Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Characterization of 1984 by George Orwell

1. Two examples of indirect characterization are Winston's journal entries, where he writes his inner most thoughts. This is the beginning of his first entry:

April 4th, 1984. Last night to the flicks. All war films. One very good one of a ship full of refugees being bombed somewhere in the Mediterranean. Audience much amused by shots of a great huge fat man trying to swim away with a helicopter after him, first you saw him wallowing along in the water like a porpoise, then you saw him through the helicopters gunsights, then he was full of holes and the sea round him turned pink and he sank as suddenly as though the holes had let in the water, audience shouting with laughter when he sank.

Another good example is Winston's reaction to the pictures of Big Brother. "Even from the coin the eyes pursued you." Winston feels hunted, he feels like he is being watched (which he is). From this it is assumed that he isn't a brave man nor is he sure of himself with his nervous manner.

Two examples of direct characterization come just after Winston's first journal entry. "He wondered again for whom he was writing the diary." and "He was a lonely ghost uttering a truth that no one would ever hear." Winston is thinking about his future, with his normal bit of gloomy-ness I might add, and in this reflection he states quite clearly that his future is hopeless.

2. Orwell's syntax and diction do change when it comes to the characterization of Winston. The novel is partially written in a narration style that seems unbiased. The setting and other character seem quite normal and descriptive language is used to paint a fairly good picture of the world but when Winston is being described or Winston's point of view is being used as narration the writing style shifts. When Winston's point of view is assumed the world seem gloomy, hopeless, full of despair. The word choice of Orwell also changes from descriptive language to more philosophical and contemplative sort of language.

3. Winston Smith is a dynamic character as in his ideals change throughout the novel. When Winston is taken to the Ministry of Love he experiences a host of tortures designed to alter his thought process and to essentially brain-wash him. Besides this transformation, however, the changes in Winston as a character are quite subtle through out the novel. As Winston rebels against the Party his fear increases as does his carelessness. Winston feels that he is sure to be caught no matter what he does and that eventually leads to his downfall. The novel is essentially based around Winston's growth and change as a character.

4. After reading the book I feel like I have read about a character rather than have met a person. It could just be me personally but I feel like Winston's lack of optimism makes me feel like he is not truly a person. Ever since he writes "DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER" he maintains a level of fear while at the same time is careless when it comes to preventing his fear. This does not seem like human nature to me. When we fear something we do all we can to prevent it, Winston does not and that is why he seems more like a character to me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Vocab #7

Aberration: A departure from what is normal, usual, or expected, typically one that is unwelcome
Ad hoc: Formed, arranged, or done for a particular purpose only
Bane: A cause of great distress or annoyance
Bathos: An abrupt, unintended transition in style from the exalted to the commonplace, producing a ludicrous effect
Cantankerous: Bad-tempered, argumentative, and uncooperative
Casuistry: the use of clever but unsound reasoning, especially in relation to moral questions
De facto: Denoting someone or something that is such in fact
Depredation: An act of attacking or plundering
Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of others
Harbinger: A person or thing that announces or signals the approach of another
Hedonism: The pursuit of pleasure
Lackluster: Not shining; dull
Malcontent: A person who is dissatisfied and rebellious
Mellifluous: Sweet or musical; pleasant to hear
Nepotism: The practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends by giving them jobs
Pander: Gratify or indulge
Peccadillo: A small, relatively unimportant offense or sin
Piece de resistance: The outstanding item in a collection
Remand: A committal to custody
Syndrome: A group of symptoms that consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms

Friday, September 21, 2012

Literary Analysis 1984 by Orwell

1. The book is about Winston Smith, a citizen of the nation of Oceania. In Oceania the Party is everywhere. They control everything and see everything. Big Brother, the Party’s leader, even controls the thoughts and languages of the people. Winston dislikes the way the Party works and records his thoughts in an illegal diary. Winston works at the Ministry of Truth, the organization that alters history and facts to fit the Party’s image of a perfect world. Winston receives a note from Julia, a coworker of Winston’s, which reads “I love you”. Their love affair continues for some time until both Winston and Julia are called before O’Brein, a high-ranking member of the Party. Winston and Julia are seized by soldiers and taken to the Ministry of Love where they are subjected to their worst fear until they wish the torture upon their lover. Winston and Julia are released and now feel nothing but love for Big Brother. The author’s purpose was to warn society of the effect that the “perfect” society will have on people and what happens when the government gets involved in our lives.

