A Doll’s House – Pre Reading

Topic 1: Henrik Ibsen


Henrik Ibsen was a playwright born on March 20, 1828 in Skien, Norway. During his childhood, he grew up as the oldest children of the family in Skien, a small costal town in Norway. Though he was born into a wealthy family, his family was thrown into poverty after his father’s family had some problems. He spent most of his time reading, writing, and painting. At 15, he stopped going to school and started to work where he first wrote his play Catalina. The three periods of Ibsen’s work could be divided into when he introduced The Pillars of Society in 1877, second where he started to use drama to protest against social conditions (such as Ghosts), and the last is symbolic plays such as The Master Builder. During the first phase, he drew attention from the Norway’s new dramatist audience where the primary purpose was not wholly for the stage, but more of a poetry about intellectual and spiritual struggle. The second phase focused more on politics, liberty, and social justice. For example, this includes how people are treated unfairly. Also, he considered more of the philosophy of modern social world, which are related to the moral and ethical relations between human interactions. The last period focused on to explore the illustration of self-realization, self-conquest, or self-annihilation. He is considered the pioneer of modern drama as he was one of the figures who created the rise of the Realistic movement in poetry as a major literature genre. Also, he deviated from traditional theatrical ideals, by making the “settings, characters and narratives that were recognizable and relatable to his audiences.” The two major literary elements Ibsen used in his plays are dramatic irony and symbolism such as focusing on the irony society portrays. The main theme was Man vs. Society and criticism of social problems, which made him popular and controversial among the audience.

Topic 2: Norway

Norway is located at the uppermost of west Europe. Its climates are referred as “marine climates,” where the summers are cool and winters are mild. The Norway government has a parliamentary with a prime minister. Traditionally, there was a king, which now is a constitutional monarch. It has one of the highest GDP in the world and has a big service sector as part of its economy. The Norse literature is a literary culture developed in Norway, which are regarded as more recent folk tales.

Topic 3: Gender Roles and Social Classes in the Victorian Era

The Victorian Era is 1837~1901. Victorian Era was known as a strictly patriarchal society. Men had more economical and social control over women and there were specific roles assigned to men and women. For example, women were only supposed to take care of the children. An ideal women would be passive and have a private life at home. They were known to be “quiet, subordinate, and over all viewed as weak by men.” So the specific assigned role shows that the Victorian era was a patriarchal society. Those in the upper-middle-class generally were land owners who did not do any manual labor. They would make profit out of the lower class workers. The middle-upper were regarded as “lords and officers” while the lower upper were wealthy men and business owners. However, women were still limited to a range of servants and had to have good homemaking skills to organize parties for the men. The lower/working-class had to depend on each other in unsanitary conditions. Women typically were less educated and became servants of wealthier women. The suffering class also had to find workplaces as a servant of other wealthier women. The difference between modern and nineteenth-century feminist lies on fighting for education, labor and electoral rights instead of fully focusing towards human rights.

Topic 4: Marriage in the Victorian Era

– Explain whether or not it was a romantic bond or economic institution and why.

Marriage in the Victorian Era was an economic institutions. Marriage was encouraged within one’s class and especially for upperclass. By forming a relationship between two families, they will help each other politically, economically, and socially. Women and men had different expectations as men showed their ambitions in the public while women were limited within the house – only allowed to enjoy private life and take care of the children in house. The book written by William Andrus Alcott, directly shows the instructions given to each gender during Victorian Era. The fact that women all social classes had to stay and work within the households remains as a similarity. However, lower class women had worse conditions to work, which was a significant difference making the work harder for the lower class women.

Topic 5: Realism

“Theatrical realism” is a movement in theatre that began in 19th-century theatre, starting from Henrik Ibsen. The stages are often portrayed as realistic and the dialogue between characters are natural. Also, the conflict generally reflects the social issues at that time. The movement started from France as people started to accept different social and artistic conditions, making the the work more relatable to reality. These characteristics are mentioned further in this text under the “Beginnings of the Movement.”  Theatrical elements of theatrical realism could include realistic dialogues between characters and a relatable conflict and plot of the story. There shouldn’t be any supernatural powers creating the story. Some literary works include The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Of Mice and Men by John Steinback, and Life in the Iron Mills by Rebecca Harding Davis.


Referred Sources:



The Father of Modern Drama




Social Life in Victorian England



TOK Blog Post: Politics

If a person is political, one would be aware of any government actions, possibly being up-to-date with the current events and possessing strong opinions against every government decision. They would also have the power to change and affect these government actions by voting in a democratic society. As a knower, the three political tests imply that my learning is mostly based on independent values I set for myself and issues relate to my surroundings.

