Sunday, June 5, 2011

To Kill A Mockingbird-Final Response

      Although Scout has to face many events that change her views on the world, she keeps her moral and strong sense of what's right.   I feel like this shows that she is a very strong person.  Most people seem to conform and accept when they come of age, I'm glad that Scout stays the person she truly is.
      Scout Finch grows up in the small southern town of Maycomb, Alabama.  She grows up in times of inequalities-Sexism, Racism, these were very different times from ours.  One of the main issues she has to face is learning about the little rights women had.  Scout grows up mostly around men, as she lives with just her father and her brother, her mother having passed away.  Having little to do with most women does not help her in growing up to be a "proper lady."  Yet that is what her society is pushing her to be.   The old woman who lives up her block looks down on her for playing sports and getting dirty.  Once even her brother expressed his shame, he said
"Oh, for christ's sake, why don't you just act like a lady for once. You're a girl."  Scout did not want to wear a nice dress to church, she wanted to wear shorts instead.  Scout really must feel the pressure of society trying to turn her into something she's not.  However, although there's all this pressure on her to be "a proper lady," she doesn't let society turn her into one.  She keeps her own personality, the slightly boyish one, even though that's not what people want of her.  I think that's very strong of her.
           Another issue that Scout comes to terms with as she comes of age is frankly, the cruelties of small-minded people-The gossip that circulates.  Scout is part of what could be called a "not-so-kosher" family.  She grows up without a mother, having her major influences be men and her housemaid.  In a small-minded southern society, It's not right for a girl's major women role model to be black, and her imperfect family gets her lots of unfair gossip.  One time, a boy in school

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

COA Response #3 (Extra Credit.)

Response to Question # 5: "What are some realizations and/or epiphanies that you have had about yourself, friends, family and the world overall?  How did you arrive at these realizations?"

           Oh, the amount of realizations that I've had about the world as I grew up.  One of the first ones that comes to mind is learning the realities about my family.  Oh, I never thought that my family was perfect-No, not like most people say.   But i never realized how much my family really screwed up, and how much  my family screwed me up.  My family is far from perfect, but it's almost better that way.
          When everyone else talks about their childhood, their memories seem to be laced with sunshine and flowers.  I have a couple good photos, photos that emanate a happy glow.  I have  a couple good memories memories that only erupted when someone reminded me, someone told me a story.   But most of my memories are memories of nights spent hugging myself, staring out the window and pretending I belonged among the stars.  Not at home in my dingy little bedroom, listening to the sounds of fighting parents outside my door.
        But you know, even though I could vaguely understand that my life was not like the life of my friends, I did not understand that maybe-that could be my family's fault.  I did not understand that  my life could have been better.  That maybe, if not for some of the things that my family had done, I could own a brownstone.  I could maybe buy some clothes.  I could go to expensive salons.   Maybe, if my family had been perfect, my life could be better.
      But that brings me to my second epiphany.  That, there's really nothing I can do.  I learned that just last year, and that realization is both invigorating and destroying.  I was born into the life I was born into, and no matter what I do i can not change that.  I can yell at my parents all i want, it won't get me a bigger house.  I can whine about my looks for as long as i want, it won't make me any prettier.  See, that was one of my greatest epiphanies.  I can say i spent a good two weeks just thinking, thinking about this.  That as much as people say "If you try enough, you will succeed," No matter how much I try- I can't change the life I was born in to.   I arrived at this realization after having a fight with my mom.  I believe her exact words were, "What are you picking a fight with me for? Just because you whine won't make your life better."
And it's true.  Whining about my life won't change it.  Writing about my life won't changing.  Even trying hard, getting good grades in school won't change my life.  Until I'm 18, this is my life.  And this is everything I've worked for, my family's worked for.  My life is far from perfect, but it's the life i fit into.  A child can't construct their life around themselves, they're built like a puzzle piece into the lives of someone else.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Response to "To Kill A Mockingbird."

