Friday, April 4, 2008


To tell you the truth I had never heard of Mr. Gallagher before this class but now everyone I know has something to say about the class. I believe this class was the funniest this year but also the most serious. I have had good times and bad times in this class more than any other class I have had in my time at Malden High School. When I entered English IV honors I was not unprepared for the amount of work we had to do but for the amount of effort I had to put into the assignments. I believe it has taught me a huge lesson and still is. When I started out the English class not only were the type of thing we were doing new to me but also the way the class was conducted also new. There are something’s that I have really regretted passing in but it all teaches me something.

As far as my overall English skill go they’re better than they were before. I know use words in my essay that I wouldn’t use prior to taking this course, meaning my vocabulary has gotten a little bit better than it was. I now know how to better construct a thesis statement. I have learned that people really have to be paying attention to everything that goes on in the class. I still believe that if I put in the effort I could have done way better that I did over all and especially this quarter. I don’t regret at all continuing on with this English class when I could have switched out.

I learned the shyness or laziness will never ever work in the real world if you want to get something done. After my first explication was a complete disaster I should have then talked to Mr. Gallagher about it but I made the wrong decision and let the bad grades pile up. I’m the type of person who really doesn’t like to get a bad grade and if I do I don’t want people to know about it. I know now that it is my job to make sure I avoid mistakes and if that means sharing my grade with a person so I can fix what I did wrong than that’s what I have to do. I remember the first time I followed the advice of Mr. Gallagher; this was when I was in danger of getting a low grade for the quarter. I was told to follow my discussion partners, blogs on Madame Bovary and try to get the same structure as she had. I think that was the first time really didn’t stress over my grade because I knew I was forming my blogs correctly at the time and it paid off. Madame Bovary ended up being one of the best novel I read this year. I don’t really enjoy being on the computer that much but when it came to this assignment I found myself actually waiting to read another on of Angela’s blogs.

I enjoyed the art that was posted on the blogs. Pieter Bruegel’s art was fascinating. I had an assignment on “The Wedding Dance in Open Air” painting. Even though I didn’t get the explicating correct I thought it was very interesting. I wasn’t really bored doing that assignment. I never had a class that incorporated art without actually being an art course. I only really was interested in calligraphy but this class actually exposed me to other art forms especially paintings. Art is now something that I think

I have learned to be more mature and learn from my own mistakes and take responsibility. When something goes badly grade wise I have to take the initiative and do what has to be done to fix it. Next year I will actually be paying for my education and it’s up to my not to waste my money. I will always remember the things that I have learned.

“Plum Plum Pickers” by Raymond Barrio Explication

It’s hard to say if the average man considers his fellow humans as equal. Often times in the news, magazine, or even on the radio there are stories of people being treated unfairly. In the story “Plum Plum Pickers” by Raymond Barrio an example of this takes place. This example of inequality takes place mostly between two characters but also every other character too. Barrio suggests that all men are not considered or treated equal. Barrio utilizes the setting of the story, tone, words and figurative language to create meaning out of the passage.

The wood choice of the story is always very important and sort of like one of the first things talked about in novels, plays, poems and other works of literature. “Plum Plum Pickers” has a very important setting. “He felt alone. Though surrounded by other pickers… The hot dry air sucking every drop of living moisture form his brute body”(pg. 1, Barrio); through out the whole passage many adjectives are used. The author uses these adjectives describe the setting and the characters. “Beast…Predator…Brute” (pg. 1), is the word used to describe the workers. They create a better picture/understanding for the reader.

The tone changes between the two main characters. When Manuel day is being described the readers get a feeling that he is tired and that it’s been a long hard boring day and it seems like this is a repetitive process but when Morales is being described the reader get a feeling that work for him is fairly easy compared to Manuel’s work load and that. Morales is described as a villain. It’s like a tired sad tone that goes on through out the whole passage. When Morales is talking there is no tired tone. When he talks it's more of cocky tone and this is how he is described, the tone just backs this up