2. The theme of the novel is the dangers of Totalitarianism. The novel was written in a time when the totalitarian government of communist Russia was looking to expand its power. Essentially the novel warns of the dangers that a controlling government, like the Party, may have.

3. Orwell’s tone throughout the novel would be considered dark, gloomy, and desperate. In chapter eight Winston comments “If there is hope, it lies in the proles.” The proles are the lowest class of the nation of Oceania and for them to be the hope of the nation shows the amount of despair and hopelessness that is present throughout the novel.

v Symbolism – Big Brother is the face of the Party and the symbol of totalitarianism. Big Brother is ever-present in the novel.
v  Irony – The most prominent example of irony is the names of the ministries. The Ministry of Love and the Ministry of Truth are both ironically named since they specialize in destroying what they are named for. The Ministry of Love focuses on the destruction of free love and brainwashing while the Ministry of Truth augments history to fit the vision of the Party.
v Irony (II) – The “Victory Mansions” contain no victory for Winston, in fact there is no victory for anyone in this novel except for Big Brother.
v Irony (III) – I felt that this one had to be added, the Party’s slogan is “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, and Ignorance is Strength.” The sentence itself is quite ironical.
v Personification – The Party is generally portrayed as a person, an all-knowing ever present person. “If the Party could thrust its hand into the past and say this or that even, it never happened – that, surely, was most terrifying than mere torture and death.”
v Repetition – Repetition is used to reinforce Orwell’s ideas throughout the book. “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the future controls the past.”
v Allusion – The phrase “2 + 2 = 5” is used in the novel as one of Winston’s torments. The phrase was the Russian Communist party slogan and appeared throughout Moscow. The phrase was referenced Russia’s second five-year plan.
v Allusion (II) – The Party is a reference to the Soviet Union’s Communist Party of the Cold War Era. The ministries, the torture, nearly everything that the Party represents is from a Western view of Communism in Russia.
v Foreshadowing – Near the beginning of the novel Winston comments on how people would be taken into the Ministry of Love but would then go missing just afterwards. This would similarly happen to Winston later on in the novel.
v Allegory – The piece of glass that Winston carries with him throughout the novel is an allegory for the image of beauty found in capitalist materialism.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

64-82 English Notes

English Notes

     These are my notes for pages 64-82 in my text book.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Vocab #5

Acumen: The ability to make good judgments and quick decisions
Adjudicate: Make a formal judgment or decision about a problem 
Anachronism: A thing belonging or appropriate to a period other than that in which it exists
Apocryphal: Of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true
Disparity: A great difference
Dissimulate: Conceal or disguise
Empirical: Based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory
Flamboyant: Tending to attract attention because of their exuberance, confidence, and stylishness
Fulsome: Complimentary or flattering to an excessive degree
Immolate: Kill or offer as sacrifice by burning
Imperceptible: Impossible to perceive
Lackey: a servant
Liaison: Communication or cooperation that facilitates a close working relationship between people or organizations
Monolithic: Large and characterless
Mot juste: The exact, appropriate word
Nihilism: The rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless
Patrician: An aristocrat or nobleman
Propitiate: Win or regain the favor of someone by doing something that pleases them
Sic: Used after a quotation to indicate that the quote has been transcribed exactly as in the original text
Sublimate: Divert or modify into a culturally or socially more acceptable activity


Some say that if the word has the same beginning letter and the same number of letters than the human brain can recognize the word...lets put this to the test.

