Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Video Critique on Hamlet, Act III, Scence I

The first version of Hamlet’s soliloquy best interprets his soliloquy in Act 3, Scene1. The film maker Laurence Olivier successfully delivers Hamlet’s emotions and his feelings deep in heart. He does this through the setting, actor’s facial expression, actions and his tone when speaking the lines in Hamlet’s soliloquy.

In the video, the camera first showed us to the waves of the sea. The waves were huge and turbulent. They represent Hamlet’s agitated feelings and great agonies. The camera then slowly moved downward to show the actor’s head and shoulders. It focused on the actor’s head by moving itself toward the center of his head. The screen was finally blackened once the camera was almost touching the actor’s head. The focusing on the actor’s head reveals the significance of Hamlet’ thinking and life, because the head is usually the body part that’s used to think and to keep the other body parts functioning. The camera soon showed the waves again, and this time it combines the waves and the actor’s eyes to create a picture that has the waves to be the actor’s forehead. Olivier refers to the madness of Hamlet’s mind when he replaces actor’s forehead with the waves. Also, at this very moment, the actor starts the first line of Hamlet’s soliloquy: “To be or not to be” (line 55) which is a question that asks “Is it better to be alive or dead?”

Later, the camera showed us the actor’s entire body with the pose that he was sitting on the rock and looking down to the sea. The actor is sitting on the rock that is above the sea because Hamlet wanted to fight “against a sea of troubles” (line 58) Soon the actor starts performing again Hamlet’s soliloquy as he tilts his head up. When the actor reached to the words “end them” (line 59) following “And by opposing” (line 59), he took out his dagger and held it toward himself. This is symbolizing Hamlet’s impulse to simply kill himself. Because Hamlet does not want to “suffer” (line 56) or “submit [himself] to” the “outrageous fortune” (line 57), he confirms himself that he has to fight against “troubles” (line 58) by putting him “to die, to sleep” (line 59) The actor then closed his eyes and listened to the background voice speaking the lines “To die, to sleep - no more, and by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache..‘tis a consummation devoutly to be wish’d.” (Line 59-63) Hamlet wished to just die here. However, Hamlet abandoned his thoughts on suicide when he says “perchance to dream” (line 64), he reminds himself that he has a dream as to revolt the power of the king. The actor suddenly put down his dagger and looked scared at the thought of dying. He then switched his facial expression of being scared to being disappointed, since Hamlet knows that dying might not grant dreams and one wouldn’t know what would happen to his dream. Hamlet despairingly says “ay, there's the rub” (line 64) or “obstacle”, because “in that sleep of death [we don’t know] what dreams may come.” (Line 65) Hamlet concludes that this “obstacle” or dream is what “makes calamity of so long life” (line68) or makes us to live so long to suffer.

Hamlet then explains the benefits of death that no one would have to bear with the sufferings in earth such as the “whips and the scorns” (line 59) anymore. No matter if it is “the oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely [or rudeness], the pangs of despis’d love…” no one would any longer bother himself since he can just simply take out his “bodkin” (line 75) or dagger to end his life. At this moment, the actor took out his dagger and slowly pointed it toward himself, because Hamlet has the intention to kill himself again. However Hamlet gives up his intention of suicide when he thinks of “the dread after death” (line 77), and the actor turned the direction of his dagger and sat up when he begins the line: “who would fardels bear to grunt… but that the dread of something after death”. Hamlet fears to die because he can not face the torture in hell or imagine himself suffering the same pain he father suffers. He believes that this is the cause for so many of us, including him to choose to “grunt” and “sweat” (line 76) through the tiresome lives. The actor then looked serious when he was looking at the camera to speak the line “The undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns”. (Line 79- 81) Hamlet is referring “The undiscovered country” to hell. He seriously emphasizes the mystery and horror of hell when he addresses it as a country with “no traveler returns”. The fear of hell demeans Hamlet’s courage to die; Hamlet has to keep enduring “the ills” (line 81) or burdens in life, than to “fly to others” (line 81) or the burdens after death that “[he] know not of?” (Line 81) Hamlet feels frustrated that he cannot die yet. And at this moment, the actor then turned his head to his left to be looked depressed. He also dropped his dagger into the sea, which is an action to prevent suicide. Olivier brilliantly created this imagery because Hamlet has no more intention to kill himself in this soliloquy.

Toward the end, the actor grievingly delivers the lines “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all” (line 82). He turned his body to his right to not show his entire face as he says the word “coward”. The actor is expressing Hamlet’s fear to be seen through his cowardice. In fact, Hamlet is frustrated at himself for not bravely killing himself. He is unsatisfied that he has neither ended his life nor accomplished anything. Nevertheless, “conscience” (line 82) is what Hamlet blames on for his cowardice. It means the “reflection” or knowledge of what would happen; Hamlet knows about the terrifying hell from his father’s ghost. He also blames on the “thoughts” (line 84) or thinking of hell to be weakening his “native hue” (line 83) or “natural (ruddy)” bravery. Hamlet concludes that knowing and thinking about hell lessened his courage. By this time, the actor walked over to the brink and delivered the line “with this regard their currents turn awry” (line 86) which means that people courage would diminish. Olivier creates an imagery when the actor turned away from his left exactly at the words “turn awry” and another imagery when the actor walked toward the background as he delivers the last line “and lose the name of action”. (Line 87) According to the last line, Hamlet is “losing” his passion or ability to pursue actions; he cannot accomplish his dream as to get revenge and at the same time end his life. Thus, the actor’s walking to the background cooperates with the meaning of the last line.

Overall, Olivier’s version best interprets Hamlet’s soliloquy from Act 3, scene 1. Olivier cleverly matched his setting and the actor’s tone, facial expressions and actions with Hamlet’s mood in his soliloquy. He deserves to have his version standing out to be distinguished.

