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To Kill a Mockingbird

What better way to end my junior year and start my senior year than to reflect back on freshman year. The book I want to talk about now is To Kill a Mockingbird, and more specifically how its message is still relevant today. One of the main themes of the book is not to judge a book by its cover. Boo Radley was a key part of showing this theme as many people were afraid of him and thought him a killer, but in the end Boo Radley ended up being a kind man who just didn’t like the corruption in the world. To this day there are problems within society with judging people to soon which is why this book is still so relevant. It helps teach people to keep an open mind and this is critical for highschool students as they are about to go out into a world of people they may not understand as no matter how many laws a re made in order to change the world we need a world of people open to new ideas.

Lord of the Flies: Will All the Boys Die?

One of the big things that got brought up during our English Class game of revised Mafia is the theory that are game of mafia is an endless cycle of death that won‘t end even when the mafia is gone, and now I am wondering if the same is true with the book. The boy with a birthmark may have died in a freak accident, but Simon and Piggy were murdered by the hunters. At the end of chapter 11, Sam and Eric were taken hostage and Jack had shown that he wasn‘t afraid to hurt his own as he has beaten and tied up one of his hunters. This might mean that in the next chapter Jack may lash out on his hunters taking out the rest of them, and those who do survive may live on the island until they due die as Jack has proven himself incapable of keeping a signal fire and Ralph can‘t gain support and has shown signs of not being stable enough to even remember how to lead let alone do it. I guess only time will tell though.

Learning to Move On

In the Life of Pi, The main character, Pi, has his entire life flipped around after his family died after the sinking of the Tsimtsum. Since he got stranded on the life boat Pi struggled with the death of his family, and shortly after he finally moves on and is rescued he loses his companion Richard Parker. The lose of Richard Parker hangs with Pi for much longer than the loss of his family, because Richard Parker is actually a representation of what Pi had to do to survive and as such he will always struggle with the loss as Richard Parker was crucial in a terrible part of Pi‘s life. Even so, Pi begins to cope with his loss and this maybe a crucial part of what Martel is trying to teach his readers. A person can move on from one part of their life to another without completely letting go of it or removing it from their life. Life is all about finding balance, including balance between past, present, and looking to the future.

“A Doll’s House” Assignment

Dear Judge Range,
Nora Helmer had every right to leave Torvald Helmer as they never truly loved each other. Torvald Helmer only ever saw Nora as an object and as such never truly appreciated her. Nora never loved how controlling Torvald was, and how he prevented her from finding out who she was as a person as he tried to shape her into what he wanted her to be. While Nora did leave the children under Torvald’s care when she left she left so she could learn who she is as a person. Due to her experiences over the past four months facing the world on her own as well as the scrutiny of leaving her husband she has gotten a much stronger grip on the harsh realities of the world. Torvald does not have a strong as a grip of the world as since Nora left him he has taken none of the blame. This means Nora is more apt to raise the children of the harsh realities of the world and as such should have custody.

The Giver: A Warning About Ignorance

Lois Lowry’s The Giver, takes place in a dystopian society where knowledge and information is restricted by the government. Due to the government’s restrictions, no one can see colors or know what they are, except the Giver or their protégé. These rules also apply to emotions, except they are taught what emotions are, so that people can be “corrected” about their emotions until it seems like they have little to no emotion. To ensure this, they have to take daily medicine that reduces their ability to feel emotions, especially love. Each person also has their career determined for them by the government based on the needs of the people and the individual’s personality and abilities.

Now, the previously mentioned Giver oversees holding the memories of the past such as pain, hunger, and war so that the people remain oblivious to them, but the government can be advised on how to act to maintain their society. While it may seem nice to live in a society where pain, discrimination, and war are unknown, the Giver also must keep memories of joy, happiness, and love from the people. In short, the Giver’s job is to make sure the people remain ignorant to anything that could bring them to fight the government to regain their freedom.

One of the things that Lowry really does well in this book is she uses the Giver’s protégé, Jonas, to show how painful it can be to be left ignorant, to be stripped of your ignorance, and to be an outcast for holding different views. Before Jonas became a Giver, he always had a sense that there was more to life than what he was told, and then when he learned about the less than pleasant part of human history through his teachings with the prior Giver, he found some of the memories very painful. However, what hurt him the most is that he couldn’t share his knowledge, and when he did try to share it, he was often shunned. This book really shows what can happen when a society is allowed to remain ignorant.

Space Case

In case you haven’t figured it out by my bio page or by reading my blogs I LOVE mystery, Sci-Fi, and fantasy fiction, and if you can combine the three even better. So, last year as a beginning of the year project, there was an independent reading assignment, where as a way to get to know us better, Mrs. Campbell had us choose a book to read and do a report.  I chose Stuart Gibbs’ Space Case. It is a murder mystery that takes place in a NASA research colony on the moon.  The main character who is taking it into his own hands to investigate the death of one of the scientists, is middle schooler, Dashiell Gibson, who has to keep a low profile on base while keeping up with the mandatory vlogs for NASA that makes him famous all over Earth.

