Kafka’s “The Sudden Stroll”: A Visual Representation

Pictured above is my representation of Kafka’s short story, “The Sudden Stroll”. In this vague graphic, I wanted to portray both the literal and figurative aspects that the short story expressed. In the literal sense, I depicted the individual from a distance on a long winding path, similar to the endless stream of thought within the first paragraph/sentence of the story. To represent the same structure of the story, I chose to repeatedly use the word “when” to establish different points of realisation for the central figure. Speaking of central figure, I allude to the last few lines of the short story that refer to the persona as a “sharply-defined silhouette”. Thus, I chose to depict my central figure at the end of the winding road as a silhouette of a figure. Regarding the choice to blur both the early moments of the road and background figures, this is reference to the blur of early life mentioned in the first lines of the short story. As the global issue presented in this short story is about identity and their role in society, I wanted to show that each figure goes through their own strolls throughout life, as well as realising their own self-worth and purpose.

False Maturity in Persepolis

How does Satrapi present and reflect on the issue of false maturity in her graphic novel Persepolis?

During Marjane Satrapi’s childhood, her country of Iran underwent a cultural shift known as the Islamic Revolution. As a result, Satrapi met countless atrocities in her war-torn country, forcing her to cope with such conflicts as a young child. However, as shown in her childhood memoir Persepolis, children try to come to terms with their environment, but are held back by their childish naivety. Thus, children, including Satrapi herself, attempt to be adult-like and voice their own opinions, when in reality, regurgitate propaganda and other’s opinions.

Focusing on the characterisation and language spoken by Marjane in pages 82-83, it is clear that Marjane’s facade of maturity is exposed by her childish behavior. In the top left panel of page 82, Marjane expresses her ‘own’ political beliefs while placing her feet upon the table. Her mother responds to this act by telling Marjane that “it’s impolite,” implying that Marjane still is the child of the household, and that she has no real bearing on society’s troubles. This narrow scope politics is further emphasised in Marjane’s expressions on the disappearance of her friend’s father. Coming to the realisation that Pardisse’s father was arrested, she remembers that Pardisse “didn’t come to school for a whole month”. The focus of the quotation suggests that Marjane has no consideration on the wellbeing of Pardisse and her family, but rather on why Pardisse was skipping school. This shows that despite voicing opinions on national issues, Marjane is still a young girl that worries about her own environment and what affects her directly. The eventual culmination of Marjane’s naivety is laid bare in the bottom left panel of page 83, where Marjane asserts her opinion against her parents by pointing to the TV as evidence. However, similar to how her mother had dismissed her in an earlier panel, her father suggests that Marjane should not believe the national news, as it filled with propaganda. This shows that despite Marjane’s passionate stance on the bigger global picture, she still fails to form her own opinion and instead blindly follow the words of the state. Even in the next paragraph, Marjane insists that her father doesn’t “believe anything,” implying that she herself sees no issue or bias in the information that she consumes, a characteristic of an immature figure.

Throughout Satrapi’s graphic novel, the development of her own figure progresses from a young innocent child to a patriotic adolescent. As a product of her time, Marjane must cope with mature concepts at a very young age, which she undoubtedly struggled with. Satrapi expresses her story through the form of a graphic novel to show that despite the children’s shortcomings, it is only natural and that their social environment is ultimately to be blamed for such issues.

 

The World’s Wife – Three Poems, One Message

“Thetis”, “Ms. Faust”, “Mrs. Rip Van Winkle”. In Carol Ann Duffy’s “The World’s Wife” poem collection, these 3 poems share a similar theme: while women seek to educate themselves, men tend to engage in destructive–and sometimes lustful–activities. The question here then lies: why are such men in positions of power or influence?

Looking at the first poem “Thetis,” the destructive nature of the male sex is lain in the open. At its core, “Thetis” details of a girl expressing herself both creatively and emotionally, but being stopped short each time by a man’s violent act. We know that the male gender is responsible for such actions, seeing as the text references “his fist” (6), “his strangler’s clasp” (17), and “the guy in the grass” (24). Each quote describes a different male figure in her different stages of life, as symbolised by the new animal form that she takes. From here, the poem thus emphasises the point that no matter where women go or what they do, men will inevitably disrupt it in their violent nature.

“Ms. Faust” elaborates on this point further, showing how women are able to bide their time and expressing themselves through emotionally-beneficial activities, whereas men perpetually create larger and greater problems not only for themselves, but for humanity as a whole. For example, as Ms. Faust engages in meditation or world exploration, Faust, in the poem, goes on to lust upon women, engage in politics, warfare, and cheating nature (by cloning a sheep). These actions are all similar in a sense where men lose their morality and humanity; Faust is representative of men throughout history, raping, killing, pillaging ever since the beginning. They never stopped. Despite all this, Duffy adds a powerful message at the end: much like the legend itself, when the deal Faust–symbolising men–made runs short, he must eventually must pay the price. When this happens, everything he created passes upon Ms. Faust, now single, separate from men (emphasis on the “Ms”). Duffy does this to show how times are changing, and the positions of power are changing from men to women, something that her role as Poet Laureate has already experienced.