Notebook Entry on Hamlet, Act III, Scence II

Character: Hamlet

“Tis now the very witching time of night, when church yards yawn and hell itself [breathes] out contagion to this world. Now could I drink not blood, and do such [bitter business as the] day…Soft, now to see my mother…let not never the soul of Nero enter this firm bossom…I will speak [daggers] to her but use none” (367-377)

Through setting up the play, Hamlet discovers Claudius to be guilty of his father, King Hamlet’s murder. He declares that “now” is the “witching time” because he is facing the truth and is confirming the need to seek revenge. Hamlet also sees “now” as the time for the “churchyards to yawn” and “hell to breathe”. The personification for “Churchyards” to “yawn” is creating a fearful imagery, because the “churchyards” are actually graveyards. It gives a feeling that the graves are getting bored and now they want new companions, the dead. The personification for “hell” to “breathe out to the world” also serves as a fearful imagery. It creates a picture that death is calling for more victims, and the unrest spirits are shouting their pains. In additional both imageries foreshadow the disaster of Denmark after all the brutal fightings at the end.

Within these lines, Hamlet also asserts his bravery and cruelty. He claims that he is now able to “drink hot blood” and to “do bitter business” which would make other people “quake” or tremble. Hamlet has clearly escalated his hatred toward Claudius. He aspires to cruelly kill Claudius and then drink his hot blood. Nonetheless, Hamlet commits to a promise that he won’t hurt his mother; he will only “speak dagger” to her but will “use none” of them. This foreshadows Hamlet’s success in following his father’s order as not to hurt his mother.

Notebook Entry on Hamlet, Act I, Scence IV

Discovery V
The gears may somehow represent fate .

Strand: Fortune and Fate

“So, oft it chances in particular men, that for some vicious mole of nature in them, as in their birth, where in they are not guilty (since nature cannot choose his origin)” (23-25)

Hamlet realizes the existence of fate. He concludes that fate might ruin Claudius, because of his defect of drinking. He suggests that drinking would “break down [Claudius’] pales and forts of reason”, or ruin his reputation no matter how many achieves Claudius has. In fact, Claudius’ defect of drinking symbolizes his sin of murdering his brother, King Hamlet. His ambition to become king and intention to kill King Hamlet might not have been his initiatives or have originated from him, because he “cannot choose his origin”. (25) Fate is the reason for everything, and Claudius does not have the power to compete against fate to choose his “origin” or characterization. Claudius can only depend upon fate and accept whatever fate gives him. Therefore, Claudius didn’t choose to be evil at the very first place.

Fate also destroys Claudius by giving him defects. Among the defects of Claudius, such as to kill King Hamlet, to seduce Queen Gertrude, and to ruin their prince Hamlet, even one of the defects is sufficient to trap Claudius, because it “shall in the general take [him] to corruption.” (34) Hamlet not only predicts but also ensures himself of Claudius’ outcome. He believes in fate that it would compensate Claudius whatever he deserves.

Telling Unconsciously (James Joyce Critical Essay, I did my best on my first long composition><)

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the author James Joyce uses symbols, unique structures of sentencing and the character Stephen’s unconscious thinking to reveal Stephen’s hidden feelings. Joyce ultimately achieves his goal that he depicts Stephen’s inner conflicts and feelings as Stephen grows.

James uses symbols to imply hidden facts and the unique of sentencing to emphasize the importance of the meaning he created. He allows Stephen to unconsciously expressing his true but unacceptable feelings. Stephen usually alienates himself from others and thinks to himself. In his thoughts, he reveals that he has secretly liked his mother, fears and dislikes his father, and forgoes his religion for wantonness.

Stephen reveals his hidden love for his mother by separating himself from the others in the playground of his college to think of his mother. He thinks that his mother is a “Nice mother!” (Joyce, 22) and recalls her kissing him before she sends him to school, “She had put up her veil double to her nose to kiss him [Stephen]” (Joyce, 22). The put up of the veil actually symbolizes the breakage of the barrier between Stephen and his mother, and the kiss symbolizes the love from his mother. At this moment, Stephen gets closer to his mother and enjoys the love from his mother. Stephen also recalls that his mother was going to cry and that her nose and eyes were “red” (Joyce, 22). The color “red” symbolizes passion, and it implies Stephen’s passion for his mother.

Stephen later recalls his mother again and alone. It was after he was beaten by Wells that he thinks “it would be nice to be at home. Mother was sitting at the fire…She had her feet on the fender and her jewelly slippers were so hot and they had such a lovely warm smell!” (Joyce, 23-24). Stephen is unconscious revealing his secret love for his mother. He cannot repress his love for her, and is now missing her. He wants to be comforted by her and to enjoy her adorable smell. The word “fire” and “hot” actually symbolizes mother’s love, which Stephen now aspires. He is also fascinated by his mother feet and jewelly slippers. Stephen indeed unconsciously finds his mother to be attractive because of her feet and jewelly slippers. According to Freud, “a woman must bear a phallic symbol in order to be attractive”(Freud, 282) to her sons. In a boy’s growth, since he would be shocked when he discovers that his mother does not have a penis, thus he would find other unique things on his mother to replace the penis. Also, the boy would hope to castrate himself, because he finds his mother is different than him. Stephen reveals that he follows fetishism while liking his mother. Joyce, using Stephen’s thoughts and symbols to point out the fact that Stephen is obsessed with his mother.
Stephen’s obsession for his mother is later challenged by Wells’ teasing. Wells asks Stephen if he “kisses his mother every night before he goes to bed” (Joyce, 26). Stephen answers both positively and negatively, but “still Wells laughed” (Joyce 27). Stephen is confused by his laugh and wonders about that right answer. He has been unconscious that developing feelings for his mother is immoral but is now beginning to realize its immorality. Thus, he “did not dare to raise his eyes to Wells’ face” (Joyce, 27). Stephen is feeling shame, and unconsciously puts his shame on his eye lid. According to Wasson, eyes have phallic value through out the novel, generally being either aggressive and piercing or defeated and downcast. Here, Stephen is being “defeated”. Joyce uses Wells to symbolize Stephen’s father. Confronting to Wells that he kisses mother, Stephen is actually admitting to his father about his sin. In another words, he is admitting to his father that he wants to possess his wife and replace him. Wells’ laugh at Stephen’s stupidity is then representing the contempt and despising his father has toward Stephen. Stephen’s father would not be threatened that his wife would betray him and likes Stephen the way he likes her. The way Wells asks Stephen is “do you kiss your mother” (Joyce, 26) not “does your mother kiss you”. Stephen’s father is confident that his wife would not commit immorality as Stephen did. He simply despises Stephen at his silliness. When Stephen doesn’t know how to answer Wells’ question, “but Wells know how to answer for he was in third of grammar” (Joyce, 27), it infers that older people, such as Stephen’s father would defeat Stephen.

