Thursday, June 15, 2006


"Ministering Angels"
I am but a shell
Without the earth and the sea
This is the place. This is the place with no name, with no character, with no energy. It is blank and careless, dark and heartless, cold and numb. It is a nondescript face with no expression: no eyes to witness, no nose to sense, no ears to listen, no mouth to communicate. This is the place; it is the room with no name and no face. Just an empty vacuum. The Tick Tock ticks.
This is the man. This is the man in the deepest despair, in the darkest, gloomiest misery. This man, in the darkest, gloomiest misery, sits on the floor in a cold blank jail cell brooding in anguish at his infected heart. The pits of Hell vehemently grip his skull causing it to sag wretchedly between two limp and hopeless knees. This man, feeling more alone than any man who lived, is undergoing a transition from anger and curses, from resentment and ill-wishes, to willingly allowing the cold blank jail cell to suffocate the vigor of each successive breath. The Tick Tock ticks.
At first glance his eyes appear weak, but hide a shyly kind man. With cheeks that hollow in like carved wood and thin lips which close as tightly as scissors, his silent face seems more gentle than harsh. His smooth skin, weathered only in patches, testifies to a life of harsh experiences. However, once his eyes showed only kindness and his face was as smooth as a sea pebble.
He came here on a day of unusual sunshine and beauty. This day knew no sorrow. It seemed to mock him, he now recalls, to bid him farewell with the most accurate tinge of irony.
In this jail cell he creates. Perhaps, he remarks, because the walls destroy him and eat at his core. Recreating through writing and drawing rebuilds his existence with an inky smear, becoming his only way to endure. He remembers music. He sits wearily searching for a note and begins humming a tune which he pulls by a fragile string from the depths of his memory. Music has not pacified his ears in countless days. He remembers a song, the beat gently sounds. “All that shimmers in this world is sure to fade away”, the all too appropriate lyrics of the Fuel song emerge eagerly. To pass the rhythm of the Tick Tock clock, he rewrites the verse. Creating:
All that glistens in this globe is sure to glide away, like golden arrows whistling through the dainty clean air. Everything that shines in this earth loses its color, like a fading, hazy, blurred silver spoon reflecting nothing of real consistency. Each glistening, gleaming, shining, shimmering, shocking thing in this world surely fades away, like some flowering, reaming, silkily soaring-and suddenly!- Dreary dream.
In the jail cell he sleeps. He sleeps to dream of heaven’s gala; countless thimbles of golden syrup dripping from the black cap sky and soaking life back through his fingertips. And he awakens, to see the true black cap of loneliness and solitude.
But one day, before the loneliness, the breeze mixed and turned the blood in his veins. In those days the birds’ clear twill transferred their potion into his lungs. He recognized his role as a human, he thought with guidance and clarity. He lived without cares; an unquestioning heart. He knew God, because he felt the forces of life quickening his body every moment.
For this man, the change to desperation happened through continually engaging in experiences which eliminate the recognition of the living air, the thudding breath, the evident God. He recognized change at its dying moment, at the beginning of his new ugliness, when reconciliation expired.
I hear an Angel!
When silence fills me.
Now, as the man sits in his jail cell with Hell pulling his thoughts between two bony knees, a knock knock on the door opens his eye lids with a jolt. Time stops- the door frozen half way open and the drab guard with a gaping mouth standing firm as a stone. The man hears the guard announce “A letter” in a cold, distant, booming voice, which makes time restart. The man hesitantly reaches over to the letter, which lies on the stone floor and glows with whiteness. First its’ glow frightens him. Then he opens the letter with as much vigor as a young boy on Christmas day. He feels the most wonderful joy. He wants to shout a joyous shout; for with the arrival of the letter his despair and anguish disappeared. The porous texture of the letter seemingly captured all the happiness floating around in the universe. The jail cell smiles at him, even the cracks in the stones adopt an upward curve. A breeze (in a windowless room) lifts him to his feet, and he walks, grasping the letter to his chest. An angel! he cries. An angel.

Flight is the productof God exhaling.
Her head tilts to the cream swirls in the sky (through the cascading trees with buds pregnant with new life).
“The air. The sun. A smile. The swaying meadow. To exhale. To walk slowly. The closed eye lids. A buzzing bee. Stinging cold water. To feel rain. Bubble clouds. To clear the throat. To search. A simple prayer. Hope. A crackling fire. A leaf which floats. A twilling bird voice. The soil. Blue. Ancient trees. Birth. Silence. To wipe sweat from the brow. A single tear.” The earth, so far below, looks quiet and peaceful and she envies the people walking quickly with places to go. “To be human.” She talks to God and thanks him for the day, for the world, for her life. She asks God to help the people in need, the people dying, and the people with no hope. Then she closes her journal, climbs down the tree, walks to her room, unlocks the door, and sets down her school bag.
Weeks have passed since she sent the letter.
She is 18 years old, in a tackily decorated college dormitory. In the mornings she brushes her teeth and goes to class. In the afternoons she works in the library, or reads in her room. And now at night, she hears a whisper. She remembers her old friend Tom, who she met several years ago one drunken night. He sold drugs. That night she talked to him about his life, and why he jeopardized everything with his habits. He cried. They kept in touch through emails ever since. He loved her. She was the girl he loved but hurt, a girl who should rightfully hate him.
The last email, which she sent almost a year ago, went unanswered. So she writes a letter. She sends it to his house, believing he still lives off the profit of drugs. She tells him he has a soul to hope, eyes to witness, a nose to sense, ears to listen, and a mouth to communicate. She tells him he is not an empty vacuum, and to remember stinging cold water, to feel rain, bubble clouds, hope. To be human.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The leave flitters in the wind
Because the wind pulls it onto the dance floor.

A pebble is old
even when the earth reforms it.

I am but a shell
Until I lie in the grass or swim in the sea

A building is like the earth-
It is only a term, for a space filled with activity.

The birds' flight is the product
of God exhaling.

I hear an Angel!
When silence fills me.

To an ant
I am like the wind
It senses me but can not feel me
But through the tangible crush.

A petal without her flower
is still as silky as heavens' garments.

The air acts as a transporter
for sents and sounds and feelings.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I Ponder This:
Am Not I Who I Was?
(A reflection on My Reflection)

I lift my hand in a slow buttery swish. My walls. They are cold and impersonal. I have lived here for a year and the memories seem as foreign as strangers passing on a smoggy street. Like friends of another life, like I have shed a shell and am me not her. My green eyes, they glance across the room and focus on a photograph on the wall. It is shiny and reflective. It is like a mirror. In this photography I see my reflection. The reflective is immediate and true, it does not lie. Yet it is bendable, flexible. What is this place, this college for? What has it made me? I am part mirror part photography. The photograph- a concrete specimen of a second. My body is a tangible specimen of the evolution of my soul. I am textured and shiny, and I am not alone. I am the photograph- in all its gumby nature it still preserves the past. I am not new, I am not recreated, I am my past, I am real, I am a memory, and I am tangible.
I am the mirror. I am a reflection, but not of me alone. I am this room, this space in the Universe. These walls, these tacky posters, these drawers, that bunk bed. I am the desk; I am the books thoughtfully strewn in organized chaos across the earth. I am the song I listen to. I am me, it is I. A photograph: a single second of college fun captured in infinity. I have stolen that moment and in return it has stolen me.
So I revisit the memories and they no longer seem as foreign as strangers passing on a smoggy street. We meet, we shake hands, and then explain “Don’t I know you from somewhere?”

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The next two paragraphs of SG paper (scroll down to May 2nd for the beginning)

Civil war created an ideal environment to cultivate human rights violators. With the presidency of Jacobo Arbenz the United States viewed Guatemala as a communist threat. True to United States habit, in 1954 the Central Intelligence Agency investigated and eventually exiled Arbenz. With his exiling came horrific commotion which inspired human rights violations by guerilla forces, the succession of military juntas, and the indirectly even the CIA (Readers Digest). Aboriginal peoples experienced torture, targeted killings, disappearances, and displacement from their Mayan communities, increasing human violation towards indigenous groups (Readers Digest). Additionally women were denied healthcare, economic security, and political access, while children became malnutrition, received inadequate healthcare, and became victim to sexual abuse or child prostitution (Readers Digest). With only one doctor for every 10,000 rural Guatemalans, even infants experience an extremely high mortality rate and malnutrition among Guatemalan children is one of the worst in the world (Madre).
From a sociological perspective Guatemala’s structural adjustments have caused an increase in poor living conditions that lead to crime. The countries structure caused an increase in unemployment. Furthermore, living costs are three times the minimum wage, leaving eighty percent of the population impoverished and almost sixty percent of households without access to proper health facilities (Madre). Women searching for work raise the frequency of the maquila, or sweatshop, where poor wages and abusive conditions plague the workforce (Madre). Indigenous peoples residing in the Guatemalan highlands have been inundated with poverty and hunger after a huge drought in 2001 and a decline in the main export, coffee (Madre). Over 40 percent of Guatemalans are unemployed because of the coffee crisis and destructive World Bank policies (Madre). Although currently at its worst, violation of human rights historically plagued this country.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

First two paragraphs of a research paper in Social Geography on "Human Rights Violation in Guatemala"

