Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams


Literature Analysis Questions

Here are some questions to guide your literature analysis.

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 Glass Menagerie is essentially a flashback of a young man observing the relationship between a mother and daughter who are at odds. 

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

The theme of this play is that family can either build you up or tear you down, sometimes both at once. Relationships are fragile, but they also shape who you are and who you become.

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

"Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve. But I am the opposite of a stage magician. He gives you an illusion that has the appearance of truth, I give you truth that has the appearance of an illusion."

 "This scene is memory and therefore nonrealistic...It omits some details, exaggerates others."

"The transparent wall ascends...does not descend until the end of the play."
Right from the beginning there is an air of irony around this play. Usually a play tells the story as it happens, but this play tells the story AFTER it's already happened. Williams wanted it to be obvious that this play is not like other plays.

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)?

All the characterization in the play is done indirectly via dialogue. It is, for the most part, up to the actor and director of each play to interpret the indirect characterization as the artistic license allows. For example, in scene 2 there is an exchange between Amanda and Laura where Amanda is patronizing Laura. The silences that hang between them give the actors a chance to develop their own character.

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

Throughout the course of the script there are cues for images on screen. These images generally depict a character's back story. An example of this is in scene 6 when Tom talks about Jim and Jim's relationship to Laura.

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

The protagonist is static in the sense that, in "real time" he does not change. However, this story he is telling is the story of him changing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tools that Help Us Think

"Back in 2004, I asked [Google founders] Page and Brin what they saw as the future of Google search. 'It will be included in people's brains,' said Page. 'When you think about something and don't really know much about it, you will automatically get information.'

'That's true,' said Brin. 'Ultimately I view Google as a way to augment your brain with the knowledge of the world. Right now you go into your computer and type a phrase, but you can imagine that it could be easier in the future, that you can have just devices you talk into, or you can have computers that pay attention to what's going on around them and suggest useful information.'

'Somebody introduces themselves to you, and your watch goes to your web page,' said Page. 'Or if you met this person two years ago, this is what they said to you... Eventually you'll have the implant, where if you think about a fact, it will just tell you the answer."

-From In the Plex by Steven Levy (p.67)

Technology can be really creepy sometimes. Seriously.
Remember that old song, Video Killed the Radio Star?
I don't want that to be paralleled by Machine killed the Human Spirit. I think that technology is AMAZING. When I was younger I would just be on Google looking up interesting things for hours at a time (before I discovered Reddit, boo-yah). Google as a tool has opened my mind to a million and one things I never would have learned about otherwise; being able to find things out at the touch of a button has helped me see through others eyes. That's how it's helped me in my thinking. HOWEVER, what Page was talking about sounds a lot like a computer doing the thinking for you. Being completely theater nerdy about this: the arts are already becoming formulaic. They say there are only eleven plots in fiction...but every once in a while, some beautiful piece of cinema will come out and remind us of the magic that was once the silver screen. Or a song will be written. Or a graphic designed. Or a score composed. These things are the very fruit of the human spirit. Consider Shakespeare's work that has transcended the ages and will continue to entrance readers way beyond our generation; whether be he one man or many, plays such as Hamlet capture the very essence of what it is to be human.
Perhaps the technology in our brains is the next step in evolution. I don't know. But I do know that I want to hang on to the individual thinking that makes me alive for as long as possible. The internet is great, but I don't want it inside my head!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Who was Shakespeare?

I'm a notorious theater geek. So, when Shakespeare's name is brought up in ANY way shape or form, I panic. The actor in me screams, "I was never trained for this!" and I start to freak out because I wonder "How will I be able to find my motivation??" and I freak out because I'm Beka, and if I'm good at anything, its freaking out.

The student in me also cringes when they hear Shakespeare, but for different reasons. I think of all the Sparknotes and Wikipedia I will need to use to grasp the most basic of concepts.

However, I think Miss Sarah G may have been the best teacher I've ever had on the subject.With her contributions in class and our conversations outside of, she's been a great helper. It's nice to be in collaborations with people who are passionate about a subject.

Since this week is tech week for John Lennon and Me, its all I can do not to want to fall asleep right this moment.

This may be slightly different from requested, but there was a time last year when I was going on a random Google search about famous bisexuals and homosexuals throughout history (I feel as though every member of LGBT should do this at least once) and found Shakespeare is known for his assumed bisexuality. I'll just link to a few of those website about it now.

To Facebook, or not to Facebook? Dude, how do you even Facebook?

Ah, the grand Book of Many Faces. How I have grown in our time together!

Facebook has taken me from the repressed, under confidant age of thirteen up until just a few minutes ago when I heard a beeping on my smart phone that alerted me of my best friend's changed status. He has just finished watching the television program, "Scrubs." Oh how fun! Now, I can comment on how I also enjoy Scrubs and start referring to different episodes.

Oh look! Then others will reply with THEIR favorite Scrubs quotes. These others could be people I don't even know very well. But, hey! They like Scrubs too! Next time I see them at school I might throw a warm smile in their direction. Or I'll call out a quote from the episode they had mentioned. People may wonder what brought such a strange pair of people together.

