Grendel and Mental Health

The expression of contrasting emotions found within “Grendel” is what makes internal conflict such an integral part of the story. Focusing on the ‘contrasting emotions’ aspect, Grendel’s situation closely mirrors the modern day issue of mental health and the stigma that surrounds it. Like many today, Grendel struggles with his identity as his subconscious is torn between two realities, whether he likes it or not. Specific examples that are often overlooked nowadays are those struggling with bipolar disorder, a mental disorder that is commonly linked with depression and anxiety. Earlier in the novel, Grendel acts erratically and irrationally, first screaming at the world before sarcastically crying in a pool of his own pity. These are the obstacles that those with bipolar disorder must face on a daily basis (as Grendel does): switching from periods of intensified high to periods of crippling depression. Unfortunately, as these individuals are unable to control their emotions, they lose their identity and ultimately shutting them outside of society, hence the stigma around mental health. Grendel is also a victim of such ostracism, as evident from the isolation that Grendel experiences and the angst that emerges from such.

Why and How do We Study Literature?

Why do we study literature? Well, I tend to think that we study literature in order to understand the message behind the superficial text. Words don’t always mean what they literally mean; perhaps they imply a completely different message, whether it be optimistic or something more sinister. If all texts meant what they literally read as, what’s the difference between exploring a book’s world versus walking outside? Hidden meanings provide writers and authors a method of emphasizing a certain message that readers often find more satisfying once they discover the secret. A personal example of mine can be found in my previous analysis of Philip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle”, where I discovered that the author was providing a form of console for his readers –this book was published during the peak of the Cold War. Evidence of this was found from the espionage plot-line, where the conclusion left readers with the message of “you have done everything you can, all you can do is pray and hope”. Although it may sound very bleak, Dick provides a realistic, down-to-earth–yet still hopeful–expectation that doesn’t fill his readers with false hope. Again, I dug out this message through analyzing brief dialogue sprinkled across the entire novel, taking out certain quotes and characterizations of certain protagonists.
But then the question arises: how do we study literature? Because each author has their own writing style and personality, there is no direct formula that allows the reader to force out the deeper meaning of the text. Based on my personal experience, I tend to first read the superficial text, and understand the literal meaning. This allows me to understand what the author knows contextually, as they must at least know what they’re writing about in the first place. Secondly, I try to decipher a certain tone towards the piece itself. Is it positive? Negative? Neutral? Once I determine one of these three, I then try to pick a certain adjective that captures the essence of the literary piece. Sometimes, it may be more than one, or just be too complex to be described by adjectives, but a usual example could be “frustrated” or “confused”. Once that is determined, I keep this author’s tone and mindset as I reread the text, feeling around if certain phrases sound differently with this new context. This may come in the form of certain comparisons, motifs, or even literary devices such as alliteration. More often than not, I am able to connect multiple dots (collected from reading with a different perspective) to create a general idea of what the author is trying to convey. In order to solidify this new message that I’ve garnered from the text, I would delve deeper in to the piece and find more evidence that would support my hypothesis. Through this method, I am able to not only understand the literal story that is often used to entertain the reader, but also grasp the deeper message that the author is trying to portray subtly though their work.

Reflection 3 (Passion Project V3 Weekly Update #12)

Hey hey! It’s been yet another long long trip for my Passion Project, and it sure seemed like a short while. Looking back, I definitely went outside of my comfort zone for this project, seeing as digital drawing *wasn’t* the main structure to my project. Instead, it was more business planning and management. But because of the nature of this project, this meant that I had also rely on other people to make this project fruitful and successful (more on that later). Anyways, my intentions for this project didn’t really morph much during this semester, always keeping on that same goal of “creating a student design team that was able to sell their products within the PTA store for charity interests”. For one, this allowed students to have the resources and peer feedback to develop their own ideas, as well as getting exposure within the student shop. Without further ado, here’s my reflection on the project development:

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Organization 2 (Passion Project V3 Weekly Update #11)

Hey y’all! During this jam-packed week, I managed to do *some* productive tasks during this HS Spirit Week, and I’ll be going in depth and reflect upon what I did for the “final product”. Of course, this store is not just going to be my Passion Project, but will also continue on throughout the year, running its course and hopefully developing into a small club that will run the store on their own. Before we get to the that though, the agenda has to be completed, and that includes systematic pricing sheet, product tracking, proper shelving, and advertisements. Let’s just jump right into the recap of the week:

First off, building off of last week, the pricing system has been run in a way where I copy-paste the information from the excel sheet onto a super-simple template for price tags. Again, like I said last week, I really do want to design more aesthetic price displays as well as design templates for product adverts.

