As Shakespeare himself says, the course of true love never did run smooth. In Love Causes Headaches, a interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, along with my partners, Henry and Anthony, I decided to portray the conflict of lovers in a modern context. We interpretted Act 1 Scene 1, lines 128-251. Below is our film interpretation, our director’s notebook which contains information on how we created the film, and a reflection which explains my individual contributions.

Film Video (Password: shakespeare)

Directors: Notebook:

Click here to download director’s notebook (in case embed doesn’t work)

Reflection:

In terms of the contribution I made to our director’s notebook, I worked with my group on interpreting Shakespeare’s text and writing the script and subtext. Since my partners Henry and Anthony did a lot of the difficult work such as costumes and props, I was given the extra time to work on the staging details of camera and blocking. I was in charge of finding music that would show the complicated emotions of the characters. I was also in charge of the putting-together and editing of the final film.

In our performance, we explored the theme of how love will always encounter conflicts involving people around lovers, and by seeking one’s loved one whilst ending other relationships that may cause conflict, one can attempt to resolve such conflicts. This theme is demonstrated through two scenarios. The first is Hermia complaining about the school not allowing her to be close enough to Lysander. By seeking help from Lysander while escaping the school, she is able to find a solution to her problem. The second is Helena complaining about how professor Demetrius will not like her. By going to finding Demetrius in order impress him while betraying her friends, her problem is also solved. As the actor for Helena, I focused mainly on the second problem. Before I go any further, it is important to note that although Helena is not in love with Professor Demetrius, her admiration towards him as a teacher produce similar motives and sacrifices as being in love. At the beginning of the film, when she is with her friends Lysander and Hermia, she promises them to keep their secret by not telling anyone of Lysander and Hermia’s escape. This would have worked out fine if Helena did not have her own problems. When Lysander and Hermia leave, Helena is left alone, sitting on a couch. Although she had made previous complaints regarding her relationship with her teacher, at this moment, her strong desire for Professor Demetrius’ attention overwhelms her, instigating her mental conflict. Her jealousy towards Hermia, who always impresses Demetrius, weakens the value of their friendship and she thus decides to betray her friends by revealing their secret to Professor Demetrius in order to get his attention and gratitude. Helena’s problem has a solution, but it requires betraying her friends and finding her “loved one” professor Demetrius.

 

In terms of my personal acting, I portrayed Helena as a girl who openly expressed her emotions, sometimes with over-exaggeration. Her distressed emotions are shown through her complaints about Demetrius’ love, so I used hand gestures (many as she is very expressive), cadence, stress on words (adjectives she admires or despises), change in speed (slows down when coming to an important point), and facial expressions to emphasize her complaints. When she thinks of the idea of betraying her friends in order to win Demetrius’ attention and gratitude, her tone of voice and expressions changes from frustrated and distressed to happy and excited, as the burden of her problem has been greatly reduced.

 



The Musical Journey
Sunday May 08th 2016, 4:50 am  Tagged , , , , ,
Filed under: English 9  |  1 Comment

We all know how the pattern of the Hero’s Journey can be observed over and over again in various books, plays, and movies. But what if the Hero’s Journey could also exist in music? My partner Henry and I decided to explore this idea, and create our own piece of music that would represent the stages of the Hero’s Journey. I wrote the “crossing of the threshold to “the reward” section of the music. I also collaborated with Henry on certain other sections of the song.

 

In terms of speaking and listening standards, we “made strategic use of digital media in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.” We created our music by experimenting on piano, but we recorded and edited the piece using computer software, which made the entire process a lot easier. By publishing the music on our blogs using the Sound Cloud plugin, we will be able to share the music to anyone who wishes to listen. In terms of writing standards, we used “use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.” We worked very hard on the transitions between various stages of the Hero’s Journey. For example, on (seconds in the recording) I made the transition from “approach to the inmost cave” and to “the ordeal”. I used a pattern of 3 notes which increased in octave level to build the intensity of the scene, and broke the pattern with a chord to enter the climatic ordeal. The chord progression to begin with a minor chord instead of a major chord, illustrating the hero’s struggles in the ordeal section. However, the chords used were the same, which showed that the problem the Hero deals with has not changed.