A country no larger than Ohio and consisting of extreme diversity in climate and terrain, ranging from steep mountain ridges to the Peten rain forest, Guatemala is a country of a rich history buried amongst its physiographic qualities. Regrettably Guatemala’s history involves severe battles which sprang from the deep wounds of political conflict. About twenty-one miles outside Guatemala City sits the Pacaya volcano, a magnificent view that “when active, a deep orange ribbon” of lava skids down, vanishing into ash at the foundation (Simon 13). This beautiful picture turned gloomy when, in the mid-1960’s, the Guatemalan government declared Pacaya a dumping site for hundreds of victims of systematic repression. Since 1970 nearly tens of thousands of people have been murdered by the Guatemala government, reaching its peak in the 1980’s with the inauguration of President Vinicio Cerezo Arevalo (Simon 16). Since his inauguration, the country has somewhat improved, but still struggles with a highly controlling military force. Due to a historically shaky political system the Guatemalan people have incessantly undergone tremendous human rights violations in various ways and by various offenders.
By examining Guatemala’s geography, perhaps some understanding will result about the cultural influences on human rights violation. Guatemala is the third-largest country in Central America, with an area of 42,042 square miles and 8.5 million people. Of those 8.5 million people fifty-five percent of them are Mayan Indians, belonging either to the Quiche, Cakchiquel, Kekchi, Mam, or Pocomam ethnic group (Simon 19). Most of these people live in rural highlands, while non-Indians live in either Guatemala City or coastal and eastern lowlands (Simon 19). The country is geographically divided into twenty-two provinces and 329 municipalities (Simon 19). Only 1 percent of Guatemala’s people are considered to be elite, and the lowest income groups have worsened in recent decades (Nyrop 50). The lowest income groups live in the western Highlands, an area inhabited by about 70 percent of the nations Indians (Nyrop 50). Not only have these people survived poverty, but they have survived a history of continuous political tyranny. Although Guatemala has recently transitioned to democracy in recent decades, Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples have undergone extreme abuse from the rulers of this conflicted nation.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Style Lesson 10: The Ethics of Style
In the previous chapters Williams discusses how to make a sentence structurally correct and stylish, and now he explains the ethical responsibility of writers and readers. Writers have a responsibility to write clearly enough that our readers understand us. Similarly, readers have a responsibility to read hard enough to understand the complexity of ideas. Therefore, Williams creates a golden rule: “Write to others as you would have others write to you.”
Williams also explains that some writers unintentionally write poorly. For example, writers may employ unintended obscurity, intended misdirection, rationalizing opacity, and salutary complexity. Finally, how do we decide what counts a “good” writing? What is more important: writing that is clear but does no good, or writing that does well but is unclear? Williams warns college students to take all of his lessons seriously, because in “the real world” bad writing is common and distasteful.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Journal Reaction Part 2
Slaughter-House-Five
After finishing this book, another main point reaches my interest. I love Vonnegut’s use of language to push ideas into his reader’s brain. He uses repetition of phrases to signal different events and tones. I wonder is he’s the genius that thought this up, or if some past author served as his inspiration. The main phrase that Vonnegut repeats is “So it goes”. Billy Pilgrim says that the Tralfamadorians say “So it goes” every time some one dies, to imply that death is an inevitable part of life. Billy picks up this phrase, repeating it after death is mentioned. In some parts of the book, I was simply overwhelmed by the amount of times “so it goes” was repeated. This is such a clever method, and reminds me of the way architects design memorials.
The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. serves as a prime example of how architects design memorials to affect viewers in specific ways. This memorial is a long black wall, a couple inches at the beginning, and angling upward to several feet in the middle. Names are inscribed in the black background, and viewers can see their reflection as they walk along beside the memorial. The viewer is amazed at the amounts of names, because the wall is narrow and spreads the names over a long distance. Furthermore, by seeing ones reflection in the shiny black surface, the viewer feels connected to the people who died. Similarly Vonnegut use phrases to trigger emotion.
“So it goes” is a simple three letter phrase. It is not decorated, lacy, or profound. In fact, if it was only sprinkled lightly throughout the text the reader would take little notice of it, and certainly not consider it significant. However, after a death scene Vonnegut repeats this phrase. Its interesting how that phrase reminds you that someone actually died. Death is so frequent an occurrence in this book that without the phrase, the reader would be numb to its forces. By repeating a phrase, Vonnegut reminds his reader that some one actually died. Furthermore, with its repition comes recognition of the vast multitudes of people that die as war tragedies. Such a clever strategy!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Journal Reaction Part 2
The Things They Carried
After finishing this book, I am inspired to adjust the way I write to closer look like O’Brien’s. He writes with such vitality, with such a life force, that events previously foreign to bystanders come alive. Each event breaths with unique rhythm and volume, and the readers eagerly consume it. After admitting my reaction to O’Brien’s writing style, I am now interested in examining my opinion of war.
I am convinced that each human is born with this gut instinct that screams of the immorality of war. Born innocent to the world, a child looks encouraged towards his neighbor. As the Bible teaches to “love thy neighbor as yourself” so a person newly born into this world respects his neighbor. How unnatural it would be if an infant devised a scheme to destroy a play mate that refused to share a toy. However, children are undeniably quite capable of manipulation. In Bill Cosby’s stand up comedy, he does a skit where a child climbs to the top of the refrigerator, grabs a forbidden cookie, and then, as the adult enters the room, says “I got you a cookie Mommy”. Thus, are adults similarly driven, that they will deceive to get what they want? One passage in particular stands out to me in The Things They Carried:
War is hell, but that’s not the half of it, because war is also mystery and terror and adventure and courage and discovery and holiness and pity and despair and longing and love. War is nasty; war is fun. War is thrilling; war is drudgery. War makes you a man; war makes you dead.
Evidently war is full of a multitude of ironies. For example, what is worse: idly standing by and letting people die at the hand of a dictator, or intruding into the matters of another country and determining the future of its citizens? What is more just: freedom to determine one’s own destiny, which means no interruption by other nations; or gaining freedom even if it means the invasion of countries such as America?
I suspect, in the near future, our nation has a lot of deciding to do. What does freedom mean to us? What does death mean? Is the loss of one life a justifiable cause for the loss of another? O’Brien means not to answer these questions but to raise them, challenging readers like me to do some serious soul searching on behalf of this nation.

Journal Reaction Part 1
Slaughter-House-Five
As soon as I began reading this book I saw undeniable similarities to Tim O’Brien’s novel. Kurt Vonnegut begins by discussing the truth of his novel, saying that some of it is true and some of it is not true. Vonnegut uses lies to reach the truth, similar to other writers. That’s the beauty of fiction: the words used are inaccurate, but they paint accurate pictures.
Vonnegut uses time travel throughout this novel, not only as a means to transport his reader through the chronology of Billy Pilgrims’ life, but as a means to discuss different theories. For example, the residents of Tralfamadore have different ideas about the consistency of time. They view time as already determined, like a string of spaghetti or Christmas lights. To them time is tangible, unable to be manipulated, stunted, or changed. It simply is. I find this theory fascinating. Billy Pilgrim uses the Tralfamadorians concept of time to cope with his own life. For a reader like myself, I view these time travel theories as a literary move. I think it’s a genius method: use time travel not only as a way to move a character from place to place, but as a way to interest the reader.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The second way Vonnegut writes about effects of war on combatants is by describing Tralfamadorians’ views about death. As Billy reflects on time travel he writes a letter about his experience with Tralfamadorians:
The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral…Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is ‘So it goes’ (27).
Although Billy tries to use this method to cope with death, he constantly remembers the war. When he tries to go to bed at night he can not sleep, he explains “But sleep would not come. Tears came instead. They seeped. Billy turned on the Magic Fingers, and he was jiggled as he wept” (62). Therefore, Vonnegut speaks out against war by detailing Billy Pilgrim’s attempt, and ultimate inability, to cope with death.
Since citizens often absentmindedly allow war to become an unchangeable part of life, O’Brien and Vonnegut use their novels to speak out against war. Both authors illustrate the effects of war on soldiers in order to educate ordinary citizens about what is happening to combatants. In addition, these authors clarify that war continues far after actual battles, and becomes entrenched in the people partaking in them. Through these writings, hopefully general readers are called to activism against war.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

In cases such as Norman Bowker, Vietnam had a deadly affect. Norman Bowker got out of Vietnam safely, and returned to the security of his home town. However, he spends evenings driving slowly around the lake in his town, over and over again. In a letter he writes to O’Brien, Norman explains:
“There’s no place to go. Not just in this lousy little town. In general. My life, I mean. It’s almost like I got killed over in Nam…Hard to describe. That night when Kiowa got wasted, I sort of sank down into the sewage with him…Feels like I’m still in deep shit” (156).
All Norman wanted when he returned from the war was to embrace his home, yet like he said, he returned physically but not in actuality. The sewage of Kiowa sucked him up, consuming his soul. Although Norman imagines ways to reconnect with home, he never does, and ultimately commits suicide. Therefore, the war drives Norman insane because on his return home he can no longer relate to the people that enjoyed life while he was in a foreign country fighting a war.
Similarly to The Things They Carried, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter-House-Five illustrates the effects of war on combatants. The main character in this book is Billy Pilgrim, a man stuck in time. Vonnegut takes the reader on a journey involving Billy’s experiences with time travel. The core story is Billy’s experience as a prisoner of war in Dresden, Germany, but Vonnegut continually interrupts its chronology to insert past events of Billy’s life. These flashbacks (in the form of time travel) demonstrate the isolation that Billy experiences as a victim of war. Slaughter-House-Five provides countless examples of how the war effected Billy Pilgrims’ connection with reality.
In the first chapter of this book, Vonnegut addressed the reader directly, without the use of Billy Pilgrim as his character. By telling us a short story about who he is and how he came to write this book, he reveals how the war affected him personally. For example, Vonnegut explains that he tried to find an old war buddy:
I had the Bell Telephone Company to find him for me. They are wonderful that way. I have this disease late at night sometimes, involving alcohol and the telephone. I get drunk, and I drive my wife away with a breath like mustard gas and roses. And then, speaking gravely and elegantly into the telephone, I ask the telephone operators to connect me with this friend or that one, from whom I have not heard in years.
This introductory chapter shows the reader the difficulty Vonnegut had with recovering from the war enough to write a book. He persistently talks about the struggles he had writing this book, explaining that first he did not have any ideas of what to write about, and then did not know how to write about what he wanted to write about. Consequently, the reader gains a sense of the seriousness of the war as soon as the first page of this book, expanding their understanding of the outcome of war.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

