidance, Pip is apprenticed to his brother-in-law, the village blacksmith. Pip works unhappily in the forge while trying to get an education with the help of Biddy and Orlick. One night Mrs. Joe, Pip’s sister, is attacked. Pip suspects that Orlick is responsible for the attack. One day a lawyer arrives with the news  that a secret benefactor has given Pip a large fortune and Pip must come to London to begin his education as a gentleman. Pip assumes that Miss Havisham is his secret benefactor and she intends for him to marry Estella.
            In London, Pip befriends Herbert Pocket and Wemmick. Pip expresses his disdain for his former friends and loved ones but continues to pine after Estella. Pip learns under Matthew Pocket, Herbert’s father, and learns edict from Herbert. Pip and Herbert live a fairly undisciplined life in London. Orlick arrives in London as Miss Havisham’s porter but is quickly fired when Pip reveals Orlick’s past. Mrs Joe dies and Pip goes home for the funeral. Several years pass and the convict reappears randomly. The convict, named Magwitch, turns out to be the secret benefactor, not Miss Havisham. He reveals that he was touched by Pip’s boyhood kindness and dedicated his life in Australia to making a fortune so that Pip can become a gentleman.
            Pip feels morally bound to help Magwitch escape the police and his former partner in crime, Compeyson. A mystery begins to evolve as Pip discovers that Compeyson abandoned Miss Havisham at the alter and Estella is Magwitch’s daughter. As revenge for Compeyson’s actions Miss Havisham raised Estella with a special talent for breaking men’s hearts.
            Before Magwitch’s escape attempt, Estella marries an upper-class man named Bentley Drummle. Pip visites the Satis House once again, where Miss Havisham begs for his forgiveness. Miss Havisham’s clothing catches fire later that day, she survives but becomes an invalid. Pip is called to the marshes near Kent where he meets Orlick once again. Orlick nearly kills Pip when his life is saved by Herbert. Pip and Herbert attempt to sneak Magwitch down the river but are discovered by the police. Compeyson, who tipped the police off, fights Magwitch and Compeyson drowns.Magwitch is sentenced to death, Pip looses his fortune and falls ill, Joe comes to London to care for Pip, Orlick is sent to jail, Miss Havisham dies and leaves her fortune to the Pockets.Pip goes with Herbert abroad to work in the mercantile trade. After many Pip returns and encounters Estella in the ruined garden of the Satis House. Pip finds that Estella’s husband treated her badly (he is dead) and her coldness has been replaced with kindness. The two leave the garden hand in hand.
  
2. Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. Avoid cliches.

The theme of Great Expectations is Ambition and Self-Improvement. That affection, loyalty, and conscience are more important than wealth or class.

3. Describe the author's tone. Include a minimum of three excerpts that illustrate your point(s).

Charles Dickens tone in Great Expectations is somewhat reminiscent of a diary or journal. Basically a reflective, remorseful story of Pip’s life. Like that of an old man reflecting on his childhood.

4. Describe a minimum of ten literary elements/techniques you observed that strengthened your understanding of the author's purpose, the text's theme and/or your sense of the tone. For each, please include textual support to help illustrate the point for your readers. (Please include edition and page numbers for easy reference.)