Joyce also uses the beating from Wells to symbolize the punishment Stephen’s father inflicts for him. Wells “shouldered him [Stephen] into the square ditch” (Joyce, 27) because “he would not swop his little snuffbox for Wells’ seasoned hacking chestnut” (Joyce, 27). The “little snuffbox” symbolizes Stephen’s mother. Stephen attempts to possess his mother all the way that his father cannot touch her. However, the more powerful one, his father, ultimately wins. Since Stephen’s father would “pull out his [Stephen’s] eyes” (Joyce, 21) if he does not give in or “apologise” (Joyce, 21). Joyce puts the song that contains these two verses in the beginning of the book. He emphasizes the importance of that the myth of Oedipus in the story that it is the central focus. As the myth of Oedipus, Stephen unrestrainedly likes his mother, betrays his father, but at the end spiritually blinds himself when he emasculates himself. Stephen emasculates himself when he confesses to God.

In Stephen’s unconscious mind, he fears his father as he fears God. Stephen feels “helpless”, “listless” and his soul “plunging ever deeper in its dull fear” (Joyce, 107) after hearing Father Arnall’s lecturing about God. Stephen is greatly intimidated by God. He scares that God would throw him into hell because the time “to sin and to enjoy” (Joyce, 108) is over and now it’s “God’s turn: He was not to be hoodwinked or deceived” (Joyce, 108). Stephen indeed unconsciously fears that it’s his father’s turn to override. He’s afraid that he may punish him by castrating him or spiritually “pulling out his eyes” (Joyce 21), because “the loss of eyes is an image of castration” (Brivic, 281). According the Freud’s dream theory, Stephen knows that he is impure, sinned and his father who’s similar to God is “too great and stern” (Joyce, 111) and his mother who’s similar to Virgin Mary is “too pure and holy” (Joyce, 111).

When Stephen realizes that there is “No help!” (Joyce, 108) that his body and soul “was dying” (Joyce, 108), he knows that he has to confess. He first prays in heart as “O my God!/O my God!/I am heartily sorry/I am heartily sorry/...and I detests my sins/ and I detests my sins/…of all my love/of all my love /and I firmly purpose/and I firmly purpose/…to amend my life/to amend my life (Joyce, 126). Joyce repeated each sentence of Stephen’s prayer. He successfully deepens Stephen’s feeling of guilt and wishing of forgiveness. He also allows Stephen to beg for forgiveness the first time in the book. Stephen’s “heartily sorry” and devoting “all my [his] love” signifies his guilt for having offended God- his father. His “firmly purpose” and begging for “amend” in life shows his acknowledgement on his defeat.
Later, Stephen dreams of the “six creatures that were moving in the field” (Joyce, 128). They are “goatish” and “malice” looking, who circle “closer and closer to enclose and enclose” (Joyce 128) Stephen. Stephen immediately “flung the blankets from him to madly free his face”, (Joyce, 128) and walks to the window for air. According to Freud’s dream theory, Stephen’s dream reflects what he fears – the hell. In order to overcome his fear, Stephen has to wake himself and “free his face”- he has to confess. Joyce again uses Stephen’s fear toward God and hell to point out what Stephen ultimately fears - the paternal figure.

Stephen cannot endure anymore. He needs to confess. He insanely runs in the street looking for the direction to church. When he finally arrives in the church, he was “shameful” (Joyce, 132) and “he face was burning” (Joyce, 132). Then, the priest questions him: “How long is it since your last confession, my child” (Joyce, 133), the addressing to Stephen as “my child” reveals that the priest symbolizes Stephen’s father. Then Stephen answered “A long time ago, father” (Joyce, 133), “father” reveal that Stephen is confronting to his father. And “There was no help” (Joyce, 133) for Stephen to hide his wrong doings from his father, he finally murmured that “I…committed sins of impurity, father” (Joyce, 133), “impurity” implies Stephen’s sin as to like his mother. Stephen now has admitted the “terrible sin” (Joyce, 133), and “there was no more to tell” (Joyce, 133). Stephen is “overcome” (Joyce, 133). He “knelt” (Joyce, 134) before God to “say his penance” (Joyce, 134). Stephen destroys his image when he has to kneel to confess. Joyce points out that Stephen is exposed as shameful when he confesses or spiritually apologizes to his father, because the “submissive attitude he [Stephen] adopts toward God the father is felt as a reduction to femininity” (Brivic, 287).

Finally, Stephen was granted “another life!” (Joyce, 134). It is the life that's “holy and Happy” (Joyce, 133), “of grace and virtue” (Joyce, 134). Stephen is now relieved, he sees everything beautiful and simple, for instance the “white pudding and eggs and sausages and cups of tea” (Joyce, 134). Stephen also notices the “white flowers” (Joyce, 135) that Stephen describes as “clear and silent as his own soul” (Joyce, 135). Stephen’s new ways of seeing things and looking at his life unconsciously tells that he is excited to live a religious life, because he relies on God, the paternal symbol. Joyce, using symbols and Stephen unconscious telling suggests that Stephen relives because he relies on the paternal figure.
As Stephen grows up, his piety for his religion starts to fade. He begins to pull himself back from God. When the priest in college recommended him to go to a priest school, Stephen refused the offer despite the fact that he might receive respects in a priest school. Stephen realizes that the life of being a priest is unworthy and gloomy, “it was a grave and ordered and passionless life that awaited him” (Joyce 146). The word “grave”, “ordered” and “passionless” are the antonyms of “passionate” and “wantonness” which are the words to describe Stephen when he violates the rule to love his mother. Stephen finally realizes that being a pious and pure is “hard, too hard” (Joyce, 148) and he rather gives his religion up. Stephen even wonders “how he would pass the first night in the novitiate” (Joyce, 146) and how “dismayed” (Joyce, 146) he would become in the priest school. He knows that “his soul would not be there” (Joyce, 146) in the priest school to be a priest. He knows that “the exhortation he had listened to had already fallen into an idle formal tale” (Joyce, 146). Stephen is also depressed that he has wasted all those time to restrain himself from wantonness. He questions that “what, then, had become of that deep rooted shyness of his which had made him loth to eat or drink?” (Joyce, 147) and complains that he has “conceived himself as a being apart in every order” (Joyce 147).

