Farewell

  • Something to remember you by

I would wish to remembered by all of my actions, be they good or bad.

  • Where you’re going next year

Literally, Arizona in the United States (most likely), figuratively, a better mental place (hopefully).

  • One takeaway from this class

Literature can mean many different things to many different people.

  • One favorite memory

Every discussion is eligible, I’d say. I consider it a good thing that nothing particularly strikes out to me, which means that there is an abundance of good memories.

  • One memorable text we studied and why you enjoyed it

I actually particularly enjoyed studying DAMN., since it was a new experience in terms of genre for me. Having an additional analysis to listen to alongside it certainly helped.

  • Any advice for juniors

To not only keep reading, but also to consider the implications of every choice.

2020-2021 Reflections Blog Post

Experiences –

Needless to say, the last eight months have been quite hectic and confusing. For all of the convenience E-learning brings, comes an equal share of challenges and inconvenience. Several major “setbacks” I had to deal with stemmed from the difficulty of learning from a distance, causing problems with otherwise easy actions such as asking for feedback or having fluid conversations. Just as Covid-19 disrupted my school plans, it also disrupted my overall academic plans as well – not only were several important tests cancelled or delayed, but my hopes of joining study programs over the summer were completely banished as well. Additionally, not being able to return to America was frustrating as well, and this was compounded by the relative difficulty in traveling locally.

Low points aside, this summer, however, still does count as an “interesting experience”, and I have had my own share of high points as well. Not only did I get high marks on some of my assignments (and quite thankfully, Lang. & Lit.), but I also achieved a degree of productivity over the summer despite the abandoned plans for summer school. The internship provided me with great insight into the adult working life, and it was an experience I would be willing to experience several times more.

Learning Experiences  –

Covid-19 difficulties aside, work completion still remained a problem for me, being brought on by a variety “excuses”, first and foremost among which was motivation, followed closely by confidence. Although I was able to perform relatively well, the issue, needless to say, is still a massive detraction. That being said, I did have some small “victories” in the subjects I was more experienced in, which is reassuring.

This Year –

I am approaching this year’s learning materials and courses with a high degree of interest, being particularly interested in the reason behind such an eclectic collection. I did notice that the amount of non-literary materials was somewhat decreased in comparison to the previous year, but I have no strong opinion.

SMART Goal –

I think my goal is rather simple: I want to more closely examine the material and apply it to its context, my surroundings, and themes to a degree that I have not done so before. Previously I felt that my “connection” to the studied texts was weak, with no particular strong interest present. I will know that I have achieved my goal when I fully involve myself in a text – gathering information externally regarding it, spending time in reflection after reading, etc., other assorted activities.

 

REFLECTIVE BLOG POST

UNDERSTANDING

Choices made by creators, and how they affect meaning: What I’ve learned or at least, gained a better understanding of, is how certain choices taken by creators can greatly affect the entire overall theme/message of a text, and also open/close metaphorical doors for subjective themes/meanings, a prime example being Gordon Parks’s “Harlem Gang Leader”, where the duality of his photos of Red Jackson communicated nuance that was lost in LIFE Magazine’s omission.

Understanding of how context circa production/reception affects meaning: I do not feel that my understanding has strongly changed, but it was enlightening to see it “in action” through our examination of the texts and their backgrounds, an example being Malcom X’s speeches – the circumstances of their creation, and the audience’s (and the world’s) reactions.

Regarding connection between texts – Not much has been learned, though I appreciate how similar “universal” themes and different context-sensitive themes can be seen across all of the works we’ve examined – for example, while Lamar’s DAMN. and Malcom X’s speeches share some similar overreaching themes regarding black society, DAMN. also examines an inherent duality present in humans, while Malcom X’s attentions were turned to more arguably more “concrete” issues such as oppression and revolution.

Of all the studied text, the one that made the most impact on me was DAMN., due to its multifaceted and complex nature, and the arguably broad scope of its messages/themes.

SKILL DEVELOPMENT

Development of the ability to read & analyze texts – Some knowledge of techniques has been gained, but no change has occurred. Analyzing texts continues to yield meagre results, unlike classmates.

Writing skills – Garbage continues to be churned out, as usual. No improvements have effectively been made at all in the areas of structure, reasoning, analysis, persuasion. Nothing particularly profound or thought-provoking was created over the course of this class.

Speaking skills – No improvement whatsoever. Stutters continue to occur, same as before, to the surprise of no one.

No areas of major growth/all areas need to be improved.

APPROACHES TO LEARNING

Development of all five “Approaches to Learning” skills are so marginal as to be negligible. Barely any significant growth has been felt. All areas must be developed further in order to achieve satisfactory results i.e. noticeable improvement, especially in the area of thinking skills.

