Let’s be real, I’ve loved reading since I picked up my own book as a toddler. In fact, I have a picture from when I sat in a basket reading for hours (don’t ask me why my “reading corner” was a basket–I’m just weird that way). Granted, I didn’t exactly read the book, but points for trying, right? Anyways, when it came to this semester’s CREATE Project, I definitely didn’t hesitate when it came to completing the ISB 2015/16 Reading Challenge. I mean, I read a lot anyways… However, what I didn’t realize was that because the challenge included books from all genres, I also had to read out of my comfort zone, which was a pleasant surprise. After doing the reading challenge, however, I decided to create a book review blog post, which was alike to the “7 Books Worth Fangirling Over” post I wrote back in 8th grade. By completing both the reading challenge and the blog post, I was able to exemplify my understanding of the English standards.
Have you ever wondered what the life of a mafia member would be like? I mean, sure, The Godfather helped a lot with picturing it, but do you realize that the restrictions set on these members are not unlike to those who lived in… Ancient Greece? Specifically, in Athens? Yeah, we didn’t either; at least not until we compared the character relationships between the Athenians from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. This is what inspired us to base our rendition of the play upon the context of mafia groups, creating distinct yet similar contexts and characters for the interpretation.
Scene: 12 A.M.. Young teenage girl reading an English assignment from her laptop, distressed.
Young teenage girl:
You’ve got to be kidding me. How do you expect me to find any resemblance between me and any character in this play? This is a Shakespeare play—all the characters are either insane, annoying, or an ass! Everything revolves around that one sappy topic: love. I’m so done with all of this…
Oh my God, I’m gonna fail this assignment.
Okay, before I start on anything, I’m going to make an official statement here that the scene above was completely hypothetical. All of it. (*Coughs*) I mean, I’ll admit that I certainly did have some trouble connecting myself with the “insane” characters from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare at first. (I even tried taking a few personality quizzes, though that didn’t help at all…) However, all the difficulty washed away when I read a certain line of Hermia‘s and thought to myself, yup, seems like something I would say.
For this unit in English class, we read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (tumblr here), which is set in the time frame of World War II. Below is a persuasive monologue that I wrote in the perspective of Max Vandenburgg, a Jew, who attempts to persuade his friend not to feel bad about his farewell. Enjoy!
The society we live in now is all developed and based off of the the early civilization, which have progressed dramatically over hundreds of years; especially in agriculture, advanced cities, specialized workers, complex institutions, record keeping, and advanced technology. For example, there are records that show the first signs of trade in Ancient Mesopotamia (here), in which agriculture has benefitted the society and its growing economy greatly. In addition to this, the growing agriculture and developing irrigation system led to the start of specialized workers, which include government officials, traders, priests, and artisans: “An abundant food supply allowed some people to become expert at jobs besides farming” (unit 1, chapter 1). Specialization helped artisans develop their skill at designing various jewelry, metal tools and weapons, or making clothing and pottery (here). The wide range of crafts artisans produced helped cities become centers of trade, which also developed the Mesopotamian economy furthermore. Slowly, through these advancements, our first societies strengthened their own organizational systems: governments, trade, agriculture, etc. In conclusion, the first societies’ organization prospered and flourished as the civilizations expanded into bigger cities and larger trading centers.
Has anyone ever recommended a horrible book to you? Mhmm, me too, and in this case it was a book that was so mainstream, it showed up on every other social media post that I looked at. This book, was The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green. This book was what inspired me to write up a short rant for my CREATE Project, which showed my understanding of the English standards. To do this, I mainly worked on my argumentation skills, and used multimedia to present my knowledge.
[This video is on YouTube, so if you’re trying to access this without using a VPN, it won’t work… *sighs*]
Bill Clinton, former president of the United States, once said, trying to control China‘s internet was like “trying to nail jell-o too the wall” (“A Giant Cage“). Well, I’m not speaking from experience here, but that’s saying a lot! For our Chinese “social issue” project, my partner, Stephanie C., and I decided to make a video about China’s internet censorship. Our video was inspired by Common Craft, who has their own channel on YouTube that shortens complex ideas into short videos for people understand easier. In China, the censorship of media causes a lack of freedom for its locals, and negatively affects many different parts of the nation, including the citizens, the education system, and the nation’s developing economy.