Stephen’s wish for freedom is tempting. He also knows that “he would fall” (Joyce 148), which actually implies that Stephen is going back for earthy materials. While Stephen unconsciously thinks about forgoing his religion, Joyce points out that Stephen no longer relies on or fears God, meaning that he no loner fears his father, the paternal figure. Stephen now breaks morality and commits to pursue a reckless life.

Life without orders is now without “shame or wantonness” (Joyce, 155) to Stephen. As Stephen stares at the girl by the sea, he does not feel shame at all. In fact, the girl symbolizes sin and his mother, her “skirts were kilted boldly about her waist” (Joyce, 155), “boldly” represents the girl’s shame and Stephen’s guts to sin. However, Stephen uses her to “project his new freedom of seeing reality with out idealizing or condemning it” (Brivic, 293). Stephen, in another word, is using the girl to lead himself to the earthy world again, but without hesitation or fear. Stephen feels enlightened. He suddenly realizes that life should be enjoying and creative. At this realization, Stephen cried his soul “Heavenly God,” in “an outburst of profane joy” (Joyce, 155). The word “heavenly” and “profane” indicates Stephen is elated to be free. Stephen now wishes “to live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life” (Joyce, 156). He understands now the “to err” and to “to fall” are the necessary steps in life in order to succeed. He knows that “any position he takes is a stage in a process of reversals” (Brivic, 296). Stephen’s life is a cycle repeating the actions, “live, err, fall and triumph”. And finally, Stephen is existing at “triumph”. He even imagines that the angel is appearing to him “in an instant of ecstasy the gates of all the ways of error and glory.” (Joyce, 156) Stephen is ensuring himself that going for a creative and artistic life is worthy. And he wishes his “triumph” stage would continue “on and on and on and on!” (Joyce, 156)

In A Portrait of the Artist of a Young Man, the author James Joyce successfully points out to the readers the main character Stephen Dedalus’s inner conflicts and feelings as he grows up. Joyce used three major techniques in pointing out the interesting facts: symbols, the unique structuring of sentences and Stephen’s unconsciously telling of how he feels.

Symbols such as the mother’s feet, jewelly slippers, the veil, the kiss and the snuffbox reveal Stephen’s love for his mother. Symbols such as God, the six creatures, Wells, Father Arnall, and the priest who helped Stephen to confess reveal Stephen’s fear toward his father. And the symbol such as the girl at the sea reveals Stephen’s betrayal of his religion and longing for creativity.

Stephen’s unconscious thinking about his mother kissing him and being with her at home shows that fact that Stephen wants her. His unconscious thinking about suffering in hell when listening to Father Arnall’s sermon, and the dream of the six ghostlike creatures signify Stephen’s fear of his father, the paternal figure. Also, Stephen’s unconscious imagination of being afflicted with boredom in the priest school and the realization when seeing the girl by the sea shows us that Stephen yearns for a better and artistic life.

At last, James Joyce’s technique of repeating the sentences that he allows Stephen to repeat his every of his prayer twice escalates the importance of the meanings he created.

James Joyce’s way of hiding many difficult but interesting meanings behind the text is incomparable that it lures many reader to reread his books to find again old perspective of interpret and discover the new perspective of analyzing!

Futile Rebellion (Analytical Essay on the Plum Plum Pickers)

In the passage The Plum Plum Pickers, the author Raymond Barrio suggests that immorality drives the lives of human beings. He creates the character Manual and Morales to symbolize the human beings in the 19th century. Manual, whose name if combined with his position, the word “worker”, would become the word “manual worker”. Morales, whose name originates the sounds of the word “moral” and “less”, giving the meaning of immorality. Barrio attempts to express his feeling that the world is becoming more ruthless, people are either destroyed or to be the ones to destroy. In the story, Manual is one of those who are being destroyed. He is asked to work all day long with almost no time to eat and relax. And Morales takes the advantage of him and other workers that he tries to request more money deducted from their earnings. Manual, feeling his anger, speaks up against Morales. Manual’s rebel is apparently a success, since others workers respect him and Morales gives up his request. However, Manual life is still controlled by Morales and the employers. Manual has no authorities. Therefore he has not “a way out”. Through the use of allusion, Barrio expresses his idea of immorality in humanity.

In the beginning of the story, Manual is described to be “trapped” in an “endless maze” of trees. Barrio uses the word “trapped” in order to emphasize the feeling of unfortunate, and the words “maze” to emphasize Manual’s “trapped” situation, aggravating Manual’s difficulties. Barrio points out that Manual can never get out of his difficulties. Also, the word “endless” means forever but contains no hopes for Manual’s case. Barrio points out that Manual can never terminate his agitation, which signifies that people who are destroyed can never end their sufferings.

Barrio uses a unique sentence structure, the one word sentence. He uses them to describe the previous sentences. The sentence “Locked.” following “There had to be a way out”, giving a sense that Manual’s poor working condition will never be solved. The sentence “Animal.” following “There had to be a respite” symbolizes that Manual works unceasingly that he even looks like an animal and is never treated better. The sentence “Savage.” following “Though he was perspiring heavily, his shirt is powder dry.” depicts the evil attitudes of Manual’s employers. Because no matter how hard Manual works, his shirt is still “powder dry”, alluding that the employers are still not satisfied. The word “Wreck” following “hot dry air is sucking every drop of living moisture from his[Manual] brute body” concludes that Manual is mistreated by the employers. The last sentences of the first paragraph “pleased to meetcha.” should be Manual’s saying to the employers. It alludes Manual and other worker’s manner facing the employers that they have to be polite and appear to be inferior. Barrio uses Manual’s weak position in the society to signify the mistreatments the destroyed ones receive.

Also Barrio uses one word sentence to describe the eating and relaxing time for Manual, “Lunch.”, “Midafternoon”, and “Ended!” Despite Manual’s hard working all day, his time for eating and relaxed is ironically short. He might even feel that time of working has never stopped. Barrios’ use the one word sentence tells the disappointment of being the destroyed people, since the time for enjoying and relaxing is always so short.