If you look closely, the price tags are placed right above each products, indicating what the product is, who designed it, and how much it costs. It is a rudimentary design that just shows the basics, but of course, the aesthetics will only go up from here. The main idea for pricing is, some possible ideas have come up and will be implemented; however, there aren’t many changes in the store compared to before as of now. This can also be said the same for product tracking. The topic was briefly mentioned last week, where the possibility of just having the PTA volunteers refer to a pricing table with pictures in order to determine how much one of our products is worth. Once the transaction has succeeded, the money (income minus change) can be placed in a separate cashier money box that is set alongside the PTA’s cashier bank. This is all just for the temporary store, because the PTA only view the Dragon Design store to be some small, charity store. We actually are aiming to get this store to become an integrated part of the PTA store, promoting student participation by selling student-designed products.

Now, for shelving, the whole topic becomes just one hot mess. To start off, we asked the PTA store manager about possible placement for the DD shelf. After 1 week, we ultimately decided to place it in the back of the store, facing opposite of the cashier desk. From then on, the DD store is basically set up through a number of metal pegs and super strong magnets. Although this system works, it does so barely, and it makes it super difficult for students to pick out their desired product (i.e. stickers) as they have to take out the sticker from each individual stack, which could be stuck in the back of the peg. Thus, as this was happening, I talked to Ms. Lemley about designing a custom shelf which would optimize selling, display, and aestheticism of the DD store. A couple weeks passed, and we didn’t get a response. This week however, Ms. Lemley and I were notified of the situation where Facilities was unable to pull through and order a shelf with the specified diameters, which left us at square one. Thus, one of the only options left was to ask for shelf space that was directly part of the PTA. They replied with this:

So yeah, what were we supposed to do? I proposed some super basic shelving designs that we ourselves could build right at the school, given the materials. After some pondering, we switched ideas many times until Ms Lemley and I thought about just simply ordering a shelf from IKEA. The height of those shelves could be adjusted through rubber stoppers, so the assembly of our shelf is fairly simple. Here are some potential shelves:

That just about wraps up the whole shelving dilemma that the team has been experiencing this week. And finally, the advertising. I know I have been putting the whole advertising thing off, but truly, the advert should only start publishing our efforts only when our system is up and running smoothly. Right now, I think that our DD store looks pretty darn good when you consider that it was thrown together, but I doubt that it could continue another 2 months if no changes are made towards stock replenishment, advertising, and product range. Thanks for reading this week’s whopper of an update!

Waiting (Passion Project V3 Weekly Update #10)

Hey! This week was a really short week, so let’s just jump right into whatever small tasks that I was getting into this week:

On my agenda, I wanted to develop a pricing system, proper shelving, advertisements, and set products. At the moment, the shelves have only gone through 3 full iterations; however I feel like this is not enough in order to “officially” start the store. My goal is to have advertisements up and ready, with the store being fully operational and stocked by the end of Presentation Week. That’s in a short while, so we’ll see what’s going to happen. I’m still waiting on the creation of the new shelf, as well as the new products that Ms. Lemley has ordered through the business office. Time is running out quickly, and I don’t quite know for sure when the products will be coming in for selling. But before those products are even here, there should be proper shelving, which I will get in-depth into soon. Otherwise, here are some pictures from the week and my reflection:

I started a rudimentary excel sheet with the creator, product, price, and sales tally box for the PTA members to use. What I had in mind was post this onto the Design Team shared workfolder; however, I haven’t got around that yet as it’s still super simple. The ideal scenario is to print this out and have the PTA moms refer to it whenever someone wants to buy some Dragon Design product. Already, the PTA has photo-copied the original product sheet, but it lacks the information of Annie’s postcards and her sticker set. The list of products that are supposedly either in-stock or ordered:
– Stickers (individual/set)
– Hoodies
– Enamel Pins (3/4 designs)
– Postcards
Here’s a really stupid idea that I had earlier, where the classic Comic Sans font is used to display the prices in this new chart. I wanted to build onto the old format that we’ve been using since Day 1, but I still need to get a PDF version of that. Here’s what an advertisement of the sort would look like using this format:

Now that the pricing has somewhat been set, the finalized version of the pricing sheet should be posted onto the workplace, as well as allowing people to change it if necessary. I will go into shelving, stock, and advertisements next week, but the gist of this short week was re-planning and redesigning a selling process for the PTA mom to refer to. As for tracking purchases, the excel document (or some other table) shown above is one possible idea, albeit simple, that we could hand over to the cashiers for tracking. Otherwise, our products already stand out from the other products that are being sold in the PTA store, so the volunteers shouldn’t have much trouble in identifying which products are Student Designed. That’s all for this week!

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.

