Literary Element Project: The Red Noose

A theme in Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, is the danger of ideology. My literary element project, The Red Noose, is a piece of artwork that aims to analyze this theme in the context of a literary work outside of the United States: in Chinese author Ji-li Jiang’s memoir, Red Scarf Girl. Miller’s play focuses on a religious ideology adhere to the Bible that opposes devilry and witchery, while Jiang’s memoir focuses on the Maoist ideology that opposes counter-revolutionary revisionists. A common cultural experience is explored between the two works: the 1950’s McCarthy era in the US and the 1960’s Chinese Cultural Revolution in China. My artwork, The Red Noose, amalgamates symbols from both works to communicate the theme:

• The red scarf symbolizes a set of ideology (in China, it represents communism).
• The drawing of the face (Jiang Ji-Li’s face on the cover of Red Scarf Girl but disoriented) symbolizes disoriented people in a society that obeys the strict ideology.
• The extended length added to the scarf helps allude the red scarf to a noose (the equipment used to hang the accused during the witch trials), symbolizing the danger of ideology.

Together, these three components communicate that governments acting in accordance with rigid and absolute ideological convictions often fall into corruption and tyranny and are dangerous to societies.

A Seedling Then, A Flower Now

Explain a theme. Write a thematic response in which you show understanding of one of the themes. Support your writing about theme by including MLA formatted quotes. Remember that one word (love, fear, friendship, family) is not enough and be sure to include a thematic statement (yes, a sentence).

Growing up, to no longer be a child, may be the most difficult part of a person’s life. This transition from a child to an adolescent is referred to as “coming of age”; it is represented as the theme in the book, We Are All Made of Molecules, by Susin Nielson. Every child will approach this stage with a different story; it might be through pain, tragedy, confusion, or happiness. Or it might start with moving in with another family.

Thirteen-year-old Stewart Inkster is academically excellent but socially clueless. Fourteen-year-old Ashley Anderson, on the other hand, is the queen of the social ladder. Who on Earth would think Stewart and Ashley would be crossing each other paths? So when Stewart’s dad moves in with Ashley’s mom, we can infer epic things are bound to happen.

Continue reading A Seedling Then, A Flower Now

Oblivion

The author believes that humanity can be lost or altered if the concepts of literature, history, music or philosophy are censored. Living obliviously and ignorantly, peoples’ lifestyles reshape and change. The protagonist in Fahrenheit 451, Montag, knew that well, he said, “‘We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren’t happy. Something’s missing. I looked around. The only thing I positively knew was gone was the books I burn in ten or twelve years. So I thought books might help’” (Bradbury 84). Books contain knowledge and knowledge is vital to humanity. We think, we learn, we create, we design, we adapt, and we build upon ideas. That’s how people and societies advance and climb higher. In this dystopia, books are censored, therefore reality is lost and flooded with lies: “‘Yet somehow we think we can grow, feeding on flowers and fireworks, without completing the cycle back to reality’” (86). In conclusion, the author was trying to communicate the thought that humanity shatters if knowledge is censored.

Be Part of the Majority

Explain the Resolution. Write a response in which you explain the resolution of one or more of the conflicts you explored in your rising action response. In your second paragraph, explain why you are either satisfied or unsatisfied with the resolution.

Is your self-esteem over the roof, or is it as small as a grain of sand? Do you value what others think of you, or do you ignore it completely? Leo Borlock’s life has been entirely altered when Stargirl crashed in. In the beginning, they were “swinging hands for all the world to see” (Spinelli 86), disregarding what other’s judgements were. However, as days passed, an uncomfortable atmosphere surrounded them. Leo soon realized that everywhere he went, students bypassed him, dared not to speak to him or even look at him in the eye. Leo “knew exactly what [he] had done. [He] had linked [himself] to an unpopular person. That was [his] crime” (132).

He couldn’t endure the shunning alone so he went to find Archie, an old professor that teaches and communicates with children. Understandingly and solemnly, Archie asked, “Whose affection do you value more, hers or the others?” (128). This is when the interior conflict is identified, and the anxiety within Leo intensifies: “I became angry. I resented having to choose. I refused to choose. I imagined my life without her and without them, and I didn’t like it either way” (128).

Towards the end, Leo made his decision. Girl or others? Girl or others? Girl or others? [spoiler alert!] He chose others. Like Stargirl’s prediction, Leo didn’t ask her to the school prom nor did he ever spoke or saw her again. His way of dealing with this problem was to leave, to leave and pretend nothing happened.

Stargirl is one of a kind. I have never read about such a contrastive character with such impenetrable characteristics. Her actions are bizarre, original and strange. Maybe this was why the students in Mica High were reluctant to tolerate her existence. Or maybe even afraid of her! Personally, I am unsatisfied with the resolution. This is because in the beginning, there was a prologue describing Leo receiving a porcupine necktie four years ago. Later on, he found out Stargirl was actually the mysterious giver. The author should have elaborated more on this symbol and describe its impact on Leo and his life in the future.

Secondly, the resolution didn’t express a powerful theme. To me, it passed on a negative theme, communicating maybe standing out isn’t such a great thing. Stargirl was obviously unique, however, our last glimpse of her was her being broken-hearted. Leo chose to be part of the majority because he didn’t want to be different than others and he was doing just fine.

Lastly, I think Jerry Spinelli could have explained why Stargirl behaves the way she behaves. Like wind, Stargirl came and gone. “[Students] wanted to define her, to wrap her up as [they] did each other” (11) but away she flew, even now, the reader is left in puzzlement. Fortunately, he has written a sequel to this book called Love, Stargirl, so Stargirl’s fascinating story hasn’t ended.

The Hunger Games- Theme

Spoiler Alert!

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The Hunger Games is a form of torture where children from each District are placed in an arena to murder one another. Courage, loyalty, cooperation, and perseverance would help the Tributes to survive. This cruel event has been held throughout the entire history of Panem and this time, let’s have the 74th Hunger Games begin.

From the start, Katniss Everdeen always showed courage and bravery. Living in the Seam of District 12 was indignant because they never had enough to eat. Sixteen-year-old Katniss replaced her father to support and be responsible for her family. On page 5, it described her daily life that she has to walk beyond the electric fences that protected District 12 everyday to hunt for food. Katniss has to risk her life from menacing predators- packs of wild dogs, lone cougars, and bears in the woods on the other side of the fence. Not only she might get killed, once she’s caught, there are also severe penalty from the Capitol.

When the focus was transitioned to the day of the reaping, she was greatly honored. This is because on page 22, when the reaping began, everybody’s feeling was apprehensive. It was declared that Primrose Everdeen’s name was drawn from the glass ball. Even though Katniss was trembling with fear, she immediately felt it was her duty to volunteer and go to the Hunger Games herself rather than her sister. This shows that she is kind and courageous, willing to risk her life for her beloved sister.

After Katniss entered the Games, she noticed that there was another Tribute about the same size and age of Prim called Rue. Katniss wanted to protect her because she was so young. On page 200, she invited her as an ally. Even though she looked weak, Rue had many skills. So forming an alliance requires courage and loyalty because if Rue turns her back on Katniss, Katniss might be killed.

Here are only few examples of where the protagonist accepted a risk or gained strength to overcome a fear. The Games made Katniss face so much more terrors, risks, and tragedies. Let’s all learn to be like Katniss Everdeen by having courage to persevere even when facing difficult challenges.