Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Outsiders

This week I read The Outsiders which was written by a then 18 year old S.E Hinton. The Outsiders is a coming of age novel about two rival groups of teens, The Greasers and The Socs, who live on the opposite sides of town.

The main character Ponyboy and his friend Johnny find themselves in trouble when they kill one of The Socs after getting jumped by them. At that age they know nothing more than the streets and decide to run away with the help of a fellow Greaser.

 Ultimately, Johnny the killer decides to turn himself in. Headed for home they see a burning church with children stuck inside. The Greasers run into save them but the flames get the best of Johnny.

Once home, The Greasers visit Johnny in the hospital consecutively until the night he passes away.

Meanwhile, the rival between the two gangs is heating up and a big fight is planned between all of the gang members. The Greasers win and everything is ok until one of the Greasers gets into trouble and is killed by the police. The Greasers are devastated for their two losses.  

Once Ponyboy returns to school he is in danger of failing. The story ends with him deciding to write a theme based on Johnny’s note he found in his favorite book “Gone with the Wind.”

This was a great book for me as it let me reminisce to my middle school days where I first fell in love with the story. It’s a perfect teen novel that deals with friendships, rocky home lives and death. It taught me about loyalty and love and I wasn’t surprised when I found myself downloading the movie yesterday to finish off this literature circle.

I could definitely see a classroom being taught a lesson using the student centered theories we learned about in chapter three. I feel that students would not necessarily relate to the story but definitely find it interesting and actually want to do work on it. I think this eventful story would benefit the students if they took the idea of using sticky notes to mark all of the important events and make notes.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Poetry Workshop

A Prodigal- Elizabeth Bishop

The brown enormous odor he lived by
was too close, with its breathing and thick hair,
for him to judge. The floor was rotten; the sty
was plastered halfway up with glass-smooth dung.
Light-lashed, self-righteous, above moving snouts,
the pigs' eyes followed him, a cheerful stare--
even to the sow that always ate her young--
till, sickening, he leaned to scratch her head.
But sometimes mornings after drinking bouts
(he hid the pints behind the two-by-fours),
the sunrise glazed the barnyard mud with red
the burning puddles seemed to reassure.
And then he thought he almost might endure
his exile yet another year or more.

But evenings the first star came to warn.
The farmer whom he worked for came at dark
to shut the cows and horses in the barn
beneath their overhanging clouds of hay,
with pitchforks, faint forked lightnings, catching light,
safe and companionable as in the Ark.
The pigs stuck out their little feet and snored.
The lantern--like the sun, going away--
laid on the mud a pacing aureole.
Carrying a bucket along a slimy board,
he felt the bats' uncertain staggering flight,
his shuddering insights, beyond his control,
touching him. But it took him a long time
finally to make up his mind to go home. 

Initial Gut Reaction:

To me, hearing the poem I got the image of someone running away from home. I could go as far as saying that they dropped out of society and chose to live the “simple life,” natural and raw. In time, this person realizes this “easy” life is not all it’s cracked up to be and eventually decides to go back home.

First Reading:

Important words and phrases

  • ·        Too close
  • ·         Self-righteous
  • ·         Pig’s eyes followed him
  • ·         Sow that always ate her young
  • ·         Mornings after drinking bouts
  • ·         Sunrise glazed
  • ·         Burning puddles
  • ·         Reassure
  • ·         Endure
  • ·         Exile
  • ·         “Sunrise glazed the barnyard mud with red the burning puddles seemed to reassure. And then he thought he almost might endure his exile yet another year or more.”

Collaborative Reading:

“Sunrise glazed the barnyard mud with red the burning puddles seemed to reassure. And then he thought he almost might endure his exile yet another year or more.”
To me this meant that the life of living on a farm or as a farmer had its flaws, yet when the beauty of nature displays itself, this man reconsiders his thoughts, thinking the place is not as bad as he makes it out to be and that he may even enjoy staying another year.