The Stranger Explication

The Present & Future

In the novel “The Stranger” by Camus the author suggest that the main character and speaker, Mersault, enjoys the present and physical aspects of life but when confronted by the future aspects of life Mersault does not show any interest in it but when Mersault is sentenced to he is then forced to think of his future. After having read the novel, readers may describe Mersault as a man about the flesh, meaning he so consumed by his physical desires that he does not care or think of the future desires. Mersault's bad decision-making and down fall maybe is maybe the result of his lack of interest in these aspects of life. The novel would have probably been ended much differently if Mersault were thinking about his future or even the people around him who actually cared for him. This could be why Mersault is a stranger in relation to people in society.
In the passage when Marie and Mersault take a swim together, Camus creates a scene where you can see what occupies Mersaults thoughts. Mersault says, "Then Marie swam over to me and pressed herself against me in the water...our brown bodies felt good (Camus, 34).” During the whole passage Mersault describes his physical feelings for Marie but he never anything else besides that. Readers can assume that to Mersault Marie is just a girl to have physical relationship with, he does not think of the future they could or may have together. So Mersault is just thinking of Marie in the present.
Marie wants to take her and Mersault’s relationship to another level. Mersualt says, “…A minute later she asked me if I loved her. I told her it didn’t mean anything but that I didn’t think so (35).” Marie asking this question tells the readers that she was thinking of a future, obviously with Mersault, but the thought is not mutual. Mersault at this point is only physically attracted to her. Mersault is fond of her but again he’s only attracted to her body and looks.
The passage with the priest visiting Mersault is a very important one because the priest uses figurative language and tries to get Mersault to think his furture. "Every stone here sweats with suffering, I know that. I have never looked at them without a feeling of anguish. But deep in my heart I know that the most wretched among have seen a divine face emerge from their darkness. That is the face you are asked to see (118-119)”. The priest is not talk of an actual stone he is talking about the prisoners who suffer in the captivity. When the priest mentions a divine face to understand what face he is talking about you have to know the meaning of divine. The priest could be talking of God or Jesus or an angle because divine means heavenly, celestial.
Mersault’s response to this is, “ I had been looking at the stones in these walls for months. There wasn’t anything or anyone in the world I knew better. Maybe at one time, way back, I had searched for a face in them. But the face I was looking for was as bright the sun and the flame of desire—and it belonged to Marie. I had searched for it in vain. Now it was all over. And in any case, I’d never seen anything emerge from any sweating stones (119).” The priest is unsuccessful in trying to get his point across to Mersault, but you can’t blame Mersault, he’s not interested in religion. Mersault does think of Marie, a girl who he seemed to have only physical feeling for, as his divine face though.
The Priest says, “Do you really love this earth as much as that” says the priest “...He wanted to talk to me about God again, but I went up to him and made one last attempt to explain to him that I had only a little time left and I didn’t want to waste it on God (119).” and Mersault does not answer this question. Because he realizes the direction the priest is trying to get the conversation to go in Mersault starts to get annoyed and a little bit angered. Mersault’s life on earth is about to end and the priest is trying to get him to think of his future and he doesn’t want to. Mersault wants to live for the moment and he doesn’t want to spend the last with the priest.
Mersault flaw is not thinking of his future before he makes major decisions. If Mersault asked what will happen if I do this before he did it this would be different. Mersault neglects his future befriends someone he hardly knows, Raymond, and when he shots a man who he doesn’t for him. His judgment is the result of his neglect.

Journal Entry

"Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,And can say nothing; no, not for a king,
Upon whose property and most dear life A damn'd defeat was made."

I thought this was a very interesting quote especially when Hamlet says, “Like John-a-dreams.” It means a sleepy fellow. It's almost as if this guy, Hamlet, is obligated to do what his father, the murdered king, tells him to do. Hamlet is wake and well aware of the curruption within the kingdom and he has to do something. Mabye Hamlet would much rather be a sleepy fellow. I believe if Hamlet didn't know what he now knows he would do nothing about Claudius and Gertude but unfortunatley his father is boiling and burning in hell because Claudius and during the night he gets to watch his killer sleep with his wife.

Understanding Ourselves (On Demand Writing)

Without other people how could one truly understand themselves? Human beings do all have things in common. Understanding another person’s beliefs or morals can teach a person something they didn’t know about themselves. Other people can expose things to a person they didn’t see before; It can be a learning experience.

In the novel, “A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man” the main character, Stephen, goes through a time in his life where he has difficulty trying to understand him-self. Stephen is exposed to religion at a young age. He believes, “It would be beautiful to live if God so willed it, it would be beautiful to die if God so willed it.” After being exposed to sex at a young age and going through a stage of confusion he seems to settle. Stephen no longer relates God with beauty anymore and his beliefs no longer include God. Being exposed to sex by prostitutes taught him or caused him to come to a decision and leave his religion.

In another nover, “Madame Bovary” the main character, Madame Bovary, learns from her husband, Charles, that simplicity is not what she looks for in life. Being with Charles helped her understand that she enjoys the stimulating fast life which, Charles is unable to give her. Without Charles could she truly have understood what brings her happiness? No.