          Harper Lee wrote the character of Scout Finch in "To Kill A Mockingbird" off of her own experiences growing up.  She grew up a girl in the south, at a time much different from ours.  Scout battled society trying to turn her into a "Proper lady,"she had to battle the people in her town not accepting her family, and she had to try and comprehend the "difference between her and the black folk."  The 1930's were times of inequality, and Scout Finch had to learn to comprehend the cruelties of the world the hard way-Just like most of us.
         Scout Finch battled society trying to turn her into a "proper lady."  Growing up having just her father and a brother as family, she never had women in her life as role models.  So when she starts going to school and is expected to wear skirts, she fights back hard.  When the old lady on her block chides her for for "talking like a boy," she fights back hard.  Soon enough, her own brother, Jem, starts being ashamed of her.  Scout and Jem were like best friends, Jem had always accepted her of who she was, a "tomboy," per say.  But we all know what happens when you grow older: You change.  You change from always being entirely your own, quirky self to the person other people want you to be.  It happens to everyone, and it happened to Scout.  She battled what society expected her to be, but in the end she had to learn to comprehend the word like it really is.
         Scout also had to battle the people in her town not accepting her family.  She grew up without a mom, she acted like a boy, and her father was under attack for defending a black man in court.  That made her family very controversial in their small southern town.  When Atticus, her father, defended the black man, her entire family became under attack from their town.   Scout even got beat up in school by a boy who's family was racist.  At first, Scout did not understand why the world seemed to be ganging up on her.  But Scout learned eventually that there would always be gossip in small towns, and with a family like hers she would have to accept that there was nothing she could do to stop the gossip.  It's a sad fact, but true.
         Scout also had to comprehend why she wasn't supposed to fraternize with the black people in her town.  Because her heart was so pure, she didn't understand why the people in her town treated the black people as lesser than the white people.  It's the whole idea of idealism to realism, that's what this response is all about.  Scout has to battle the world in how she believes in the black people, against all others.
          I can understand exactly what Scout goes through.  Obviously, it's a lot harder to have to face society in a small town where everyone knows everything about each other, than New York City.  But in a way, we all face the same difficulties as Scout does.  We all have to change ourselves based on what  society wants us to be.  We all have to learn what the world is really all about, have to change our ideas from what we want the world to be like to what it really is like.  I think the reader should take away from this that, even when society does everything it can to change you,  you will one day be able to be yourself and express your own opinions.  And maybe one day, society will let others live the way you weren't able to.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

"What are some questions and concerns you have about growing up and adulthood?"

     I'm not altogether too frightened by adulthood.  This sounds immature and all, but I'm actually pretty excited.  I mean, of course i love youth and all-But I'm not afraid of responsibility. I'm not afraid of taxes.
    What I'm more afraid of is the journey to being a complete adult, and who i'll be when I'm an adult.  As a teenager,  I feel like these are the days when you start learning about yourself and what you are going to become.  Right now, I have no idea who I'm going to turn out to be.  And that frightens me.
    I guess what i require is a passion.  For me, there isn't that one thing that keeps me going, I haven't found that one thing that i want to spend my whole life doing.  I have many different options, but i don't pursue any of them. Instead, I spend my life wasting away at the computer, or doing nothing but talking about nothing with my friends.
    That's why i'm afraid for the journey ahead, because i don't feel like i'm even ON a journey. At all.   I guess last year i took a journey from childhood to adulthood (That was in the period where nothing went right and i lost my naivete and i was an awkward, depressed half-child.) But that journey to find myself ended up in me changing.  I found myself, but she's gone. I guess the biggest question I have as i mature is:  How am i supposed to find myself, when myself is such an intangible, capricious thing?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

****SPOILER ALERT****** 
Reading Response to Impulse By Ellen Hopkins.

          Impulse  is a story that tracks the lives of three teenagers, with very different lives, who end up in the same mental hospital. Vanessa is the pretty, charming daughter of an army dad and a bipolar mother. Tony is a bisexual juvenile delnquent who spent half his life on the street, and Connor is the priveleged, handsome boy who spent half his life trying to live up to his sister's standards and his parent's cold expectations of him. These are three teenagers who end up at the same mental hospital, all for different reasons, but end up best friends.  This book, Impulse, shows that it doesn't matter where you come from, your problems can connect you with everyone around the world.
      I have confusing feelings towards this book. While her books are very "teenage-y," they can have some beautiful language and themes i can connect to. So this book didn't quite live up to the standards i had set for it. But while it wasn't quite as geniusly written as Identical, I still really enjoyed the underlying theme that we're all connected through our problems. In this book Vanessa, Connor and Tony are all connected throught the facct that they can't stand living their lives. For Vanessa, it's the overwhelming guilt she feels at her mother's death and her bipolar disorder.  For Connor, it's all the days he's plastered a smile when he really wanted to die inside. For Tony, it's the terrible past that keeps on flashing back to him. Though they all deal with their self-loathing in different ways, it's their problems that connect them.

            Vanessa keeps coming back to the razor blade because that's the way she deals with the depressive side of her manic-depressive, when she "sinks all the way into blue." Vanessa is attracted to danger, that's why she lusts after Connor and eventually falls for the bad boy Tony.  Although her depression and bad qualities shouldn't connect them all, it was part of the reason that they formed such a strong bond in the first place.  But i can't help thinking that it's part of the reason that Connor eventually killed himself.  In the last chapters of his life, Vanessa and Tony had noticed that Connor had stopped taking his pills, grew "tense and stiff-shouldered when [Connor] saw [them] snuggling".  Although Vanessa and Tony's relationship might have contributed to his sucide, Vanessa and Tony also helped him realize what his life was really about.

         The plot to this story disappointed me.  I mean, we spend the whole book anticipating the recovery of the three protagonists, and smack, at the end Connor's dead.  The book keeps on showing flashbacks, but does nothing to connect it to the future.  I think that is something that is required in stories, if you show flashbacks, they can't be meaningless. They have to connect to the innermost feelings of the characters, not just show
what a terrible life they have.