Group Discussions:

After listening to everyone’s thoughts and perspectives on the poem, I continue to stand by my belief that the man has left his home, but not necessarily dropped out of society or run away. Everyone in class agreed that the man was on a farm and didn’t enjoy staying there; however they opened my eyes to the idea that he may even despise staying on the farm. I also got to thinking on what was keeping him there, and if he was unable to leave, that he may ultimately become insane. Despite the glimmer of hope the poem entails (sunrise glazed, puddles reassured), he still ends up leaving before it is too late. We believe that he is suffering by remaining there.


What is plaguing him?  

I believe that being away from his home or family is taking an emotional toll on him. This man is alone and other than the little comfort he may get from the animals, he is without company. This farm is not welcoming, and he doesn’t feel safe, which is why he is drinking his sorrows away. He must leave before it is too late.

Partner’s view:
(Same question)

This man has escaped his life and moved to work on a farm. He finds comfort and familiarity in the animals he takes care of. He is plagued by the thought of having to go back to reality and leave this new place he finds home. He doesn’t want to leave, but it is beyond his control, (shuddering insights) life is coming to collect his decision, and unfortunately he has to go back home.

Concluding Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this activity. Of all the times that I have had to work with poetry I have never been this successful. I took pleasure in being able to dissect the poem little by little and let myself become enveloped by my thoughts. This method really got my creative juices flowing, and helped me to look at the poem from numerous views, especially when hearing everyone’s ideas and their reasons behind them. I hope to do this again in class and I definitely look forward to working this way in the future with my students.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Blog #4: Multi-perspectives,untold theories & The Holy Mountain

I personally define theory as something concrete. A specific idea that I automatically associate with science, and something that needs to be proven or appropriately backed up at the very least.

When I think of an ideology I see it as a person's philosophy on how they view the world or an idea, depending on who they are and what influences their thoughts.

These two concepts can be difficult to define as they are similar, but I distinguish them by believing that a theory is something you learn, and an ideology is created through experience.

The minute we began to talk about ideologies, theories and multiple perspectives, the movie The Holy Mountain popped into my head. The Holy Mountain is a 1973 cult film where a Christlike figure wanders through bizarre, grotesque scenarios filled with religious and sacrilegious imagery. He meets a mystical guide who introduces him to seven wealthy and powerful individuals, each representing a planet in the solar system. These seven, along with the protagonist, the guide and the guide's assistant, divest themselves of their worldly goods and form a group of nine who will seek out the Holy Mountain, in order to displace the gods who live there and become immortal.

If you allow it to, this film can alter your beliefs. It is somewhat disturbing and very thought provoking, and makes you question what reality really is, if it even exists, or if we are a projection of images. Even the way it is filmed is aesthetically pleasing, trippy, and psychologically provoking. It really gets your creative juices flowing and almost forces you to view life through a set of different lenses. This movie is definitely a must see! Let me know what you guys think. :)

Comments Pending Approval

On Blogger, you have the ability to go to your settings, and by clicking on the Comments and Posts section, you can alter who and how people comment on your posts and whether or not you want to approve them before allowing them to publish on your page.

I only have a blog on this site, so unfortunately I do not have any knowledge as to whether or not this can be done on other blog sites.

Hope this helped :)

Blog #3: Portfolio Reflection

Portfolio Reflection- Beach pg. 36

“Reflect back to your own adolescent years and recall your own reading and media interests. What are some reasons for your engagement with particular books, films, TV programs, music and/or video games? How did those interests/preferences reflect your particular needs and traits as an adolescent?“

As a teen, my reading and media interests varied. I liked to watch and read about the unnecessarily provocative and unrealistic sexual lives of fictional characters, If only my parents knew what I was actually reading... I also enjoyed the typical young adult literatures of fantasy, adolescent rebellion and puppy love. One of my favorite things to read were self-help books, Chicken Soup for the Soul was my bible. Sometimes I enjoyed a good murder-mystery and even children’s books; Henry & Mudge was my favorite as a tween!