My political bias test shows that I do have knowledge in some parts of politics (environment, economy, and immigration), but suggests that I am not political. My correct answers were greater than the average correct answers, but it was still around half of the total questions (55.56%). The chart also shows that I have none of the crime questions correct. On the other hand, I had at least half of the economy, environment, and immigration questions right. From the evidence, I can imply that I have a relatively high political knowledge, shaping my views. Even though I do not consider myself not political, I base my opinions on what society views. However, by looking at the percentage accuracy across the four political domains chart, I can also imply that I am more aware of issues that are directly related to myself. For example, I am aware of protecting the environment through recycling, so I keep up with the news of different policies and ways to protect the environment. For economy and immigration, I keep up with the news on global wages and unemployment changes to see which jobs I am interested in having good outcomes. I also search up how each country includes immigrant workers in their workforce to sustain the economy. However, for crime rates, none of my family members have committed serious crimes, and the criminals that come up in the news feel less important because they have no impact on my daily life. Therefore, I can imply that politically, I mostly care about issues that may directly impact me as a knower. This said, I don’t believe everything can be political because if a significant portion of the population shows no interest in the issue, citizens would not care, and those issues would no longer have the potential to be controversial.

The implications can also be seen through the two charts representing my political preferences. The similarity of the two political compasses (as shown below) is that I am more towards the economically individual (or right-wing) side. These results, along with the results above, imply that I care about my benefits, and we should get control over our choices. For example, political issues such as tax rates are always an ongoing issue between the government, producers, and consumers. Since tax payments directly impact me as a consumer, too high of a tax rate would make me feel that it limits my economic freedom. Once I get the right to vote, I would try to vote for people who support lower taxes because of the favor of economic liberty that my political compasses show. However, since I don’t have the right to vote and change government policies, this also relates to whether I am political or not – making the answer: no. In addition, compared to the “Nolan Chart” (which shows I am a social libertarian), the “Your Political Compass” shows that I am socially authoritarian. These differences imply that I can easily have different views in social stances according to the surroundings. If I were to be political, I would need to have a strong opinion about how much freedom the government can control (choosing between Authoritarian or Libertarian). The variability in the social freedom does serve as evidence that I am not considered political, but the consistent “Right Wing” does show that I have some personal values that I keep to myself.

In conclusion, the political compasses show many different results about myself as a knower. It shows that I don’t take everything politically but have a reasonably strong bias regarding personal profits (the economic sides).

English Lang & Lit Sl – Photograph Analysis

Untitled, Harlem, New York (1967) by Gordon Parks The Gordon Parks Foundation 

Gordon Parks, an African American photographer in the mid 20th century, aimed to deliver the American public the oppressed lives of African Americans. The photograph “Untitled,” from Life magazine, taken in 1967, depicts the Fontenelle family’s daily life in Harlem, showing the family’s quagmire: inescapable poverty. Given the context of the 1960s (civil rights era), Parks likely focused on the society’s injustices causing poverty. Through the effective use of lighting, camera angle, and composition, Gordon Parks addresses the issue of poverty caused by racial injustices to the American people of the 1960s. 

Parks uses lighting in his photograph to highlight the importance of poverty. The black and white photo has brighter lighting on the white plate positioned at the center of the table, drawing the audiences’ attention toward the plate. The dark and white color deepens the depressing mood, and the small cake on the plate is the last few foods the family has, symbolizing the last small, but desperate hope of the African Americans to survive against poverty. Through context, this reminds readers of poverty as a life-depending issue that the country has yet to resolve due to the lack of society’s attention to racial injustices. Then, people would be embarrassed for being ignorant about the poverty and injustice issues, ultimately leading them to increase awareness about poverty.

Parks uses camera angle in the image to effectively deliver the importance of resolving poverty. The camera angle is a medium-long shot above the daughter, creating a perspective from one of the daughter’s parents – allowing the audience to sympathize with the parent. Through the rule of thirds, the audiences’ eyes would catch the daughter’s posture. She maintains a posture with her head on top of her arms and looking away from the wall, showing depression and hopelessness. Looking at her posture, the audience would feel shocked and responsible save her from poverty. Also, considering the social context of the 1960s (Civil Rights Era), the audience can further imply that racial injustice caused poverty, ultimately leading them to increase awareness of poverty and racial injustice to help the family.