·      Point of view – “My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, I called myself Pip…” (pg 1) Pip establishes himself as the narrator and helps the audience to understand the tone.
·      Tone – “At such a time I found out for certain, that this bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard…” (pg 1) This establishes the early bleak tone and though it changes throughout the novel this is a good example.
·      Characterization – “She seemed much older than I, of course being a girl, and beautiful and self-possessed; and she was as scornful of me as if she had been one-and-twenty, and a queen.” (pg 46) All the characterizations that occur in the novel are the opinions of Pip helping to add to the novel’s overall tone.
·      Setting – “I strolled into the garden and strolled all over it. It was quite a wilderness, and there were old melon-frames and cucumber-frames in it, which seemed in their decline to have produced spontaneous growth of weak attempts…” (pg 77) Dickens uses the settings to add to the overall tone of passages, this one for example adds to the dispair of the Satis House.
·      Symbolism – “…was brought here. It and I have worn away together.” (pg 76) Here Miss Hayisham refers to the cake as being her in rather blatant symbolism.
·      Foreshadowing – “Well? You can break his heart.” (pg 50) This is a taste of the character of Miss Havisham and her story. Also it foreshadows Estella’s character and actions as well.
·      Irony – “’There's Matthew!’ said Camilla, ‘Never mixing with any natural ties, never coming here to see how Miss Havisham is!’” (pg 75) This is ironic because Matthew is one of the only people who truly care for Miss Havisham and not her money.
·      Antithesis – “So new to him; so old to me; so strange to him; so familiar to me.” (pg 47) This is used to highlight the differences between the old Miss Havisham and the young Pip.
·      Allusion – “When will you come to London?” (pg 122) London referenced many times in the narrative as it is in many other works.
·      Simile – “He looked in my young eyes as if he were eluding the hands of the dead people…” (pg 5) Dickens uses similes to add to the descriptive nature of the novel.

CHARACTERIZATION
1. Describe two examples of direct characterization and two examples of indirect characterization.  Why does the author use both approaches, and to what end (i.e., what is your lasting impression of the character as a result)?

Direct

“A fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on his leg.” (pg 1)

“Though she called me ‘boy’ so often, she was of about my own age.” (pg 49)

Indirect

“Well? You can break his heart.” (pg 50)

“’I do not,’ returned Miss Havisham, ‘I am yellow skin and bone’” (pg 73)

It would appear that Dickens uses direct to paint a picture of the character’s physical appearance and then use indirect to show how the characters act and the measure of their character.

2. Does the author's syntax and/or diction change when s/he focuses on character?  How?  Example(s)?

The authors syntax and diction become more descriptive when describing characters. The novel seems to be based around getting to know the characters and forming attachments to them and Dickens does a really good job introducing you to them.

3. Is the protagonist static or dynamic?  Flat or round?  Explain.

The protagonist, Pip, is defiantly dynamic and round. He is dynamic because his views change many times throughout the novel and it is especially obvious because the narration changes with him. Pip is round because he has all the characteristics you expect from a person, not just one or two.

4. After reading the book did you come away feeling like you'd met a person or read a character?  Analyze one textual example that illustrates your reaction.

I feel like I’ve met an actual person, which is a first from the books I have had to read in my Literature class. Pip is an actual person relaying his memoirs to me and the rest of the audience.

“…I call myself Pip…” (pg 1)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thinking Outside the Box

Plato and JeanPaul Sartre both wrote extended metaphors about...well essentially hell. Plato wrote is his "Allegory of the Cave" that ignorance is bliss but in the overall scheme of things ignorance becomes hell. Sartre wrote in his "No Exit" that simply "Hell is other people."

Plato's thinking that the choice to give up the pursuit of knowledge and stick with ignorance is easy. This choice leads you to stay in ignorance for the rest of your life, hell if you will, since it is all you know and care to know. Plato used metaphors, symbolism, and figurative language to describe his allegory and convey his message.

Sartre, on the other hand, was a little more direct with his theme. "Hell is other people." Sartre straight up told us what the message was. He also uses some symbolism and figurative language much like Plato but in the end he left nothing to chance in leaving interpreting the theme to the audience, might as well just tell them incase.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Allegory of the Cave Sonnet


The Greek philosopher Plato once wrote
Of some men who spent their time in a cave,
A prison in a location remote.
Some stayed, in ignorance, till their grave
While others left to explore the world.
There are some who feel ignorance is bliss
Others wish for knowledge to be unfurled,
Leaving the cave is a chance they won’t miss.

Knowledge or ignorance it is your choice,
To turn from the cave or be released.
To leave is to follow your own voice
To stay is to let free thought be deceased.
When you decide to stay or to leave
Make sure to think long and hard, choose wisely.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Plato Study Questions



1. According to Socrates, what does the Allegory of the Cave represent?

2. What are the key elements in the imagery used in the allegory?

3. What are some things the allegory suggests about the process of enlightenment or education?

4. What do the imagery of "shackles" and the "cave" suggest about the perspective of the cave dwellers or prisoners?

5. In society today or in your own life, what sorts of things shackle the mind?

6. Compare the perspective of the freed prisoner with the cave prisoners?

7. According to the allegory, lack of clarity or intellectual confusion can occur in two distinct ways or contexts. What are they?