Video (ignore the ads):

Click here to download PDF of Score




True lovers will know things about one another that are unknown to others. In William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, when first introduced to Nick Bottom, it is assumed that he is nothing more than an egocentric fool. But as the reader dives deeper into Bottom’s world, he/she will know more information about him that truly reveals a lovable character.

There is not much description about Bottom’s physical appearance in the book, but from other characters’ descriptions of him, traits of his appearance can be inferred. After Bottom’s head is transformed into that of a donkey by Puck, Quince states, “O Bottom, though art changed. What do I see on thee?” (Shakespeare 3.1.96) Donkeys are generally considered as ugly and stupid-looking creatures, which reflects on Bottoms actions throughout the play. When Titania no longer loves Bottom and looks at him, she states, “O, how mine eyes do loathe his visage now!” (4.1.76) Even after his Donkey’s head is removed, Bottom’s appearance towards other characters has not changed. He is still viewed as being unattractive and daft. Personally, I do not think that I am as unattractive as Bottom nor am I extremely good-looking. I rarely hear any comments about my physical appearance from other people and when I do, they are generally mixed, which means that I am viewed as “normal-looking” and, hopefully, not as ugly as Bottom.

When preparing for the play with his fellow mechanicals, Bottom is eager and over-excited. During one of the mechanicals’ discussions, Bottom constantly interrupts the others, saying things such as, “…let me play Thisbe too. I’ll speak in a monstrous little voice: ‘Thisne, Thisne!’” (1.2.42-43) Although his enthusiastic attitude motivates him to prepare for the play, it shows how he is unaware of the people around him and thus becomes disruptive to the group. When Bottom is brought into Titania’s bower, he begins to instruct his newly-acquainted fairy friends to help him with various activities. “Mounsieur Cobweb, good Mounsieur, get you your weapons in your hand, and kill me a red-hipped humble-bee on top of a thistle…” (4.1.10-12). Despite being kidnapped by the fairy Queen Titania and forced to stay with her in the forest, Bottom quickly takes advantage of the situation and talks to the fairies. This illustrates how he has a never-ending interest in the world around him, and can find fun in any circumstance. My personality is actually very similar to that of Bottoms. I can often be over-enthusiastic about activities, so I immediately jump into the action, many times unaware of the people around me. I am also a very curious person and can see the “bright side” of things. However, when unpleasant things do happen to me, I am unable to simply ignore the circumstances and go do whatever interests me like Bottom.

When Puck explains Titania’s love for Bottom to Oberon, he says, “My mistress with a monster is in love” (69). Monsters are considered to be ugly creatures who often proceed with actions without thinking, which seems to match up with Bottom. Bottom’s appearance and personality can often give other characters a generally negative feeling about him. However, although it may not seem obvious, other characters also have positive feelings about Bottom. When Bottom does not show up for the Mechanicals’ performance, the Mechanicals are devastated. “If he (Bottom) come not, then the play is marred. It goes not forward… he hath simply the best wit of any handicraft man in Athens… and the best person, too… a very paramour (paragon) for a sweet voice” (115). Despite all his foolishness, the Mechanicals’ play cannot function without Bottom. Bottom is referred as having the best wit in Athens, being the best person to play Pyramus, and having a perfect voice. Although he may not actually have any of the aforementioned traits, his effort and motivation give other characters the feeling that he is the best. It is his enthusiasm and confidence that empowers the Mechanicals to continue practicing the play at their best efforts and encourages them to be themselves when they perform. When I was younger, I used to pretend to be stupid in order to be funny. This led to the inevitable result of being viewed as an idiot and a fool, which still occasionally happens today. Bottom is not purposefully being stupid, but the way that other characters have viewed him is similar to how I was viewed as a result of my actions. Compared of how Bottom motivates others, my enthusiasm does often motivate the people around me, but I lack the confidence to become a truly empowering and inspirational character.