Understanding others is absolutely significant in understand ourselves.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Amiri Baraka

One of the most famous African American poets and activist is Amiri Baraka. Baraka was featured in the documentary of Charles Olson, Polis is This; in it he praised Olsen for his works of literature. Amiri is considered an inspiration to not only people of African American descent but also to people of all races. In the Poem I wrote I wanted to write about the same topic that Baraka was said to have continuously emphasized throughout his poems and essays, which is the advocating of black culture and political power. It seemed fitting that I should write a poem.

I researched Amiri Baraka for a long time before I chose to do the poem. Almost every website I visited had a similar fact about Baraka that continued to appear. His work with the African American communities is extensive. This is his work and it’s obvious that he is very passionate about it; his poems are important but they’re only a part of what he does. Amiri Baraka is a teacher, activist, poet and much more. To create my poem I focused more on his activism and his avocation for equality.


War Cry

When we step out,
It means war,
Held down or back,
Never mind,
Just to be held from something,
That’s all it takes,
Ticks me off,
What needs to be said,
Will be herd,
What needs to be acted out,
Will be seen,
The ears are friendlier than the eyes,
But in this case it takes two,
Hundreds maybe Thousands,
Edwin Starr would be proud,
War Without Weapons,
Make our mark not scar,
Good God Y’all,
For the Oppressed and Oppressors,
Victory is only a day away,
But for now,
My eyes have only begun to water.

James Joyce Explication

Perfection is not a word often used to characterize many people. Humans almost always have someone or something that they think is superior to them in a certain field or aspect in life. In the novel, A Portrait of The Artist As A Young Man, the author, James Joyce, suggests that Stephen, the main character’s, the women in Stephen’s life prevent him from free self-expression. All three passages deal with Stephen’s internal struggle with women. Suppression makes people think of the ways to get out of their shackles, not all routes are the same but they have the same purpose. Even though at the beginning Stephen seem to be oblivious to the fact of his suppression the act of committing such a impure sin opens his eyes to the truth. Joyce suggests this with his use of imagery of the roses/red and the symbols behind the woman in his life. The image of the roses parallel Stephen’s thought of women when the reader reads the passage it is almost as if the reader is tapping into Stephen’s unconscious. Stephen’s unconscious reveals his original true thoughts of women and what they are like in his mind. The author’s use of diction adds to the feeling that the reader is in-fact hearing Stephen’s unconscious thoughts.

When Stephen is in school in one of his classes the thought of roses is sparked. At this point in the novel Stephen has not yet committed his sin and is still a young and impressionable child. While not paying attention to the lesson Stephen’s mind starts to wander which is common with children he says,

Stephen tried his best but the sum was too hard and he felt confused. The little silk badge with the rose on it that pinned on the breast of his jacket began to flutter. He was no good at sums but he tried his best so that York might not lose. Father Arnall’s face looked very black but he was not in a wax: he was laughing. Then Jack Lawton cracked his fingers and Father Arnall looked at his copybook and said: -- Right. Bravo Lancaster! The red rose wins. Come on now, York! Forge ahead! Jack Lawton looked over from his side. The little silk badge with the red rose on it looked very rich because he had a blue sailor to on it. (25)

The class is playing a game with the psalms with the theme of English civil war, War of the Roses. There was symbolism behind the roses worn by the nobles during the War of the Roses. Yorks wore the white roses representing the Virgin Mary and purity; the Lancasters wore the red roses it was unknown why but in this case a sinful nature because whatever is against pureness and holiness is impurity and sin. Stephen is very young at this time and wearing the white rose is representing Stephen purity, he is only a child.

The outcome of the game is that the team Lancaster or the red roses win. Stephen goes on to say, “White roses and red roses: those were the most beautiful colours to think of. And the cards for first place second place and third place were beautiful colours too: pink and cream and lavender” The shortness of the sentence and how Stephen does not elaborate on this thought and the statement is straight to the point; it gives the reader a sense that it’s an unconscious, daydream thought. Joyce is foreshadowing when he uses the roses. Everyone knows that roses are beautiful and are that most famous flower but in the end it is just a plant that eventually will wither away and die in due time.

