Friday, April 27, 2012

Student Duties

As a student, I know my responsibilities. Homework needs to be done and tests cannot go unprepared for. Though when the question was asked, "what is your duty as a student?", my definition of 'responsibility' took on a new meaning. What IS my duty as a student? And at that, who do I owe this "duty" to?

I found the different responses from mt class mates to be intriguing. Some of the members found that their duties lie in the expectations of their parents, and even their grandparents. I know that I can relate to this feeling of pressure and expectation, but only to a certain extent. I think more about the idea of duty being owed not only to myself, but to my dreams and inspirations as well.

At the start of my high school career, my parents made sure that I was well aware that my education laid entirely in my hands. I was expected to share the cost of my high school tuition and I always knew that if I wanted to continue my education at a higher learning facility, it would require my full financial support. Throughout my high school years, I labeled my parents as unfair for making me pay for such a high cost for this part of my life. Though it is clear to me now that his expectation did not stem from any sort of financial deficit for them personally, but it was solely based on the hope that someday I will come to appreciate my education as much as they appreciated theirs.

Knowing that these four years will be exactly what I make of them creates pressure to fulfill my 'duty as a student' to the best of my ability. The money going into my education is hard earned and something that is not going to waste. I have an immense appreciation for my parents will to help me understand the value of my education. It is the duty and responsibility that I owe myself to make the most out of my college experience. In order to get out what I am putting in, I must never lose sight of the bigger picture.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Reflection Blog

I registered for the Lives and Times course, unaware of the fact that it is completely discussion based. Lucky for me, discussion has always been my strong suit. Through the process of asking questions, I was able to make connections with aspects of my everyday life. Listening to the opinions of others and analyzing specific pieces of work as a group broadened my horizons and opened doors to new ways of analysis.
            My personal planner is my life. That being said, I have always been that person who needs a written reminder for everything. This translates into my incessant note taking during classes, although note taking for this class was different. The input from my class mates provoked new ideas that I could expand on in my writing. I found myself putting stars next to the thoughts that inspired me, and often these were the concepts that I blogged about.
Although the style in which my blog posts are written are overall pretty similar, each blog has its own uniqueness to it. I was able to relate much of what we read to my own personal life and compare and contrast many of their elements. I showed this in a few of my blogs. In home is where heart is, I brought up a connection with my home life and Maya Angelou’s perception of ‘home’. It was a fascinating to put into writing the connections I had made with Maya Angelou. I seemed to have made personal connections with this novel especially. I blogged further about my personal life, by analyzing specific people that I have known for a very long time. Through comparing my two best friends in A SIlent Power, I delved deeper into the discovery of how people cope with certain emotions, just as Maya Angelou does.
Not only did I compare my personal life with what we read but I also found relations in other works that I have read over the years. In one of my first blog entries The Assumed Danger Behind Womans Education. What gives?, I compared the idea of education that we had discussed in class to a book that I read my senior year of high school. The thoughts that entered my mind during class triggered this connection and make me consider other works as a way of supporting this broad theme. A later blog, The Yellow Wallpaper, Breaking the Fourth Wall, connected the work we had discussed with a concept that I had read about for a theatre class. The common themes that were present in Lives and Times and other classes I had taken were astounding.
Through this comparison process, I found myself asking questions that didn’t always have a direct answer. Often, I built my blog entries around a specific thought provoking question that had either been touched on in class or was something I formed because of a recent discussion. In The Coming Of... What Age?, I expanded on a single question that had been raised. This caused me to come up with new ways of intellectual thought. On the contrary, Sharing Thoughts was a blog in which I chose to briefly discuss a topic and in turn formed questions that allowed me to delve deeper into that thought process. The questions went hand in hand throughout my personal blogging process and making new discoveries. This makes me wonder, where would I be without asking questions?
The connections that I made and the questions that I asked inspired me to use writing in more areas of my life. I now have a folder in my documents where I pour my thoughts when I need to put them somewhere. This has helped me in understanding situations and further reflecting on them. Although I may not have been able to give my blog as much attention as it deserved, it inspired me to apply new ways of analyzing in my own life. I hope to continue to blog in my spare time. I believe that translating thoughts into writing is a very important skill that has helped me in discovering more about the world around me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Emotional History

History is a crucial factor as to how society functions today, yet something that is often discounted. What if there was as much admiration for the world's significant events of the past as there is for the world of athletics that have overtaken our society? The thought of what an intense appreciation for history would have on our world today truly makes me wonder. Would history continue to 'repeat itself', or would we make positive advances like we do when dealing with athletic competition? For the amount of time and effort every individual puts into catering to their own and the lives of other athletes, there is an obvious element that is involved: emotion.