Starting from the second paragraph, Barrio uses long and rhythmic sentences to describe the situation rather using the one word sentence, “The endlessly unending piling up of bucket upon box upon crate upon stack upon rack upon mound upon mountain.” The word “upon” gives a sense that the amount of work for the workers is excessive, that the job is “endless” Even though Barrio uses a long sentence now, the feeling of “trapped” and “wreck” the one words sentences give still exist. His perfect use of rhythmic long sentence provides an agitated feeling, which signifies the long and boring life of the destroyed ones.

As the story processes, Manual recalls his time spent with Lupe, he was thinking of “sandy dreams”, “cool nights” , “cold drinks” and “guitar music”. All of these are in Manual’s dream now that he dreams to be freed one day to enjoy his life. However, he is actually doing a job that is “endless”. His employers will never cease to take advantage of him or relieve him. And not long, “tiredness “drained” his ability to dream. Manual becomes tired to think of the wonderful dreams in his mind. Manual’s physical and mental spirit died from an excessive amount of work, as well as the destroyed ones would suffer from work.

Manual and the other workers are later summoned in front of Morales after work. While listening to Morales’ request for more money off from each bucket, Manual abruptly spoke up against the Morales. In the middle of Manual and Morales’ conflict, Manual kicks over his bucket that the plums “rolled away in all directions around everyone’s feet.” Barrio describes the motions of the plum moving around “everyone’s feet” in order to trigger the motivations of other workers. Manual’s rebellious kicking leads others to go over to their buckets, and “took an ominous position over them”, scaring Morales that they would do the same as Manual. However, Morales and the employers would not care much. Especially the employers, they “wouldn’t give a damn…wouldn’t give a single damn” even though they heard Manual’s brave act. Manual will never be free from his work, no matter how hard he rebels. His life is controlled by Morales and the employers – the immorals. Barrio uses Manual’s final result for rebellion to emphasize the out come of human beings are determined by the immoral ones.

In The Plum Plum Pickers, Manual hated unceasingly picking the plums; he rebels for the deduction of earnings, and earns respects from others. His life, however is controlled by the immorals, Morales and the employers. Barrio uses Manual’s case to communicate the idea that immorality drives humans’ life. It determines their starting point; their process in life which may or may not contains rebellions, and their outcome of life.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Analysis on Hamlet's Soliloquy in Act 2, Scene 2

Soliloquy 530-585

In Hamlet’s soliloquy in Act 2, Scene 2, Shakespeare successfully creates a dual character for Hamlet. He does this by pointing out through diction both Hamlet’s passion and fear for revenge and Hamlet’s love and doubt toward his father’s ghost.

Hamlet speaks his soliloquy after watching the player’s performance. Hamlet is amazed at the player’s ability to develop emotions for “Hecuba”. Hamlet wonders how he can do it without experiencing the story. He then imagines what the player would do if the player “had the motive and [the cue] for passion that I [he] has”. (541-542) Hamlet believes that the player would bring the “stage with [to] tears” (542), horrify “the general ear” (543) or the ears of the audience with speech, threaten the “guilty” (544) ones, “confound the ignorant” (545) ones and stun every “eyes and ears”. (546) Hamlet assumes these actions from the player because these actually are the actions that Hamlet would employ in order to express his horror feelings. Hamlet here only imagines since he restrains himself from disclosing anything yet.

Hamlet then feels that he is a “dull and muddy-mettled rascal” (547) who couldn’t do anything for his father to revenge. The word “muddy-mettled” means dull spirited, it points out that Hamlet is frustrated at himself. Hamlet thirsts for revenge to bravely kill his father’s murder, King Claudius. However all he can do is to “mope/ like John-a-dreams”. (548) He puts himself at the peak of frustration, since he has not seen anything accomplished yet. He starts to doubt his ability for revenge. He becomes fearful of dangers and death. And he starts calling himself “a rogue” (531), “a peasant slave” (530), and “an ass” (562), while he also questions himself if he’s a “coward” (551).

Hamlet then reproaches King Claudius by calling him a “bloody, bawdy villain!” (560) He accounts King Claudius’ sins as “remorselessly” (561) murdered his father without letting him to repent; “treacherously” (561) stole his father’s crown; “lecherously” seduce his father’s queen and “kindlessly” (561) destroyed the futures of Hamlet and Denmark. Hamlet escalates his hatred toward this malicious King. He eagerly looks forward to the day of his revenge. Hamlet also reminds himself of his identity as the “son of a dear [father] murthered” (563) that he has to seek “my [his] revenge by heaven and hell”. (563-564) Hamlet becomes aware that he needs to get his “brains” (569) “About” (569) or to work. He switches his eager heart for revenge to the calmly scheming. He is planning to have the “players play something like the murther of my [his] father before my [his] uncle” that he can “observe his [his uncle’s] looks” to judge his guilt. Hamlet concludes to himself that “[he] know my [his course]” (578) of what to do if his uncle “do blench” (576) or flinch.

However, Hamlet is indeed losing his faith. He doubts the validity of the ghost being his father. He depends on King Claudius’ reaction to the play to verify the words from the ghost. And he becomes a “coward” (551) who fears death, since he knows his death might come if overflow the king. Hamlet even blasphemes his father ghost by saying that it might be “a [dev’l]” who “hath power T’ assume a pleasing shape” (579-580), or lure him to sin, which would “abuse me [him] and damn me [him]”. (583) Hamlet becomes unsure of the story told by the ghost. His faith starts to dim. Nevertheless, he continues to execute his plan to detect King Claudius’ guilt as he says “I’ll catch the conscience of the king” (585).

In conclusion, Shakespeare obviously shows the hardest situation and greatest agonies for Hamlet, but intentionally hides the dual character of Hamlet in the text. Shakespeare brilliantly creates this dual character that Hamlet is eager but fearful to revenge, and respectful to the ghost to but suspects its intention. Also, this dual character he created is fascinating but is ironic because through Hamlet he delivers the idea that having wants or relations in two extreme directions is what usually people in the society do.

