Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Power of One Ch. 12-15 -- "This I Believe"

Mozart Could Laugh by Walter H. Anneberg:
In the essay" Mozart Could Laugh," Walter H. Anneberg expresses to the reader how music, God, and laughter brought him happiness. From a young age Annerberg describes himself as independent, everything from his beliefs about God to how he copes with his tragedies in life he does alone. Although he is self reliant he also believes that he should not be completely credited for his work in music composition. "I do not know what it is, but as God has often been kinder to me than I deserve, I like to think that all this has something to do with Him."  Anneberg also stresses the need of laughter as he descirbes our world as "sad." "Mozart tonight sleeps in an unmarked paupers grave. Hard was his life and a veritable financial catastrophe. Yet this divinely perfect of all musicians knew how to laugh." He finishes with sharing with us the advice he gave to his own son: the importance of having a good sense of humor" 
Walter H. Anneberg stated, "I believe in God mostly because I have come around to believing in him all by myself. Nobody helped me."  The born-again Christians are opposite to Annerberg. Peekay says,"The born-again Christians were all working hard for their segregated mansions in heaven." Each of them spent their days attempting to convert non believers into their religion; it was thought the more followers you gained the greater your place in heaven will be.  Music plays am important role Anneberg's life. His relationship with his music is almost congruent to the relationship Doc has. On the night of the concert Peekay describes the prison as being different; "The feeling of despair was not in the air. The sad grounds ahd been ceased. The thoughts of people were calm. Both mean believe that music can unite the world and can console people while grieving. " (pg. 285) The tribes united in the music as they relieved their racial tensions and sought happiness to "the sad world" that they live in.
Since kindergarten having a personal and active faith in God was a goal that I was taught to live by while attending my elementary school. Like Annerberg I was not pressured, yet I encouraged to find God on my own. I believe that because no one was telling me what to believe or attempting to engrave the gospel and their beliefs into me I was able to become more open and aware of where God is for me and how we relate. Through my years I have dicoveredt that whenever I sing whether it be in the shower or in a choir I feel God's glory. I believe that through music you can find happiness and joy even when you are dealing with sorrow. When I first joined my school choir in 2nd grade our choir director led us in prayer then she told us, "when we sing it is like praying twice."  Each year she told the same quote although it got repetitive after a while I felt eventually realized that everytime I raised my voice I felt as if I was praying. Whether through the joy of the song or even an intention I held in my heart while I sang, I knew that God would be listening. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Power of One Ch. 10-11 Discussion reflection

In class we were separated into small groups to discuss themes and topics in Chapter's 10-11.
Assignment: write a blog post reflection on what you discussed. 

         Marisa, Sandro, Ryan Weir and I focused our discussion on the impact Peekay's mentors have on him, and what kind of impact Peekay has on other people. Our conversation kept flowing back to how Geel Piet's, and Doc's example and teachings are molding Peekay into the person he will become. While we talked about Geel Piet we were able to break down and discuss the misconception that he was a bad person, or even a bad influence on Peekay. When we talked about Doc we mostly compared and contrasted him with Geel Piet. Some of us made the conclusion that Doc is a mentor and a friend while Giel Piet is just a mentor. Then we talked about the influence that Peekay was having on other people such as Doc, Giel Piet, the guards, his mother, and especially the black prisoners. We spent another large portion of time discussing and trying to interpret the name Tadpole Angel and how Peekay relates to it.  We concluded that the name which was given by the black prisoners symbolized that he is their saviour which gives them hope that Africa will survive the "drought." We then discussed what we thought the "drought" was being referred to. We figured that it was the on going battles between the many groups in Africa. My group was able to touch all the topics and were productive in the time given. We were able to further develop our ideas and even create some new questions that are worth thinking about as we continue reading.   

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Power of One Ch. 7-9 Prompt

Discuss the role of mentors in the novel. Who are Peekay's mentors and how do they influence him?