It is often said that history and emotion should not mix; that one should not involve their own personal feelings with the way in which our society has been shaped. The result of doing this could be dangerous, and one that could potentially affect the lives of many. Although, how can we go about separating such prominent factors in our lives, when emotion has acted as the driving element throughout all of time, all of history? Without conjuring our emotions and forming them into prominent and persuading opinions, conflict would cease to exist. And isn't conflict the root of who we are? And the cause that leads to the effect? I find this separation to be one that although may be necessary for the survival of our world, it is one that I find difficult to wrap my head around. Two things that go hand in hand yet, when faced with reality, cannot mix.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The location of power

For as long as I can remember, I have always found maps to be overwhelming. I know I know, how can something whose only intention is to give direction come off in such a way? I have never been able to put my finger on why exactly I think this, but no matter what, the combination of lines, grids, keys and all of the other various elements tend to do nothing but confuse me. When we were put in pairs and told to analyze one of the two maps we had been given, I was relieved when I was assigned 'map 2'. The lack of curvy lines, darkened features, and unfamiliar names gave a much simpler impression. There was less there to confuse me. Little did I realize, the age old saying rang true. Less was definitely more.

My initial reaction was to describe the map in front of me as vague. It was bare and had very little to it. It was not until the idea of taxes was brought up that I realized how truly definitive the map actually was. The idea of a grid had originally struck me as simple. Divided areas by a grid. A grid that we say exists, though in reality, it really doesn't. This artificial way of understanding the landscape it what helps us in deciding levels at which people undergo taxation. This map is not just a pretty picture, but something that effects the way in which the world goes round.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

first impressions last the longest

In the start of Linda Hogan's, Power, the reader gets the sense that Ama spends her life riding the fine line between traditional and contemporary. Although as the novel continues, Ama's lifestyle tends to come off as more traditional. Her ways of handling situations seem to revert to that of her elders.

This slight change in Ama's character is evident through Hogan's text, although I often find myself convinced that Ama is still "torn" between the conflicting ways of life. As we discussed this further in class, I wondered why this might be the case. I not only thought about the ways in which I view other characters but also the way in which I view the people around me. When I am first introduced to someone, my brain forms opinions about them. Not judgements, but ideas about the type of person they may be. While reading this novel, I find myself using this same technique. My first opinion of Ama is etched into my mind. Her struggle between a contemporary and traditional lifestyle is one that sticks out to me. I continued to resort to this mental characterization for Ama as I read and found it difficult to shake the initial thoughts I had about her. This just goes to show that first impressions can truly make a statement about an individual.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Persepolis: A Leader in Cartoons

Comparing the novel of Persepolis with the movie that was made about it presents a very unique comparison. In many aspects, the book and the movie were alike, depicting young Marjane's life in two very similar manners. On the contrary, the differences between the two were often very noticeable.

Being not as familiar with the history of the dictatorship that was taking place during the time of the story, I often found it hard to follow the historical context entirely throughout the duration of the book. I felt as though the movie did a much better job at giving the historical background of the time. After watching the movie, I more clearly understood the rise of the dictator and how he first came to power. The areas of confusion cleared up as I visually watched Marjane grow into a young adult.

One of the historical aspects of the movie that stuck out to me was the moment when Marjane's father first explained the dictatorship to young Marjane. As he spoke to her about the background of who he was and his evil doings, cartoon characters of the political figures moved about on screen to tell the a story. Unlike the characters of Persepolis, these cartoon characters were especially cartoonish...almost to a point where it was more humorous than educational to watch them. They gave off a child like performances with their puppet like movements and bobbing heads. The director of the movie may have been comparing the actions of the dictators to those of children, trying to say that what was going on was childish.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Coming of... what age?

The Complete Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi's story of her own experience in 'coming of age'. To an outsider who has not read this book, 'coming of age' may give the impression that this is a wholesome story. It may be presumed that this book is based upon a teenage girl’s life and her various techniques in dealing with its inherent obstacles. As I thought more about this idea and pondered the overall magnitude of such a concept, I realized that coming of age does not always depict the transition into adulthood, but more the discoveries made during one’s lifetime. These discoveries play into a formation of self-identity.

Coming of age. What age? When taken literally, the concept becomes even more mind boggling. I look at my twelve year old cousin, Gabrielle. Conscious of everything she thinks, says, and eats. Never have I ever seen this natural intelligence at such a young age. There is thought… logical thought, behind every action she has ever made. She is poised and articulate. She demonstrates the behavior every mother has at one time aimed to achieve. On the contrary, I read stories about robbers, drug dealers, rapists and child molesters, and ask myself, at what point did these men and women ‘come of age’? These adults, who are understand by society to be ‘of age’, are making decisions that lack logic and rationality . These decisions, and in turn actions, not only turn them away from life’s discoveries but ruin their sense of identity and self-worth.

In comparing such situations, one may wonder if ‘coming of age’ is genetic; something you simply have or you don’t. For those who have ‘come of age’, it is not. Behind every discovery is a story, and behind every story is a reason.  In Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi forms an identity. This identity is one that is unique and distinct to her discoveries that are based upon her own experiences. Because of this, it is impossible to pin point a moment of her ‘coming of age’. Instead, we come to understand her journey over the ages. Her true sense of self and her formation of identity.