Thursday, April 3, 2008

Personal Reflexive Essay

Finally, I have arrived to my senior year of high school. Once I returned and set foot in school on the first day I asked myself, “Who am I going to have as my teachers this year?” I looked at those usual seven block periods and saw classes like Trigonometry, Marine Bio, but then I skipped all the way down to my English 12 Honors class. It was my third English Honors class since I was a sophomore. This made me excited because I have always loved English, really: the poetry that was forthcoming, some free-writing, and of course those inevitable long essay papers. I then looked over at the names of my teachers and my English Honors teacher turned out to be Mr. Gallagher, “dang, who’s this?” I said to myself, because I had hoped that it would be my teacher from freshman and junior year, Mr. DiBenedetto. Through the day, it was the usual introductions and course syllabus and school supplies needed for those classes, but then I stepped into my English class and encountered Mr. Gallagher, later known as Mr. G (G-Money).

I remember the first week of English class with Mr. G and the assignment already assigned to us. It was on Ted Berrigan’s “Red Shift” poem. I thought “great! We’re already going into poetry! Just how I like it, this class is going to be cool!” but then Mr. G gave us another assignment, an explication paper. I said, “What is this!? I’ve never even written explication papers,” but I didn’t bother to ask Mr. G because that first week, we had already developed a bad relationship. From “wake-up Son!” to “I don’t need you to make me look bad if teachers walk in” we began our relationship in a frustrating conflict I thought. The night I began writing the “Red Shift” explication is one of the night’s I remembered most. I was confused and puzzled at the time asking myself, what an explication was; even reading the explication rubric didn’t help. I thought, “Wow I better just start this or else I’m going to get a bad grade,” it turned out to be a good and bad idea. Good because I finished the assignment on time but bad because I still received a bad grade, a D to be exact. Then to make it worse, more explications came my way. The Stranger passage explication on which I received a worse grade on, a D-, broke my confidence and made me want to drop out of this class and move into an English CP class. Instead, I decided not to give up and persevered to make it past the first quarter and do better on the second. In fact, I finally broke our bad relationship and attempted to talk to Mr. G one afternoon and asked “What can I do to get better grades in your class,” he replied, “just put the effort in what you write and you know, don’t procrastinate.” I thought, the usual reply from a teacher, but it was so true.

Moreover, I also remember working on James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. This book was the hardest book I have ever read, and then comes an explication assignment for this too. I thought “Man, how am I going to pass,” miraculously I stayed up till five in the morning one night working on the whole explication and finally got a better grade, my first C+ in all of my papers. This was a huge accomplishment because I never thought I would be able to do an explication, but that night I felt like I just had it; I possess the ability to write at least a decent explication paper, and in the end I did a little better than average. I jumped from receiving sixties to a seventy-eight, I felt like I had won an award. Then another paper was assigned, this time a critical theory paper that Mr. G exclaimed would be one of the hardest paper that I would ever write. This time I stayed up the whole night, and I received one of the best grades in my papers, an eighty. I felt like I had truly developed in this class over the year and if I am able to do better on the next essay paper that Mr. G assigns, this helps me with my future because I know that if I don’t give up and keep on trying and believing that I’ll do better next time, I’ll keep on receiving good rewards I deserve in my life.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

To Be, or Not To Be

Alexander Fodor - Hamlet's Soliloquy

In one of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy played by Alexander Fodor, different elements are added in order to interpret this speech such as technology, death, music, and light. This is quite different from the other videos because this has a more tragic feel to the speech and with the added elements, it makes a perfect interpretation. Although there are different versions of this particular soliloquy, this rendition has a different feel because of the bright colors along with the music included, something the other two are either missing. Not only that, but the other videos are also missing out on specific people. Even though this is a soliloquy where the actor talks only to himself or let the audience knows his thoughts, this version of Hamlet’s soliloquy shows what his specific thoughts are.