In the fifth chapter of The Things They Carried, O’Brien tells the story of Dave Jensen and Less Strunk, two soldiers that are turned against each other by the war. Jensen and Strunk fist fought “about something stupid- a missing jackknife-but even so the fight was vicious” (62). During their fight Jensen breaks Stunk’s nose, and afterward becomes overly paranoid about how Stunk might seek revenge. Although “There were no threats, no vows of revenge, just a silent tension between them” (63), Jensen constantly worried about whether or not Stunk would seek revenge:
Eventually, after a week of this, the strain began to create problems. Jensen couldn’t relax. Like fighting two different wards, he said. No safe ground: enemies everywhere. No front or rear. At night he had trouble sleeping- a skittish feeling- always on guard, hearing strange noises in the dark, imagining a grenade rolling into his foxhole or the tickle of a knife against his ear. The distinction between good guys and bad guys disappeared for him.
Evidently, after fighting with the Vietnamese for so long he can no longer distinguish the enemy, and begins fighting not only with a man on his own side, but with himself.
One of the most disturbingly profound effects of war involves not only an inability to distinguish the real enemy, but an inability to distinguish oneself from the land. In chapter 9, O’ Brian tells the story of Mary Anne, the innocent blonde girlfriend of soldier Eddie Diamond. Because their squad was stationed in an area seemingly away from the war, Eddie Diamond paid for his girlfriend to fly to Vietnam. Eventually Mary Anne got sucked into the horror of the land. As Rat Kiley explains to Tim, what happened to Mary Anne “was what happened to all of them. You come over clean and you get dirty and then afterwards it’s never the same” (114). Mary Anne had only been in Vietnam for a few months before she started to go crazy. The war affected her intensely by soaking her very soul into the violence and destruction of Vietnam, leaving her hopelessly absorbed in the war. As Mary Anne represents a “soldier” unable to disconnect from the actual war, O’Brien tells a similar story of a soldier that cannot forget the war once he returns home.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Style Lesson 9: Elegance
Balanced sentence structure is the most important feature of elegant prose because it makes you sentenced balanced. Use words such as “and, or, nor, but, and yet”, to balance phrases and clauses. Second, elegant sentences end on strength, which can be created by ending with a strong word, ending with a prepositional phrase, ending with an echoing salience, ending with a chiasmus. Next, sentences should vary in length, but if they are longer than thirty words or so or shorter than fifteen, edit. While striving for elegance, understand that failure is common and keep persevering despite any initial difficulties.
Ultimately, to acquire an elegant style you must read writers who write elegantly, and then look at your own writing and understand the distinction between elegance and inflaion. Nonetheless, revise for simplicity of characters as subjects and actions as verbs, the complexity of balanced syntax, meaning, sound, and rhythm, and emphasis of artfully stressed endings.

Monday, April 24, 2006

In The Things They Carried Tim O’Brien illustrates the effects of war on soldiers. A collaboration of numerous stories, O’Brien not only makes a firm anti-Vietnam statement, but exemplifies the ways that war alters a soldiers’ perspective on life. As a response to war, soldiers experience lack of purpose, inability to determine right from wrong, inability to deal with death, disconnection from their original homes, and are even driven to insanity.
Early in the war, soldiers would waste free time playing mundane games such as checkers. As O’Brien describes, “There was something restful about it, something orderly and reassuring. There were red checkers and black checkers. The playing field was laid out in a strict grid, no tunnels or mountains or jungles” (32). They played checkers to establish a set of rules in their lives. Living in Vietnam as soldiers during the war, where death could come at any moment; the war affected the soldiers by causing them to search for reality in such trivial things as checkers. As soldiers spend their free time engaging in checkers and search for reality, they react by losing their ability to determine right from wrong.

Post for Sunday. Blogger.com wouldn't work, I don't know why?

Anyways, Its the first paragraphs of my journal article.

Most people classify home schooled students as either belligerent smart nerds that sit cross legged on a spindly kitchen chair doing chemistry problems for hours, or deathly introverted kids that have no friends and when asked questions nervously check to see if their shoes are tied or what time it is. This story is about a once home schooled girl named Jenny. Jenny has twelve siblings, 5 sisters and 6 brothers. She grew up in the jungles of Africa because her parents were both missionaries with the Episcopalian church. Jenny is scared of animals because when she was 5 she almost died from a poisonous snake bite. Actually, she likes looking at animals from a distance, but as soon as she is face to face with one she starts crying. Jenny is bad at math and science but loves art. She spends a lot of free time drawing and painting. Her favorite is drawing people, mainly faces. She also draws flowers. One time she drew a flower that looked like a face. It was kind of a combination of face and flower and looked very abstract. She was 14 when she did that, and won an award of $200 from a local art competition. Jenny moved to the United States when she was 16. She wanted to continue being home schooled, but her parents objected; they thought she needed to be socialized. So Jenny went to school. So did two of her brothers and one of her sisters. Jenny’s parents kept home schooling the other children because they were still quite young. Transition? How do I do this?
Historically, education has gone through drastic changes and developments. Since the beginning of time, people yearn for knowledge. However, primitive education varies greatly from current education. Because society changes and develops, the purpose of education simultaneously changes and develops. For example, the purpose of the Spartan education “was to rear a physically perfect specimen, capable of enduring all kinds of hardships, well disciplined in militarily, and absolutely devoted to the state” (Bartky 21). Sparta as well as Athens considered education a public matter, and both had mandatory school attendance (Gwynn 27). Currently, schools are highly unique places with very specific goals, yet they are incredibly broad and all inclusive. Physical education, American history, world history, geography, math, science, English, foreign language, and electives in one category; then social skills, group work, test taking skills, writing skills, computer, extracurricular, and morals. What are schools really supposed to do? Furthermore, should there be a set rule of what schools do? Evidently, the work of schools goes far beyond the basics. According to Donald Arnstine, schools have three main jobs, education, socialization, and the aesthetic (Arnstine 5). Nevertheless, a historical perspective of educational agendas puts current educational practices into perspective, starting with religious influences on education.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Traversing the Screen Politics of Migration by Angelica Fenner talks about the movie Journey of Hope and director Xavier Koller. Fenner talks about how Journey of Hope essentially had no recognition and wasn’t really considered even a favorite for the Oscar for best foreign language film but still won. The French thought that the Oscar was deserved by the movie Cyrano de Bergerac. Therefore some controversy was surrounded by the selection of this film to win this prestigious award. This film is based upon Kurdish family who wanted to move to Switzerland for better opportunity In this section Fenner goes on to talk about how the lives of the cast were endangered if they told Kurdish theme in the film. This article goes on to compare migrating films from Europe. Fenner argues that the film is like a German production than like a Swiss production. The article states that Fenner that Koller had to operate his film under constraints by both Turkey and Switzerland. Koller also had to make his film appeal to the world. In sense Koller had to not offend either of these countries and try and get out his message from this film to the international scene. This article then talks about the plot of the film and how the film was based on the account of a Kurdish family that was trapped in a blizzard in the Alps. The article also says that the character development of Hayder is specifically weak in that he didn’t give sufficient reason to leave his homeland. In a general sense this article delves deeper in to the film and the time period as well as the reaction by people. It also goes into many themes of the film.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Kilpatrick, William Heard. Source Book in the Philosophy of Education . New York: The Macmillan Company, 1935.

In Source Book in the Philosophy of Education, Kilpatrick examines philosophy and education, science and philosophy in education, the concept of experience, generic traits of existence, the nature of the human individual, social and individual life, democracy and education, progress, and the legal aspects of education. Rather than providing his spoken opinion on these matters, Kilpatrick consults various Philosophers of Education such as John Dewey, Morris R. Cohen, Thomas Darlington, Thomas Jefferson, and Walter Lippmann to create a cohesive collection of influential works on education. The quotations provided present material in the philosophy of education to further study the context of modern education in reference to the most prominent crafters of democratic education.

Pierce, Truman. Federal, State, and Local Government in Education. Washington: Center for Applied Research in Education, 1964.

This book traces the expanding role of government in education by examining the constitutional provisions for education, the impact of congress on education, the role of state legislatures on education, federal and state court decisions, the executive branch of government, and various issues such as responsibility and control. Truman aims to provide a brief review of the reasons which led to the founding of education in this country to present a better perspective of the role of government in education. In order to provide this perspective, Truman provides bountiful historical context concerning the Federal, state, and local government.

Sommer, Carl. School in Crisis: Training for Success or Failure?. Houston: Cahill
Publishing Company, 1984.

In School in Crisis: Training for Success or Failure? Carl Sommer presents solutions to correct educational problems and create successful institutions. Sommer introduces the educational crisis declaring that because test scores are so low, schools evidently have failed to educate students. He argues that many dimensions exist within this crisis, such as racial and moral. Through careful research, Sommer believes that in order to cure educational failures, schools need to be highly supervised and students must learn basic educational principles early on in their schooling career. Finally, Sommer argues that in order to create a progressive and moral America, schools must confirm basic moral guidelines for students to follow.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Proposal for Journal Article
April 19, 2006
In my journal article, I plan on covering several elements of the home schooling controversy, including different factors that went into shaping this controversy. I am going to introduce a specific character and follow through with that characters story. Perhaps this character will humorously portray a home school student in the way that most people stereotype homeschoolers. Then I will give lots of historical background showing how public education in America got to where it is today, and why none of these changes have ultimately been for the better. At the end of my essay, I will be arguing that education is going downhill because of a variety of factors, not just one exact factor. My goal is to get my readers to see that education, in the traditional sense, is key. I want to enlighten the reader so they are not forced to choose between home schooling, public school, and private school, but so they reevaluate education as a whole and begin inquiring for themselves about the education system in America.
I am aiming this article to be published in Educational Leadership: Improving Professional Practice. This is a magazine conducted by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and focuses on the quality of teachers rather than the quality of teaching. The magazine tries to define a “high quality teacher”. Most of these articles argue that teachers must continue to improve rather than apply some prescription to their students. The magazine asks questions such as should professional development be inspirational or survival oriented? Example articles that have been published include “The Satisfaction of Teaching” and “Transforming Practice in Urban Schools”.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Annotated Bibliography
(Since this is all I've done with my life lately!)

