This is a post where the left and right wing on a political spectrum is explained as well as the values of a variety of ideologies. Pretty much we had a mini boot camp where we practiced taking notes as well as enriching our knowledge on ideologies and the political spectrum. I can vote pretty soon so this lecture was needed for me! Whether you find the political spectrum too confusing and give up it is a significantly important diagram to understand, especially for voters it is important that you understand the values and ideologies of each party and wing.
For this boot camp we were given a pretty big lecture of all the different ideologies which transferred into the political spectrum. During this lecture, we were required to take some form of notes. Taking notes is a KEY skill to take to university. That being said, it is important that you know what technique for note taking fits you ahead of time, I chose the standard style.
Before this lecture I didn’t know too much about politics, I always got confused which ideologies fall left or right. Before the lecture we took a quick quiz about ideologies on the political spectrum. I’m just going to say that I failed the quiz, that to me was a wake up call that I need to enhance my knowledge in politics in general and get familiar with the different terminologies! Our teachers ensured us we would never forget this new information by taking a quiz each day to test our knowledge. Everyday my mark got higher and higher and interestingly it was an experiment for our teacher to see what format of quiz works the best. We had the same questions each day but in a different form (visual, multiple choice, verbal).
Finally it was time to look where I stand on the political spectrum. It’s not so black and white where you land on the spectrum take a look:
There are two extreme sides, communism which is far left and fascism which is far right. In between these two extremes lie multiple more ideologies such as liberalism, conservatism, etc. One side leans to more a community and social equality perspective whilst the right side is more about having someone in charge, hierarchy and authority. A way our teacher told us to look at it is the owners vs the workers.
Once we had an idea of how the political spectrum works, we took a test to see where we fall on the spectrum. Basically there were six pages of questions and it took me a while to answer because some of the questions weren’t so simple. Anyways this is my outcome:
I fall more towards the left and Libertarian side which is what I predicted from hearing about the ideologies in the lecture. Libertarian means you value freedom (political, freedom of choice and individual judgement). As I mentioned earlier, the left wing supports social equality and rejects the idea of social class. I agree with both these statements.
Finally we had the opportunity to extend our knowledge by either creating an info graphic of the political spectrum or creating a short video about one specific ideology. A classmate (Sofia) and I decided to make a short trailer about communism. Pretty much our movie represents the fact that Communism is all about an equal society and there is no separation of classes. In the video we managed to use a cloning technique to show that in communism every one is equal. Enjoy!
It’s that time again where we have just finished a unit and it’s time to reflect. In this unit we delved into history that covered the 1960’s to today. We used the song “We didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel for inspiration for this project. As we watched the music video in class I recognized many events that were mentioned which grabbed my attention. If you have ever listened to this song, you will discover that the lyrics are just a vast list of significant events branching between 1949 and 1989.
Our class driving question:
What makes an event significant?
Our task for this project was to choose one topic from the song and create an artifact arguing the significance of the event and eventually orchestrate a five minute presentation for the class. The goal was to state that your topic was the most significant out of all the events. We had complete control of this project meaning we determined our own driving question, thesis and artifact.
There were over 100 topics to choose from which made it hard to narrow my top choice down. I selected the Space Monkey. To be honest I really didn’t know much at all about the space monkey or space in general. I was extremely curious how a monkey could be so significant. Here is my driving question for my research.
How did the first Space Monkey revolutionize space technology and create a path for future space explorations?
Once we determined our topic it was time to do A LOT of research. As I said earlier, the whole purpose was to state why and what makes our event significant. To start our research off, we wrote a brief summary of the event and why we picked our topic (initial interest). As I said earlier, I chose the topic mainly because I wanted to more about how a monkey was so significant.
The next step was to do some intense research. Our task was to write 5-10 pages of research. I wanted to show the impact of the space monkey by relating it to contemporary events. That being said I did an extent amount of research on NASA’s current space missions such as the Mars 2020 Rover. Once we had an exceeding understanding of our topic, we started to generate a thesis and focus on the significance. There are many aspects that make an event significant it’s almost like a checklist it has to meet certain standards in order for it to be significant. I chose to focus on durability, quantity and relevance because I believe these factors are the most important factors.
Without the first Space Monkey it would have been a lot more of a challenge to get humans into space. It has opened a door for future explorations including the goal to get the first man on Mars and to learn more about our solar system.
The Space Monkeys impacted the whole world especially the US. It contributed towards the race to space. Once the US started launching monkeys to space, other countries followed such as the Soviet Union and Iran.
Today people are still affected by the first Space Monkey. It allowed space programs to revolutionize technology and made future space missions possible. Despite the losses of animals, they taught scientists a tremendous amount more than could have been learned without them.
After some research I was able to establish a thesis:
The first Space Monkey revolutionized space technology and lead to the first man in space in 1961. This was a factor that carved a path for future explorations.
As soon as the research was done, it was time to start developing our artifact. We could pretty much do anything for the artifact, it could be a video, sculpture, etc. I was pretty stuck on what to do so my teacher inspired me to create an info graphic consequently that is what I created.
To create my artifact took multiple drafts and revisions. It was a challenge to make it appealing to the eye as well as representing the significance using images and diagrams instead of text. I chose to stick with three colours, white, black and orange to avoid busyness.
Here is my final product:
My info graphic tells the story of Albert I and how he revolutionized space technology. (Made with Keynote)
The quick rundown of the monkey:
The story of the space monkey is a sad one…
Let me introduce Albert I, the first monkey launched into space in 1948 on a V-2 Blossom rocket. Yes you probably guessed it, he never made it through space flight he reached an altitude of 63km and died of suffocation. Following Albert I, many more monkeys followed but many of them died due to space flight malfunctions and other health factors.