Illusion of Happiness (One of my Creative Blog Assignments)

Here I am at 5:27 a.m., just got up to fix my photo frame
The air is thick in my house, so I dress up and get
on the way to Forest streetscape
I drink some coffee which can keep me awake
and keep looking behind to have awareness and to bring
In. The street look for the vulnerable, or me, in this
gloomy night. It’s
still scarily dark. The street light shines on me. I walk
through it, them, as
my coffee is sipped on with a pair of cold hands, now
5 years almost ago, and the man judging me
asked unreasonable questions, & telling.
Who would have thought that I’d be here, nothing
interesting, nothing meaningful, everything
is boring to an extreme, & my life is just a dream.
Up in the heaven, there might be happiness waiting for me,
more than ever before?
Not that Mr. Charitable, smiling at me in his winter coat
eyes penetrating the sadness I’ve hidden from my father
& all others at the bottom of my heart, sealed in me. Not that
neighbor girl, eighteen, who was
going to have to go, careening into the ruthless future so,
To fool, & to get crushed at the moment she cannot imagine
so to go. Not that poor father who from very first meeting
I would never & never forsake or let him fall
into the deepest and evilest abyss & so demanded
To keep alive & who will never leave me, not for money, not
nor even for the purpose of life, which is
Only our human lot & means vacancy. No, not a chance.
There’s a song “Wonders of Heaven”, but no, I won’t
do that
I am pessimistic, When will I die? I will never die, I will live
To be older than you, & I will never go away, & you will never
escape from me
who am always & only a walking dead, despite this wonders,
Who lives only to occupy the space of existence.
I’m only a blind person, & I am to blind others as requested,
& I didn’t mean to harm you
you asked for it
I came into your life to enlighten your thinking & I did & you
are not satisfied
But this is an end.
Tired & disturbed, this is my fate, nevertheless
I walk away from the light, walk into the dark
The world’s darkest spot where no one can find.

The mob dance (A paper that connects a poem and a painting)

In the poem “The Wedding Dance in the Open Air”, the poet William Carlos Williams suggests that the poor are usually the ones who are being looked down. By depicting and understanding the meaning of Bruegel’s painting “The Wedding Dance in the Open Air”, Williams is able to advocate Bruegal”s unique painting style, which is based on his own beliefs.

At first, the speaker uses the peasants’ and women’s dancing movement to symbolize the routine of daily life. They are “to go round/ & round” (2-3); peasants and women are dancing with repeated movements. Similar to the dancing movement, the routine of daily life that we work, eat, and rest is a repeating process. And the poor can only rely on this routine, because poor people usually do not have the time to find their interests besides working. Even if they have interests, they do not have the expenses for them. Since the poor people’s lives are based on this routine, they are looked down by others.

Continuing with the poem, the speaker addresses the dancing crowd directly as “a riotously gay rabble” (5); he is looking down on the crowd himself. With the use of the words “riotously gay”, the speaker points out that the crowd is uncontrollable and loud. Because the word “riotously” gives a feeling of unsettledness and rebellion, and “gay” means fairy excited, just as the emotions the crowd has on their faces in the painting. Also, using the word “rabble”, the speaker believes the crowd is a group of disordered peasants and women, because “rabble” literally means a mob. The speaker then turns to describing the women more attentively. Not being able to deny his contempt for the women, the speaker looks down on the women more than he does on the men. Since women are usually in the lowest class in the society, they are frequently and offended by others. The speaker addresses the women as “doxies” (7); he rudely offends them because “doxies” has a meaning of mistresses. The speaker views the women as dirt on the ground. He accuses them to be “doxies” of the men, to have immoral relationships with the men only because they are dancing with the men in the painting.

Also, the speaker depicts the women’s apparels. He notices their “starched/white headgear” (11-12). Describing the headgear to be “starched”, the speaker reveals his contempt on the women because “starched” means outdated and un-fashion. Here, the women are looked down because they wear “starched” headgears. Without elegant clothes, the women dress plainly. Even though it’s not the women’s fault that they have to dress plainly, they are looked down anyways.

Moving along with the poem, the speaker describes the movements of some peasants and women from the crowd, those who are hidden under the trees. In the poem, “they prance or go openly/toward the wood’s/edges” (13-15). The speaker focuses on their movements make to the tree-“prance”, it means to leap lively. He tells that the dancers are happy to rest after the dance. Even though it is only the “wood’s/edges” the dancers “prance for”, the dancers feels relieved and satisfied. This is similar to the living situations for the poor, because the poor are satisfied easily. They are happy with trivia such as a good night sleep, a good day or even just a good meal. The poor don’t have tremendous ambitions, they don’t work for innovations, and thus they don’t hope for huge life changes. The poor only repeat their daily routines: work, eat, and get rest, therefore, they are looked down by others. Just as those peasants and women resting under the tree in the painting, who are small and far away from the foreground, the poor are usually unnoticed.
At the end of the poem, the speaker describes the movements of the dancing crowd again: “round and around” (16). The speaker does not only notice the crowd’s movements this time, but also their apparels. The peasants are wearing “rough shoes” (17) and “farm breeches” (18), which are so cheap that catches speaker’s sight and motives speaker’s contempt on the peasants. In fact, “rough” symbolizes the lives of the poor, and “farm” symbolizes their occupations. Like the peasants in the paintings, they have rough lives that are due to vulgar occupations as farmers. As a result, they are naturally looked down by others.

At last, the poem ends with the dancers “kicking up their heels” (21), and making the sound of “Oya!” (20) with “agape” (19) mouths. The speaker still looks down at the dancer crowd, because “mouths agape” is usually used to describe the exaggerated and astonished faces of the poor when they overreact to news that others considered to be normal. And “Oya!” is considered to be an unacceptable sound to make in decent parties. The dancers look exactly like animals while they make the sound “Oya!” and “kick their heels”. Without doubts, these animals-look-alikes are inevitably looked down by others.

William Carlos Williams successfully expresses his thoughts over the painting “The Wedding Dance in the Open Air”. He suggests Bruegel’s view toward the society. Both Bruegel and Williams believes that the poor are usually the ones who are being looked down. Throughout William’s nine poems, William suggests that there is a differentiation between classes.