8. According to the allegory, how do cave prisoners get free? What does this suggest about intellectual freedom?

9. The allegory presupposes that there is a distinction between appearances and reality. Do you agree? Why or why not?

10. If Socrates is incorrect in his assumption that there is a distinction between reality and appearances, what are the two alternative metaphysical assumptions?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

From Sonnets From Space

Here is me reciting a sonnet from Sonnets From Space by George Motisher so I don't have to do it in class. The quality is a little bad, I was using the video camera on my Mac, it's the best one I've got.

video

Monday, November 12, 2012

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck


GENERAL
1. Briefly summarize the plot of the novel you read, and explain how the narrative fulfills the author's purpose (based on your well-informed interpretation of same).

Of Mice and Men is about two migrant farm workers, George and Lennie. George and Lennie are traveling to a California farm to find work. Overcome with thirst, they decide to stop and set up camp for the night. Quickly it becomes obvious to the audience that Lennie, a giant of a man, is mentally disabled and deeply devoted to George, a smaller sharp man. Even though Lennie is much bigger than George, Lennie depends on George for protection and the two have a deep friendship. Lennie is obsessed with petting small fuzzy things the only problem is that usually he ends up killing the fuzzy things as shown when George catches Lennie petting a small dead mouse. Both Lennie and George share the dream of buying their own little portion of land and, to Lennie’s delight, keeping rabbits.
         The next day George and Lennie arrive at the farm ready to work. George does must of the talking, telling the boss that him and Lennie are cousins and Lennie was kicked in the head as a child. They are hired and meet the rest of the farm hands. Candy, an old handyman, Curley, the boss’s mean-spirited son, Slim, the ranch’s high authority mule driver, Carlson, another farm hand, and finally Curley’s newly wed flirtatious wife.  Curley’s wife flirts with George and Lennie and George warns Lennie to stay away from here.
           The next day George confides in Slim, telling him Lennie and his story and how they were driven out of the last town because Lennie was accused of rape. Slim agrees to give Lennie one of his puppies. Slim agrees with Carlson on putting down Candy’s ancient dog and getting a puppy. Slim goes off to the barn to do some work and Curley, who maniacally searching for his wife, heads after him to accost him. Candy overhears George and Lennie discussing their plans to buy their own plot of land and offers to throw his life’s savings into the plan if he can live on the land too. Slim and Curley return from the barn with Slim berating Curley for his suspicion, Curley is engulfed in rage and chooses Lennie as his target. Lennie easily crushes Curley’s hand and Slim warns Curley that if he tries to get George and Lennie fired, he will become the laughingstock of the farm.
         Next night, the farm hands go to the brothel and Lennie is left at the farm with Crooks and Candy. Curley’s wife comes by and flirts with them. She notices Lennie’s injures and infers that Lennie is responsible for Curley’s injuries. The day after Lennie accidentally kills his puppy. Curley’s wife consoles him and tells him of her dream of becoming a movie star. Lennie tells her that he loves soft things and she lets Lennie touch her hair. Lennie grabs her hair too tightly causing her to cry out. Lennie silences her by breaking her neck.
         Lennie runs away from the ranch to the pool that he and George camped at before they arrived at the ranch. The men put together a lynch party and set out to kill Lennie. George finds Lennie and comforts him, telling him about their farm they will buy in the future. As the lynch party approaches, George shoots Lennie in the back of the head. George tells the men that he wrestled the gun from Lennie and shot him. Only Slim understands and consolingly leads him away.

2. Succinctly describe the theme of the novel. Avoid cliches.

The two themes of Of Mice and Men are the impossibility of the American Dream and the idealized male friendship. By the end of the novel almost every character confides that they had a dream once that they were forced to give up on therefore the impossibility of the American Dream. As for the ideal male friendship George and Lennie stick together as much as possible and the other men of the farm wish to come together in a way that would allow them to be like brothers.

