Portfolio 3

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This is Portfolio 3 for EL266.  This highlights my work for the last portion of the semester.

These are merely four of the responses that I posted during the last third of the semester.  The Wizard of Oz has yet to be discussed in class, but even without comparing it to the movie, there will be a lot to discuss and there are already comments on my post.  I struggled with Booker T. Washington and the readings were discussed highly in class.  My peers also helped me out by commenting on Washington as well as W.E.B. DuBois.  Their comments enabled me to better understand why we had to read that set of essays.  Kevin Scott wrote an essay interpreting Tom in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  This essay sparked discussion on-line and in class.  David Smiths essay also sparked a lot of conversation on my blog.  I believe these four entries best exemplify my work for the last portion of the semester.  They cover a small portion of the readings required of us, and they also go into depth and created discussion amongst my peers. 

Of these four, three were posted in a very timely fashion, giving my classmates ample time to respond to my entry: The Wizard of Oz, Booker T. Washington and David Smiths essay "Huck, Jim, and American Racial Discourse".


Interaction - Here are comments that I left on classmates blogs.  These are not all the comments, but those that seemed to contribute to a discussion online or in class.

Jessica on Foster

Meagan on Mallioux and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Jeremy on H.N. Smiths ''Introduction to AHF"


Xenoblogging and Wildcard - I never thought I would post more than what was required of me.  For me, blogging is pretty new.  While I had a blog way back in middle school, I would say this is a little more complex, especially since people can Google search me and find my blog!  This class as matured my writing style even more, as it is very important that I know what I am posting and who can see it.  As a future educator, this process has shown me how a blog can work in certain settings, regardless of how hesitant the students are at partaking in this new media.  Here are a couple entries that were not required, but that I enjoyed creating.

A trip to Northern New York and Canada

My creative project

Turkey Day!

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For the wonderful (almost) week I had off, Matt and I were able to go back to my home town for Thanksgiving.  Since I practically live on the St. Lawrence, we also decided it would be a great time to use our new passports and drive to Canada for a day!  If you thought airports were difficult, try getting into Canada for a day when the first three questions are as follows: Where do you live? (PA) Where are you going? (Ottawa) and How long are you staying? (the afternoon)... followed by "That's a long drive to be up for just a day..."  Needless to say they did a background check on us since nothing about our passports matches where we live or how we're crossing the border in NY at that...  
So, I thought I would share a few pictures of NY, without snow surprisingly, from our mini vacation.

NY1.jpg here is the bay in good old Northern New York, right on the St. Lawrence river.  Everything water beyond the dock is obviously the wonderful river I grew up on, and the land across the way is Canada!  So yes, I saw Canada practically every day growing up.
This is a part of the Rideau Canal up in Ottawa.  Matt really wanted to see this, so we walked pretty much everywhere from the parking garage, this was one of the sights... and yes, there is a big boat at the far end.

I thought this was a cool statue, thus, a picture!

We are pretty sure this is one of the Parliament buildings... there were three really big buildings in a little semi-circle, and this one had the best lighting.  It was kind of weird knowing we could tour the Parliament buildings, but you have to pull teeth to get into the Capitol here...

This is glorious Black Lake, my house is quite literally on a hill, over looking this.  During the summer there are a ton of people on the camps along the lake as well as out boating and fishing here!  I think it's the most gorgeous in the fall though, when the trees change colors and reflect off the lake.

Matt said I couldn't take this picture without a scale... he's 5'10".... My sister and I got those trees a LONG time ago, and they would have been up to about his knees and about as wide as him too!  Obviously they are significantly bigger now, and amazingly still in my back yard. There used to be sumacs behind them, but the parents cleared that out to make room for the trees to grow!  They are blue spruces and also absolutely gorgeous when in full bloom.  I really hope to see them there 20 years from now!

So those are just a few of the pictures from our trip.  It was freezing in Canada, but we are planning on going back sometime in the next couple years!  Hope you enjoyed a small peek at the little town I'm from. :)

