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Ben L.
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In the story titled “Spin,” I think it’s interesting how O'Brien offers us a series of fragmented scenes, like verbal snapshots, as a way to comment on the act of memory and specifically on the act of remembering the Vietnam War. He presents the war as an event marked by the disorder of anti-war demonstration and military mismanagement. I believe this fragmented expression, the approach used in this chapter and in the novel over all, is the message. The nature of memory is fragmentary; people do not tend to remember an event in a narrative beginning-to-end sort of way. Rather,... Continue reading
I recently saw Red Riding Hood, a new movie adaptation of the classic children’s story Little Red Riding Hood. I was actually interested to this film. The trailer that played in theaters before the latest Harry Potter movie got me pretty excited. It seemed like it was going to be an interesting reincarnation of an old story, bringing to it a new look and style and some notable actors, including Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman. Leonardo DiCaprio was involved in the movie as well, as a producer. But walking out of the theater, I was utterly appalled and disgusted. Then... Continue reading
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a possible presidential candidate for the Republican Party, recently criticized Oscar-winner Natalie Portman's pregnancy because she is not married. During a radio interview last week Huckabee said "it’s unfortunate that we glorify and glamorize the idea of out of children wedlock." He argues that Portman sends a distorted, unrealistic message to the women of America and that in reality, "most single moms are very poor, uneducated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death and never have health care." While some of Huckabee's statement may... Continue reading
Our Prezi is best viewed in full screen. Ben, Emily, Heather Windows in The Great Gatsby on Prezi Continue reading
In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald proudly tackles the themes of spirituality and moral decay. His attack is remarkably hidden because his message lies in what is missing, rather than what is there. The world presented in this story is one of excess, folly, and pleasure, a world where people are so busy living in the moment that they have lost any sense of morality. In fact every one of the seven deadly sins (pride, lust, gluttony, envy, sloth, avarice, and wrath) is well represented. None of the characters, including honest Nick, are free from these deadly devices which,... Continue reading
One of the major themes of our first semester in American Literature has been being a critic of culture and how it differs from being a consumer of culture. Even before taking this class, I have always considered myself very critical of the media and the other things being forced in front of me every day, including what was taught at school. I would question the objective of a commercial on TV or wonder about the kind of person a book or a movie is trying to appeal to. But this semester, I learned what it truly means to be... Continue reading
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Jan 13, 2011
Our edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave begins with a preface written by William Lloyd Garrison. It's not that long, so I read it to help me better understand Douglass. Since we are talking about rhetoric so much, I think everyone in class should realize that this preface is classic example of a rhetorical essay, complete with an introduction to the subject (Douglass-as-slave), arguments against slavery (on moral, judicial, scientific, and religious grounds), and a call to arms. Garrison was a journalist, social reformer, and a leading figure in the abolitionist movement, and I... Continue reading
Many of the townspeople seem to take active, vicious pleasure in gossiping about and scoffing at Hester Prynne. Pompous old men and women will see her in the street and suddenly launch into a rambling speech about her sins and her fate. But eventually, a lot of the townsfolk come to like Hester. They respect her quiet penance and rich needlework. They even begin to recognize her scarlet A as standing for "Able." What role does gossip play in developing Hester’s character? Why are the characters in this novel so judgmental? Could her aura of confidence and beauty play any... Continue reading
The Scarlet Letter takes place about twenty years after the settlement of Boston when the wilderness inhabited by Indians penetrates the "civilized" Puritan town. Native Americans do not play a major role in the story, but Hawthorne refers to them throughout the novel in their stereotypical role of outcast, heathen, healer, or romanticized dweller of the forests. In 1854 Hawthorne wrote, "it has often been a matter of regret for me, that I was shut out from the most peculiar field of American fiction, by an inability to see any romance, or poetry, or grandeur, or beauty in the Indian... Continue reading
I was doing some basic reading about Transcendentalism, trying to find something I could turn into a blog post, when I realized an interesting representation of the movement in Oak Park. Four of Oak Park's eight elementary schools are named after people directly related to Transcendentalism. Longfellow is named after poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Whittier's name comes from poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier. Author Washington Irving is the namesake of Irving School, and Holmes school is named for poet Oliver Wendell Holmes. All four of these men were friends of the widely regarded leader of Transcendentalism, Ralph Waldo... Continue reading
What is the significance of the title "The Crucible?" Well an actual crucible is a piece of laboratory equipment used to heat chemical compounds to very high temperatures or to melt metal. Based off this literal definition of a crucible, two non-literal meanings of the word seem like they could also apply to the story, based on what we already know: 1) a severe test, or 2) a situation in which concentrated forces interact to cause or influence change or development. On the surface, it's easy to realize that this is a pretty adept title for such a complex story.... Continue reading
"What might happen down the road is not the subject today. The question is, do we want to raise taxes in the middle of a very, very tough economy? All the Republicans think that's a bad idea, and a substantial number of the Democrats think the same thing." - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, KY) Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, on the Sunday talk show This Week with Christiane Amanpour, discussed his outlook for the upcoming midterm elections and mentioned the soon to expire Bush tax cuts. Congress, at the urging of President Bush, lowered taxes for all Americans by... Continue reading
When I hear the word "recluse," I think of someone who is very bitter, lives in an elaborately outfitted cave on top of a snowy mountain, and has a heart two sizes too small. J.D. Salinger was not recluse or a grinch, to the people of Cornish, New Hampshire, "He was a towns-person." He went to the general store daily, ate lunch at the local diner, voted in elections, and attended town meetings. He was a friendly neighbor, nodding hello and making small talk with children. He and his wife were generous to the town and were respected by everyone.... Continue reading
I recently saw a movie released last year entitled "The Greatest." The film centers around a family's experience coping with the loss of a teenage son, named Bennett, in a car crash. A few months after his death, Rose, the girl who was in the car with Bennett, comes to their house and announces that she is pregnant with his child. I see some parallels between the experience of Bennett's younger brother, Ryan, and Holden's experience loosing a sibling in The Catcher in the Rye. These characters did not get the chance to say good-bye to their brothers. Ryan was... Continue reading
Say you are an advertising executive, and you are assigned the Listerine account. The company needs to sell more mouthwash, and they see an untapped sector in the market--the Muppets. Muppets are terribly allergic to water, and mouthwash contains vital nutrition the Muppets need to live a healthy life. So you and Listerine begin a campaign encouraging them to drink their mouthwash. You produce commercials, print ads, and a website featuring--the one and only--Miss Piggy. What is the exigence, audience, and purpose of this advertising campaign? Continue reading
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Sep 9, 2010