When the video begins, a voice recorder is first shown in a room that is bright. First, the voice recorder is used to make an allusion that the speaker, Hamlet is shown talking to himself, the thought of talking through a voice recorder then listening to it may allow one to speak to oneself in that sort of way. Then the brightness of the room may be symbolizing that this is his inner thoughts, it symbolizes Hamlet’s bright mind. Before the speech even begins, Hamlet is shown waiting in order to kiss a man who is either dead or just lying down. After the kiss, the camera focuses on Hamlet, at first his face is shown with an unusual bright surrounding then he is shown sitting, preparing the voice recorder. This unusual brightness surrounding only the head may symbolize that Hamlet is in deep thinking before he makes his speech. After he prepares the voice recorder, he picks up the microphone and begins the speech, but no sound of the words are coming out when he is actually talking. In fact, the viewers have to wait for the voice recorder in order to listen to the speech instead.

The soliloquy begins, “To be, or not to be, that is the question” (55), this line seems to be the main focus throughout the speech, and in this version of the soliloquy it interprets it the best. Hamlet is saying “to be or not to be,” when he is actually talking to himself. Like the voice recorder, Hamlet is talking but is he really talking, indicating that the voice recorder is talking for him revealing that he is “not to be.” The speech continues with “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings of arrows of outrageous fortune, / Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, / And, by opposing, end them?” (56-58), as these words come out the voice recorder, the camera flashes the speaker and two other females. These two females may be representing Fortune and Queen Gertrude, alluding that they are in his minds and thoughts as well as in this soliloquy. Fortune is referenced here because, Fortune may be giving the man the kiss of death since it is that misfortune that lead to King Hamlet’s death. Then it goes on, “To die, to sleep--/ No more, and by a sleep to say we end” (58-59), when Hamlet begins saying these lines, the camera begins focusing on the man that appears to be dead. This is interesting because the man may be or may not be dead, he may also be sleeping as Hamlet indicates, that death and sleep are similar where one is at rest in both terms. Hamlet then begins repentance by saying, “To die, to sleep --/ To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub/ For in that sleep of death what dreams may come” (63-66), although now he adds dream. While finishing this line the camera focuses on the man who appears dead again, with the females bending over to kiss him. This interprets literally, that sleep and death are similar but are there dreams during or after death?

The camera focuses on the speaker’s half of the face during the rest of the speech, though as he speaks it zooms into the eye. Finally at the last seven seconds of the speech, the camera focuses back onto the dead man, this time there are different people in different clothing. The men then switches place from the old man to Hamlet, Alexander Fodor lying down. This may foreshadow Hamlet’s death in the book.

Polis is What?

Atlas, the Titan

The title is “Polis Is This”
I say Polis Is What?
What is it that makes this
title interesting?
It is the words, Polis Is This
I do not know what Polis is
Polis is Athens, Sparta, Thebes
But is Polis what it is
What is this Polis, Polis is…
What? I can’t quite figure it out
An ancient greek metropolis,
That was filled with or without
Or body of citizens? Polis is inside and out
Eyes and ears, lungs and hearts
Mind and brain, Polis sees that
So Polis Is That, the city’s beating heart
or this?
The Polis itself, is heart
So, Polis Is This
Not Polis Is That,
I spread my arms like open wings, this
This Is Polis...

The Humument 235 - One of my best works...


On page 235 of Tom Phillips’, “A Humument” Phillips suggests that the word alchemy of sex could be transcended into the meaning of love, a word derived with an inadequate meaning oppose to a word with greater meaning. In this piece, it deals with the topic of sex; by lust or by love. Sex usually occurs when two characters obtains lust for one another although specifically here, it happens with love involve. Sometimes when two characters have intercourse though, it only involves lust that both characters obtain for one another. Phillips also suggests that sex is real only when love for one another is real, symbolizing that love is truth. Overall when ‘sex’ is isolated, it indicates that there is no truth in the relationship but with love it introduces one into a whole new world.