Where would you go if there was a room that could transport you anywhere you wanted? Well, in my short story, “Specter Cemetery,” the main character finds herself in a haunted graveyard, and finds herself in peril as she tries to make her way back home. This short story was initially a narrative inspired by Ray Bradbury‘s “The Veldt,” but for my CREATE Project, I chose to show my understanding of the English standards by expanding the narrative into a short story. To do this, I focused on using more figurative language, connotation, and foreshadowing to emphasize my understanding on defining the mood of a short story.
Through the figurative language used in my short story, I conveyed a slightly creepy and eerie mood into the haunted graveyard. For example, I used certain metaphors, like comparing shadows to ghouls, to create a sinister mood. In addition to this, I also used examples of onomatopoeia, similes, and personification among other literary devices to create a similar mood throughout the story. In addition to figurative language, I also paid close attention to connotation. When I first described the nursery, I used the word “forbidden,” which contains a certain negativity in addition to its meaning, and this also illuminates a warning tone of the story. Examples similar to this occur multiple times, like with “tattered,” “depressed,” “grotesque,” “wide-eyed horrification,” and other words that have a negative connotation, adding more suspense into the story. Lastly, I mainly used foreshadowing in the title of my short story, as “specter” is another word for ghost, readers will be able to foresee a haunted cemetery on the little girl’s path.
At the end of the plush, carpeted hallway, lies a nursery in which children were forbidden to enter; no matter how hard they cried, how energetically they begged, and how strongly they pushed. However, that night, as the wind composed his own symphony outside HappyLife Home, the doors of the nursery cracked open, and in slipped the little girl. She’s heard her parents taking about it, secretive and reticent, and was curious of the new environment. The little girl soon discovered that the walls in this room were unlike any other, and she let out a gasp of delight as they slowly slipped away under the bright lights and the nursery suddenly sprung to life…
Japan was greatly affected by Western imperialism. Since the country was pushed by the West but was never actually conquered, Western imperialism served to force Japan to modernize. This also resulted in the nation to become the first non-European country to industrialize. The first major impact of Western imperialism was when Japan was “forced” to open its trade in 1854, as they were threatened by the technology that Westerners brought along their exploration. The Japanese had believed that their country was superior to all others, until they were shown otherwise by the technology that was brought to bear on them. This opened up the nation to modernization, which was done so by opening up to Western contact. Japan quickly adopted Western ways of production, military organization, and power structures. In conclusion, Japan’s modernization, which was pressured upon by Western imperialism, allowed Japan to become an international power, bringing the nation to where it stands today.
Featured image here.
When I was a child, I would daydream about characters from a book coming to life. Now, well, I’m halfway there: to show my understanding in the characterization and social commentary in a book, I created a character interview for George, one of the main characters in Of Mice and Men, a novella by John Steinbeck. Through Ask.fm, I asked questions through one account, and replied with “George’s account,” in which the responses were written as if George had replied himself. The interview focused on a thesis statement of: through George, Steinbeck explores the life and ambitions of average ranch workers in the US at the time.
I showed my understanding in characterization by mostly conveying George’s personality through the responses. For example, George’s tough and ill-mannered personality is showed when he says, “What’s it look like? Everyone here works for that old bastard, Curley. Well, everyone except for his wife, who spends her time whorin’ ‘round the ranch” (response 2). In addition to his personality, I also included details of his relationship with other characters in the book, including Curley and Lennie, with one of the specific questions being, “You’ve been mentioning Lennie quite a lot, care to introduce him to us?” (question 9). Understanding a character’s relationship with others allows the reader to grasp a better knowledge on them, and the conveyance of George and Lennie’s relationship (especially) does just that.
Of Mice and Men was set during the Great Depression, and as we all know now, that was a devastating period for the American economy. In the last response of the interview, George states that: “It’s hard to find jobs now, an’ we get paid less, I’m getting farther and farther from [my] dream.” Through the historical context of the Great Depression, we can sense the economic crisis that George was affected by, especially as the difficulty of seeking jobs was mentioned a few questions before: “Guys like us, that work on ranches… the first thing you know they’re poundin’ their tail on some other ranch. We was done with our job, an’ so we came here for a new one” (response 4). This quote also shows the unstableness of jobs, and the struggle for farmers–people like George–to earn a stable income. Lastly, through the constant mentions of George’s “dreams,” the interview shows Steinbeck’s view on the American Dream during the time period, and how it was an actual faraway dream instead of reality.
Below are snapshots of the Ask.fm and a link to the full interview. Enjoy!
Here‘s the link to the full interview on Ask.fm.