IB LEARNER PROFILE

Same as above, little to none growth. Disappointingly there is no meaningful change in the ability to think creatively/critically. Knowledge has barely increased, and for all other aspects barely any growth or rise at all has been noticed, a pathetic development.

Gordon Parks Annotation #2

https://i.huffpost.com/gen/1996936/thumbs/o-GR-900.jpg

The purpose of the selected image is to highlight the segregation faced by African-Americans under the Jim Crow laws.

Parks, being a master photographer, achieved this purpose through various visual techniques. First off, the presence of a blurry, dark frame on the edges of the photograph draw the viewer’s attention to the food stand and the family, setting the stage. Furthermore, the family is shot against a white background, emphasizing them (red clothing against the white wall stands out).

However, the most important element of the photograph no doubt lies within its composition – only one half of the food stand is in the frame, and the family is being served on the side. This is an excellent visual metaphor for segregation – the “colored” side of the stand is effectively minimized, being much smaller than the main side of the stand. Additionally, a sense of separation is further emphasized though the contrast of the white brick wall against the dark wood, again referencing the differences caused by segregation. Another visual trick is the placement of the window of the stand within the photograph – it effectively creates a wall of sorts between the family and the vendor, with the negative space on the family’s side (forest background) contributing to this.

All in all, in the photograph Gordon Parks uses various visual techniques to highlight the nature of segregation.

IOP Reflection

Assessment according to the rubric: 3

At any rate, the presentation was a disastrous failure, being ill-prepared and tardy. Not much of substance was presented at all, with the selected extracts having weak links to the global issue. It could be said that the presentation only targeted one aspect of the specific issue, and barely covered the other; Due to this, the IOP deserves a low score for not being fully on-topic.

The analysis of the extracts and their corresponding elements were extremely shallow as well, only covering the “surface”, without delving in-depth into the subtleties and authorial intents within the text. Most of the actual literary elements within the actual extracts remained untapped, with the presentation only covering the most obvious elements. Again, the IOP deserves a low score due to this as well.

Finally, in terms of preparation, the IOP is also a failure. The majority of the presentation was not delivered coherently, lacking both structure and refinement. The flow of the presentation might as well have been non-existent, and the topics lacked smooth transitions.

Areas of future improvement should be proper analysis, structure, and delivery.

The final product should be in-depth, stripping the sources to their barest, tapping into the full potential of the chosen elements. Said elements should be properly brought together in a coherent and easily understandable fashion, and should do justice to the subtleties of the original materials.

The Usage of Image and Language in Developing Themes (American Born Chinese)

Usage of language – stereotypical Chinese/Asian accent, and notable “laughing effect” at the bottom of the panel.

Usage of image – Chin-Kee is portrayed as being an extreme caricature of Chinese people – note the small, squinting eyes, the large mouth and buckteeth, as well as the Tang era outfit and braid. Lastly, his skin is depicted as being an exaggerated shade of yellow, furthering the cultural stereotype. Even his pose could be considered to be to a degree an exaggeration.

His outfit is noteworthy – it resembles Qing Dynasty clothing, which makes sense since it was the dynasty that received the most modern foreign contact, and thus would become ingrained in the West. Perhaps this is the reason why the author chose such a design.

Of course, to further the theme of stereotypes, Chin-Kee’s luggage resembles Chinese takeout boxes.

All of these elements are used together to present a simple theme –  namely, how the outside world views Chinese people. Chin-Kee possesses all the stereotypical elements, from looks to clothing to speech. While the ultimate purpose of invoking such a theme is unclear, it’s obvious that Chin-Kee was quite literally made to embody Chinese stereotypes, and perhaps in a way to contrast with “Danny”‘s American-ness.

Global Issues blog post

Primary Global Issue:

Science, Technology, and the Environment.

I chose this particular global issue since I believe science, technology, and the environment are some of the most important defining traits of our lives. Our surroundings and lives are shaped by those factors – science and technology give us the standards of living and experience we enjoy today, from the most basic things such as our houses to miracles of human ingenuity such as the internet. And of course, without the environment, where would we be? Needless to say, these factors are essential to our ways of life, and as such, we should examine them at length, for surely any development in that area will have repercussions soon felt by us.

Selected article: “New Haptic Arm Place Robotics Within Easy Reach”

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191020084936.htm

Obviously, the information presented in this text falls under technology and science due to the focus of the article: a certain design of robotic arm meant for wide access. Primarily, it highlights a new development in technology, but barely explains the basic science behind it. Although it may be questionable how the environment relates to this article, society itself is also an environment. In fact, one could argue that this article is highly environment-focused, especially as it explores how the easy accessibility of this arm will impact people – and examples, such as  students and researchers, are used.