I am not the only one who enjoyed this book either. Here are two reviews that summaries most of the reviews I read while originally researching the book:

“Gibbs stocks the cast with multiple suspects and red herrings… [T]his is notable for its unusual setting and features a narrator who displays a realistic mix of wonder at his location and annoyance at having to deal with the Spartan life on another planet.” ~ Booklist

“A whipsmart space whodunnit. 5 stars.” ~ Common Sense Media

The Hound of the Baskervilles (Possibly the Best Book of All Time)

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is one of my favorite books that I have read in the past two to three years. I read it last year in October as part of the “Gothic Literature Unit”, and I did not want to finish it because… well then it would be over. Here is a list of what I really like about the book:

  1. Linguistics
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle does an amazing job of balancing his work as it is not so flamboyant that it is hard to understand, but not so dull that it was a bore. There is also the perfect amount of imagery just enough to give the reader a clue of what everything looks like, but not so much that the reader feels like it is being shoved down their throat.
  1. Romance
  • Now romance is on here as a reason for why I like this book not because romance is a major part of the book, but because the book MAJORLY LACKS When it comes down to the plot of the book, romance only makes up the smallest portion of the book, and in the end the book mocks romance and what it does to people.
  1. Mystery, Science, & Deduction
  • As some of you may know Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is the creator of the famous Sherlock Holmes and Doctor James Watson, and for those who don’t know The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of Sherlock and Watson’s adventures. This means that this story is full of mystery, science, and deductions which I absolutely adore. He even finds a way to scientifically explain the supposed hound from Hell to the readers.

In all, The Hound of the Baskervilles, is a wonderful book that I greatly enjoy and recommend to anyone who likes a good mystery book.

Lights! Camera! Action!

In this blog, we will be discussing the difference between comedies and tragedies in literature and drama, and then we will discuss one of my favorite movies, Newsies.

Comedies, the main point of a comedy is to be lighthearted and make the audience laugh while the protagonist is going about solving their main conflict, and a comedy will end up with the protagonist winning in the end. In tragedies, a serious subject is being addressed alongside with the idea of the human condition. Tragedies usually deal with horrible events, and the most known tragedies are written by Shakespeare, where they usually involve death.

Now moving onto Newsies, and to clarify I’m talking about the 1992, Disney movie directed by Kenny Ortega. For those of you who don’t know, Kenny Ortega also directed the well-known High School Musical and Hocus Pocus, as well as Cheetah Girls 2, Dirty Dancing (2014), etc., and to this day he still works with Disney as they have tasked him with directing the Descendants movies. Now, if you haven’t heard of the last one, I don’t blame you. They are pretty recent and I only just learned about them from one of my younger cousins, but the point is, if you are a fan of Disney’s live action musicals or musicals in general, you have probably heard the name Kenny Ortega before or at least seen something he has worked on.

Newsies is a fictional movie based on real stories and events of the Newsboys strike of 1899. This strike was focused on the companies of the New York World owned by Joseph Pulitzer, and the New York Morning Journal owned by William Randolph Hearst, but the strike helped change compensation for many Newsboys, not just the ones working for Mr. Pulitzer and Mr. Hearst. The movie follows the story of the characters Jack “Cowboy” Kelly played by Christian Bale, David “Davey” Jacobs played by David Moscow, and David’s younger brother Les Jacobs played by Luke Edwards.

The movie begins with David and Les starting their first day as Newsboys, and Jack decides to mentor the two brothers. This led to a chase scene in which the viewer learns that Jack has escaped from a correctional facility for children and teens. The next day Pulitzer (Robert Duvall), decides to raise the price per paper by a tenth of a cent when the Newsboys buy their papers. This angers the Newsboys, and with David’s knowledge and Jack’s charisma, the Newsboys go on strike. Though charisma wouldn’t be enough, as both Jack and David realize very quickly that their group of strikers was too small to gain Pulitzer’s attention as a problem. After a bit of convincing, they get the support of Spot Colon (Gabriel Damon). Now Spot Colon was seen as the head Newsboy of Brooklyn, and all of the Newsboys of New York seem to look up to him, and when Jack and David got his support, they got the support of most of the Newsboys of New York.

