Summative Entry

The main theme I noticed throughout this unit and tried to describe through my blog entries is Reflection on the timeless human person. We may live in a more advanced and technology-driven environment but our internal human nature has not changed drastically. Jane Austen’s “Emma”, in my opinion, felt oddly relatable despite being written years before I was born. That is because of the characters’ traits that I realized also resides within me. We can tell ourselves we are the better person, and we do not think selfishly, but at times we do. However, that is not because we are bad people. Emma was not a bad person either; she was just blinded. She was blinded by social status and stereotypes, and she tried to fit the mold of an upper-class, educated woman until she realized she did not have to. It does not have to be just one character. I related to Mr. Gradgrind’s insecurities as well as Sissy Jupe’s spontaneity. I am not a person of cold facts, but I used to be a person that put up a defensive shield to protect myself. I felt Mr. Gradgrind’s facts were his shield, and it was his ways of protecting himself and his children. To him, the facts were comprehensive, understandable and controllable, unlike Sissy’s free-spirited sense of judgement, which I felt he was threatened by. As I have grown up and realized that there are things simply out of my control, I let go of holding on so tight to my shields and just accept things as they are. I think Charles Dickens created Mr. Gradgrind as an example of what industrialism could do to us. He was a child as well, probably just as carefree as Sissy, but the difference was the context that brought them up. Mr. Gradgrind lived in Coketown, a mechanic society, while Sissy grew up in a circus. The society we live in today is not as intense as Coketown was, but I still felt a sense of undermining industrialism residing within.

George Eliot’s “Silas Marner” showed me that we are more than what we think we are. All we need is a chance. Silas seemed like a man out of touch with society, abandoned and imprisoned. It took losing everything he had to gain the one thing he needed. Eppie was his Gold, and she was his second chance. In addition, Tolstoy’s “Master and Man” gave a similar vibe, proving not everyone is entirely one-sided. Vasili was portrayed as an evil character but at the end, he sacrificed his life to save his peasant, Nikita. I would object that it was an action driven by good will and selflessness, because I felt a personality like Vasili could not have a change of heart that easily, despite having been in a desperate circumstance. In my opinion, he was saving Nikita with the intention of having Nikita help him later, because if Nikita had died, he would be stranded on his own and have no help. Therefore, while it was a great gesture, it was not entirely selfless because he had his own interest in mind as well. However, I would not agree that this was a negative behavior. That is an evident behavior in modern society and as we learned from Eliot, was evident in past times as well. Oscar Wilde’s wild exaggeration of his characters was probably the most educational experience I have had in this course. The audience can have a laugh at Lady Bracknell’s absurdity, but only because they see themselves in her. The Victorian times may have passed, but the community we live in has yet to fully evolve from such superficial standards.

In conclusion, not only has this unit been satisfactory, it has been reflective and therapeutic towards my own personal development and self-realization.

Peer review 8

“#7 A Letter to Godfrey Cass”

Hi Annaliese,
I love this letter of yours. You read my mind completely because this is how I also felt about Godfrey. To him, it was all about materials and money, but we should take into consideration maybe that’s how he was raised, not how he truly was as a person. Perhaps, if Eppie was raised with the same values, she would have turned out differently as well, therefore we can’t truly judge Godfrey for his sense of judgement, because he did take his daughter into consideration, just not fully. What we can judge him for is his inability for sympathy. Even though Eppie is his daughter by blood, Silas was the one to raise her into an adult. Godfrey would be willing to offer his materialistic worth to gain Eppie back without realizing it is something you have to earn, and I don’t think he ever had to earn for anything in his life. I love that you pointed out the wrong in Godfrey’s way, but in a sympathetic manner like you really wanted him to change into a better person. This is great entry.

Blog 9 – Magnified

“This play, while mocking deeply at the tribal customs of the late Victorians, has, at its heart, a wish to point the human race in the right direction: away from fraud, hypocrisy and such indecent preoccupation with material realities.” – Michael Griffith.
Write whether you agree or disagree with the last paragraph in this blog.