Bartky, John. Social Issues in Public Education. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1963.
In Social Issues in Public Education, John Bartky assists future teachers and citizens in their endeavor to find answers and solutions to various education problems. Bartky answers questions such as how education is organized, how it should be organized, how does education relate to other institutions, how might these relationships be improved, and the role of education in the resolution of social issues. Rather than directly answering these questions and providing a bias viewpoint, Bartky means to inquire deeper into the implications behind education in order to encourage thought. By examining the sociological and foundational approaches, Bartky looks at the nature, social purposes, political unit, finances, and government of public education. Furthermore, he examines the interaction between schools and other social institutions, including, church, family, universities, and community. Lastly, Bartky studies the school and social problems, including problems of moral, spiritual, and democratic values, school segregation, politics, juvenile delinquency, and demographics.

Dewey, John. Democracy and Education: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1926.

In Democracy and Education, Dewy explains that humans naturally look to be self-renewed, and that just as nutrition is essential to growth education is essential to growth. Because democracy is not set up for only individuals but for complex societies, one’s experience in education must supply skills to be an excellent individual as well as skills to be an active member of society. Thus, education is a social function, with the school as a unique and special environment ideal for social growth. Dewey seeks to strongly connect knowledge with moral development, arguing that information is only useful if it further expands the student’s character.

Dewey, John. Experience and Education. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1938.
Dewey considers it his responsibility to reach a deeper level and of understanding than is represented by the practices and ideas of the contending parties. Before delving into explaining the modes of education, Dewey establishes that it is difficult to establish a philosophy of education because often, with change comes defense against other “’isms” (such as progressivism) instead of a survey of literal needs, problems, and possibilities. Thus, in Experience and Education Dewey attempts to call attention to larger and deeper Educational problems to assign them to correct frames of reference. In order to do assign these frames of reference, Dewey examines traditional versus progressive education, the need of a theory of experience, criteria of experience, social control, and the nature of freedom, the meaning of purpose, and the means and goal of education. Dewey’s final conclusion is that he means only to point out some of the conditions that must be fulfilled if education is to utilize scientific method to expand experience, rather than state that education must move one way or another. Because he realized that people want education, pure and simple, he devotes himself to finding out how to make education a reality rather than a name or a slogan, which is why he calls for a sound philosophy of education.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Some preperation for Essays in Social Geography:

The Three Regions of Japan:
The Kanto Plain lies in the hinterland of Tokyo, around Nagoya is the Nobi Plain, and around Osaka is the Kansai District. Each of these regions are major farming zones and are at the heart of Japan's manufacturing complex, so they're under constant urban pressure. The Kanto Plain is Japan's dominant urbanization region and contains 1/3 of the population. The Kanto Plain is focused on the Tokyo-Yokohama-Kawasaki metropolitan area, with its natural harbor at Yokohama. This area is the central location for the whole country, and many businesses choose Tokyo as their headquarters. However, the Kanto Plain has a constant valcano threat and can't produce enough food for its population.
The sencond-ranking economic region is the Kansai District, which involves the Osaka-Kobe-Kyoto triangle and is located at the Eastern end of the Inland Sea. Osaka used to be the major base for Chinese trade, but since World War Two Kobe has remained a busy port. This is an important farming area, mainly for rice, but it still needs to have food imported. The Kansai district is smaller agriculturally than the Kanto Plain.
Between the Kanto Plain and Kansai District lies the Nobi Plain, which is Japans leading textile producer. Larger than the Kansai District, its agriculture is better but still not as good as the Kanto Plain. This region revolves around Nagoya, whose port is not as good as Tokyo's or Osaka's.
The Koreas:
The Koreas became divided because the Allied Powers decided to devide it for administrative matters after World War Two. North of the 38th parallel lies North Korea, which belongs to the Soviet Union, and south of it lies South Korea, which has had lots of US aid. At the end of the Korean War, a cease-fire line drew a de facto boundary. These two countries have regional complementarity, because North Korea has raw materials and fertilizer and South Korea has food. North Korea trades with China and the Soviets, and South Korea trades with the US, Japan, and Western Europe.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Style Summary Lesson 8: Shape
In Lesson 8: Shape, Williams focuses on how to write sentences that are long and complex, but still clear and shapely. In accordance with previous lessons, Williams begins with a section on diagnosis and revision, guiding his reader on how to figure out faulty sentences and correct them. To diagnose, put a slash mark after every period and question mark of a sentence. Then pick out sentences that are longer than two lines and read them aloud. Revise the sentences if it takes too long to get to the verb in the main clause, if after the verb there are poorly tacked subordinate clauses, or if you hesitate at one interruption after another.
Williams provides a few rules of thumb for crafting shapely sentences. He advises to get to the subject quickly, and to get to the verb and object quickly. Readers like you to get them to your main clause quickly and past the subject to its verb and object. To reshape sentences that sprawl, cut relative clauses and change clauses to modifying phrases. When writing a long sentence, avoid tacking one relative clause onto another and try extending the line of a sentence with modifiers.
Lastly, Williams gives attention to coordination. Even well constructed sentences can be difficult for readers if they do not coordinate. Coordinate elements that are parallel in grammar and in sense. To close, Williams reminds his reader to write a long complex sentence only if the sentence is clear. In order to do that, punctuation is important.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

FYEC Reaction to p. 1-86
Slaughter-House-Five
Krista Speicher
April 15, 2006

When I began reading Slaughter-House-Five, I instantly noticed a similarity to the Tim O’Brien novel that we just read in FYEC. On the first page of Vonnegut’s novel, he states, “All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true” (1). In The Things They Carried O’Brien also informs his audience that not everything he writes is true, although a lot of it is. The main reason both of these authors write in “lies” is because the plain truth is actually false. When writing on a topic as graphic as war and death, facts and bland illustrations fail to successfully portray what war was “really like”.
When first reading these books, I wondered why the authors admitted that they were not telling the truth. After all, the books are published under the genre of novel, not under the genre of historical account. After reading a good portion of Slaughter-House-Five I understand why Vonnegut and O’Brien must tell their audience that they are lying. War stories are meant to be true. However, telling somebody that one man died by gunshot, for example, does not grasp the reality of the event. In reality, the man who died by gunshot had a history, including a family, friends, and different experiences. That man is a person, a real live (no pun intended) person. That man felt things, believed things, and lived by things. Maybe he even lived for someone. Maybe he was in love. Now let me describe “one man died by gunshot”: Lying, strewn on the mushy salad forest, his arms lie haphazardly beside him. His right finger is frozen, tightly grasping nothing. From the left his profile gleams- a normal nose, thin rosy lips, and an unwrinkled brow. From the left his profile is partially in tact- the lower tip of his nostril is missing and blood gushes like juice squirting from a lime. A butterfly gently rests upon his hair line.
None of this is true. I just made it up. However, I realize that Vonnegut must make things up in order to reach the truth. In a matter as grave as war, people don’t just die, they are mutilated. I find this distortion of the truth compelling and life changing. Perhaps a lie is even truer than the truth. The truth is not capable of extending a hand into the hollow chest of a dead man and grasping the reality of his soul. The truth is up to interpretation. That’s how it becomes a lie.

Friday, April 14, 2006

FYEC Journal Reaction to Tim O’Brien
The Things They Carried

In Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried”, my initial reaction is to say that O’Brien is a highly skilled liar. This book, which revolves around the experiences of several characters involved in the War in Vietnam, reflects on the affect of the war on different people. Like the title implies, the stories included in this book discuss the different things soldiers carried into war, both literally and figuratively. Furthermore, the book discusses the things soldiers carried away from the war, such as their experiences, fears, memories, and nightmares. Beyond telling compelling accounts of the War in Vietnam, O’Brien proves as an ideal example of a successful storyteller. For example, in the chapter “How to Tell A True War Story” O’Brien reflects on war stories:
“In any war story, but especially a true one, it’s difficult to separate what happened from what seemed to happen. What seems to happen becomes its own happening and has to be told that way. The angles of vision are skewed…Then afterward, when you go to tell about it, there is always that surreal seeming ness, which makes the story seem untrue, but which in fact represents the hard and exact truth as it seemed.”
This example illustrates O’Brien’s intense understanding of storytelling. Throughout the remainder of the novel, he continues to reiterate that story telling is commonly untruthful. This untruthfulness seems extremely ironic in this book, because each story speaks with such vitality and life that a lie seems the opposite of what O’Brien is telling.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A start to my Proposal. I know it doesn't look like much, but I've put a good amount of thought into this, I just need another hours worth!

In my journal article, I plan on covering several elements of the homeschooling controversy,

including different factors that went into shaping this controversy. I am going to introduce a

specific character and follow through with that characters story. Then I will give lots of

historical background showing how public education in America got to where it is today, and why

none of these changes have ultimately been for the better. At the end of my essay, I will be

arguing that education is going down hill because of a variety of factors, not just one factor.