Lastly, “Mrs. Rip Van Winkle” focuses less on the destructive nature of men (as the other two have), but rather more on the lustful, more foolish aspect of men. Like the other poems, the female counterpart is more interested in self-discovery, indulging in activities that made her happy as a person. Through this, Duffy states that no matter the situation, women have always been able to persevere. On the other hand, men, when faced with old age and the depletion of sex, are only able to focus on satisfying their lustful urges. Again, there is nothing beneficial, only a lewd self-indulgence.

Again, Duffy brings up the question, “if men are so incompetent, then why are they the ones in control?”. “Ms. Faust” perfectly summarises the predicament of what’s to come. The message is clear: women are taking position besides, if not above, men in society.

Realism and Naturalism within Journey’s End

Before I discuss how realism and naturalism is utilized within the play Journey’s End, I need to define what both terms mean. Realism, in terms of art and drama at least, is the attempt of the creator to adhere towards the accuracy of actual real-life within their own representation. In art, this could be tied towards the art style of photo-realism, or even just the attempts at drawing still-life. On the other hand, naturalism (in the case of drama) is–as defined by the dictionary–a style and theory of representation based on the accurate depiction of detail. Therefore, a set designer for a play would be attempting to replicate the entirety of the setting down towards the prop models, background, clothing, etc. Because of this, these two concepts are fairly similar, allowing for some to use them interchangeably within performing arts.

Sheriff, being an actual captain within World War One, underwent the trauma and horrors of war itself. This experience lends itself within the play as the actions portrayed by the characters echo very human emotions. By human, I refer towards the less romanticized aspects such as cowardice, as shown by Hibbert as he attempts to leave the battlezone. In addition towards this, the idea of “normalcy”, or rather the characters acting as if nothing wrong were going on, is often alluded to within the opening scenes of the play. For the audience this may clash against their perception of steel-hard soldiers valiantly fighting against the enemy, but for actual soldiers such as Sheriff himself, this references towards an actual feeling that soldiers had as they patiently waited for their final battle to begin. The characterizations of such characters add an actual human element, further pushing the element of realism within Journey’s End. This is unlike other portrayals of war, where heroism is glorified and the protagonists win the conflict in the end. As for naturalism, the stage description within the transcript describes the setting and how the characters interact. Sheriff’s own experience within trench dugouts and tunnels are highlighted by the dreary living conditions that the play portrays. With the wire netting, bare furniture, and wood framing, Sheriff by no means is romanticizing the concept of war, further pushing realism concept that war is unforgiving and harsh towards the young soldiers who fight within it.

Underlying Theme within Grendel Debate Notes

(Image below) These notes were from the debate about whether or not life was meaningless, everything had no purpose, and the general existential nihilism present within the novel Grendel. This was the first debate that I participated within the class, but also the debate that I was not supposed to be a part of/prepared for. Thus, my situation put me into the position of Speaker #3, which provided rebuttals to the opposing counterpoint and and conclusions. Our team was opposing the idea that life had no meaning/purpose. My specific notes can be seen in the teal-blue colour below:

(Image below) The group discussion/debate that I planned to participate in focused on the idea that heroism the ideal characterization that people should strive for if they wanted to “succeed in life”. After group discussion, our group came together to form our main points (as shown in the lighter blue). During the actual debate itself, I again took notes about their claims and counterclaims to build future arguments in the later debates for my peers.

IB English Lit HL Paper 1 Practice Reflection

Looking back on my paper, I can clearly see the different aspects that I can work upon. One of the most important aspects is analyzing the paper as a whole. What I mean by this is to relate certain portions of the texts with previous bits more often. Although I do do this within my paper, it seems that I may have missed some important connections between the beginning of the passage with the ending lines. Additionally, my literal analysis of the text still needs to be further elaborated upon, as my recap of the story consists of the passage introduction. If I were to include details about the setting or the conflict of the passage rather than the situation, that would provide further background detail for my analysis. Lastly, my analysis should be improved in terms of word choice and “professionality”. I did misuse a literary terms, and I did also add a biased description within my conclusion, which hurts my paper’s credibility.