Silver Slippers

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First, I was highly disappointed that the slippers were silver and not red - but I guess I will just have to deal with that. :)  I thought it was interesting that Dorothy says "There is no place like home" (Ch4, p42) so early in the story.  This was the only time I saw her say this and I was very surprised that that was it.  It seemed too early for the story as I remember it, but within the text it seemed to work out just fine.  
Chapter nine was a little strange to me as the scarecrow is not supposed to be very smart yet.  Here he creates a plan to get the lion out of the poppy field, which would suggest he really is smart.  It seemed interesting that the reader knows he is really already smart, but the scarecrow doesn't think he is yet.  
The wizard's forms stood out to me as well.  The floating head, the beautiful lady, the scary beast and the fireball for Dorothy, the scarecrow, the tin woodman, and the lion (respectively) brought out the importance of having what they wanted, or even not having what they wanted.  The lion thought to walk in and scare the wizard but ended up frightened by him instead, since he was a huge fireball.  If the tin man had had a heart, it would have beat fiercely at the sight of such a scary beast.  The scarecrow did not know how to approach the wizard because she was too beautiful, making him more speechless than usual, and Dorothy saw something that reminded her of home, a human head.
I thought that how each saw the wizard magnified their desire to have what they did not.  While each one shows the reader that they really already have what they want, each character strives even more so obtain what they desire after seeing the wizard in multiple forms.  
I could go into color analysis, but that could go in far too many directions - blue in munchkinland, gold in the west, green in the emerald city, the china town, Glinda being red, white and blue - It could make for a very interesting discussion in class.

Creative Project

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After deciding I could not break into dance, or song, I ended up doing something visual - big surprise seeing as how my books could be rainbows!
This started with the idea that everything we talked about involved death on some level, either with the main character(s) or some minor character(s) in the stories.
Since I have yet to read one story, The Wizard of Oz, I decided to make Dorothy, how I remember her from the movie, the center of the master piece.  I then added the next most memorable work for me, which was the Scarlet Letter, initially I had only the A, it eventually progressed to include the cottage and the rosebush.  I then added the Raven, and the river from AHF.  The tribute to Emily Dickinson was kind of an afterthought
After coloring those in and erasing all unnecessary lines, I stared at the picture and said "I'll come back to this."  I ended up finishing it the next night by adding Jim, John Henry, the ribbon, the mask, the cottage and rosebush, Walden's Pond, the flag, the yellow wallpaper, and as a final thought, Foster.  
I believe that covers everything on there, if I missed anything it is because anything after that point was a quick add on.  
The words are themes from everything we read, not implying it is the only option, but one of the many that stuck with me throughout the semester. 
Here is the first picture I took, after I realized I should be documenting this for the sake of a blog!
Here is picture 2
and finally, here is the last picture, with the support backing - making it a little thicker and more durable.  This was the final product that I was able to present in class.


Confusion on Tall Tales

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John Henry is very much a tall-tale.  The story is based on one or more real men, and it is a very extravagant tale. 
I don't really see the story as a social commentary... people tell stories all the time.  I don't really see it as something standing against society.
I don't think it's too simplistic to say it's about both technology and race.  While I don't see the basis of the story being about race, I can easily see the technology aspect since it is talking about different methods of building.  

This is very much like the DuBois readings for me... I may be the only person who had not heard of John Henry until reading this; regardless it is yet another thing I do not fully understand.



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"First, it is the duty of black men to judge the South discriminatingly" (3,22).

"Ever-recurring query of the ages, Is not life more than meat, and the body more than raiment" (6,11).


Alright, so W.E.B.DuBois makes almost no sense to me at all.  I found these selections to be extremely hard to understand.  So hard in fact, that I really just selected to lines that caught my eye.  It was very difficult for me to put myself into the time these were written, making it extremely difficult for me to understand what was really being talked about.  I can only hope that while reading others blogs, some light will be shed on what I could, or should, have gotten out of these.


Whistle While You Work

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"Any one who is willing to work ten hours a day at the brick-yard... in order that he or she may have the privilege of studying academic branches for two hours in the evening, has enough bottom to warrant being further educated" (13,3).


I kind of wish that this still held true today.  Look at how many people have to work a full time job or multiple part time jobs to be able to even afford paying loans to go to school.  It says something about a persons character if they are willing to work 8-10 hours a day and attend a night class.  This is as true now as it was when Washington said it.  People in general underestimate the importance of those willing to work.  Society has so few jobs yet so many people that don't belong in the job they are at!  There are more people willing to work and who enjoy what they do than there are places that will accept them - both in school and the work force.  It's extremely frustrating to watch someone skate by while watching another person work their hardest - the latter is the one that has their heart in it.  Perhaps we should consider some of what Washington had to say and apply it to the now.


"few things, if any, are capable of making one so blind and narrow as race prejudice" (14,20).  I found this passage from the next chapter very realistic.  Think about it... I am sure there is at least one culture you think less of.  Think about it, African Americans, Asians, a European culture of some sort (Spanish, French, Italian), Latin Americans.  Even taking the word "race" out of the quote would still make it true.  Let's instead insert "culture." 