Ultimately there is no real conclusion, except that change needs to occur within education.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

April 12, 2006
I peeled the weighty wooden doors that swung like thick swaying giants, gracefully but forcefully. Two beastly men of age 45 sporting deeply sunken eyes, round barrel bellies, and laughing cheeks rested against stubby wooden stools. Hesitantly I enter. “Seven dollars for admission into ghost riders, the best line dancing for miles”, cooed one of those beer guzzling men with a hillbilly twang. “ I realize you don’t like country music and that it looks rough here, but its loads of fun”, reassured my sister, a junior at Grove City College, who line dances often and is smiling at me with over-enthusiasm. This place reeks of a country bar, with old-fashioned wooden tables, counters, and floors. The thick air hit my tongue with the taste of musty cigarette smoke and raunchy beer, cuddled among old mildew and hay. I felt different, foreign, intimidated.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Journal 5
What strategies might work best to convince your readers to adopt your point of view on the chosen controversy, including content and rhetorical strategies?
For my controversy, which is the education system involving public vs. home school, a causal argument would work nicely. I would need to start with an effect and then trace back to one or more causes. My effect could be lazy students, an uneducated work force, or high school dropouts. I am particularly interested in examining a high school drop out and seeing the way school effected that decision. On the other hand, this research might likely prove me wrong, or lead me to a new conclusion, because the drop out could simply trace the causes to family matter, etc.
I also would like to craft my argument as a satire. Perhaps I could talk about what would happen if all students were home schooled, or what would happen if there was no choice in public school. I could craft a short story to open and close my essay, and then in the middle of my essay could be that juicy causal argument. I like the Jonathan Swift idea; craft an entire argument around a proposal and see how the audience reacts. In this essay I could create a proposal for some sort of education change (I still need to think about it) and then within that proposal just keep building metaphors. Then, at the end of my essay, I would admit that this surely would be preposterous. I only think this would be effective if my proposal were completely outrageous, and since I do not yet know of y any outrageous ideas, I will need to spend some time brainstorming this.
For evidence I plan on using mainly observations and personal experience. Because I am dealing with this controversy personally, my own views and experience plays a big role in my argument. Unfortunate this is exactly the problem. I need to find other evidence that my readers will believe as well. Therefore, I would like to include maybe a personal interview from a home schooled family, as well as secondhand research from books in the library.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Style Lesson 7
In Style lesson 7, Concision, Williams discusses several principles of concision. He introduces the reader to five principles on revising for concision:
1) Delete words that mean little or nothing
2) Delete words that repeat the meaning of other words
3) Delete words implied by other words
4) Replace a phrase with a word
5) Change negatives to affirmatives
Williams encourages his audience to revise because readers think you write clearly when you only use necessary words to make a point.
Williams then begins discussing metadiscourse, which is language used to refer to the writers’ intentions and confidence, give directions to the reader, and imply the structure of the text. Avoid using metadiscourse to attribute ideas to a source or announce a topic. Also avoid excessive hedging and intensifying because it destroys the readers view or the writer as a confident crafter. Metadiscourse is necessary sometimes, but keep it to the minimum. We often use metadiscourse when we are inexperienced about a topic. Regardless of his instruction on concision, William’s tells the reader to not be so concise that your writing becomes terse. Although concise style is good style, realize that the reader wants to see something interesting as well as clear.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Revisions and detail:

My father, the president of marketing and sales at Mecco Company, works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, sixty miles from where we live. An entrepreneur. My mother teaches us, purposefully and amiably. We have horses and chickens and dogs and cats and a sheep- on our ninety acres. My sister and I take ballet. My brother, four years older than me, takes classes at community college so he can graduate high school.
“Fuck that”, some grungy guy behind me with hair that reeks of old cat litter and stinky socks blurted boisterously. Ignoring him I fish through my outdated book bag and discover a neatly folded note. As I open the buttery document, springs of fragrant lavender, in its subtle purple ness, soar tenderly onto my rugged jeans. Neat cursive graces the page with a note from my mother wishing me luck on my first day at Mt. Pleasant High School. The dark bus seems odd. Occasionally I hear a cough, and a puff of cigarette smoke streams towards me. How revolting. Why I am even going here? I am stunned, shocked, that children like me do this everyday of their lives, and are ok with it. Why did I want to do this in the first place? This was so the wrong decision. I hate this, eww. Maybe this day will get better and I’ll have a good experience- I step off the bus with an energetic boost, which does not kill my nervousness. What will my teachers be like? Will I make friends? Will the cafeteria food be good? Will I lose my way and be late to class? Will I get lots of homework?
Ugh.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Although Nnaife does not marry another woman by choice, because his brother dies he inherits several new wives. On the arrival of the news of the death of Nniafe’s brother, Nnu Ego realizes that “These men were there to break bad news. All the same, like a good woman, she must do what she was told, she must not question her husband in front of his friends” (114). Although desperately concerned about what news these men might bring, Nnu Ego must act dutifully and fulfill her role as a humble and unobtrusive wife. During the first night that Nnaife spends with his new wife, Adaku, Nnu Ego “tried to block her ears, yet could still hear Adaku’s exaggerated carrying on. Nnu Ego tossed in agony and anger all night, going through in her imagination what was taking place behind the curtained bed” (124). Evidently 3rd world sexism tears women apart by toying with their learned responsibilities and natural habits. While a man pleasurably takes a woman into his bed his senior wife is forced to sleep on the echoing floor, listening to the moans of another woman. By subjecting his wife to this kind of treatment, Nnaife “gained the respect and even the fear of his wife Nnu Ego. He could even now afford to beat her up, if she went beyond the limits he could stand” (117). Societal bylaws actually encourage Nniafe to beat his wife, demonstrating his control over her. Emecheta describes one specific beating: “Nnaife lost his temper and banged the guitar he was holding against her head” (91). 3rd world sexism occurs when men acquire multiply wives, degrading the importance of individuality among women and establishing their sole responsibility as child bearer.
As far as activism in the 3rd world goes, in Bodily Harm Atwood, referring to activism on the Islands, explains, “You’d never see a local woman wearing shorts or even pants, they think its degenerate. If they started behaving like that their men would beat the shit out of them. If you tried any of that Women’s Lib stuff down here they’d only laugh. They say that’s for white women” (140). Compared to 1st world anti sexist activism, the 3rd world remains tangled in the chains of female slavery. The 1st world experiences sexism through dismemberment, perversion, under acknowledgement, and strong gender roles, while the 3rd world experiences sexism through polygamy, limited female power, and extreme gender responsibilities. Despite the hopelessness that seems to encompass both worlds, anti sexist activism gradually gnaws through those stubborn chains and brings equality despite gender.
Post for Friday, April 7th (I had technical difficulties)
This is the final conclusion of my narrative.

The delicate flowers sway whimsically from side to side using their paintbrush-like petals to caress the creamy backdrop with transparent magic: blue, green, pink, and yellow watercolors. The dark bus seems odd. Occasionally I hear a cough, and a puff of cigarette smoke streams towards me. It reminds me of a circus, but not an extant one, one depicted in some artsy independent film. We will go and find boys we think are cute and talk to them about nothing and then they will feel us and we will go crazy wild with life; we will run through woods together, this Texas girl Kim and I, drunk but laughing and falling and oh, and oh we will cry and fight and hate and love and hurt. My 10th grade English teacher Mr. Clara: the man that taught me to love and appreciate writing and literature, Mt. Pleasant High School. The scent of weed resonates every taste bud in my mouth and I am suddenly awkwardly hungry. Shit, its 11 pm, I should go home soon so I’m not too tired for church. I am sitting on my bunk bead, buried in a pile of notepaper and text books.
It’s like angel hair, this memory.
Today’s lesson: all this; all me.
Varying, collaborative, and intact (color, color, color).