Page 9 of A Humument (I enjoyed analyzing the page and writing this paper :) )

On page 9 of Tom Phillips' A Humument, Phillips suggests that people in the society often live by systematically following the stages of life. He uses symbols such as color, lines, pictures and captions to point out this belief. The “pictures” Phillips uses are “interesting” because they are on the edges of the page. Touching the edges of the page, the pictures represent the three separated stages of life. These are the stage of marriage, stage of pursuing success and the stage of weakening. Each stage is in “different colour”, such as “brown”, “purple” and “red with white spots on it”. Phillips values the stages as the principles of life that he puts them in “my [his] boudoir”. The word “boudoir” has a meaning of a secret room; Phillips’ implies that he inscribes the principles of life – the three stages- in his “secret room” of his body, his heart. Phillips believes that the stages predict the happenings in people’s life.

Looking at Page 9, one would notice the black rectangle in the middle of the page at first. Its color, light black is the coolest color in the whole page. Also, the rectangle contains shapes that are in its contrary color- white, which makes the rectangle more obvious. Secondly, one would notice the picture that’s in red and white, because it’s next to the rectangle and red is the warmest color of the page. Plus, red is contrary to the color green, which is the color of the background. Immediately, one would set their eyes on the background, because its light green attracts eyes after seeing the red on the previous piece. The background also has many thin lines drawn on it. Phillips creates this sense of messiness to catches attentions. Speaking of attention, the background is crucial because it occupies most areas of the page. Next, two pictures that are on the right hand side would most likely catch one’s attention at the same time. Both “purple” and “brown” in the pictures are warm colors while the details drawn in them are equally complicated.

In the black rectangle, the color light black symbolizes the ignorant and empty minds that the youth have. Black can be related to the black hole, it gives a feeling of empty and nonexistence. The youth are too young that they have no experiences, therefore have no places or existences in the competitive adult world. However, the word “Come, toge” which means “come, together” calls on the union of youth to rebel their vulgar status in the world. The youth would “turn inside” into the problem; develop ideas in solving it and apply actions at last. Together, they would achieve the goal to leap out of the “light black rectangle” with “surprise”.

Marriage would be the first “surprise” that the youth encounter; it is the first stage in their life since they matures or get out of the “rectangle”. As on the first picture of the upper right hand corner, a man is stretching his hands. It makes sense that he is hoping to hug some one, who is mostly likely to be his spouse. Phillips implies that people would usually find the ones they love to hug or marry in life. In the picture, the man seems to be naked. Normally, one would be naked only to the other one he marries, because he loves and believes her. Phillips implies here that people often reveals their true selves to the one they love, and married, because they believe their lovers would understand. No matter how malice the true selves are, they are not shameful reveal the ugly faces to their spouses. Such as the man in the picture who has a strange body structure, his chest and stomach are concave instead of convex. However, he stretches out his hands instead of using them to cover his ugliness. The man is brave to show his defects, and believing in the acceptance and understandings of his lover. At last, the color of the picture “brown” hides special meanings behind the picture. Phillips attempts to emphasize the importance of marriage and forming a family by applying “brown”. “Brown” is a color that would appear every time when any three different colors mixed together. Phillips assigns each of the any three different colors a representation in a family: one color can be the mother, one can be the father and the last one can be the children. The mix of these three types of people perfectly forms elemental family, which is being symbolized by the color “brown”.

The second stage would be the stage when people pursue their successes. The color “purple” on the second picture of the right side, gives a feeling of mystery. The mysterious feeling from “purple” symbolizes the conspiracy in the world while people compete to achieve success. People in the society often trick and compete with each other. In the picture, there is a big gear in the right hand corner and two chains are connected to it. The function of a gear is to work continuously in completing its job. The gear here is symbolizing people who work toward success. People often have to work manually in order to get pay. Sometimes, they even have to push themselves to the peak. Not only requiring to work like the gear, people also have to favor others in the society in order to achieve. As in the picture, the gear connects itself with the chains, symbolizing that one has to please and interact with others. Ultimately, people would succeed when they “fulfill her [their] book” with “dedication”. Here, the “book” symbolizes the lives of people that people has to dedicate in their lives. They might have to give up, comply, but most importantly, they have exhaust themselves to the point that they “shall lie”, or stop. The word “lie” has a similar pronunciation with the word “die” which leads to the third stage of people’s lives.

The third stage would be the stage of weakening. Since the picture in the bottom left of the page is away from all other pictures and captions it symbolizes the ultimate ending of people – death. In the picture, there are white circular spots painted on the background which is in the color red. The white circular spots indeed symbolize the white blood cells in one’s body, while the background color “red” symbolizes the blood that contains the cells. Unfortunately after carefully seeing the picture, one would realizes that there are only white blood cells here. The blood actually lacks of red blood cells. Through this realization, one would quickly think of the incurable disease leukemia, and then would spontaneously think of death. Phillips, through the blood and blood cell symbols, reveals the hidden fact that people often die from diseases in the society.

At last, the background has the color light green. Green should a color that represents peace. However, the green on the background is only light green. Phillips implies that the peace is being taken off while people deceive and trick each other. The background also has many different curly lines on it. The lines actually represent the unique paths of people, while the curliness of them represents the intricacy of paths. Despite the many ways the lines would curl, the lines eventually connect to the three pictures, which mean the three stages of life. By linking the connections, Phillips attempts to tell people’s inevitable encounters to the three stages.

Concluding Page 9 of A Humument, it is a complicated page in which Phillips uses many little symbols to hide his beliefs behind the text and pictures. Phillip has his unique way of expressing the belief that people live their lives by following three main stages, the marriage stage, pursuing stage, and the weakening stage. Nevertheless, Phillips believes that people have to first mature or gain experiences on the world in order to get through these three stages. He suggests his ideas by neatly employing symbols that are mostly pictures and text.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ch.34.5 of Memoirs of a Geisha (My favorite piece of work in English Class)

Five years after the chairman became my danna, I met Mr. Tanaka again. It has been 30 years since the last time we saw each other. We didn’t recognize each other of course. It was when some one addressed him “Tanaka-san” that I turned and realized his presence. I could no longer recognize his face, but I recognized his odor. It’s the odor that he gained from handling fish. Although he no longer runs his fish company, the odor was still remains, but it is still familiar and unique. Mr. Tanaka screamed when I went to him, but only his float did not allow him for the voice.

He was quite old, 74 years old, 16 years older than the Chairman. His lip is already concave into his mouth. I can see a few wrinkles near that area. And I assumed that’s where he lost his teeth. Wrinkles near Mr. Tanaka’s eyes were also obvious; they extend their lengths when he smiled.