Stephen continues his thought saying, “Perhaps a wild rose might be like those colours and he remembered the song about the wild rose blossoms on the little green place. But you could not have a green rose. But perhaps somewhere in the world you could.” The green rose is said to symbolize fertility and Stephen is referring to himself when he mentions it. Stephen is not a woman and he can’t create another human being because of the simple fact that he is a man. Joyce uses a lot of foreshadowing and in the end the reader can see that Stephen is in fact the wild rose that is talked about in the passage. Going away form Ireland and his mother is what makes Stephen the wild rose blossom. In the end he has to spread his wings and leave behind the person he used to be and the life that was once his.

Stephen, in the second passage, has already committed his sin with the strumpets. The red rose has tainted him. He seeks forgiveness for his mistake. In this scene is now with the priests slowly spitting out his confession. Readers can see how religion has such a big effect on Stephen.
- How long is it since your last confession, my child?
- A long time, father.
- A month, my child?
- Longer, father.
- Three months, my child?
- Longer, father.
- Six months?
- Eight months, father…(133)
The sentences are so short and chopped up. It’s like the father is forcing the truth out of Stephen. Joyce then proceeds to add amazing imagery:
He did not know. His sins trickled from his lips, one by one, trickled in shameful drops from his soul festering and oozing like a sore, and squalid stream of vice. The last sins oozed forth, sluggish, filthy. There was no more to tell. He bowed his head, overcome. (133)
The imagery in this passage is so specific and detailed. It really gives the reader a feeling that Stephen, after all the stress he went through is slowly pouring out his unclean, nasty sins to the father. It’s got his conscious so hung up for the longest time. Questioning his image in God’s eyes.
The father orders Stephen to, “Pray to our mother Mary to help you.” He says, “ She will help you, my child. Pray to Our Blessed Lady when that sin comes into your mind.” (134) Stephen is ordered to ask repentance and pray to The Virgin Mary in order to keep these thoughts away from his mind. The tone of the passage was like the father was pleading with Stephen not to committee this kind of sin. The Virgin Mary is a symbol of pureness. She was a true follower of God and a sin free woman. She is perfection in human form. In the beginning of the novel Stephen sees his mother as a perfect and pure woman too.

Repenting and apologizing are very similar actions. People repent to God to once again be on “Good” term with him and return to the “light” after doing something that might offend God like a sin. Just like repenting people apologize to get back on good terms with a person who they have hurt or offended. It’s as if these women have power over Stephen. They tell him what to do and how to act. Of course the mothers will do that because of the simple fact that they are the mothers and The Virgin Mary is a symbol of what people of the Catholic faith should strive to be like and believers have the famous commandments that help them reach their goal of perfection. Stephen has these rules set for him to follow and he disobeyed and is now apologizing or repenting for this one huge sin. These rules keep him sheltered from the real world. After his apology “He knelt to say his penance, praying in a corner of the dark nave: and his prayers ascended to heaven from his purified heart like perfume streaming upwards from a heart of white roes.” This is the total opposite of what Stephen was feeling a little while ago. The imagery was so dark and gloomy and now it sound like Stephen is getting this heavy weight that he has carried for such a long time lifted off his shoulders and the purified white rose is once again pinned to his shirt.

The third passage comes from the end of the novel. The scene is when Stephen decides to leave his home country, Ireland and Cranly and him have their discussion. Cranly has a failed attempt at trying to get Stephen to comeback to the “light” and mostly. Stephen tone is sarcastic and Cranly gets annoyed. This passage
-Your mother must have gone through a good deal of suffering, he said then. Would you not try to save her from suffering more even if… or would you?
-If I could, Stephen said. That would cost me very little.
Stephen sounds like he doesn’t care. He loves his mother but is sounds like it’s time for him to break free. “Your mother brings you into the world, carries you first in her body. What do we know about what she feels? But whatever she feels, it, at least, must be real. It must be”, Stephen says. Stephen still loves his mother but it’s time to be free.

It is time for Stephen to move on. Stephen’s mother’s love is not the question. It’s the motherly instinct that makes Stephen flee from Ireland. The rose may wither but the life it contains will always go on with the seeds that it plants.


Korin’s Okiya

Making my debut as a Geisha had passed leaving the okyia without permission was a luxury to me. Even though I did not need my older sister any more I felt that it was very important that I continue to visit Mameha just the same. I owed her a great deal, without her beat with mother I would still be a maid forever in debt to mother. Yoko had received a call. Mameha had asked for my presence, we would be attending a party for the Iwamura Electric Company. It was such short notice; I was supposed to stop by her house first then we would arrive together as usual. I could feel my heart beat faster as I thought about my possible conversation with the Chairman. The Chairman had never been far from my mind.