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Similarly to the 1st world, sexism poisons 3rd world societies through polygamy and limited female power. In several 3rd world countries, women end up in arranged marriages to men who already (or eventually) own other wives. Men use women mainly to bear children, and favorably male children. In The Joys of Motherhood Buchi Emecheta writes about sexism in Nigeria. The main character, a Nigerian woman called Nnu Ego, is sold as a bride to a man living in Lagos. As Nnu Ego serves her husband, “It occurred to her [Nnu Ego] that she was a prisoner, imprisoned by her love for her children, imprisoned by her role as the senior wife…she felt the way men cleverly used a woman’s sense of responsibility to actually enslave her” (137). Here, Nnu Ego applies a woman’s natural desire to care for her children as a means of enslavement, preventing liberation designing women good only for child bearing and house keeping. In the 3rd world men have the right to possess more than one wife.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Beyond extremely negative dismemberment of women, disturbing perversion towards women is another problem in the 1st world. On page 202, after viewing pornographic art depicting a rat crawling out of a woman’s vagina, Renee casually tests Jake’s level of perversion:
If I had a rat in my vagina, would it turn you on? Dead or alive? Said Jake. Me or the rat? Said Rennie. Feh, said Jake…El sleazo, he said. Come on, don’t confuse me with that sick stuff. You think I’m some kind of a pervert? You think most men are like that? Rennie said no.
As described here, 1st world sexism is more than just a view that men hold towards women, but a tangible act of disrespect and distorted behavior. Although Jake ultimately concludes that Renee is suggesting something perverted, he dabbles in the idea by asking her “Dead or alive?” (202). Furthermore, by asking “Dead or alive” Jake is setting his own terms, suggesting that he would only be turned on by this if it was exactly the way he wanted.
The last form of 1st world racism is exemplified when Renee exclaims, “Men were doctors, women were nurses; men were heroes, and what were women? Women rolled the bandages and that was about all anyone ever said about that” (48). Reiterating the idea of strong gender roles, this quote illustrates the undersized credit women receive for their accomplishments, in comparison to men. Although doctors and nurses are factually of equal importance, only men become “heroes” from their achievements. On the other hand, women do dirty work and then virtually disappear from the medical scene. In response to sexism, 1st world activists became fed up with men, “So we said, you want it, fine, we want it too, let’s get together, and all of a sudden millions of pricks went limp” (157). Here, Renee’s friend Jocasta elucidates women reacting to men who are only interested in sex. Rather than correcting men, women decided to start playing along with the rules males established, conforming to the “just in it for sex” policy and disestablishing meaningful relationships. Although this form of reactionary activism seems degrading, Jocasta believes treating men with equal disrespect ultimately caused them to realize that they too want meaningful relationships.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The Gnarled Face of Sexism: Accounts from the 1st and 3rd World
Similar to most social plagues cast upon humanity, sexism is a widespread epidemic in both the 1st world and 3rd world. Several forms of sexism occur in Bodily Harm by Margaret Atwood and The Joys of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta, dividing 1st world sexism from 3rd world sexism. Broadly demonstrated in the novel Bodily Harm, 1st world sexism revolves around perversion and sexual abuse. On the contrary, Emecheta argues that 3rd world sexism occurs through polygamy and strong gender responsibilities.
In the 1st world, men dismember women to make them consumable and powerless. Atwood uses Rennie’s boyfriend Jake to exhibit an all-encompassing view-point that men commonly share of women in the 1st world. Rennie expresses her acknowledgment of the disturbing view Jake holds of her when she realizes that, “Fragmentation, dismemberment, this is what he sees when he looks [at her]” (248). Jake considers Rennie a “piece of meat” capable of being carved and consumed. He looks at her and sees something he can control and dissemble, separating the body into digestible pieces. This is further demonstrated when Jake asks, “What is a woman…A head with a cunt attached or a cunt with a head attached? Depends which end you start at” (225). By dismembering the female body, men control and dominate women. As a segmented body, a woman looses her sense of whole self and becomes dysfunctional.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Style Lesson 6
In Style lesson 6, Emphasis, Williams helps his audience understand how sentences end, addressing clarity and strength, and how placing the right emphasis on the right words can contribute to a global coherence. Using examples to illustrate how complexity must be at the end of the sentence, Williams shows us that there are two types of complexities in writing. Complex grammar is the first and complex terms are the second. The point of over viewing complex grammar and terms is that readers want to see long phrases and complex terms at the end of the sentence. Next Williams’s talks about stress, telling his reader to use the stress position at the very end of a sentence to emphasize words for your reader. Also, use the stress of a sentence that introduces an entire passage to establish the main concepts that the rest of the passage develop. Do this by repeating the main points as topic sentences, or repeating them as themes some where else in the passage by using nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Personal Narrative

“Good morning, what can I do for you today?” a fat white lady stands behind the monotonous steel grey counter in the Admissions Office. “Yes”, I reply, “I’m new and don’t have a schedule. Um, do you know where I go?” I proceed to tell her my name, probably with a nervous shake in my voice. The fat lady was nice enough, but that’s all she was, “a fat lady”. Her face was official and her eyes never engaged mine. We walked, and I followed close behind her (watching her skirt swish swash swish and her big bum shake as her fragile heels looked like they were about to snap) to a room with about forty computers lined up in five rows of eight. They are black and new looking. I don’t remember signing up for a computer class; the fat lady explains that my schedule has not been processed, and blah blah blah. I don’t really care, all I hear is that I’m going to be waiting here until “they” figure out my classes. The room was still. Be still and know that we are taking care of you, over there in the office with the papers and the copy machine. There are other students here. Others. Strangers. Swirling eyes and dizzy glances. It reminds me of a circus, but not a real one, one depicted is some artsy independent film. When the screen is actually still, but then zooms into a nameless face of some clownish character. And then the freakish clown starts laughing and it’s like a horror movie. Not really though. Behind me sits a girl- she is by herself at one of the computers. She is petite and wearing a purple, red, and white striped shirt and jeans that are tight and big Vans shoes. Her hair is curly/wavy in a natural way and pinned half up half down. She has a light purple back pack slouching across the end of her chair, and she looks awfully bored and just as irritated as I. Why not, I think, and move my things over to where she sits. I’m a shy person, why am I doing this? Introductions made: Kim Carpenter from El Paso, Texas. She thinks its cool that I was home schooled. They’re making her schedule over in that there office and she’s just a sittin here and waiting, yeah. We will become best friends, forever, and be like oh my gosh! And tell each other everything. We will go and find boys we think are cute and talk to them about nothing and then they will feel us and we will go crazy wild with life; we will run through woods together, this Texas girl Kim and I, drunk but laughing and falling and oh, and oh we will cry and fight and hate and love and hurt. But not now. Right now we are in a room with computers waiting for our schedules. Tick tock tick tock. The unfriendly clock is passing away and, what? It’s almost noon. I eat lunch, and my grilled cheese sandwich is kind of like one of the rocks I find in the horse paster, except yellow and oozing and smelling like old mothballs. I have a stomach ache for the rest of the day. My first day at public school.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Personal Narrative

My father is an entrepreneur. He works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, sixty miles from where we lived. He is the president of marketing and sales at Mecco Company. My mother teaches us. We have horses and chickens and a sheep and dogs and cats- on our ninety acres. My sister and I take ballet. My brother, 4 years older than me, takes classes at community college to graduate high school.
“Fuck that”, some grungy guy behind me with hair that reeks of old cat litter and stinky socks murmured. I am on a bus on the way to Mt. Pleasant High School. The bus is dark and odd and occasionally I hear a c and I’ll have a cough or a puff of cigarette smoke streams towards me. I wonder why I am going here. I am stunned that children like me do this everyday of there lives, and are ok with it. Why did I want to do this in the first place? This was so the wrong decision. I hate this, eww. Maybe this will get better and I’ll have a good experience- I step off the bus with an energetic boost. What will my teacher be like? Will I make friends? Will the cafeteria be good? Will I loose my way? Will I be late to class? Will I get lots of homework?
Personal Narrative

My father is an entrepreneur. He works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, sixty miles from where we lived. He is the president of marketing and sales at Mecco Company. My mother teaches us. We have horses and chickens and a sheep and dogs and cats- on our ninety acres. My sister and I take ballet. My brother, 4 years older than me, takes classes at community college to graduate high school.
“Fuck that”, some grungy guy behind me with hair that reeks of old cat litter and stinky socks murmured. I am on a bus on the way to Mt. Pleasant High School. The bus is dark and odd and occasionally I hear a c and I’ll have a cough or a puff of cigarette smoke streams towards me. I wonder why I am going here. I am stunned that children like me do this everyday of there lives, and are ok with it. Why did I want to do this in the first place? This was so the wrong decision. I hate this, eww. Maybe this will get better and I’ll have a good experience- I step off the bus with an energetic boost. What will my teacher be like? Will I make friends? Will the cafeteria be good? Will I loose my way? Will I be late to class? Will I get lots of homework?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Personal Narrative- Intro

It’s like angel hair, this memory. It’s so light and ethereal and gleaming. The world danced around me, as I sat upon the top stair of my freshly painted wooden porch, turning the crunchy page of my latest reader The Secret Garden. As I look up from the page, the swirling spring breeze buzzes with comforting clearness. Following the terra-cotta brick side walk with dandelions inching their way to life: my own secret garden. The flowers sway whimsically from side to side, leaving a transparent magic with their paintbrush like petals: red, pink, yellow watercolors. I paint what I see. Daffodils and roses and Oh! A dainty hummingbird sucking some nectar! I jump up, float to the kitchen and retrieve some polished binoculars from the school supply cupboard. My lesson begins by skimming through the pages of my antiquated bird book and deciphering what bird could be so gleefully playing in my garden.
I am being educated.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Personal Statement
Writing Center Application