Mr. Tanaka brought me to his table and invited to have tea with him. Once we started our conversation, he asked me about my life and my other half. He smiled peacefully when I told him I had once become a geisha, and have found a perfect danna myself. He congratulated vehemently when I told him about the Chairman and the things we have gone through. Sometime, I think Mr. Tanaka uses my fortunes in life to relieve his guilt by selling me. Later I asked him about his life and his company. But I could only look at his wrinkles and that I disregarded his talking. I cannot deny how many years have passed, and how old I was already-37 year old. My memories in Yoroido had mostly faded, but I still remembered the day Mr. Tanaka sold me and my sister, Satsu to Gion. I started being determined again; I wanted to ask him for the reason why he did that to us. I abruptly cut Mr. Tanaka’s talking and said “Mr. Tanaka, I…I… have an abrupt question to ask you, I ask your forgiveness me if I will be rude.” I took a deep breath myself, and was finally managed to say my question. But Mr. Tanaka was seeing through me, and he gave me my answer, “I did not sell you, Chiyo, you father did. I’m really sorry to tell you this, but your father begged me. Your father...”, not being able to endure what I learned: my father “begged” him to sell me, I cut Mr. Tanaka’s line, I heard myself say “Why did he do that me?” I was feeling the vehemence going up to my face and the conflicts were puzzling in my brain. Although I tried to get my emotion under control like a geisha would, I broke the silence as I said “why did my father hate me so much? I couldn’t understand…” At this point, Mr. Tanaka noticed my emotion and said “Chiyo, please don’t blame your father. You’ll never understand the pain he was suffering. He suffered the piercing through his heart every time he does the changes for you mother. He could not bear seeing her to grow skinnier day by day. He blamed himself so hard for not being able to rescue her.” I put down my face now, because I admit that I have never thought of my father’s feelings. “Chiyo, your father could not endure seeing your mother die. He could not let her go. And he grieved selling you and Satsu. He wanted to bring the two of you back, but he was dying himself too.” At this point, my face grew hotter, the voice “but he was dying himself too” was echoed in my mind and the burden in my heart seemed to aggravate. I thought of the face of my father: wide, old, and weary. I remembered the days my father came back from fishing, he was always so tire. I assumed that to be some reason to his sickness. Suddenly Mr. Tanaka raises his voice, “Chiyo, hatred should not occupy your heart. Forgive those who are gone.”

The word “Forgive” was circulating in my mind, fighting against my principle: to never forgive the one who sold me. I could no more bear the conflict inside my mind. Then I rudely excused myself. After I left Mr. Tanaka, I walked all the way down to Shijo Avenue, where Nobu chastened me for taking the general as my danna. I thought of Nobu for a while. I wonder how he is doing right now and also, if he has forgiven me yet. I suddenly found it ridiculous how I couldn’t forgive my father for selling me, and at the same time, I am longing for someone else’s forgiveness. Suddenly I wanted to go back to Yoroido, I wanted see our old tipsy house and the sea next to it. I did not know why, but I only thought Yoroido’s peace and the joy I had there when I was a child.

My College Essay (Best piece of work in English class)



I looked around hoping to find a way to escape. Unfortunately, someone, I believe it was my father, dragged me to check in with him. Tears rolled down my eyes slowly reaching my cheek. I realized that we just left something behind, something very important: my mom. Every memory of my mom flooded a space in my brain. I told myself that I could never forget the look of my mom, especially on the day of my departure. I inscribed her red nose, watery eyes, and trembling “Good Byes” in my heart. I ensured her position in my heart and I somehow arrived in United States, on May, 13th, 2002 at the age of 12.

When I was little, I always noticed kids riding bikes and enjoying themselves. I envied their enjoyment of traveling free and feeling the wind. I imagined the freedom of biking as the freedom of life: to seek, to risk, and to accomplish. One day when I was five, my mom brought a bike home and I almost screamed when I first saw it. As I was making different poses with the bike, my mom dared me to ride the bike. With only my tricycle experiences, I fell on the ground quickly and my knees bled. Feeling the pain, I shouted: “I hate biking, and I will never bike again!” Immediately, my mom’s face fell. She walked toward me and said gently “My little Shuyi, I hope one day you’ll understand that life is like biking, it costs you pain for accomplishing. But remember: never give up even when there are great pains.”

Within a year of my arrival to the United States, my father remarried another woman, breaking the promise of bringing my mom to the United States. I remember crying that night after I discovered the news. I blamed my father for destroying everything and I told myself that I would never forgive him. How was my life going to be? How was my mom’s life going to be? How would my mom react when she learned the news? And what should I do? These unanswerable questions flowed through my mind.

Not long after my father’s marriage, a friend of mine brought me to a Chinese Christian church. There were a lot of kind and helpful people. They encouraged me to not worry about my mom’s situation and taught me a way of applying my mom to the United States. They told me that once I became 18 and a US citizen, I’d have the ability to apply for my mom. With the encouragement from both church friends and my mom, I was able to step out of the dark. I said to myself, I can be the one who makes changes for my life and I can take the lead.

I changed my view toward the world. I realized that life is not totally dim. Although it sometimes requires pain, it can also be the most colorful rainbow. I endured what has happened in my life and I opened my heart. I even forgave my father about two years ago. On his 44th birthday, while no one was celebrating for my father, I baked a cake and cooked a simple meal for him. It was only an “Angel Cake” and a few Chinese dishes. But my father gave me his brightest smile. Seeing his smile, I felt that all the hatred was miraculously gone. I realized that hatred is no longer important. Finally, I relaxed my burdened heart after all these years. For the first time, I was committed to retain memories about my father: I inscribed his smile in my heart.

It has been five years now since my arrival to the United States. I have to conclude that I’ve learned tremendously during these years. I understand my father’s not applying for my mom is not the end of the world. I understand hatred wouldn’t benefit anyone. And I understand being open-minded is as important as getting good grades in school. As always, I remind myself of the responsibility to apply my mom to the US. I know the process will take time, but I’m happy to tell that I’ve already started my first step: I’m applying for the United States citizenship. I know my hope is coming along, and I believe my reunion with my mom will be precious after all these years.