First before the text, there are only five colors in this created ‘humument’; black, navy blue, sapphire, maroon and yellow. As well as five main objects that stuck out from the beginning. The half-circle shaped subject colored in yellow symbolizing a moon and the navy blue dominating background indicates that this piece takes place during the night. Towards the bottom of the piece are also two people, a man and a woman. The man is wearing a hat and is colored in maroon while the woman is colored in sapphire. Maroon is a deeper shade of red, and while red symbolizes love, the man in maroon can represent his deeper passion and love for this woman. This also goes along with the sapphire woman, where blue represents innocence and purity, sapphire which is darker than blue can also indicate this woman’s deeper innocence and purity. Also towards the end of the canvas is two stripes across colored in black, this may represent the finish line of the piece but it may also work as a censor, whereas it blocks out the naked features of the woman and the man; the chest and below the hips. This censoring may be to cover the viewers from a special time only for Phillips, to remember the feature aspects of the woman and what happened that night.

Tom Phillips also includes words throughout this piece. He begins with “meanwhile,” then there are dashes in white that goes on to the next word bubble. It continues, “Moonlight and the//crazy benches” in this word bubble, the word moonlight proves that this piece is taken place during the night and the benches that both the man and woman could mean that they are still outside, whereas they could be in a home. Then the character “toge” appears, a word created by Phillips to mean together. This could indicate that he must have been a lonely man, how he shortens the word ‘together’ into just “toge” but it can also indicate that he was not with her for a longer period of time. After “toge” it connects to the next word bubble, “At last, felt her//forest.” This break indicates that he’s gotten closer to the woman, close enough to finally touch her. In this piece, the forest can represent one thing on her body, hair; either the hair on her head or the bush by the waterfall (Genius). The story continues “dearer to him now than,” during this time it seems that he has already inserted himself into her because it is dearer to him now, indicating that it is a memory that’ll last a lifetime. Then Phillips adds “Broken syllables which are//for lovers signs” this may be indicating that as time passes by, she moans out some word but as she inhales it might be broken up but it seems that it’s a sign to him that she may be talking about love. As it goes on, Phillips begins talking about a world, “world; //world’s// gerating// alchemist, //topsy-turvy//passionate//baldest and most//real,” Phillips may be talking about a “world” that is pleasurable, while he is in constant spinning motion with his woman now exchanging anything with each other as “passionate” as possible, it is also at “baldest,” indicating that both can be naked and finally “real,” that they’re love is real. This may be all incorrect and the couple is probably just sitting on a bench, as the black stripes may be the bench for the back to lean on. It is also noticeable that the woman’s head is also facing up as the man faces the woman. Though still, everything he feels is still real to him because despite everything, love is what he feels for the moment.

In the end, Phillips may be saying that sex with love can take one on a journey to a new world, since it makes one feel something one has never felt before. It is a time where one will always remember as well and that it should only be between the two people involved instead of revealing it out to others. Also, going back to what the black stripes refer to, it can symbolize the end of something.

Plum Plum Pickers - Man of Honor & Pride

In the passage from “Plum Plum Pickers,” Raymond Barrio states that “a man counts for something;” he also includes that “men experience a certain sense of honor and pride” (41). The words “honor and pride,” both contain a sense of great self-respect. Manuel, the protagonist, a good guy defends himself for what he believes is right for his fellow Mexican people. By defending himself, Manuel exposes the amount of pride that is within him and by demonstrating his pride he proves that he is an honorable man through his actions, a man with respect and integrity. A man needs to have honor and pride to survive in a world that is only fit for the fittest. Without honor and pride, what’s a man to do when he is ridiculed, humiliated, or violated? A man should be able to protect himself and be strong to be able to progress through his journey in life.