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Oscar Wilde always leave an aftertaste in his work. He does not just create stories, he creates a mirror for readers to reflect on. “The Importance of Being Earnest” was a masterpiece of satire, parody, over-the-top production of the Victorian society standards, and while I did not approve of the character’s sense of judgement, I strangely saw myself in them.

John Worthing was an educated, self-made man. In today’s society, he would be celebrated and inspire many, but back in Victorian times, he was judged by something he could not change: being abandoned by his birth parents. Found in a handbag at a train station, it is amazing to think how far he had come and achieved. Sadly, none of those factors were considered by Lady Bracknell. An overdramatic creation of Wilde, Lady Bracknell was a strong, strict and powerful woman of the higher class looking down on Worthing’s unfortunate past. When considering him as an option for her daughter, she did not take in consideration whether his love was authentic or not. All she cared about were the materialistic aspects. Honestly, I don’t fully object her point of view. In my opinion, it is important to take in consideration a person’s financial status and wealth. However, that should not be the only determining factor, just an addition to the bigger picture. For Lady Bracknell, it was obvious she was intimidate by the likes of Worthing, educated, independent and powerful. She never believed in education as she saw it as a dangerous tool to overthrow the social hierarchy. In other words, Lady Bracknell was uneducated, and her fragile social status was threatened by Worthing. She dug deep in his past hoping to find a flaw, and when she couldn’t find one, she created one. Worthing could not control his situation of being abandoned, but Lady Bracknell held it against him anyway because it was the only flaw she could cling on to judge him. As for Gwendolyn, naive as she was, the only reason she fell in love with Worthing was because of his name. She fantasized about nothing but his name and only that. You would expect this kind of behavior from a child, not a grown woman of high class. However, there have been times I based my judgment of another individual on depending on their name. We do it without realizing at times. It is uncomfortable to think about, because a person’s name says nothing about them; it’s not even something we earned, it’s given to us by our parents. Therefore, it is ridiculous to define someone by their name, yet we do it everyday. We may laugh at Gwendolyn for her childish reasoning but we are Gwendolyn, however hard it is to accept.

The genius in Wilde’s work is that he made us laugh at the characters that were based on us. We are John Worthing, a man of good character but with a troublesome past. We are Gwendolyn, an immature adult with a child-like sense of judgement. We are also Lady Bracknell, an individual with a strong exterior but filled with insecurities and intimidation. We may like to see that we have evolved as a society, but we cannot deny that there is little change that have been made. “The Importance of Being Earnest” is a magnifying glass pointing out the wrongs of our society, with hopes of us realizing our ways and change for the better. Wilde made us look at his creation and to answer an important question: “Is that who we want to be?”

Peer review 7

“The Mark That Marked My Pride (Blogpost #7)”

Hi Danielle,
This is such a great read and also relatable. I experienced this as well back in high school, getting bad marks in english even though I thought I nailed it. I think it’s important to remember grades does not define how good your work is, because the only thing they can base it on to judge is the marking criteria. If you are happy with it then that’s all that matters. Your use of vocabulary made it compelling to read and you had a nice flow overall to keep me interested. It was far from being boring. I also liked your internal monologues, it gave a personal effect that I really like. I like using internal monologues too for that same reason. Keep up the good work!

Blog 8 – White night

CREATIVE
You are stuck in a snow storm (or a sand storm), or you are lost in the bush. Describe your last moments. How will you react?
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I had never been surrounded by so much white in my life. White sky, white ground, white trees, trapped in a white car in the middle of nowhere, out of fuel to run any further. My phone couldn’t get any signal, the thick snow was interfering with my GPS, and the snow was slowly covering the windows, blinding my vision. At the very least I was in my warm clothes. It felt like being in a coffin with your eyes wide open, and you can see yourself being buried. For the first time, I had no way out. I didn’t know where I was. I lost control of the wheel and spiraled out of control. When I woke up all I saw was white. The only things I had to keep me company was my own thoughts, and Simba. I bet he’s grateful for that cage now. He never liked it, I guess he’s claustrophobic. I wouldn’t know for sure, I never had time to had him checked out. I never had much time for him. The only day I could take him to the vet was today, and I got us stranded. I hadn’t lost all hope, because there were enough snacks in the cabin for both of us for the day. Might as well wait this storm out.