Lastly, Parks uses composition to emphasize the theme of poverty. The photograph has a dining table with ripped seats while the plates and bottles empty, stressing the family’s hopeless situation to overcome poverty. The emptiness would invite the viewers to feel sorrowful about the family’s poverty. Also, the emptiness contrasts with the compacted space in the dining table, which implies African Americans are desperate to utilize resources they have to overcome poverty, but the racial injustices create a permanent barrier from getting any effective outcomes, adding to the hopeless mood. By showing the inescapable poverty, Parks forces the viewers to feel discomfort, effectively attracting viewers to care about poverty and racial injustice.

In conclusion, Gordon Parks effectively uses lighting, camera angle, and composition to raise awareness of poverty due to racial injustice. Giving a glance at the Fontenelle family’s life in Harlem, Parks reveals the daily struggles of African Americans.

Theory of Knowledge Reflection Semester 1

During the first semester, we considered knowledge questions related to “Knowledge and the Knower” and “Knowledge and Technology.” Looking back, what learning engagements stand out to you the most and why?

From the Knowledge and the Knower part of the first semester, I think the knowledge question, “Are some ways of knowing more likely than others to lead truth?” stands out the most. We had to distinguish truth based on the eight different ways of knowing (language, sense perception, emotion, reason, imagination, faith, intuition, and memory). It was fascinating how each other way of knowing had their pros and cons while there weren’t any right or wrong ways to approach the term “truth.” After considering this knowledge question, when I had to gain knowledge through searching or other databases, I incorporated different ways of knowing (such as using emotion and reasoning) to make sure I can make logic through myself and reflecting the social norms.

In terms of Knowledge and Technology, I think the knowledge question, “What are the implication of having, or not having, knowledge?” was the most relatable question to me and kept me engaged. I knew that algorithms and other attractive elements in social media keep us on our phones, but I was surprised how the alarming function and the format of our phones keep us active on them. The poster “How Your Phone is Designed to Grab Your Attention” significantly led me to know that the screen time on my phone is more significant than what I thought and led me to imply that I should keep track of my screen time to prevent overuse of my phone. I found out that we can learn from our mistakes through the implications and make positive impacts on our lives.

In what ways, if any, has your perspective shifted due to your participation in this course so far?

At first, emotion and reasoning were the ones I mostly relied on when determining truth. However, after this part of the course, my perspective on examining truthful knowledge changed mainly using emotion and reasoning. While I kept emotion in my ways of knowing, I began to think more about reason and logic because I found out my memories could be falsified depending on how well I remember the situation. On the other hand, the reasoning uses the knowledge up to the point you are thinking about a topic, which would be more reliable in distinguishing truth.

Before the knowledge and technology part, I realized that notifications only come from apps when it is vital and necessary, so downtimes for phones would be unnecessary. However, through exploring the different knowledge questions, I soon found out there were many apps that had notifications with nothing related to me. Therefore, my perspective has changed, believing that some apps waste our time, and it is essential to have need some time off of our phones.

Looking ahead to the exhibition requirement, what do you want to keep in mind?

I want to keep in mind that the examples should have some perspectives to relate to myself. It also makes it easier to examine if the objects have a more significant impact on our lives or change our lives by looking at the item. For example, a single poster about the notifications on our phones has changed my perspective.

Thinking back on the writing you have done so far in the course, what can you do to continue to hone your skills?

To continue to hone my skills, I would have to refer more to real-life examples. I did an excellent job defining and analyzing the components of each knowledge question, but I used a lot of hypothetical situations for my examples – which didn’t strengthen my argument as much as I wanted. I realized that hypothetical situations could give opponents reasons to attack my proposed claims. Therefore, I have to incorporate my real-life examples in my writing instead of making hypothetical situations.

Reflection of Semester 1 – English A L& L SL 1

This semester, we have studied propaganda posters from the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Zhang Yimou’s “To Live,” American Born Chinese, and the speeches of Malcolm X.  Looking back, what texts have made the biggest impact on you?  Why do you think that is?   

  • American Born Chinese was the text that most impacted me. I think this is because I have heard the legends of monkey king and some other myths that appeared in the book. Even though I am not an American myself, I was able to relate to the Chinese culture that appeared in the main characters and some culture differences they had to face. The story allowed me to reflect on who I really am and my values. The propaganda posters impacted me as in analyzing how each colors and symbols have different meanings and there are careful intentions behind these choices. In a movie, such as “To Live,” there were further emphasis on the framings, which broadened my knowledge in some stylistic choices the creators make.