Washington seemed ahead of his time.  Or maybe it's just that things he said still hold so true.  It's extremely difficult to move past things that are engrained into our heritage.  One cannot help but look down on at least one other.  Every race has it, every person has it, and every culture has it.  It's realyl kind of sad that human nature pushes us to find something inferior in order to make ourselves feel better.


Everyone has their own World

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"Put simply, Tom is a bad boy" (188).  Why is this the first time we've seen this statement?  Honestly, all these essays that have talked about Huck being the bad boy made so little sense to me, and I've already posted on that.  Reading Kevin Scott talk about how Tom is the bad boy just makes more sense.  He continues to provide examples of why we see Tom in this light.  "Tom transforms, through play, the reality he finds into the romance he prefers" (190).  What a way to look at Tom's outlandish ideas!  I didn't really consider anything past, he's just being a kid, until I came across this passage.  Tom makes it is goal to have an adventure, to create his own reality.  This contributes to his bad boy image because he will do whatever is necessary to have an adventure, include tormenting others (like Jim and Becky).  
His "rejection of the town's bad faith" (191) allows him to be the "rebel and thorn in the side of social order while actually being its representative" (191).  Tom's creating his own world represents society's attempts to create a world they prefer.  Tom just happens to get away with his fantasies because he is merely a boy!  Society cannot escape into their preferred world because then it would become a reality.  Tom rejects the society he has been raised in and substitutes his own.  While in his play world, he often "authors it" (191), meaning he makes it how he wants it and no one can stop him or change his mind.  Tom has "youthful versions of the bad faith mechanisms adults use in his community every day" (192).  Tom knows that adults will manipulate situations to their advantage, even if it is a small change.  To him, a small change is just as significant as a large change, so why not go all out?  This is what really allows Tom to live life the way he wants to, the way all the authorities do it (the books he has read).

We have discussed and argued how Huck sees Tom.  "Huck may doubt Tom's veracity... he admires Tom's style, his courage, his competence, and the internal consistency of his world... made Tom the picture of social success" (193).  There it is, the middle ground for the sides of the argument many of us have taken.  Huck sees Tom as a "picture of social success," this does not mean that he looks up to him.  In fact, one could argue that that is the reason Huck rejects Tom as a role model.  

Friends or Foes?

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"Huck, by contrast, is equally rich, but he has apologized to Jim earlier in the novel.  And this is the point of Huck's final remark rejecting the prospect of civilization... it is to become like Tom Sawyer" (368).

Those from my group on Wednesday might recall my argument about Huck's morality and how he doesn't think Tom is more moral than he himself is... I think I agree with David Smith.  Huck sees Tom as the product of the society he does not want to become a part of.  This is why he is going to "light out for the Territory ahead of the rest" (320).  
I honestly did not even consider that Tom symbolized everything Huck didn't want to be, but it is interesting to view their relationship with that in mind.  
While Smith made many points on race - which I considered quoting many of them - I thought that this little mention of Tom and Huck and their relationship with society was worth noting.

Recess is Important

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"So play, Dear Reader, play" (281).

Something I've said all semester - why read a book if you don't enjoy it?  Other than assigned readings for classes, which are sometimes enjoyable, why read it?  Of course, reading new things expands your mind and your ability to analyze different things, but ultimately, if you do not enjoy yourself, but the book down.  Reading should be fun, not forced.  
I'm glad Foster does realize this; and it really is important to remember that everything up to this point has been merely suggestion.  I know I am at fault for being unhappy with Foster, and not understanding what he's suggesting, but I also remember that they are all just suggestions and opinions.  All reading is opinion based, it all depends on the reader.  
I plan on reading the way I always have, but who knows, perhaps I will notice things I never thought of before, whether I want to or not. 

Recent Comments

Dave on Recess is Important: I think some of this might hav
Kayla Lesko on Whistle While You Work: We definitely have it too easy
Jennifer Prex on Silver Slippers: That was an interesting look a
Jeremy Barrick on Silver Slippers: I tried to go into color analy
Jessica Apitsch on Silver Slippers: I definitely agree with the di
Jessica Apitsch on Confusion on Tall Tales: I agree with Jeremy in his bel
Meagan Gemperlein on Recess is Important: I wish that he would have had
Kayla Lesko on Recess is Important: I think that Foster is a great
Kayla Lesko on Lost: Yeah, I thought Washington's w
Jeremy Barrick on Recess is Important: I to was judgmental when I rea