Finally Expanding! (Passion Project V3 Weekly Update #9)

Hey there fellas! This week’s *actual* blogpost is about updates that happened during throughout the week. Let’s take a look at all the major changes that the shop went through:

As you can see, the image above shows not that much change. After talking with PTA volunteers and product stocks, it seems that the smaller sticker sales (¥1 per sticker) have slowed down, and I haven’t had the need to replace the small stickers just yet. Also, there really is a lack of presence in the store throughout the day. After last week, we went through three different hoodies (people supposedly bought 3 hoodies). Although this is fantastic in the sense of product variety and demand, it is clear that the store needed a change in look and products. That when everything started to come together on Friday, when the Design People club met for the 4th time 

As mentioned in the previous week, Annie had been making her own drawings and experimenting them onto her own products. She drew the above 6 drawings (wow, I know right) and tested them out with her own postcard vendor. When she brought them to our next meeting, we were all stunned and decided to immediately put them out for sale. But before we did that, we wanted to decide our price, to which we labeled at ¥10 per postcard. Finally, I was able to set up the Dragon Design Pop-up Shop 2.0 inside the store, and my oh my was it lookin spicy. And very pink 😉I let the store run its course across the week, looking to see how the store would fare out. It seems like the postcards aren’t too popular with the elementary kids –but of course, what would little kids do with a postcard– and the stickers are selling bit-by-bit. It would be fantastic if we were to get a shelf of our own as soon as possible in order to make our shop look legit as possible, but we’d just have to wait. The technical aspects that I’d like to work on would be the pricing and the advertising of our store. First off, for the pricing, I’m trying to organize a collaborative worksheet.xlsx that is on the shared workfolder. What I was thinking was that every 2-3 weeks or so, we’d rack up a whole new range of products and such, keeping all the prices right there beside it, maybe even including possible deals or sales. Then after those weeks, we’d go in and “update” the store with the products and the new pricing sheet, keeping students, especially the elementary kids, on edge for the latest products :). For the advertising, all we really need to for a couple posters to talk about who we are or where our shelf is located, and what products are being sold; however the only thing holding us back would probably be the organization and the flow of our current products and when they would arrive and such.

Anyways, that’s all for this week! Thanks for reading.

Plans (Passion Project V3 Weekly Update #7)

Hey hey, semi-slow week today. Quick recap of this week and what to expect in this blog update:
– Small product design (stickers)
– Schematics for product designs
– PTA collaboration
– Item pricing

First off, with the small product designs, the designers have been having some slight complications with the schematics/finalization of the products. Because of the tight deadline for first products in the PTA store for *next Wednesday*, we’ve been rushing to get some organization and colouring of the designs to print onto stickers. Although I don’t possess final details of the products (individual members will submit into the 365 files), here are some screengrabs of what they were working on in the past week:

On the left, Catherine wrote some quick notes about how she wanted the dimensions of the sticker/enamel pin to be. With the centimeters of the height and dimension, she stated that she’d also think about a gold outline or such; I never got any update about that afterwards. On the right side, Reina wanted to make a quick sticker version of the royal cat she sketched out. Because the shape is so irregular, during the meeting we were discussing about any background, circular and whatnot, in order to make the sticker printing/cutting an easier task. Again, no update on that other than Jonathan re-vectoring the form and background shapes.

One issue that arose during the planning process is that the designers were unable to access the 365 shared access workfolder. Apparently they still have to send in a request to the workfolder owner, and I do not know if they have done that or not (Jonathan has). Otherwise, there is a deadline to submit details of their product (stickers) into the workfolders. Like mentioned earlier, products should be in shelves starting this Wednesday, with some of my old stickers leading the charge.

And finally, for the pricing, Jonathan and I thought up of prices for products and future products, based on previous selling price points. However, these plans are tentative as quality and effort will effect the price tags on certain products. An example would be hoodies selling for ¥140, and t-shirts selling for ¥70. Postcards could go for a cheap ¥5 for each one or two, and stickers are set at ¥1 each.

Conference (Passion Project V3 Weekly Update #4)

So I had the conference with the PTA store manager, so quick run-down of what I’ve got so far:

PTA Store:
– Provide a system to track products
– No tracking system within the PTA
– Charity items are being tracked
– Not many large products in the PTA store
– Mistakes are not documented
– No way to tell if sold, misplaced, stolen, etc.
– Small stock under staircase for PTA store
– Volunteers have minimum training in running stock and inventory
– Offers little shelf space for Charity items
– All money from charity goes back to charity
– Have a student or check in on the stocks
– No guarantees that all the money is sold

BOOSTER CLUB:
– Booster Club check their inventory
– Talk to Cherry about Booster Club
– Booster Club design club

I emailed Booster Club for more questions, but I’m still waiting for them to reply. In the meantime, I added some designers from my grade into a group chat so we can discuss how’d we like to see the club in the future. Right now it consists of me, Jonathan, and Reina; however we are also considering other people.

On another note, I haven’t been prioritizing my drawings and whatnot, but for my design career right now, I just finished a massive month-long design project for the Swim Team, and now I’m working for the Cross Country team and Nightingale Charity Club. We’ll see what happens in the next week. Updates soon!