2. In terms of your skill development, 

  • how has your ability to read and analyze various text types developed over the course of this year so far? 
    • I still do have a long path to improve in my ability to read and analyze various text types, especially in graphic novels. I am able to analyze some cultural references that do directly relate to my own culture, but when it comes to other ones, I tend to miss some parts of it. Therefore, there are improvements in finding some techniques, but I need more improvements.
  • how have your writing skills developed over the course of this year so far? 
    • This year, looking at my comments, I was able to see that my organization both orally and in written texts improved. Sometimes, the phrases of the sentences became unclear, but the structure itself was well organized.
  • how have your speaking skills developed over the course of the year so far? 
    • Similar to writing, during my IO, my delivery was organized, but I still need to improve on delivering in a concise manner. However, I do have a lot of areas of improvement. I tend to try talk about other stylistic techniques without examining one thoroughly. I sometimes wasn’t able to deliver my speech clearly because I had too many ideas coming in my head at once.
  • Of the five Approaches to Learning skills that the IB emphasizes (see next slide), which do you think that you have demonstrated the most growth in so far in this course?  Which do you still need to work on?   
    • Thinking skills: I demonstrated thinking skills in finding different stylistic techniques instead of only pathos, diction or structure. I tried to reread the texts and reflect about the techniques in the text. I think the thinking skills should be the ones that I need to improve on as
    • Communication skills: I was able to show this through my IO. My IO showed that I can organize my ideas clearly and demonstrate that I do understand some stylistic features.
    • Social Skills: Social skills tie in with communication skills in terms of collaborating. I learned a lot of different methods and ways to organize my thought for analyzing from my peers. Social Skills were one of the reasons I was able to improve in my organizing skills. Therefore, I think this one is the best skill I have demonstrated out of the five listed skills.
    • Self-management Skills: I did try to give my best effort to keep up with the work I need to get done. However, I do need to work on reading over extracts given during class. By doing this, I believe I could analyze the script more thoroughly and do better in the IO.
    • Research Skills: In terms of research skills, I tried to research some of the key techniques that I did not understand during class. However, sometimes I do too much of a research and have a hard time to memorize what I have done wrong. Therefore, I should research and make sure I don’t repeat the mistakes. 
  • Looking ahead, what goals would you like to set for yourself in this course moving forward? 
  • Looking ahead, I hope to have an enhanced skill in my analyzation and hopefully get a better result in my practice IOs through correct analyzations.

Baby Oral Reflection

  • What global issue did you focus on? 
    • The impacts of social hierarchy and effects on individuals.
  • What extract did you choose? 
    • I chose pg 14~16 of the American Born Chinese, it is the story of monkey king.
  • What authorial choices did you focus on, both in the extract and in the work as a whole? 
    • For the extract itself, I focused on diction and framing. I talked about the bolded words for diction and the zoom-in/outs within the panels made from Yang. Then, I delivered what each technique shows to the audience. For example, the difference in height showing the impossibility of monkey king aiming for a higher social hierarchy.
    • As a whole I focused more on the structure. The structure I mainly focused on is man vs. society. Each of the characters develop conflict with the society because of the social hierarchy, causing them to change in forms of dealing with their conflicts.
  • What do you think went well in terms of your oral? 
    • I think I made good use of examples to show what the intended purpose of the author, Yang, using such techniques. I also mentioned how drawing such as only drawing half of the money king’s face shows the emotion of monkey king, wanting to hide away from others. As of a whole, I was able to stick to my global issue and consistently referring to how the social hierarchy made such characters to act in a way.
  • What do you still need to improve on? 
    • I need to improve on talking more about the effects each techniques are giving. For example, the bolded words would stand out to the audience. For the introduction and conclusion, it could’ve been better if I defined what my global issue means. I also need to improve on answering some unexpected questions after the oral.
  • What will you do differently as you prepare next time?  
    • Next time, instead of only focusing on the extract, I would try to make more questions of the book as a whole. Most of my questions were about the book as a a whole, which may have led to a buffering when answering the questions. I also would want to provide reasoning according to my answer.