The answer, of course, besides being a wonderful television series, is Facebook.

THIS is our generation.

Facebook does, of course, monitor us almost as closely as Big Brother. I may see an advertizement or two related to Scrubs on the side of my wall. Or maybe next time I type in the letters "sc" into my web browser perhaps Scrubs will be the very first thing to pop up.

Are there dangers in this? I'm sure there are.

All I've been hearing about this kind of thing lately is that "Oh! you gotta be careful or else this will happen!" and a lot of complaining about how we are not the audience, we are the commodity.

Well, that may be true. But if it is, so what?

This is the way the world works now. I don't hear anyone suggesting how to revamp it. And at this point, you could forsake the internet on the basis that the government or corporations or the boogy man MAY be counting how many times you use the space bar and could file that information into some void think tank of nefarious purposes, or you could look at the positive and see what things like Facebook for what they really are.

A tool.

A toy, sometimes.

But above all, a tool.

Given what I've learned in the course about Facebook this week....will I return to Facebook?

Well honey, I'm still in a battle of wits with aforementioned best friend. Facebook is still open in another tag.

You can check out, but you can never leave!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mean Girls Vocabulary! Remix, much?

In honor of me getting my ass in gear.

This is something that I've done since the beginning of Sophomore year.

I "remix" my vocabulary by relating each and every single word to the movie that defines my generation.

That's right. I'm talking about Mean Girls. Let the festivities begin!

Abortive: failing to produce the intended result
 Janice Ian's plan to humiliate Regina George was abortive, because she almost lost one of her friends in the process.
Bruit: spread a report or rumor widely
 Karen was known to bruit every juicy piece of gossip she heard.
Contumelious: scornful and insulting behavior
 When the slam book became public, all of the girl's behavior became contumelious and unpredictable.
Dictum: a formal pronouncement from an authoritative source; a short statement that expresses a general truth or principle
 Each girl would step up to the platform and deliver a personal dictum about what they had learned.
Ensconce: establish or settle
 Regina had ensconced a hierarchy of females at the school. 
Iconoclastic: characterized by attack on established beliefs or institutions 
There was an iconoclastic attitude towards other cliques. 
 In medias res: a narrative that begins somewhere in the middle of a story rather than the beginning
 Cady arrived in media res of the the story of Regina George's reign as queen bee.
Internecine: destructive to both sides in a conflict
 The Plastic's relationships to each other were often internecine in times of trial.
Maladroit: ineffective or bungling; clumsy
 The maladroit girl was happy Regina George punched her in the face.
Maudlin: self-pitying or tearfully sentimental, often through drunkenness 
 Gretchen Wieners became maudlin after Regina victimized her.
Modulate: exert a modifying or controlling influence on
 It was easy for Regina to modulate The Plastic's behavior.
Portentous: of or like a portent; done in a pompously or overly solemn manner
 Cady acted portentous as she became more like the Plastics.
Prescience: the power to foresee the future
 Regina was the only one with any prescience to Cady's evolving personality.
Quid pro quo: a favor or advantage granted in return for something 
Cady made a quid pro quo deal that ended with her joining the mathletes.  

Salubrious: health-giving, healthy; pleasant, not run-down
 The salubrious Cady was convinced to join a darker cause.
Saturnalia: the ancient Roman festival of Saturn in December; an occasion of wild revelry
 Cady was able to join the saturnalia after the math competition, where she was able to be crowned queen.
Touchstone: a standard or criterion by which something is judged or recognized 
 The Plastic's talent show performance was always a touchstone for the others.
Traumatic: emotionally disturbing or distressing; relating to or causing psychological trauma
 Getting hit by a bus was traumatic for Regina.
Vitiate: spoil or impair the quality or efficiency of; destroy or impair the legal validity of.
 The friends vitiated Regina's body by feeding her calteen bars.
Waggish: humorous in a playful, mischievous, or facetious manner
Kevin G performed a waggish and jocular rap at the talent show.

getting my ass in gear.

I feel like I started out this year so strong.
Now, I'm lucky if I can motivate myself to turn in two thirds of my assignments every week.
 What was it? A feeling that none of it matters? Is it because ive resigned myself to the fact community college is my only option because my mother wont help me with anything else? Is it because AP microeconomics is just way over my head?

This morning a good friend of mine, Mackenzie, saw me sulking to English class and said "Hey, cheer up, English is like your god given talent!"

Oh yeah.

And THEN Preston calling me out on my online laziness in class...It's like the universe is declaring that I need to get my priorities straight.

I've decided im better than half-assed work. Therefore, let today be the day I reinvent myself in every aspect. I'm tired of trudging through opportunities I have. What am I afraid of? I dont think I'm afraid of failing. I'm afraid of succeeding and not knowing what to do afterwords.

But screw that, I'm doing better from now on. It's my choice.


My project for this weekend was a collaborative group with some of my dear friends from this course. There is a link to it on Josh Montero's blog. Here is a link to said blog:

And here is a link to Mackenzie's, in case you are interested anonymous reader. She's absolutely brilliant, so, yeah.