This leads to a rally in which David begs the Newsboys for a peaceful strike instead of the violent one that had occurred, but the rally is interrupted by Snyder (Kevin Tighe), who with a group of police officers arrest Jack and take him back to the Refuge. From the Refuge, Jack is taken to Pulitzer to come back and work for him. Pulitzer believes that without Jack the strike will end, but this ends up back firing as David continues to lead the strike which ends up putting his brother and older sister in danger. This causes Jack to turn against Pulitzer and rejoin the Newsies. The Newsies then uses one of Pulitzer’s old presses to print their own paper with an unpublished article by Bryan Denton (Bill Pullman) about the work conditions and strike of the Newsies to gather all the working children of New York City. This grabs the attention of not only Pulitzer, but Theodore Roosevelt (David James Alexander) who helps the Newsies regain their original buying price and get other rights.

My personal favorite character was Crutchy played by Marty Belafsky. Crutchy was a secondary character in the movie who was nicknamed for his need for a crutch. One of the things that makes Crutchy such a loveable character is no matter what happens to him, whether it’s problems with his right leg, being beaten, or going to the Refuge he is the most optimistic character in the movie. Plus, you have to give a lot of credit to Balafsky, as he had to learn all of the choreography with a crutch.

One of the nice things about this movie is the characters are believable. When times get tough, they think of quitting the strike, when the cops come they get scared and run, and sometimes they get so caught up in the heat of the moment they don’t think things through. So, some of the acting may have seemed a little off, but you have to remember most of the cast was in middle school or high school. The fact that they had to continue schooling, and work a full day of acting, memorizing lines, and choreography is amazing and a great quality film was made in the process. Just looking at some of the opening scenes the amount of planning and practice must have been extreme (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBgzLkauIrs ).

In general, the musical genre is one of my favorites as music can give more meaning to a simple sentence. As much as I would like to see something on Broadway someday, to bring down the cost would take away from the awe of actually going.

 

 

Works Cited

Encyclopaedia Britannica. William Randolph Hearst. Ed. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 2019. <https://www.britannica.com/biography/William-Randolph-Hearst&gt;.

IMDb. Newsies (1992) Full Cast & Crew. n.d. <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104990/fullcredits&gt;.

MaddCowProductions. Newsies: Carrying The Banner. 31 March 2009. Video. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBgzLkauIrs&gt;.

Newsies. By Bob Tzudiker and Noni White. Dir. Kenny Ortega. Perf. Christian Bale, Robert Duvall and Bill Pulman. Prod. Michael Finnell. 2012. Blu-ray.

Stern, Liz. Blast From the Past: Newsboy Strike of 1899. 27 July 2012. <http://historydetectives.nyhistory.org/2012/07/blast-from-the-past-newsboy-strike-of-1899/&gt;.

 

 

Immaturity in Books

If you have seen my book ranking for this year, you may have noticed that at the very bottom of the list is Wuthering Heights. What you do not know is one of my other least favorite books is the ever so famous The Great Gatsby. *gasp* I know, crazy! One of my least favorite books is one of the most famous books, but after some thought there is one key trait about these two books that I despise. One of the main character’s in both of these books are a rich male who is trying to get revenge for not getting the girl. Neither of these gentlemen thought for one second, “Hey, maybe we should hike up our big boy pants and move on!”. Nope, instead we have to make everyone else miserable. What angers me even more about The Great Gatsby, is that unlike in Wuthering Heights, the rich man seeking revenge is seen as the HERO, but Tom and Myrtle are home wreckers! Jay Gatsby is literally trying to take Daisy away from Tom and their daughter, but Gatsby is never called a home wrecker or even a bad guy he gets IDOLIZED! All of these traits seen in Gatsby can also be seen in Heathcliff, but Heathcliff is actually seen as the villain of the story… but I digress. This has been my rant on immature characters in Wuthering Heights and The Great Gatsby.

Have We Failed the Green Knight?

In the King Arthur tale of Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, the Green Knight tests Sir Gawain on his honor and bravery. He does this by asking Sir Gawain to cut of the Green Knights head, and if the Green Knight survives in a years time he gets to cut of Sir Gawain’s head. Now this may seem like a somewhat easy bet after all cutting of the Green Knight’s head should kill him letting Sir Gawain of the hook, but after his beheading the Green Knight picks up his head and tells Sir Gawain to met him at the Green Chapel in a years time. A year later Sir Gawain sets on his journey to the Green Chapel and stays at a nearby castle where the Green Knight tests Sir Gawain by seeing if he will be tempted by the Green Knight’s wife. Sir Gawain passes this test by not being tempted by the woman, but his bravery is wavered when he accepts a “magic girdle” that will protect him from harm. When Sir Gawain confronts the Green Knight he wears the girdle and after some taunting from the Green Knight gets a knick on his neck for the fault in his bravery for wearing the girdle. So then the question must be asked would anyone today pass his test or even accept it? Would you be able to cut off someone else’s head let alone stand still for them to cut off your’s? Even with a magic life saving belt? I don’t think I could.