Slow (Passion Project V3 Weekly Update #8)

Hey there… so yeah this blog post is like, a week late, and that’s because I had so much on my plate, especially with the talent show and all–which was a huge success btw ;). Anyways, let’s get straight into what little work I did for the week:

The image above was taken in the beginning of last week, to document the process of what has been going on the PTA DD store. Looking back, these past 2 weeks have been super duper slow in terms of product variety and such; however that will change in the following week ;). But I’m getting ahead of myself. As you can see, the store contains 5-6 different stickers, as well as one white fashion bug hoodie and two pink fashion bug hoodies. The most notable thing is that all the products are designed by me, which is a bit surprising due to the fact that the whole “Dragon Design” thing is supposed to be a team effort. Unbeknownst to many, a couple team core members were actually experimenting on their own, and began to order their own products to test whether they’d like it or not. One example would be Annie with her sticker set and postcards, which begin sales *next week*.

Speaking of experimenting, Ms. Lemley blessed us by taking Catherine’s graphic design and sending it into the Copy Office to make some stickers. Once they were printed and presented in front of the team, we ultimately decided that we’d be better off using outside vendors (HFH’s) that pre-cut the stickers rather than having us cut each individual one out. So, that’s one product aspect that we’ve been working on.

Ok so disclaimer: I cant quite rotate the image in the website, so just rotate your screen 90º clockwise to view the image. Also, one comment that I received said that the quality of the images was too low, but because this blog publisher is kinda sad, you have to actually click on the image to view it in the highest quality. Anyways, if you look at this photo taken at the end of the week and compare it to the other photo taken earlier, you might think that there isn’t much difference. Having said that, when I stopped by to interview the PTA cashier volunteers, they said that the stickers have been selling pretty well at ¥1 for 1, and on top of that, I replaced one pink hoodie that was supposedly sold (I think I saw who bought it), so that means that larger products are also being sold at some rate. That’s mostly it for this week, as I couldn’t do much in the first place 🙁

Thanks for reading, and read the next post if you’re wondering what happens to the store’s development!

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.

PTA and Expansion (Passion Project V3 Weekly Update #5)

Hi there! This week actually turned out to be quite the productive one (in a way). To summarize real quick, here’s a list of what happened:
1. Made a plan based upon the meeting with PTA
2. Created group chat with designers
3. Started to work on small designs

So number one. Referencing to the meeting I had with the PTA, and the email that I never got back from the Booster Club, Ms. Lemley and I decided that it’d be best if we were to go ahead with our plan to set up shop within the PTA store. When talking Hailing, the PTA manager, we learned a lot of useful things, but you could just read what went down in the last blog post. What was most important was the place where we could sell out products. So this right here is a picture of what the PTA store allowed us to use for shelf space. Apparently, the store is categorized in sections such as gifts, trinkets, school supplies, and tech. There were a couple shelves that, with some reorganization, would provide a lot of space for charity products. However, after some back and forth with the manager, she quickly explained that the products on the shelves were purposefully spread apart as to prevent mass crowding. She said during the beginning of the year, the notebook shelves would be constantly swarmed by middle schoolers, so therefore shelf space had to be given priority to the products. After some pondering however, my logic said that if there were students arriving en masse to the PTA store to but textbooks and whatnot because of “Back to School”, why couldn’t student products be sold on the large shelves in the middle of the year, where the binders and textbooks were just gathering dust? Ah but for the time being, it shouldn’t really matter, as right now I’m testing the waters with smaller student designed products, which don’t provide that big of a burden for the volunteer mothers working at the PTA store with minimum employee training. You see, this whole process is a matter of trust. Once we provide some system that is fairly easy to the mothers, they’ll realize that a line of charity products is just another bunch of new products to sell as always.Adding on to that, I have yet to get confirmation that the blue shelf in the image above can be changed into a display/storage for the student design. I talked with Ms. Lemley, and if we get the trust and greenlight from the PTA for the new shelf, the whole selling part of this project ordeal is “all set”. I was supposed to get measurement for the sizing and all, but I didn’t quite get the opportunity to do so, and I still need to reconfirm with Hailing about the cabinet thing anyways.

The second (and third) part of the project was gathering all my fellow student designers from the HS community. Now, these people that I chose have had some history that I know or heard of with design and also creating products. I also specifically wanted them because I know that they can work will within a group. As of now, the small 5-person team consists of me, Jonathan Yu, Reina Zheng, Catherine Lin, and Emma Liu. There are some other people that I wanted to join; however I think that this 5-person team should be enough to create a small catalog of mini-products to sell at the small shelf at the PTA store, just for starters.

I’ve already briefed them on what to do, and hopefully over the break we should have some ideas down and in the works, so we can get started as soon as possible. Here’s a snippet of the chat:

That’s all for this week. Hopefully I’ll return in two weeks time with some finalized designs to place in the PTA store, which I will be in contact with Hailing again. Regarding the Booster Club, I highly doubt that we’ll be working with them in the future, but we’ll see.