        In the novel, Power of One, Bryce Courtenay demonstrates through the characterization of Peekay that mentors have an influence on a person's life ethic. 
Hoppie is  Peekay's first mentor after leaving his hostile boarding school environment. Hoppie teaches Peekay to accept himself and to always root for the underdog because regardless of what someone looks like we are all equal. During boarding school, Peekay is always marginalized for being English and this made him self conscience, but Peekay gives him a goal to work towards. He encourages Peekay to have a dream of being a boxer and gives him hope that his future will be better. “Mix-the-head with-the-heart you’re-ahead from-the-start, the wheels chanted until my head began to pound with the rhythm. It was becoming the plan I would follow for the remainder of my life; it was to become the secret ingredient in what I thought of as the power of one.”  Hoppie supplies him with knowledge that Peekay will take to heart and live by later in life. 
Big Hettie is another mentor Peekay has. Big Hettie is an Irish woman who has lived a hard life. Although she drinks alot she serves as a companion to Peekay on his journey. Big Hettie teachest Peekay about courage and pride. “Pride is holding your head up when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it.” Although this seems like a foreign concept because it is the opposite of camouflage, it gives Peekay advice for challenges he may face later in life. When peekay asks how he could learn to hate she responds ".. plenty of time that, peekay. Better still concentrate on love, there is already too much hate in this land of ours. This country has been starved of love too long."  This is teaching Peekay to not judge people or focus on hate rather try to embrace others and work on forming a more accepting society. 
Doc is Peekay's latest Mentor. “The loneliness birds had flown away and I had grown up and made a new friend called Doc and had learned several new things.”  Doc is an older german man, while Peekay is a young English boy. Though this bond seems unlikely the two men form a relationship that is not based on race.  "the English and Germans are not so far apart" (150)" , he tells Peekay teaching him to not let their races challenge their friendship. Doc is teaching Peekay more than music but about how to approach life. By teaching Peekay to love music before he can play it , it teaches him how to take things slow in life. Doc is molding Peekay to be a culturally open young man. 
Bryce Courtenay demonstrates through the characterization of Peekay that mentors have an influence on a persons life ethic. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Power of One Ch. 1-3

 BLOG PROMPT: Why do the Judge and jury hate Pisskop?  Where does this hatred come from?  How does Pisskop deal with this cruelty?  What is the lesson or theme that the author most likely wants readers to learn about the nature of human cruelty and prejudice?

         In The Power of One, Bryce Courtney uses the characterization of Pisskop to reveal that being born in a nurturing environment gives you the strength to endure and survive human cruelty and prejudice.
Pisskop was born in love, warmth, and laughter as depicted in the first paragraph when he is suckling on his nannies breast feeling safe under her large hands.  He is forced to leave his safe environment and for the first time, experiences feeling different and therefore eliciting hate from others.  His life that has known only love was suddenly turned completely around.  He has to face getting pissed on, being whipped, and being ostracized by the other students.  
When they discover that Pisskop is circumcised, they immediately zone in on that difference, and hate him for it.  Although the Judge is the ultimate bully in this case, the other students follow his lead, as it is human nature to follow the strongest and allow them to be the leader.  The hatred originates from two things: first from the intolerance they are taught at home, and secondly from fear that stems from ignorance.  The combination of ignorance, coupled with their fear and human nature's pack mentality cause the scenario of one individual being tortured for being different.  
I think that  Brice Courtney wants its readers to identify how cruelty can hurt an individual, but most importantly how love and a kind heart can survive such pain.  When Pisskop returns to school, after having felt special and loved again during his Christmas vacation at home, he is better equipped to face the cruel Judge and jury.  " ...the power of one- how I learned that in each of us there burns a flame of independence that must never be allowed to go out. That as long as it exists within us we cannot be destroyed." 
Pisskop's character reveals to the reader that if we are taught to be tolerant and accepting to those who are different it would overcome any type of hatred. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Steinbeck Style Episode Opening

Please write the opening to a scene or episode in the style of John Steinbeck. The setting for this piece is going to be your very own bedroom. Be sure to be as descriptive as possible (show, don't tell), and concentrate on reflecting the overall tone and mood of the upcoming scene through your description of the setting. 