Featured image citation:

Arthur. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935).” Classic Movie Stills. Classic Movie Stills, n.d. Web. 2 May 2016.



The Power of Words
Thursday March 24th 2016, 1:57 am  Tagged , , ,
Filed under: English 9  |  Leave a Comment

Below is a monologue I wrote inspired from Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. The monologue is written from the perspective of Max Vandenberg, who is convincing Liesel to understand the immense power of words, and use them to slowly rebel against the Fuehrer by inspiring others to break away from the single mind that the Fuehrer has forced everyone to join.

You talk about the Fuehrer all the time; of his power, of his strength, of his wrath. But what is it, Liesel, that makes the Fuehrer so powerful? What is the weapon that he has used to control our entire nation? It is not the bullet nor is it the gun. The true weapon of the world is words, Liesel, words! Yes, my girl, the ingredients of the very books that you read are magical and powerful, yet very dangerous.

 

The Fuehrer has used his words for destruction, hypnotizing the people around him. He has proven that words are evil, spiteful, and disgusting, but words can also be used for a different purpose. The Fuhrer’s actions must be stopped, not with bullets but with words. And I believe that you, Liesel, are capable of doing so. I’m not saying that you should single-handedly defeat the Fuehrer, but you can influence the others around you to develop their own unique thoughts and feelings, to break away from the single mind that the Fuehrer has forced us to join. Together, united by words, you can slowly undo the damage that the Fuehrer has caused.

 

Liesel, you are different from those who mindlessly take the words of others. You have the constant desire to learn more, the unquenchable thirst for words. You steal books because you can no longer live without them. You crave words because you know how powerless a person can be without them. This, Liesel, is why I believe that you are capable of utilizing words to their full potential.

 

Words carry immense power, the power to influence others, and to change ourselves. The Fuehrer saw how a mother could control her child with words. Using the same method on a larger scale, the Fuehrer planted his words throughout this entire nation. His words may have been small seedlings, but the Fuehrer grew them into a forest. A forest that covered our nation, leaving the people no choice but to take his words and ingest them. Liesel, take the flavours of your life- your ideas and your beliefs, and express them with words. Plant these words into the earth, share them with other people, and soon your influence will grow from a sapling into a tree. And despite the vastness of the Fuehrer’s forest, your tree will stand alone, telling all other people around it to plant their own words, to make their own mark in the forest. And soon, the Fuehrer’s forest will no longer be home to one single type of tree; it will contain trees of every shape and size. And if the Fuehrer’s forest is filled with trees other than his own, then his power shall diminish.

 

But to do this, you must persevere in what you do. If you give up, you are handing the control of your life to the hands of the Fuehrer. When my uncle died, I promised myself that I would never give in without a fight. When I fought the Fuehrer in a boxing match, no matter how many times he knocked me down, I would climb back up. If you don’t give in to the fight, if you stand up time and time after you fall, you will never be defeated. Plant your own tree of words, and stay on top of the tree, holding it in place as others attempt to chop it down. When others tell you what to do, remember that now as long as you have your own words, your own ideas to rely on, you need not blindly accept the information.

 

And lastly, Liesel, although I hate to admit it, in the world of the Fuehrer, I am nothing more than a Jew, a person drowned in the ocean of the Fuhrer’s words. Yet you, Liesel, are young, smart and a member of Hitler’s “supreme race”, the ones who sail across the ocean. As a Jew I am merely helpless, but for you, there is lots of opportunity. I am calling for you to help me, to do the things that I can never do. By using your words to influence those around you in ways that I never could, you are avenging a race of defeated people without engaging in any physical conflict.

 

Use the power of words to impact those around you. Resist the blows of the Fuehrer’s axe on your tree of hope. Refuse to be shaped by his influence! I believe that you can use your own words to improve the lives of so many others, that you can free the people from the bars that the Fuehrer has put over them! Come on, Liesel, you can do this.

 



SHHHHHHHH! – WW2 Style Propaganda Poster
Sunday March 13th 2016, 12:03 pm  Tagged , ,
Filed under: English 9  |  Leave a Comment

Poster

This poster was made for the context of World War Two, with normal American citizens as the audience. By using various propaganda techniques, visuals, elements of argument and archetypes, this poster conveys the message of being careful when talking about sensitive information to the viewers.