The author presents the issue with a range of primary sources, splicing quotes from the two primary developers of the technology into the article. First, the author opens the article by describing the technology in general, as well as listing its aim. The author also provides some context as to the state of said technology at the current moment, thus allowing the reader to more readily understand the possible impact the technology would have on the field, citing statistics to further demonstrate the ease-of-access that this technology would have. Needless to say, examples of the actual uses of this technology are presented as well, often in relatable situations to the reader, further increasing the reader’s potential understanding of the issue.

All in all, this article could be considered to be very related to the aforementioned issue, and it effectively uses specific techniques in both form and content to deliver its message.

 

Paper One Reflection.

Point One – “What did you do well?”

The most obvious success in this case, I believe, would be under Criterion D , language, where I received my highest mark. According to the rubric, this meant that in my paper, I had demonstrated clear and carefully chosen language, as well as a good degree of accuracy regarding grammar, vocabulary, and sentence construction. None of those points I dispute, but ultimately this is unimportant, being a shallow Criterion (in my belief), paling before Criterions A and B (Understanding and Interpretation, and Analysis and Evaluation, respectively).

It would seem that for my interpretation, I had established a solid enough foundation, and demonstrated that I had a good enough grasp of the underlying concepts provided in the article, as well as the methods used to communicate them. Regrettably, it would seem that I had not examined the subjects enough, hence the appended comments of “go deeper” and “even more through analysis”.

Lastly, the least touched-upon Criterion, C. It would seem that my paper was coherent enough for the reader to follow, and ultimately I suppose that’s all good enough.

Point Two – “What do you still need to improve on?”

Moving on from the previous point, my largest failure would be in the A and B sectors – despite having a solid enough foundation, it would seem that I did not push hard enough for a more through examination of the source material. Instead, I more-or-less skimmed lightly over the concepts that I could have elaborated on.

Also, I need to better hone my matching of sources to claims, as well as the overall development of my claims. Clearly, the evidence I present is not a perfect 1:1 matchup to my claims, and my original idea, although being workable, was ultimately flawed.

Needless to say, this overall paper could be considered a failure.

Point Three – “What will be your specific target for next time?”

In the future, I shall pursue the creation of a more coherent thesis/claim; In order to achieve this, I will undertake a more through initial analysis and evidence complication process when reading the source material. Hopefully, this shall remedy the deficiencies noted above. Being my greatest weakness, this will be the prime issue I hope to address.

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Post #2 – “To Live”

Key scene – Fu Gui returns home to meet Wang Erxi.

I selected this scene as I personally felt that it was linked to the theme of the fear felt under the Cultural Revolution.

In the scene, Fui Gui and Jiazhen are out buying textiles for Feng Xia when one of Fui Gui’s acquaintances rushes up to him and informs him that there is “trouble at his home”, stating that there were Red Guards around the area pulling tiles off from the roof. They then return home, only to realize that Wang Erxi has been bringing his friends over to help renovate their home.

Undoubtably, the main key element used here in communicating the brunt of the theme is language, since the scene primarily focuses on human feelings, rather than a more external theme. The best example of this is most likely seen when they learn about the disturbance going on back home – Jiazhen, after hearing that the leader of the Red Guards is a cripple, jumps to the conclusion that he must be taking his revenge as he didn’t like Fengxia – meant to demonstrate to the viewer the fear they feel.

However, image is also a key element as well. Just before the scene showing Fu Gui at the market appears, there is an “ominous” shot of Wang Erxi and his Red Guards walking down the street in a cluster. An elderly couple can be seen barely pulling out of their way, and many others turn their heads to follow, further heightening the feeling of unease. Although the viewer has no idea what is about to happen, this shot serves as excellent foreshadowing for the next scene.

Image is used again notably after the market scene. As Fu Gui and Jiazhen walk to the doorway to their home, it can be noticeably seen that they are framed in the shadowy doorway.

This creates a feeling of unease, as they are transitioning from the light into the shadow. However, as the twist is revealed, the walls are noticeably less darker, and we are treated to this shot:

Note the angle of the light – it’s almost as if hope and positivity “penetrate” the darkness.

At any rate, it’s obvious that language and image are primarily used in this section of the film to communicate an atmosphere of fear and unease – which becomes all the more poignant given the previous context of the film .

Language is used to develop the characters, and allow the viewer to understand their fear and worry – the central theme. This is then built upon by image, which visually creates a manifestation of unease as well.