I let Simba out of the cage and cuddle him for warmth. I put on some music to pass the time, and in hopes to catch someone’s attention. Simba really liked Britney Spears. As he should, since I put her music on blast everytime I got home. One of the benefits of living in the middle of nowhere is there’s no noise complaint, but I guess I didn’t consider the scenario of getting stranded. He felt asleep before me, and I dozed off right after. When I woke up, he moved to the back seat, still asleep. I tried to open the door to see the outside. The storm was over, the snow built up to my ankle so there was no chance to get this car anywhere. I guess I hit something because there were scratches on the door. Oh well. I heard car engines from afar, so I walked towards it. I kept the music on for Simba, and for me to find my way back. It took me about 5 minutes to reach the road, and I got enough signal to call for help. Turned out I had driven off the road and into the woods, but it was too dark and snowy for me to tell.

My life is so boring not even getting stuck in the snow could be exciting.

Peer review 6

“Blog post Week 9”

Hi Sibel,
I like your approach to the topic. However, I feel it would be better to refer to Silas’s story as an actual experience in the set environment, rather than something from a book you read. This is a creative entry after all, so perhaps you could have put yourself as a character inside the same universe as Silas, and the letter would come to him as a result of you having heard about the experience. For example, instead of saying you had read about him, implying that another person wrote about him, you could have said that you were a bypasser that heard about what happened and was inspired and felt compelled to reach out to him. That is what I would have done to give the “letter” a more authentic feel. In addition, you might want to pay attention to a few errors, such as “you trusted her own”=”you trusted her” and “vis versa”=”vice/vise versa”. This was a nice read. Good job!

Blog 7 – Trés

CRITICAL
In your own words explain what you sense is the real difference between the fictional worlds of George Eliot, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen.

What makes Jane Austen stood out from Dickens and Eliot is the fact that she did not follow the mold. “Emma” was written during the Romantic era but it broke the mold for Romanticism, therefore she became a pioneer of the genre. Emma achieved her happy ending, but it was a difficult road for her to get there. In addition, Austen never moved the spotlight away from Emma through the entire story. Even when it was about the other characters, there was still a glimpse of Emma. Such can be symbolic for how society viewed a person of her status at the time, always in the center, the talk of the town and gawked at with a magnifying lens. She was always under pressure from those around her, unlike Silas Marner and Sissy Jupe. Emma never had to endure prison or grow up in a dysfunctional foster family, but she walked her own winding road and ultimately reached the end.

Charles Dickens was more than just a great writer, he was a sensational storyteller that took his readers on a journey with him. Personally, it was hard for me to get through “Hard Times”, hence the title. However, that is not a stab at his style of writing, but to compliment Dickens’ commitment. Coketown was a bland monotonous suburb where everybody was a copy of each other, and there was nothing but fact. His use of long sentences and dull description of colors played along into giving readers an authentic experience of the town itself. Emma had a difficult journey but the readers were standing by observing, whereas they would need to follow Sissy till the very end to truly appreciate “Hard Times”. This is not a feel-good, light-hearted read but rather a representation of society in the past. It is not as intense as the rollercoaster that is Silas’s life, it feels more like swimming against a lazy river, and that is exactly the point.

Silas Marner had an eventful adventure throughout his life, with a surprise waiting at every corner. After enduring prison for 16 years, he had to have his gold stolen from him and lost everything in order to gain the only thing he ever needed. Eppie was the Gold that made the journey all worthwhile. Eliot also developed her characters and helped them develop into better versions of themselves. Silas has become a selfless father figure that was willing to let his daughter pursue her own happiness. Eppie matured to a wonderful lady with a clear outlook on life and towards her future goals. In the end, they rejected materials for dignity and affection. This is definitely a more light-hearted read compared to the other two stories.