I am interested in applying to be a writing center consultant because I, first and foremost, love writing. I understand the writing process, and consider peer review an essential factor for producing a complete and well thought out paper. With that understanding, it is my goal to help other people write better. My goals line up with the sole purpose of the writing center, to help others work to improve their writing. Each time I go to the writing center I leave with the ability to revise my paper for a reader. Often times writers fail to write for readers because their thoughts become tangled and do not translate with coherence and cohesion onto paper. Going over writing with a peer renovates a draft into digestible prose. I am also interested in improving my own writing. I plan on majoring in English, and working at the writing center is a convenient way for me to make money while furthering my skills as a writer. Helping others write, and being constantly surrounded with a literary environment, would surely improve my writing. I believe I am qualified for this position because I engage the revision process and want to share the transformative power of revision with others. I am enthusiastic about this job and am ready to take on the challenge of being a writing center consultant.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Style Lesson 5
In Style Lesson 5, Williams helps his reader to understand the difference between coherence and cohesion. We judge sequences of sentences to be cohesive depending on how each sentence ends and the next begins. On the other hand, we judge a whole passage to be coherent depending on how all the sentences in a passage cumulatively begin. Sentences are cohesive when the last few words of one set up information that appears in the first few words of the next one. Williams teaches his reader how to diagnose and revise faulty sentences. First, begin sentences with information familiar to your reader. Readers remember words from a sentence they just read, and they bring previous knowledge to the sentence. When revision, a writer must trade off certain principles in order to make the passage cohesive. Give priority to helping readers gain a sense of cohesive flow from your writing.
Williams talks about coherence as being different from cohesion because it relates to a single idea of a paragraph rather than sentence by sentence flow. Contrary to what grammarians traditionally teach, the topic is what a sentence is “about”, and is not always the grammatical subject. To revise, start sentences with the subject and make that subject the topic of the sentence. Although these tips for revision are generally helpful, some writers might create monotonous prose by overusing and repeating the subject at the beginning of each sentence. This is no reason to resist revision- most readers are less judgmental of monotony than writers. Writers also sometimes fake coherence by using conjunctions to signal a new idea. A skilled writer creates coherent passages without overusing conjunctions.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Although certain aspects of the climate are setbacks for agriculture, virtually all Finland’s geographical features foster its forestry industry. Research conducted by the Institute for Cross-Cultural Research articulates that “About 71 percent of the total land area is covered by 54.5 million acres of forestland, which bolsters Finland’s position as one of the world’s great wood producing economies” (Stoddard, et. al. 183). Two main features generously encourage forestry: first, the snow, and second, the water (Reade 207). Cold, snowy winters may seem quite uninviting, but most parts of Finland receive just enough snow to make transporting logs manageable yet are shallow enough to not thwart the cutting down of timber. With giant waterway networks, logs easily float down to the sea-coast. With over 2,000 rapids, which are useful for producing water power, saw and paper mills incessantly dot the country (Reade 208). Consequently, saw- mills and paper-mills define Finland in a way unlike any other industry could.
With the help of the ice age, Finland’s agriculture and industry remain unique and extraordinary. The multitude of lakes make transportation and inter-regional trade convenient while improving the functionality of the logging industry. Leaving clay deposits which enrich Finish soil, the last stage of the ice age acted as an important factor in the development of agriculture. With a relatively short growing season, the climate in this area only allows for certain types of farming. Nonetheless, Finland has been blessed by a superior forestry industry which acts as a defining characteristic and provides an economy unique to this region.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Social Geography (more of Finland)
An investigation of climate proves that harsh winters and poor soil make profitable farming a challenge for Finland. According to Arthur Reade, professor at the University of Helsingfors:
The characteristic features of a Finnish landscape are forests, water and rock, and it is precisely from these and especially the two former that the wealth and the country springs at the present day and is destined to spring far more rapidly in the future (207).
Small independent farming, however, serves as the safeguard for agriculture. Although frost and droughts cause a variation of crops from year to year, in the early 1970s farmlands comprised approximately nine percent of the country. This farmland can be broken down into dairy, which produces 50 percent of agricultural output, meat production, contributing around 30 percent, and crops adding the residual 20 percent of output (Stoddard, ET. al. 182). Within Finland’s agricultural pursuits, dairy certainly remains the main focus and adds to the prosperity of the country. More notably than agriculture, however, and the greatest feature of this region, is the timber industry.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The last stage of the ice age left deposits of boulder clay, promoting forestry in Finland and providing farmers excellent soil for growing crops. Glacial till is unique because of its wealth of clay particles consisting of finely crushed minerals ideal for agriculture and forestry (Strahler 339). Regardless of the positive clay deposits and forestry here, the ice age failed to leave oil-bearing strata (Singleton 5). Consequently, Finland initially relied upon wood in the beginning stages of its industrialization, which provided fuel to heat furnaces and power trains. Eventually Finland began relying on imported fuels such as coal from Britain and gas from Russia, since wood hardly supplied the countries energy needs (Singleton 5). However, the Finnish government cleverly utilizes the mineral wealth of Finland, considering the copper, iron, zinc, cobalt, nickel, tin, gold, and silver deposits found here (Singleton 5). Thanks to the later stages of the ice age, Finland is a country rich in raw materials and ideal for industrialization.
In addition to Finland’s bountiful minerals and raw materials, this countries climate has been affected by the North Atlantic Drift, giving it a significantly milder climate than other countries lying on similar latitudes. From January to March, the south-western coast of Finland gets snow, but the northern areas have somewhat more severe winters with temperatures that range from extremes of on average seven degrees in the north to 26 degrees in the south (Stoddard, et. al. vii). Summers are generally warm, with long days consisting of about nine hours of sunshine. July temperature averages range from 63 degrees in the south to 55 degrees in the north (Stoddard, et. al. vii). Although the growing season lasts for just a few months, it is adequate for the cultivation of wheat, rye, barley, and oats (Singleton 9). The climate and geography surely imposes some limitations concerning the survival of Finns, but thanks to abundant forests which cover more than two thirds of the country, Finland exports and cultivates its wood-based industry with close attention (Singleton 10). As far as topography goes, the southeastern region of the country is heavily occupied by immense lakes, and the land slopes, on the south and west, leaning from relatively low northern mountains toward tapered coastal plains (Stoddard, et. al. vii). The climate and topographical features of Finland shape both the agricultural boundaries and possibilities of this country.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

From a paper I'm writing for Social Geography:

The Society and Environment of Finland
Finland is located far enough north of mainstream Europe that it generally remains exempt from political, economic, and military activities of Europe. Unlike the Mediterranean, north-west coastlands, and central Europe, the customs and happenings of European life historically bypassed Finland, allowing for its own culture and customs to form. In A Short History of Finland, historian Fred Singleton provides that an example that illustrates Finland’s isolation from the rest of Europe is that Christianity did not develop here until the beginning of the thirteenth century, at least a millennium after it seeped into the British Isles (Singleton 4). Because of the geographic location of Finland, the history of this unique country can be found in legends and folklore, and is rich in ambiguity and obscurity. Furthermore, historians rely on tradition rather than evidence to explain such aspects such as the religious conversion that took place in Finland, which they argue increase with the help of Sweden in the twelfth century (Singleton 5). The lack of evidence considering Finland’s history reveals its evident geographic isolation from the rest of Europe; although the stark climate consisting of mere lakes and forests barely attracted traders and conquerors, but affected the lifestyle and migration patterns of the Finns (Singleton 5). The society and environment of Finland influences the structure and growth of its economy, and considerably the agricultural practices of this inimitable region.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Source Reflection

As I crafted this essay I used sources written by several different people holding various assumptions and biases. My most useful source was John Holts Teach Your Own: A Hopeful Path for Education. The introduction of this book explains that Holt taught at a prestige school and examined how children learn. In the book, Holt talks about ways children learn and can be taught, outside of school. Because Holt has teaching experience and has observed lots of students, I accept his opinions and trust him as an author. I figure he has been around children and is a professional teacher, so his ideas are most likely well thought out. Furthermore, Holt is widely recognized as an education professional and has written many books about education. In fact, I also used his book Learning all the Time to craft my paper. In this book he talks about how kids learn outside of the class room. He uses lots of examples and anecdotes which illustrate children teaching themselves new things. I accept the theories he presents in this book because he gives personal accounts to prove his credibility.
I got some ideas about education reform from the book Inside Charter Schools edited by Bruce Fuller. Although this source was helpful in giving me a look at some solutions to the education problem, it was really detailed and narrow so it was not as usual as I hoped. A lot of the information in this book seemed to “over prove” the thesis. Basically, I believe the argument because it seemed logical, and I did not go into depth and read all the proof.
Several of my demographics came from the book Home Schooling: Political, Historical, and Pedagogical Perspectives by Jane Van Galen and Mary Anne Pitman. Galen’s title is Foundations of Education, Youngstown State University, and Pitman’s title is Department of Education, University of Cincinnati, and just by looking at those titles I realize that this is an academic work and most likely reliable. At the end of each article is a list of references, so I can find where their research came from and check its reliability. This book included a lot of visuals, such as tables showing different home school patterns, so as a reader I noticed that the authors had scientific proof behind their theories. I accepted most of what I read in this book because of the bibliographies and visual aids.
About the other sources I used, I tried to refer only to ones that seemed “official” and academic. I stayed away from online blogs, and the only real mere “opinion” I got was from public school teachers that I emailed. Because these emails were opinion based, I could compare them to my own experiences and assumptions and throw out information that I disagreed with and keep information that seemed reasonable. For example, one email said that home schoolers are socially awkward. I did not buy into that because as a home schooler, I know that is just a stereotype and not necessarily true.
My favorite source was the book on education by Ralph Waldo Emerson. His quotes beautifully captured what I wanted to say, and because he said everything so beautifully I was willing to accept it. Furthermore his style is clear, so I was never confused as to what he was trying to communicate. I know Emerson is highly educated and an acclaimed writer and thinker, so I placed confidence in his writing and held on to most of his arguments.
Overall, I researched sources that I knew would be reliable, so I accepted most of the arguments I encountered. Additionally, because this was an Inquiry Essay, I was obligated to accept most of the arguments presented to me because each argument represented a different grey area within my controversy.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Revision of The Theories Behind Public School
So if homeschoolers think public school is such crap, why did societies structure the education system the way it is in the first place? John Dewey, an academic whose writings cover the subjects of psychology, epistemology, ethics, and democratic politics, wrote one of the most influential documents on education, Democracy and Education. Published in 1916, Dewey outlines the social role of education as the source of a society’s identity through the grounding of youth in mature society. Throughout the book, Dewey discusses the methods that are necessary in a progressive democratic community, and explores the definition of education concluding it as a process of growth and change. As he defines education, he links it to democracy by explaining democracy as a unique society in which individuals are encouraged to grow and socially participate not only in their government, but in their community, allowing the realization of skills and talents. Dewey describes growth, experience, and activity as the tying of learning to social, communicative activity that allows for the flourishing of democratic society.
Additional support for the connection between a communicative education and a cooperative democracy pours in from public school teachers across the nation. Public school teacher William Malesh, a retired elementary teacher, believes that “only well educated, vastly dedicated parents with financial resources, tons of time, constantly updating their knowledge base with current research and not impeded by ultra religious censorship of the current body of humankind’s knowledge can stay the course” (Malesh, William). Mr. Malesh argues that few parents truly have the capability to teach their children, juxtaposing the home schoolers that feel fully (or better) equipped to teach their children. Mr. Malesh explains that throughout his years as a teacher, almost every home taught student entering his classroom (and public school in general) felt frustrated with the difficulty of the school work. Because parents consider it their job to encourage and support their children, many parents are overly encouraging to their children and give them a false sense of accomplishment. Because a goal of home schooling is to learn through activity rather than regurgitation (go to the library rather than take a test), students often times have trouble keeping up in public schools. Another deficit Mr. Malesh saw involved the social skills of home schooled students. Evidently, “In public schools you do need to deal with all types, the saints and the slimes. Learning how to deal with people with major flaws in a controlled environment is a skill to ‘die for’” (Malesh, William). Mr. Malesh’s experience with teaching home schooled students provides further support for Dewey’s argument that education must directly connect to the cultivation of a democratic society.
In Characters, the fourth lesson of Style, Williams talks about understanding the importance of characters, including how to diagnose and revise characters, reconstruct absent characters, use abstractions as characters, when to use passive verbs, how to choose between active and passive, the “objective” passive, and passive characters and metadiscourse. Near the end of the chapter Williams teaches revision of long compound noun phrases, and finally sums up with how to use the professional voice. Williams explains that readers like reading clear prose. Clear prose comes when the subjects of sentences names characters and verbs name actions. The first step in diagnosing style is to look for main characters in the subject. To revise make those characters the subjects of verbs by naming their actions.
Next, Williams articulates that when dealing with absent characters and abstractions as characters, make the subjects of verbs tell a story and that will turn the abstraction into a character. When using passive voice (which is often the best choice, although most students were not taught this) make sure your readers know who is responsible for the action and ask yourself if the active or passive verb would help the reader move more smoothly from one sentence to the next. Therefore, use the passive voice when you do not know who did an action and your readers do not care, or when you do not want them to know. Also use the passive voice when you want to focus your readers attention on one or another character. Williams main point is that although some scholars believe using the first person is immature, when used correctly phrases with the first person, such as I believe, are entirely correct and in fact useful.
Lastly, Williams talks about rewriting lumpy compound noun phrases to make them more effective. Although some grammarians believe that writers should never modify one noun with another, that would role out several common phrases such as stone wall, brick house, and book bag. Reassemble overly wordy noun phrases by reversing the order of words and finding prepositions to connect them. Williams relates noun revision to the professional voice, clarifying that writing clearly is more important than writing professionally. Professional voice can rule out moderately well-educated readers, and must be revised for conciseness. Thus, do not make simple ideas more complex, and revise complex ideas by giving characters actions.
RMC blog. This post is for Monday, March 13th.