As I walked to Mameha’s apartment I could smell a faint smell of smoke in the air. I walked so fast forgetting all the Mameha had taught me about proper way a geisha should walk. By the time I reached Mameha’s apartment I had forgotten about the faint smoke smell. As usual my kimono had been laid out for me; it was a vibrant yellow lined in a jade green with a design of big light pink blossom with their brown stems. The blossoms were tilted to the side and wind the color of cream was right behind them. I wasn’t a furious looking wind but a breezy looking wind, not to harsh not to light. This gave the blossoms a sort of movement, which I thought was very impressive and a good choice for a last minuet decision. When finally dress Mameha had already been waiting for me outside. She took a quick moment to gaze at the kimono saying, “Oh Sayuri-san you should have thanked the maids.” When we reached the teahouse we would be entertaining at I noticed that everyone was outside and smoke had totally engulfed the streets. The party was cancelled but the mistress paid us for our trouble. For a moment we both though it was the teahouse on fire but in fact it was the okiya two houses behind the teahouse.

I walked home the evening was dark and the streets were practically bare or at least the barest I have seen in Gion. I entered my okiya and walked to my room to sleep but soon after I had stepped foot in my room the doorbell was rung. I believe one of the maids answered the door I could hear a deep voice talking to the maid, a familiar deep voice. I took a peek to see who it was but to me it looked like a regular peasant but dirtier than usual. As I walked back into the room I could here the maid hurrying upstairs knocking on Hatsumomo’s room door. Moments later Hatsumomo came down to meet the stranger. The more the peasant talked the more familiar the voice sounded. Curiosity forced me to emerge from my room I took another peak down the stairs. The peasant was now inside the okiya facing Hatsumomo. The head suddenly turned to me and the face was all too familiar. Korin was standing there before me; it was the same Korin that played along with Hatsumomo in my torture, the same Korin that watched me as I was forced to ruin Mameha beautiful kimono.

Korin’s okiya was the one that was burning that evening. I should have felt some sort of redemption but I couldn’t. I felt more sympathy than anything else. Korin turned her face to Hatsumomo, her dear friend, to begin her pleading for help. Hatsumomo’s face didn’t change, there was no sympathy in her eyes, and it was like her friend had not existed any more. Hatsumomo said, “Korin! Their nothing I could do for you now, I’m so sorry for your loss.” With that she turned her back and walked away with the same still expression. Korin left the second Hatsumomo was out of sight. The last I heard she had found a factory job in Tokyo and that was the last day I seen Korin.

"Doo Doo Braids" Essay

“For the hair that’s smooth, silky, and all out lovely. It’s time.” These words were taken from a popular American magazine promoting a hair care system. Last year I would turn the pages of the magazine without even noticing that advertisement, but the company’s slogan has filled me with a deep sadness since I have become more insightful about my culture.

The beauty and texture of someone’s hair is a symbol that holds profound meaning in American culture. Growing up in a society that defines beauty through mainstream media, I experienced an inner conflict with my naturally kinky, nappy, curly hair. My natural characteristics did not fit with society’s concept of beauty.

Unfortunately, to resolve the conflict, I gave into using harsh man made chemicals on my hair.
Since grade school, I was embarrassed about my hair. There were few things that
I could do with it; the Afro, cornrows, and the puff. These were not the ideal “beautiful.”
I did not resemble the ideal American beauty. I became ashamed of myself wishing to look like the powerful women portrayed in the media. With so much need, I began asking my mother for a hair-relaxer to straighten my hair like all the other girls around me. I was content when the day finally came thinking that I would raise my self-confidence; I was wrong.

When my hair became straightened and smooth my classmates both Caucasian and African American smiled at its beauty. This transformation marked a rite of passage into the adult world newly straightened hair conveyed a standard of beauty that was socially acceptable. However, maintaining my hair was burdensome. It was not the same as maintaining the natural hair that I had all throughout my life, the hair I was born with.

The satisfaction of keeping up with my high maintenance hair was no longer fulfilling because it kept me away from enjoying the simple pleasures of life. At the end of my junior year I was exploring who I was and I read Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. The main character, Pecola Breedlove, is an African American child who longs for blue eyes because she is ashamed of her African features. I was angry that society had conditioned her to feel shameful about her culture. In retrospect, I began to realize that I was following Pecola’s path in my reluctance to embrace the black culture. I decided to get rid of the relaxer that I had used in my hair and began growing my natural hair out.

Today the head that I hold high represents the pride in my African culture and my self-confidence a young Haitian American woman. An advertisement no longer defines my perception of beauty or me.