 

The use of visuals such as framing, lighting, and leading lines, a slogan, and the shadow character archetype help to pinpoint Adolf Hitler as the main enemy. The framing and key light is focused on the person saying “shh”, which helps emphasize the main message of the poster. The road serves as a leading line toward Adolf Hitler, who is portrayed as the shadow archetype and losing opponent. The rhyming slogan “watch what you say keep Hitler at bay” is easy to remember, and the mention of Hitler instead of any other person/group presents him as the pinpointed enemy and opposition.

 

The use of colours give the audience a warm feeling as well as a sense of American authority and thus contribute to the ethos and appeals to the audience’s feelings. The background of the poster is yellow, a colour which is used to represent warmth. This makes the audience feel that the instructions on the poster are a “warm reminder” rather than “cold instructions”. The text and bottom text box are all red and blue, the colours of the American flag. Stars are also presented on the border to further show the representation of America. Since the audience are American civilians, the showing of their country’s colours and symbols will produce ethos, providing the audience with a sense of authority and trust to the poster.

 

The combination of different propaganda techniques, visuals, elements of argument and archetypes used in this poster is what effectively delivers the message of watching one’s language to the chosen audience of World War Two America.

 




At first, people had generally equal social classes, but large scale projects such as irrigation and large institutes such as religion developed, a small number of people tended to rise up and rule over a larger amount of people. “These activities (such as irrigation, architecture and trade) required organization, cooperation, and leadership… Leaders were needed to plan the projects and supervise the digging. These projects also created a need for laws to settle disputes over how land and water would be distributed.” (Textbook, 30). As people began to work together on large projects, there needed to be leaders to organize the large amount of people as an effective workforce. There was also a need for laws to settle disputes and conflicts. Over time, these leaders and laws that controlled large projects such as architecture also evolved to become the basis for an organized government. “The farmers believed that the success of their crops depended upon the blessings of the gods, and the priests acted as go-betweens with the gods. In addition to being a place of worship, the ziggurat was like a city hall. From the ziggurat the priests managed the irrigation system. Priests demanded a portion of every farmer’s crop as taxes.” (Textbook 31). The religious belief that the success of crops depended upon gods was very popular amongst farmers. This helped priests gain power as they were believed to be able to communicate to the gods, thus supposedly having control over a farmer’s crops. As a result, the priests and religious leaders began to gain power over the local farmers. They began to manage and control the large projects such as irrigation, and demanded tax as a payment for their services. In general, due to the fact that people of early societies believed that religious powers controlled their fortune, religious leaders who could supposedly communicate with the gods rose to power and thus became leaders. In conclusion, in early societies, large scale projects and religious institutes created the emergence of local leaders, thus slowly forming a social hierarchy. The workers and farmers gradually became the lower social classes, while local project and religious leaders gradually rose to the top.




Of all the advancements and effects to human technology that were brought by the agricultural revolution, the introduction of farming was by far the most important. Farming began some 10,000 years ago, when some woman may have scattered seeds near a regular campsite, finding crops to have grown the next season. Unlike hunting, farming provided a steady source of food. While a hunters food source depended largely on luck, a farmer could enjoy the benefit of harvesting around the same amount of food that he planted. Hunting also allowed for a surplus of food, which meant that some people could work on jobs that did not directly effect the food source, and live off surplus food created by others. With many people focusing their time on non-food related work, villages such as Catal Huyuk in south-central Turkey began to thrive, supporting a number of highly skilled workers. In conclusion, the invention of farming created a steady source of food as well as a surplus supply for the people, helping to support the rising population and ultimately causing one of the largest advancements in human technology.




The Chinese education system is famously known for producing amazingly high results in examinations. But are the secrets behind the test scores really that bright? China’s exam-based education system causes negative effects on emotional and physical health and a lack of critical thinking skills and creativity, making the future of Chinese students not exactly perfect despite the “exactly perfect” test scores.