I feel like I read a lot of the teen dramas out of curiosity and to fit in with my peers. I enjoyed fantasy and romance because it was a fun escape from the real world.  I went as far as to imagine myself in the characters’ shoes and found it easy and enjoyable to pretend to live like them. I liked the romance genre because it gave me an idea on, what at the time I thought, love should be like, since it wasn’t exactly the emotion portrayed in my home. This also made me quite in tune to my sexuality because at a young age I was able to accept being bisexual, but not having actual people in my life who supported that was devastating, so it was nice to be able to read other people's stories on that, so I knew I wasn't alone or unlovable. To this day I still read self-help books, I like feeling humble, appreciative and self-less, and those aren't my everyday emotions that I usually express, so it has always been a pleasant experience to learn to be grateful of the little things and to become a better person. Although I have always been aware of my flaws, it still took me becoming an adult to actually be able to change those negative aspects that I portrayed and picked up as a teen. Children’s books were also great; they brought me back to a happy childhood, where I could feel carefree and innocent joy opposed to what a teenage narcissist would believe to be, life ruining drama.

Unfortunately, reading these kinds of literature and watching these trashy shows made me not necessarily naive, but slightly careless. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of reality and what was wrong with the world, I just sort of pushed it in the back of my mind. I also was capable of becoming a bit too enveloped in these works of fiction and ridiculous TV shows to where I had trouble accepting reality as it was, and always longing for something else or to be older, instead of appreciating what I had and living in the now.  I also think it made me know a bit too much for my age, which didn’t exactly help me in life. Even now, I still have trouble accepting things as they are, and learning to let things go, I’m always looking for the fairy tale life, but let’s face it, I will never be that perfect main character and my life will never be a Disney movie, but that’s ok. J

Blog #2: Biographical Criticism

I didn’t get a chance to explain in class so I would like to elaborate here. J

The meaning I got out of biographical criticism was that since authors tend to write about their interests and what is familiar to them, their life experiences and systems of meaning available at the time can be reflected in their work. Therefore, the interpretation of that work should be based on our understanding of its context. However, this is not always the case so you shouldn’t assume, such as when it is a work of fiction.

After watching the clip from Glory, a few things stood out to me. The character was thrown into a state of impeccable violence and put into a place of authority, making him responsible for so many lives at a very young and vulnerable age. I felt that this forced him to appear brave, while naively, or perhaps unknowingly, misleading his parents in the letter. This man was unaware of the realities of war and its consequences; I don’t think he knew what he was getting in to.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Blog #1: Introductory Chapters

In TeachingLiterature to Adolescents, three important theories are introduced. First are the Transmission Theories, which are the traditional theories that “frame learning in terms of acquiring facts and knowledge about literature,” imparting knowledge to students being the primary focus. The problem with this theory is that “simply having knowledge about literature doesn’t mean that the student knows how to interpret literature.” The direct teaching approach also limits to one single way of teaching, students acquiring passive and dependent roles in the classroom.

Student-centered Theory is more of a hands-off approach, where “the students have the ability to make their own choices for what and how they learn.” The problem with this is obvious, the student is solely the one responsible for learning, and so success or failure is in their hands.

The final theory in this chapter is the Socio-Cultural Theory. This theory “emphasizes the importance of creating a social community that supports learning literature. Students then assume the identities of careful readers who acquire various practices involved in interpreting and producing literature.”

This chapter discusses the importance of literature and shares different teachers’ philosophies about the subject and explains why literature is important for adolescents.

For an overview, the first chapter of Critical Encounters in High School English discussed that it is important for teachers to teach their students through multiple perspectives and theories, and how this approach is lost by many, meaning students are gaining knowledge through only one simple and almost robotic point of view. I also think this is important, I believe that teachers should aspire to be motivating, up lifting, and teach using a multitude of eclectic perceptions so that we can help them to grow intellectually, culturally, and diversely throughout their most complex years of adolescence.

Unfortunately, I did not learn this way, and today, my struggle with comprehending literature and seeing their true or hidden meanings is proof that teachers need to go outside of their box and use their “literary lenses.” I hope that this class will help me with that. This can be my fresh start.

Teachers need to be more than what is expected of them, it is their job. I want to be that person who is admired and thought of as ‘life changing’. I want to make that difference in someone’s life, this is my chance.