3. Describe the author's tone. Include a minimum of three excerpts that illustrate your point(s).

The tone has a realistic feel to it. The author tells it how it is and this is shown the most in the way that dialogue is written in the novel. “It ain’t so funny, him an’ me goin’ aroun’ together.” (pg 37) The improper speech “tells it how it is”.

4. Describe a minimum of ten literary elements/techniques you observed that strengthened your understanding of the author's purpose, the text's theme and/or your sense of the tone. For each, please include textual support to help illustrate the point for your readers. (Please include edition and page numbers for easy reference.)

Foreshadowing – “I could pet it with my thumb while we walked along.” (pg 5) Lennie’s obsession with petting things, and eventually killing them, is foreshadowing the demise of Curley’s wife.

Symbolism – “Why’n’t you get Candy to shoot his old dog…” (pg 33) The death of Candy’s dog and the death of Lennie are one and the same. The death of an innocent character.

Imagery – “…walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws.” (pg 2) The description of Lennie equating him to a bear.

Setting – “A few miles south of Soledad…” (pg 1) This sets the setting and the culture of the characters.

Dialect – “I ain’t sure it’s good water.” (pg 3) The dialect establishes early on the type of characters and the culture of the area.

Conflict – “Come on ya big bastard. Get up on your feet. No big son-of-a-bitch is gonna laugh at me. I’ll  show ya who’s yella.” (pg 59) The conflict between Curley and Lennie sets up the plot for the climax and the resolution of the novel.

Internal Conflict – “No, Lennie. I ain’t mad. I never been mad, an’ I ain’t now. That’s a thing I want ya to know.” (pg 101) George face an internal conflict on what to do with Lennie. Lennie is his friend and George cares deeply about him but Lennie is dangerous and killed Curley’s wife.


Oxymoron – “His name’s Lennie Smalls.” (pg 20) This one is quite clear. His name is Smalls yet his is described as a lumbering oaf of a man.

Simile – “ …in and out of the beams flies shot like rushing stars” (pg 16) In this novel similes are used to help describe the setting and also to describe the characters in a manner that catches the readers’ attention.

Microcosim – Truthfully I couldn’t find a proper quote for this one. Every sect of society can be found on the ranch. The mentally challenged, the black man, the old man, the cripple, the woman, they’re all here in a single location.

CHARACTERIZATION
1. Describe two examples of direct characterization and two examples of indirect characterization.  Why does the author use both approaches, and to what end (i.e., what is your lasting impression of the character as a result)?

Direct

“The first man was small and quick, dark of face, with restless eyes and sharp strong features.” (pg 2)

“…a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide sloping shoulders…” (pg 2)

Steinbeck uses driect characterization to set up the initial appearance of the characters and this allows readers to infer nonphysical characteristic of the characters.

Indirect

“Red and blue and green rabbits, Lennie. Millions of ‘em.” (pg 15)

“Sure I gotta husban’. You all seen him. Swell guy, ain’t he? Spends all his time sayin’ what he’s gonna do to guys he don’t like…” (pg 74)
In contrast to how Steinbeck uses direct characterization, indirect characterization is used to bring up nonphysical characteristics of the characters.

2. Does the author's syntax and/or diction change when s/he focuses on character?  How?  Example(s)?

“…a huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes, with wide sloping shoulders; and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little, the way a bear drags his paws. His arms did not swing at his sides, but hung loosely.” (pg 2)

When Steinbeck focuses on characters his syntax and diction take on a more descriptive style. He uses similes and metaphors a lot more than he does during the rest of the novel.

3. Is the protagonist static or dynamic?  Flat or round?  Explain.

The protagonist, George, is a static character because his values and point of view does not really change. His situation changes to a point where he can no longer protect Lennie.

4. After reading the book did you come away feeling like you'd met a person or read a character?  Analyze one textual example that illustrates your reaction.