 

I chose to create a long poster for the final project. It is based on the same structure as my outline, and aims to show the same effect as the research paper that would have been written from the outline. I chose to create a poster because I thought it would be a great way to inform a reader with ideas, concepts, and information. I start the poster by writing “10,000 Chinese students attend the gaokao college entrance exams every year,” to hook and attract the reader. I then state my thesis statement below to make my point. For my first section, I decided to simply use quotes from my research explaining the state of Chinese education in general, but use icons of people to make the quotes look like they were directly stated from the speaker. I used a pencil as the theme for my second section, as a pencil generally relates to education. For my third section, I used a graph to show the increase of students studying overseas, presenting relevant facts and details. I stuck to the pencil theme when listing alternate pedagogies of Chinese education. Finally for my conclusion, I used circular icons for the design. An arrow is put between the first two circles (wrong and right), while people are put between the second (China and the world), suggesting how people are moving from the “wrong” Chinese education to the “right” education elsewhere.

The poster is below:

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Everyone knows how amazing short stories can be. The vivid descriptions, mysterious plotlines, and twisted endings always keep us reading short stories over and over again. Graphic novels are a great way of expressing stories through images and captions, making almost anything look visually appealing. But what if we could capture the action of a short story through the pictures of a graphic novel? How cool would that be? My CREATE Project is a graphic novel that attempts to depict the mood and action of a short story.

Throughout my creation process, I “translated” the short story into language more suitable for a graphic novel. This involved reading “chunks” of text, and finding the meanings behind various uses of figurative language. I tried to simplify the text while retaining the tone/mood of the story. As the Grade 9 Common Core standards states, I will “analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.” I made “strategic use of digital media” by creating the graphic novel on my computer, which although took a lot longer than drawing, made the comic look cleaner. I split the graphic novel into different sections/events, which form scenes and eventually the entire story as a coherent whole. I demonstrated “command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.” I did my work “routinely over extended time frames and shorter time frames”. My CREATE project was divided into three parts: choosing the short story, choosing the software, and making the graphic novel. I spent most of my time on the first and third parts.

Below is the graphic novel:



How Does Location Lead to Imperialism?
Wednesday November 25th 2015, 7:40 am  Tagged , , , , , ,
Filed under: Asian Studies  |  Leave a Comment

How did Japan’s location result in it pursuing imperialist policies?

Japan is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, comprised of over 3,000 small islands. Its unique location in relation to other nations paved a way for its pursuit of imperialist policies. “Japanese businesses had invested heavily in China’s northeast province, Manchuria. It was an area rich in iron and coal. In 1931, the Japanese army seized Manchuria… Japanese engineers and technicians began arriving in large numbers to build mines and factories.” (Textbook Unit 7 915). From arts to culture, Japan had always taken things from their neighbours in China. When Japan was in need of resources that could not be acquired due to its geographical island location, they automatically turn to China once again, although this time the demands were more imperialist. With the rise of the Emperor and the rush for modernization, Japan had already become a major power in East Asia, and easily invaded northeast China, taking control of the region’s rich resources. These resources helped Japan grow it’s rapidly modernizing economy and rival the powers in the West. “…Japan had taken control of more than 1 million square miles of Asian land. About 150 million people lived in this vast area.” (Textbook Unit 7 932). During the second world war, Japan, now a strong imperialist power, had already taken over much of China and began looking towards nations in Southeast Asia to colonize. With the war raging across the Pacific, Japan needed to take advantage of these island nations in order to set vantage points against enemies and increase distance in the form of colonized land between themselves and their enemies. The Japanese empire had little land space to begin with and thus took control of the ocean through interconnected islands. However, the advantage of large distances and many islands ended up turning against Japan as power and resources were spread too thin and allowed enemies to seize close but loosely defended islands. Ever since Japan’s change of power structure with the fall of the shogun and the rise of the emperor, the nation addressed its locational disadvantages of having little land and being surrounded by water through colonialism. Invading other countries allowed Japan to take control of power and resources, producing large benefits as well as inevitable detriments for the island nation.