Barrio sets this up by using his own style of writing. Although Manuel resisted against Morales, a Mexican general, he knows that he will pay for his defiance, “he would have to pay for this, for his defiance, somehow, again later” (41). By using the word defiance, a person who resist against authority, Manuel is able to overcome Morales. Although he might have to pay for his defiance, it seemed as if it did not matter to Manuel because by being defiant, “he had salvaged his money savagely and he had earned respect from his fellow slaves” (41). Manuel is able to stand up for himself and was able to resist against a superior although he knew that some consequences might occur at a later time. Even though Manuel knows this, he is able to demonstrate a little pride and honor to his people, for if he did not, Manuel’s fate would have been a tragic one.

In addition to Morales being a superior, the author brings up the gringo hijos de la chingada, a superior to Morales. Barrio introduces them again, the gueros, people who did not care for Manuel and his fellow Mexican slaves. The gueros hired Morales and by hiring him, Morales gathers his fellow Mexicans to do manual labor; slave work, for the superior than the superior, who did not care. Even though Manuel acts defiant against an authority, it is quoted that “they would never know of this little incident,” they as in the gueros, because they do not care (41). Honor and pride has to do a lot with this passage because it was for his children, for the bread, pan y tortillas, that Manuel became defiant. If Manuel had not been defiant, he knows that his children will not get enough food to eat, even if he was scared, he man up and stood with pride and honor to resist for his family and people suffering the same welfare.

Furthermore, Raymond Barrio adds “Manuel wrenched Morales’ greedy fingers away and removed a fat slug of a purse from his sticky grasp” (41). By adding this sentence, Barrio makes it seem as if they were in a real struggle or fight. A man has to fight for what he believes in to show some honor and pride as well as gain respect. Although the struggle seems to be exaggerated, it would seem to be alright because he is able to stand up for himself and succeed. Sometimes though, men do things without thinking in order to achieve what he aims for, “and in his slow way, in his stupid, accidental, dangerous way” (41). Men are reckless at most times but it is not always for the worst, by being reckless, sometimes better goals can be achieved. If a man can achieve his goal, he can be prideful and if that goal was for the better, he is honorable. This is how the author explains, “a man counts for something” (41).

In conclusion, Raymond Barrio explains how a man suffers. Also how when a man falls, he is able to pick himself up and quickly recover. He then explains how a man sometimes has to resist against an opposing force to achieve his goals. To overcome obstacles a man needs pride, honor and respect. Without any of these, a man cannot call himself a man. If a man does not stand up for him or others and let things stay the way they are for the worst, the honor is lost. Manuel is a man who stood for what he believes with great pride and honor and in doing so; he gains the respect of his people.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus - Breugel

Pieter Breugel

This piece of art, “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” painted by Pieter Breugel looks phenomenal with its . The first objects I notice are the islands and boats in the sea, then the sky and the sun that seems to brightens up everything in the painting. There are also three men in the painting. One who is working with his bull, a shepherd and another near the waters. As I look through the whole painting I try to find Icarus drowning. I notice that I have to zoom in real close to see that Icarus is drowning near one of the man that is bending down towards the water on the bottom right hand corner. Icarus’s feathers is scattered all over the place while he is drowning. Now what’s strange is that his legs are the ones that stick out, so he must have fell straight into the water. It’s strange because no one seems to notice Icarus at all. The man near the water, doesn’t do anything but bends towards the water and seems to just try to reach into the water with his right arm. The whole painting seems out of place and Icarus is unnoticed by everything in the painting.

Now the setting of the painting seems to be ironic because it seems to be a bright sunny day but someone is drowning to their death. The horizon shows that the sun is either rising or setting. I can see that Breugel uses a bright yellow and orange color for the sun. As the sun is either rising or setting, this raises a question for the clouds. Are the clouds rolling in or out for the sun? Also, even though the mountains along the side of the painting seems to isolate everything, the clouds are either making the mountains dark or the sun is making them bright. I also notice that Icarus is drowning in the dark waters. Though, when the water seems dark, isn’t it shallow waters. I believe that maybe if Icarus could turn into an upright position he might have been able to survive.