Beowulf ond Godsylla
Meanehwæl, baccat meaddehæle, monstær lurccen;Fulle few too many drincce, hie luccen for fyht.Ðen Hreorfneorhtðhwr, son of Hrwærowþheororthwl,Æsccen æwful jeork to steop outsyd. Þhud! Bashe! Crasch! Beoom! Ðe bigge gyeEallum his bon brak, byt his nose offe;Wicced Godsylla wæld on his asse.Monstær moppe fleor wyþ eallum men in hælle.Beowulf in bacceroome fonecall bamaccen wæs;Hearen sond of ruccus sæd, "Hwæt ðe helle?"Graben sheold strang ond swich-blæd scharpStond feorth to fyht ðe grimlic foe. "Me," Godsylla sæd, "mac ðe minsemete."Heoro cwyc geten heold wiþ fæmed half-nelsonOnd flyng him lic frisbe bac to fenBeowulf belly up to meaddehæle bar,Sæd, "Ne foe beaten mie færsom cung-fu."Eorderen cocca-cohla yce-coeld, ðe reol þyng.
Then Hrothgar son of Healfdene asked the awful jerk to step outside

Beowulf and Godzilla

Meanwhile, back at the mead-hall, the monster lurked

Full of a few drinks too many, he was looking for a fight
Thud, Bash, Crash, boom, the big guy
Broke all of his bones, bit his nose off;
Wicked Godzilla wailed on his ass
Monster mopped the floor with all the men in the hall
Beowulf was in the backroom making a phone call
Hearing sounds of ruckus said, "What the hell?"
Grabbed his strong shield and sharp switch blade
Stood forth to fight the grimly foe
"Me," Godzilla said, "Make the mince-meat"
Hero quickly got held with the famed half-nelson
And flying him like a Frisbee back and forth
Beowulf belly up to the mead-hall's bar,
said, "No foe has beaten my fearsome kung-fu."
He ordered coca-cola, ice cold, the real thing

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Hero

     In class today we talked a lot about "the hero's journey". About how nearly every hero in the history of story telling went through somewhat of a similar journey/adventure/quest throughout their story. This leads me to a different question: who exactly is my favorite hero? My favorite super hero's are The Question, Iron Man, and Captain America, but are they truly my favorite heros? No, I would say not.
     I would have to say that my favorite "hero" by far is RC-1136 otherwise known as "Darman". The only problem is that he is one of the few that don't match the mold of the hero's journey. In the hero's journey the hero finds himself up rooted from where he lives, thrown into a world he doesn't know, learns from a wise mentor, and eventually saves the world. Darman does none of this. Darman is from the novel Hard Contact by Karen Traviss, a novel that takes you farther in depth to the world of Star Wars. Darman is a soldier, a clone, born and breed for fighting. In the novel he does just that, fights a war...he doesn't meet some mentor or anything, in fact he doesn't save those he could have in the end. In the end he messes up, makes the wrong choice. Darman is an example of a hero that doesn't take the hero's journey, at least how it is normally defined. The problem is that tradition heroes are not trained for their journey, Darman was....

Vocab List #4

Apostate: A person who renounces a religious or political belief or principle
Effusive: Expressing feelings of gratitude, pleasure, or approbal in an unrestrained or heartfelt manner
Impasse: A situation in which no progress is possible, especially because of disagreement
Euphoria: A feeling or state of intense excitement and happiness
Lugubrious: Looking or sounding sad and dismal
Bravado: A bold manner or a show of boldness intended to impress or intimidate
Consensus: General agreement
Dichotomy: A division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different
Constrict: Make narrower by encircling pressure
Gothic: Of or relation to the Goths or their East Germanic languagePunctilio: A fine or petty point of conduct or procedure
Metamorphosis: A change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by nature or supernatural means
Raconteur: A person who tells anecdotes in a skillful and amusing way
Sine qua non: A thing that is absolutely necessary
Quixotic: Exceedingly idealistic
Vendetta: A prolonged bitter quarrel with or campaign against someone
Non sequitur: A conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement
Mystique: A fascination aura of mystery, awe, and power surrounding someone or something
Quagmire: An awkward, complex, or hazardous situation
Parlous: Full of danger or uncertainty

Monday, September 3, 2012

AP Reading

Well for my AP English Literature class we had to choose a book from the AP reading list to read over the next month or two. I chose 1984, for two reasons. First reason is that I had heard a lot about this book over the years and it sounds like a great read. Second reason it sounds like it is the sort of book that would be right up my ally. A book about Big Brother and the secretive world of the future, sounds like just to buy the book.....