What a beautiful weekend! It might be Monday, but after a weekend of sunshine and warm weather, Monday’s don’t seem too bad. As I sit at my desk in my dorm, windows wide open with spring time winds washing into the room, I realize how much I really do love that southern weather. Because this weekend is the freshest in my mind I will start there and work my way back. Friday was awesome- 80 degrees and sunny. I had class, went on a jog, went to work, and eventually left town for Charlottesville, home of University of Virginia. My family foxhunts with Rolling Rock Hunt in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, and this weekend was a joint meet with Keswick Hunt in Virginia. Both my parents came down for the weekend, but just my Dad and I hunted. On Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. I met my parents at Farmington Country Club, drove over to Keswick, and met the horse that I would be riding that day. The horses name was Rhapsody; a retired racehorse that was eager to run fast but calm enough for me to handle. The foxhunt lasted from 10 till about 4 pm, and let me tell you, today I am so sore. I ride my horse during breaks so I have not ridden for about a month. Anyways, to sum up I had an awesome weekend and, although I am sore today, it was definitely worth the trip to get to spend some time with my parents. To relate this to college life, being without your parents is both a blessing and a curse. Sure, it brings a lot of freedom to make decisions and do whatever, but sometimes I miss having my laundry folded and a me cooked meal on the table. It was great getting to visit them for a few days.
As far as school goes, the past week was extremely busy. I stayed in all last weekend (the weekend of March 4th) and did homework. I had two papers due, two tests, and a few quizzes, all on top of my other homework. Furthermore, I had applications to fill out, one to live in Thomas Branch and one to work at the Writing Center. Thomas Branch is unique type of living for upperclassmen. The dorms are really nice, and people want to live there (or don’t want to live there) because its substance free and an academic setting. This means that there are study rooms all throughout the dorm, and the Higgins Academic Center is located here (where all the tutoring takes place). Definitely a good place for students trying to get good GPAs.
So this week I have two more papers due, a Spanish presentation, and a few books to read. On the bright side, its Dance Marathon week! Dance Marathon is the biggest philanthropic event on campus, and is on Saturday the 18th. There are fun events all week, but mostly on Saturday. Since I have never been here for it I do not know a whole lot about it, but I will definitely write a new post when I get to experience the fun!

P.S.- 10 days till Spring break!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Dear Brenna, March 6, 2006
After reading your essay The Lower Ninth Ward: Should It Be Rebuilt?, I feel well informed about the situation in New Orleans and the controversies within this community. I got a sense of the intricacies of this controversy, and I liked that you added your personal experience with the Ninth Ward issue. I also like your writing style; it is clear and concise and reflects the Style lessons. Although you used a clear writing style, some of your essay was confusing and made me do some guess work as a reader. You don’t have topic sentences for most of your paragraphs or transitions between paragraphs, so as I reader I had to play catch up and guess what was coming next. About your thesis, you didn’t state your purpose for writing but you did (and the other essays I read didn’t do this) explicitly state the controversy that you talk about in your essay. Nonetheless, you need to be bold and straight up state the purpose for writing. Your purpose is to provide an in depth examination of the communities and explore the controversies and the intricacies of the controversy. You did a good job of summarizing the key components of the controversy, but you need to add some sentences (or a paragraph) about the central areas of agreement and disagreement. For example: both this part of the community and this different part of the community agree that this should be done and why. Because of your personal experience with this controversy, as a reader I felt that you are credible and understand your controversy. I am glad that you don’t add your opinion; you stay unbiased and just explain that you do have some opinion. The main suggestion I have for your essay is that you really need to crack down on those topic sentences and transitions. I know it’s hard at the beginning stages, but definitely look at each paragraph, think about what you are trying to say, and sum that up in one sentence. Your quotes could use some more support, for example in some instances you leave a quote at the end of a sentence, bad! Your essay is exploratory rather than persuasive, but a little too much assessment rather than inquiry. You need to add some open ended questions. I feel like you’re too set in stone in this essay, and you’re not really looking for a conclusion.
Good job so far on your essay!
Sincerely,
Krista Speicher

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Added paragraph for Arguing to Inquire

The Theories Behind Public School
So if homeschoolers think public school is such crap, why did societies structure the education system the way it is in the first place? John Dewey, an academic whose writings cover the subjects of psychology, epistemology, ethics, and democratic politics, wrote one of the most influential documents on education, Democracy and Education. Published in 1916, Dewey outlines the social role of education as the source of a society’s identity through the grounding of youth in mature society. Throughout the book, Dewey discusses the methods that are necessary in a progressive democratic community, explores the definition of education concluding it as a process of growth and change. As he defines education, he links it to democracy by explaining democracy as a unique society in which individuals are encouraged to grow and socially participate not only in their government but in their community, allowing the realization of skills and talents. Dewey describes growth, experience, and activity as the tying of learning to social, communicative activity that allows for the flourishing of democratic society.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

More from my activist essay...
The second piece, A Dry White Season by Andre Brink, an initially upper-class, white, na├»ve South African man named Ben Du Toit becomes involved in activism when his black friend Gordon Ngubene “commits suicide” while in South African police custody. This highly political novel takes place in South Africa during the 1948-1950’s Grand Apartide, which denied voting rights to all but whites, determined where people could live, and determined where people could work. While Ben lives and works in the city of Johannesburg, Gordon works there and must be bused out of the city and into the South West township of Soweto at the end of the day. Although Ben is the main example of activism, Gordon first becomes an activist when his son Jonathan disappears after the Soweto school riots. As Gordon investigates his son death, he becomes imprisoned and murdered by South African police officers who cover his death by claiming that he committed suicide. As Gordon’s close friend, Ben investigates his cause of death and eventually gathers enough evidence to prove his murder. Similarly to Clare Savage, Ben Du Toit becomes an activist through a process of embracing the problems of the South African community.
Everything wholly strange. Children who say ‘good morning’ and whose faces you see without recognizing them or knowing why they are addressing you. A bell that sends you from classroom to classroom and which you obey without knowing the reason. When you open your mouth it is without any foreknowledge of what will follow. It happens by itself. Your own words seem unfamiliar to you, your voice comes from far away. Every building, every room, the tables and benches, the blackboard, pieces of chalk, everything is strange. Nothing wholly dependable. You have to assume that, previously, you managed to pick your way through it all, that in some mysterious way you ‘belonged’, but it is inexplicable now…You’re on the other side. And how can I explain it in the words of ‘this side’? (Brink 158).
In this passage, Ben is reflecting on his experience with becoming an activist. Similarly to the bullet metaphor, Ben feels he no longer has a choice in whether or not he should act. He is part of the South African community, and by recognizing this he has become an advocate for change and justice within it. To explain the process of becoming an activist, there are a few subtle stairs to climb while reaching the level of activism. This passage argues that no real grey area exists, Ben was one a bystander and is now wholly part of the anti-Apartide movement, “It has begun. A pure, elemental motion: something happened- I reacted- something opposed me. A vast, clumsy, shapeless thing has stirred…But what? Perhaps simply to do what one has to do, because you’re you, because you’re there.” (Brink 161). As the bullet springs forth with the pull of a trigger, so is ignited and disintegrates into the action which is being done. In the example of Ben Du Toit, activism is not a direct choice but rather an involved and intimate calling.