“His name’s Lennie Smalls.” (pg 20)

I feel like I read a character. Nothing really stood out to me that made me feel like I’ve met anything more than just a character. There was no emotional connection.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Big Question

Everyone has a "Big Question" that they want answered. For some it is philosophical questions like "who are we?" or "what is art?"and for others it is things the that they wish they could do like "can I time travel?"My question is, I guess, a little bit like the latter because I hope to be a part of answering it. My question is "What is the future of space travel?" 

The modern solid rocket thruster has put man on the moon and sent probes across the solar system but now isn't it time for something new? I like to consider myself a man of science so I pose the question in a serious manner. Science fiction has always had us believe that we can travel faster than light even though currently it looks to be impossible. So with that faster-than-light travel off the table, what else can we try? Worm holes are another suggestion, little short cuts you can take across space. The best way I can explain worm holes, with my limited understanding, is a piece of paper. Traveling across it to get from point A to point B would be business as normal while folding the paper in half so A and B are closer together would be going through a worm hole. Or we can forget worm holes and try to travel by microwaves. Firing microwaves from a station at a "sail" of a spacecraft to propel it through the cosmos. Or maybe ion engines shooting ions out the back of the spacecraft to get forward momentum. 

I may never get to know what eventually happens between man and the cosmos, discoveries relating to space travel may not happen anywhere near my life time, but it is my hope that I can help to solve the question that plagues my mind: "What is the future of space travel?"


Halo

I just finished the campaign for the most recent of the Halo video games, Halo 4, and I have to say the stories that these games tell rival some of the best novels I've read. Not just Halo but so many games being developed in recent years tell better stories than movies that have come out in recent years. I will not spoil anything about Halo 4 since many are still waiting to play it but I have to say I believe it has the best plot of any video game I have ever played.


Sonnet Analysis Part I


Well I decided to change my sonnet here because well frankly Hamlet wasn't exactly cutting it for me. I chose this sonnet from SONNETS FROM SPACE By George Motisher instead because it reflect me a lot better than Hamlet did.

The universe is mostly empty space, a fact quite predominate in this sonnet. The sonnet is basically reaching into that question that many of us ask each other: "Have you ever wondered why we're here?" We spend our time on this planet creating art, music, and literature, but what affect does this have on the universe at large. We sit in the edge of the galaxy lost in the universe so what can we do? As a person? As a species?



Between the galaxies so far apart,
Among the stars and planets of the night,
There’s emptiness to give our souls a fright,
To leave us with a vacuum of the heart.
Although we call in space with words and art,
We try to beam our thoughts to cast a light,
And send our love to make the blackness bright;
The unmapped darkness still leers from our chart.
There’s so much emptiness, it goes beyond
Our dreams, our hopes, our hearts so overfull;
Few lights reflect across the endless pond
Of space, so infinite, and past our pull.
Though love, I’ve heard, can last eternally,
Can it fill up a bleak infinity?



Monday, November 5, 2012

fall vocab #11

Affinity - A spontaneous or natural liking or sympathy for someone or something
Bilious - Affected by or associated with nausea or vomiting
Cognate - Having the same linguistic derivation as another; from the same original word or root
Corollary - A proposition that follows from (and is often appended to) one already proved
Cul-de-sac - cul: a passage with access only at one end
Derring-do - brave and heroic feats
Divination - The practice of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means
Elixir - A magical or medicinal potion
Folderol - Trivial or nonsensical fuss
Gamut - The complete range or scope of something
Hoi polloi - The masses; the common people
Ineffable - Too great or extreme to be expressed or described in words
Lucubration - Study; meditation
Mnemonic - A device such as a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something
Obloquy - Strong public criticism or verbal abuse
Parameter - A numerical or other measurable factor forming one of a set that defines a system or sets the conditions of its operation
Pundit - An expert in a particular subject or field who is frequently called on to give opinions about it to the public
Risible - Such as to provoke laughter
Symptomatic - Serving as a symptom or sign, esp. of something undesirable 
Volte-face - About-face: a major change in attitude or principle or point of view