Although the setting is a mystery, what makes the painting a mystery is the islands, boats, and even trees. There seems to be two islands; one that has a dungeon or castle above and another that is pretty much plain. The castle or dungeon has a dark black entrance, I wonder why there would be a castle or dungeon built on an island. There is also another island that seems to have a village that resides on it. Though there are no one that is drawn onto the boats and the big city, it seems as if it was just one huge sea port trade. By counting the boats there are at least seven boats in the waters just sailing around. I think the painter is just sitting from one village’s point of view and notices the fall of Icarus. Most likely there is another village from where the painter is painting from. There are workers and herders. In total there are only three men. One who is what seems to be remaking the road with his bull. The shepherd brings a great mystery. The shepherd looks up to the sky, not paying attention to the sheeps at all. Why does he look up to the sky, the only person that will know is him and the painter I guess.

The title “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus,” means that this whole painting wasn’t just focused on the falling of Icarus. It is also about the landscape and the whole view the painter had during the time he was painting. I believe that maybe Icarus fell after he began painting. Then again, if the painter notices that an “angel” has fallen out of the sky why does he not do a thing to help the poor Icarus from drowning. The landscape means the mountain side, setting of the scene, which position the sun is beaming from and the environment of the whole scene at the time. What adds to the mysticality is that an angel has fallen out of the sky and into the waters but no one notices him drowning, not even the man who is closest to him.

I believe the painting was drawn from a location far awat from the big city and was started before Icarus fell from the heavenly sky. I still can’t believe how Icarus is unnoticable to almost everything. It was also very hard to find Icarus as well in the painting though. Before zooming in and giving it a thought that it might be Icarus, I thought it was something different other than a human being who is drowning.

In conclusion, the painting’s title emphasizes that it’s the ‘landscape’ with the fall of Icarus. So because the title is this I believe that maybe the painting was worked on before Icarus fell from the sky into the sea. It seems that Icarus was just worked into the painting. I wonder if the painting was almost done before and then Icarus comes falling down, then the painter started painting again to complete that area of the painting. What if Breugel paints Icarus falling down from the sky instead of in the waters. I think that the painter, Breugel came when he saw Icarus in the water, kicking his legs into the air trying to get his head above water but his wings probably weighed him down. As a result, he ended up painting all of that instead.

Voice, Mind, Power - Red Shift Style

Ying Yang Eye © 2007 Michelle Blaney

Here I am at 28 years, degree within a frame
The air is flowing, oxygen, much oxygen
on the way to healing streetscape
I drink some soda, pop, fizz water which pops
and walk to have respect and to brag
In. The streets look for Freud, House, or me. House
is a fiction, Freud possessing great theories, it’s
Competitive with that power, power on me, I plow
through it, them, as
Anesthesia is being sipped on by a needle now
Thirteen years almost ago, and the man lying
Is looking through the light, & telling
Who would have though that I’d be here, nothing
bleeding though, fractured, everything
Strong, hate, loads of hate, love, power-
levels, a heart of gold,
Up in the wait, resting, working even or not, now
more than ever before?
Not that eye to see, powerful wrapped around brain coat
eyes penetrating at the medal inserted
& pushed in against. Not that beautiful, thirteen, who was
going to have to go, careening into fracture like-so.
To intense, & to imagine for following imagine
so to go. Not that painting who from very first meeting
I would never & never forget or fix & so demanded
into the darkness & so demanded
To it & who will never leave me, not for pressure, nor amnesia
Nor even for short term memory which is
Only our human lot & means forget. No, no that.
There’s a song, “Baby Don’t Cry”, but no, I won’t do that
I am 18. When will I die? I will never die. I will love
To be more, & I will never go away, & you will never escape from me
Who am always & only an intellect, despite this mind. Spirit
Who lives only to drift.
I’m only one voice, & I am first of billions, & I didn’t choose
I overcame
I came into your life to gain knowledge & I did so & now nothing
Stands in my way
To overpower, & gain respect
Voice & freedom, within fate, nevertheless
I over worked my mind
The world’s watching, now prove my power.