        However, this book still had essential qualities that made me appreciate it alot.  :)  You really felt for the characters.  Although I don't have any severe depression-y stuff, and y I can connect to the feeling of self-loathing that these characters have.  In a less mild sense, i know exactly how it feels to have to live up to high standards, yourself and others.  I know how it feels to need to get away from things.  And what makes the book even more special is exactly what my thesis statement is about: The characters can all connect with eachother through their problems, and so can i think the readers.  It's easy to connect through problems, it gives you a more full sense of their personality, makes you feel like you know them on a deeper level.  I don't know if it's a good thing or not that we find it easy to connect to others through our problems...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Response to "Impulse"


Reading Response to "Impulse" By Ellen Hopkins.

Impulse is a story that tracks the lives of three teenagers, with very different lives, who end up in the same mental hospital. 
 Vanessa is the charming daughter of an army dad and a bipolar mother, and when her mother is pushed over the edge Vanessa resorts to cutting to hide her sadness.
Tony is the bisexual juvenile delinquent who spent half his life on the street, but turns out to be a lot sweeter than what he might seem.
Conner is the privileged, handsome, smart, athletic boy who spent all his life having to try and live up to his  sister's standards, his cold parent's expectations of them.  
And they all meet in Pinebrook, a mental clinic in Nevada. 

I usually like Ellen Hopkin's books,  while they are very "teenage-y" they can have some beautiful language. Especially Identical, while the concept is sad and odd, the writing is beautiful.  So this book didn't live up to my standards for her.  With this concept and the intense writing she can do,  she just kind of failed.   And the plot wasn't for me either.  
I mean, Conner's in love with an older woman.
Vanessa's in love with Conner.
They all have flashbacks.
Tony's in love with Conner.
Conner's in love with Vanessa, and the older woman.
Conner lusts after his therapist.
Tony and Vanessa become very close.
Tony realizes that he might actually not be gay.
They go out into the desert on a wilderness survival program. 
Conner stops taking his pills. 
Tony and Vanessa fall in love.
Conner jumps off a cliff,
and then, boom it ends.    I mean, really?  Really!?   The plot was both uninteresting until the end, and sounded as if it was made up as the author went along.  That's one thing I can't stand in books, possibly because i do it ALL THE TIME.  J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" is a really good example of a book that doesn't do that.  You can tell that Rowling plotted out all the 7 books in the series before even starting the first one. 
In those ways, the book disappointed me.  Also, i just hated the ending.  Conner was really the character who could have done so well in his life, if he didn't just stop taking the pills.   But in that way, the book was quite obvious.  Conner is the one who would kill himself, he was no longer necessary to the other characters, besides his depression he was perfect, and he was the one who had a terrible life to return to once he got out of the hospital.  

But i still thought that the emotions of the character's were expressed very well.  Their problems were real, raw, relatable.  Although, obviously, I've never been in a mental hospital, nor am i manic-depressive, nor is my life shit,  I can really connect to the feeling of hopelessness that Conner, Vanessa and Tony all have felt.  The realization that you don't think you can do shit to improve your life, that you're either just going to have to keep living a life you're not entirely satisfied with-or, not.

And, i think that's something we all have to face, all have to get over, and everyone can connect to. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Three favorite blogs

One blog that i thought was really exemplary was Sarah's blog.  In her posts, she managed to show a lot of emotion while also making both her poems and her responses very factual, strong and clever.  That perfect mix of emotions and facts is something not a lot of people can come across. 
Her sonnet was quite impressive, and it seems like she actually took time and effort to write it-With the perfect iambic pentameter and perfect sonnet form, and it actually developed well and beautifully as a poem! It's written beautifully! 
Great Job Sarah!

Another blog I really admired was Julia's blog.  Everything she writes flows out with precision, making sense and sounding beautiful.  It's not choppy at all. (A big problem everybody always complains about in my pieces is the choppiness.) 
Her sonnet is also beautiful.  It leaves room for the mind to wander, and out your own interpretation, while also stating some things very clearly.  And the things she states are very connectible, without sounding cliche. The next entry down, her poetry forward, is also above standards.  It sounds beautiful, and is just so TRUE and cool. 
Great job, Julia!

The last blog I'm writing about that really impressed me was Tomin's. (No surprise there.)
Every time I read any of Tomin's posts I'm blown away. Also, I'm blown away by realizing that some guys actually CAN write.  It just seems sometimes that boys are not capable of expressing emotions or writing anything meaningful. I know that's really sexist of me, and looking at Tomin's blog reminds me that I'm totally wrong. He is not only capable of expressing things and writing with emotions, he does both things amazingly! Tomin has a voice in his writing that i wish i had in my speaking.  It's really gorgeous, and never bores me.
Bravo, Tomin!