First Impression for Kendrick Lamar

The purpose of the songs in Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN is to represent the importance of knowing yourself. It allows the audience to rethink their places and powers to understand a man’s struggles, especially in American society. Therefore, Blood starts with a shooting scene. The song is mainly talking about the issue in the American society of people’s tragic, death or someone’s end may come suddenly and unexpectedly. I think the use of a single word title was unique. The single words give a strong impact while letting the audience deliver the message quickly but, at the same time, impactfully. Also, I think the single-worded title reflects some aspects of the American Society regarding how one person may have many identities that lead to conflicts and contradictions. In other words, the duality of a person residing in America. Thus, one other unique point I found out with the songs is that at many times, Lamar refers to God or Jesus. Some of his lyrics do seem to have connections with religion. Kendrick Lamar uses structure effectively. After the opening, the lyrics seem to portray the conflict people experiences due to the multiple identities. For example, in Pride, he repeats, “And you and you and you and me,” which shows the conflict between the two people. More repetition came out in other lyrics such as Love, where Lamar seems to beg (through repetition of “Love me” all through the song) the audience for his love. Another impressive aspect of the structure is that the mood of the album changes smoothly, but suddenly at the same time for each song. For example, Fear gave us a change in mood to have an anxious mindset. Some lyrics in the album seem to reflect Lamar’s experiences in his childhood, which may be what he is referring to when he writes his album. In my opinion, I like the song Fear because the lyrics best represents the feelings that I gain from listening to the song. For example, the repetition of “Why God, why God do I gotta suffer?” is impactful to create a hopeless tone to express how some success brings fear.


English Learner Profile – Create Your Own Cartoon

The cartoon is in the following link.

Word Count: 298

Through symbolism, diction, and framing, the cartoon entertains both children and parents with awkward relationships to acknowledge the importance of communication in realizing the presence of family love.

The swallow bird prominently symbolizes a messenger of love. In Korea, the swallow bird symbolizes the post office. The envelope represents the state of love. Initially, the swallow bird is black and delivers a ripped envelope – where Justin does not feel the love from Dad. From gaining color after fixing the envelope represents Justin’s realization of love. The delivery of the fixed envelope expresses that love through communication assures the presence of love, showing the audience the power of communication – possibly motivating them to show love through communication.

The diction, such as ellipsis, shows Justin’s struggle to deliver the envelope that expresses love. For example, “D…Dad,” “w…with,” and “f…friends” emphasizes Justin’s surprised and shivering tone when talking to his father, making the readers feel uncomfortable. The audience feels Dad and Justin’s struggles in communicating love – causing the conflict. The bolded words such as “I’m sorry” and “love” draw the audience’s attention and highly appeal to the parents’ emotions of difficulties in showing love to their children, acknowledging the importance of communication. This motivates one to rethink their methods of communicating love.

The framings, such as close-ups, emphasize the importance of communication in realizing love. The close-ups make Justin’s facial expression the most salient feature within the panel. The sweat around Justin with terrified facial expressions in a dark background appeals to emotion. It lets the audience feel the uncomfortableness and frustration Justin feels when approaching Dad to show love. However, after reading the letter, Justin’s cry represents the presence of love in Dad. The audience realize the importance of finding communication methods to let others realize the unseen family love.

Interview with Grandparents -ToK Knowledge and Tool

As time changes, usage of technology advances. In the past century, this change has happened extremely quickly. Now the number of pens and mechanical pencils used is reduced due to the digitalized schoolwork. However, the invention of these new technologies that we assume to be definite was not in the past few decades. For example, I asked my grandfather what they used and brought to school.

My grandfather told me that he used a wooden pencil and paper to write down notes of what he learned in school. The notebooks were made out of unique materials to ensure the pencil would not tear up the paper. If he wanted to search up any questions he had, the only database was the library. There were hundreds of thick books in the library where he had to go one by one until he finds the book. Thus, if he wanted to print the book, he had to write all of the words on a separate paper with ink and then ask the teacher to use a printing machine that copies the ink to another paper. The ink was a form of communication to share knowledge. Therefore, the concept of printing at that time is similar to what we call copying today. One of the new technologies in 1940s Korea was the typewriters. My grandfather was able to produce knowledge by recording writing more about the current events he experienced. He says that he cannot forget the happiness when he was able to write more for his classmates to read about the school’s changes.

Comparing with his experience of copying the newspapers he wrote and sending out to his classmates, I can use a word document and print it to show my peers. The production has become much faster than before through more accessible printers, which causes mass production. Thus, now we can find news articles through Google without going to the library. Every source in the world is on the internet, so learning against different cultures is possible, so it is not limited to only Korean – which my grandfather would have received. In return, I can also share my knowledge with other peers through social networking. I don’t have to go to school and share ideas with my peers for schoolwork. Therefore, the present time is far more efficient in terms of time consumption. However, one negative of the current tools is that false knowledge became more accessible, reducing the learning quality. Before, since people met each other, there would be direct interactions, so the knowledge shared would be reliable. On the internet, false knowledge could influence the efficiency of the quality of learning knowledge. Even though there are these negatives, the pros weigh out the cons, so we can conclude that modern technology is more advanced.

  • What tools did they use when they were going to school to learn and/or to produce knowledge?
  • What were their experiences in school like, and how do they compare with your own?