           At the end what feels like the longest hallway after a tiring day, but in reality it is as short as daisy dukes. The second door on the right, lies a hexagonal room the color of the hot red rocks of Arizona. Chilled by the hardwood floor a carpet stretches across the biggest bedroom on the top level attempting to keep the warmth during the cold San Francisco nights. The first thing you see when you walk in is a life size picture of Audrey Hepburn marking a dead end and forcing any incomer to take sharp left.  On the eastern most wall lies a bulletin board with pinned up and hanging pictures of memories and unforgettable moments, alongside a forgotten calendar stuck in June of last year. 
  Though the room is not marked by much furniture it is finished with small yet important details that gives the room the ostentatious appeal intended. Gliding in the air are two fairies high enough to get the illusion of them floating above a young girls head, yet low enough for anyone else to accidently bump the fairies sending them spiraling in the air gracefully. 
         The northern wall is split into three groups each side a home to a window overlooking the untended garden. Through the transparent glass you can see the glaze of a soft layer of mist settling on the other side of the glass barrier during the foggy damp city days. On looking past the glass one catches a quick taste of childhood play while looking at the forgotten mini basketball hoop and bouncy ball once constantly used for entertainment. This view of the garden is a perfect spot  for day dreaming, reminiscing, and pondering about the past, the future and present; it is always open yet sparsely used due to lack of downtime.
  To the western wall dwells two twin size beds. Both never made and piled high with blankets to stay warm during the night. The bed to the right's decoration pillows are neatly set to the right of the bed with one overused old pillow on top of the mattress. The bed to the left has a luggage next to it, a symbol of the current seventeen year-old foreign exchange student from Sweden who the room is shared with. Separating the bed is a quaint nightstand.  Resting on the wooden stand is my grandmothers old hand crafted golden box holding trinkets of sentimental value. 
  The eastern wall is even by glance the most used part of the room.  With a large dresser drawer, and a closet full of clothes it still seems as if there is not enough space for her clothing. The closet is stacked with dresses, skirts, and heels. It is the most treasured, and neatest part of the room. Hanging from the door is the full outfit intended for the next day, of course subject to change but always picked with great care. On top of the dresser drawer is a stack of books, and two earring hangers holding a vast collection of earrings picked up through the years. A glass vase of colorful tissue flowers resides to the left showing a spark of creativity and adding an extra dash of color. A picture of a former class of 28 girls in blue skirts, white button down tops, and a navy blue blazers standing with bouquets of red roses sits prominently on the stand as a constant reminder of the past. The room was still and motionless the only sense of movement are the swaying trees outside.
         The door swung open and a boy around the age of 13 came barreling in. His face wide with a smile was suddenly being transformed into a look of shock to finding the room empty. He takes a seat and puts down the basketball in his hand and starts rethinking his plans for the day...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Of Mice & Men -- Chapter Five Prompt

In the novella Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck reveals through the characterization of Curley’s Wife that women are left out of the American dream. Curley’s Wife is seen as a “tramp”. The men always talk about her negatively but we barely get to hear from her until the end of the story. Time and time again the men tell Curley to keep his wife away from them. Though she has no name she is a significant character in the novella because she represents how women were treated. “ I get lonely, You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley.” Curley’s wife just needs a person to talk to. She feels confined in her life, and wants to leave the ranch. Just as Crook’s feel isolated from others she feels the same way. Steinbeck does not portray her as an evil person in this story rather as a victim of a perception of women that became their reality. Curley’s wife has dreams of going to Hollywood and being a star, although the American dream was the goal everyone was working towards, it was practically impossible for her. Curley's Wife symbolizes every girl in America at the time. With a life of true isolation she was not even given an opportunity to attempt to achieve her dreams; she is pushed into being a cold, harsh women. "Sure I gotta husban'. You all seen him. Swell guy, ain't he? Spends all his time sayin' what he's gonna do to guys he don't like, and he don't like nobody." This shows that she is not satisfied with just being Curley's wife, she wants to form her own identity. The absence of her name shows she has not true identity. Curley's wife did not deserve to die when she was the victim of such a confined life. She was misunderstood and portrayed as a “tramp”, when the only other women alive in the book were the ones working at the whorehouse and they were viewed as nice ladies. Those girls had more freedom than her because they were not considered property of one man. Through the Characterization of Curley's Wife Steinbeck illustrates how women in the 1930’s were left out of the American dream.