Even though these monkeys were dying, they collected crucial data that scientists could use to advance space technology. If a human was sent into space, many human lives would be lost also space programs wouldn’t get a great reputation for experimenting on humans with an unknown territory of space.
The data collected enabled to send humans into space, resulting with the first man on the moon.
From there space programs were able to start thinking about missions to Mars. The Mars 2020 Rover is going to be launched July 2020. The main purpose of the Rover is discover life on Mars. It will collect samples of soil and rock from Mars surface and in future missions the samples will be sent back to Earth. I got very interested in this topic and watched documentaries and read multiple articles so I could talk for hours about this mission! Go check out the NASA website for more information about the mission.
Because of Albert I Space X’s goal is to fly humans to other planets, including Mars. Again there is so much interesting information on Space X and how they are creating reusable rockets, but it would take up pages so go check out their website!
My info graphic goes in one big circle and it all comes back to him. Without the monkeys, missions that are happening today wouldn’t be possible. Testing with live animals tested whether humans would survive space and allowed scientist to advance technology in doing so.
Time to present!
Basically we had five minutes to argue to the class why our topic is the most significant out of all the events mentioned in the song. I found out that five minutes is NOT a lot of time so I had to make my presentation more concise and to the point. My presentation went pretty good, I thought my artifact really represented the significance. Verbally I could have communicated better, although there was a technical issue and I couldn’t use my notes (I learned to not rely on technology)! With a short time limit it was hard not to talk fast to get in all of your points, I should have spent longer cutting down my script so I wasn’t rushing. Even though the presentation could have been improved, I certainly think that I did a good job of visualizing the significance using the arrows and diagrams. Overall this project was definitely one of my favorites simply because we had so much freedom. It made me have to be more independent since I was the one driving my project. I had to make sure that I put time a side in order to meet all of the deadlines and complete the milestones.
After watching all of the presentations, the events that seemed the most significant to me where the ones that included statistics and numbers, quantity. To add to that the ones that were related to present day absolutely proved the significance, durability. In fact durability is for sure the most important factor, it has to have left a legacy on future generations to be considered significant.
It is the season where we get to pitch to our teachers how we have grown as a learner and what areas we still need to improve in other words, the season of mPols. This will be my last mPol ever!
Driving question: What is your learning goal that you want to reach by the end of this school year, and how will you meet it?
This term we have covered so much so far from Shakespeare (Taming of the Shrew) to horror movies and space monkeys. I have also improved many skills that are transferable to many other situations many of these skills came from the horror unit!
A reflection from last year:
Reflecting back from last year, one of my goals was to improve my writing and reading skills. To try to accomplish that goal I am enrolled in two English courses, literature and PLP English. So far by being enrolled in these courses has significantly improved those skills and I will keep improving as the year goes on. Another goal I set last year was to manage my time wisely in order to meet certain deadlines in school. This year especially has certainly been the busiest out of all my years at high school but with the tools I learned last year such as time blocking and Things, I am able to keep up on all of my school work this year.
Of course once you complete one goal it’s time to make another one. All of our projects so far have either been tasks which involve a group or presenting our work. This year I want to work on this year is my communication skills. When I say communication skills it includes aspects such as presentations and getting my ideas across as well as communicating with a vast group.
The two main projects where I felt my communication was lacking was the horror movie and the significance presentations. However, on the flip side I showed other skills that were also strong throughout these projects.
To start off with I am so proud of our class for all taking the project seriously and committing even though we didn’t quite finish the movie. This project was for sure the most challenging project I have done during my years in PLP. The project took patience, organization, leadership, time management and most importantly, communication.
In this project I also stepped out of my comfort zone and took the initiative to apply for director which is something I would never have done in previous years.
Even though I didn’t get the role I was put in a role that you could say was even more out of my comfort zone, writing the script. As I have said in previous years, English isn’t my strong suit however I decided that this role would significantly benefit me in many ways. The script for sure took patience and it taught me the importance of critique and how to take it in a positive way. In this role, communication was key and this is where we “failed”. The lack of communication with our classmates consequently lead to many malfunctions with the script including the ideas. Moving forward, I have certainly learnt the importance of communication and working as a team. We should have communicated and checked in with our class frequently to make sure there were no surprises so everyone was on board. That being said with all these skills are unquestionably transferable to other projects or even future jobs.
The next project I wanted to touch on is our significance presentations. I really enjoyed this project because we had a great extent of freedom and I got to research and learn about the first monkey in space (space monkey). Similarly to the movie, there were highs and lows to this project. I was able to explore Keynote to create an info graphic that represented the significance of the space monkey.
I used images and diagrams to visually communicate my ideas and this part of the project was a success however on the other hand, the verbal communication of this project had room for improvement. With a tight time limit and technical issues which left me with out a script I struggled to communicate all of the main points of my presentation.
To conclude, I am very proud of my self this year for keeping up to date with my school work since grade 12 is a very busy year. I have learned so much so far not just history and English literature but how to work and function as a team. Even though the movie didn’t turn out the way we wanted, I learned so many life lessons during the process and like all projects I will learn for the mistakes. Like all mPOLs we finish off with a discussion question that will help me achieve my goal.
I have learned that communication is the most important skill in life. Moving forward how can I improve my communications skills whether it be talking to an audience or conveying important information to a vast group?
Time to wrap up another unit! from my previous posts you can tell that our unit this term is horror. This unit involved examining some of the most famous horror movies and literature and creating our own movie/trailer.
Why is horror such an effective way to reflect and comment on our society?
This is how we answered the question as a class, (this is our final project for the unit, a class horror movie/trailer)
Horror movies aren’t just about murders, blood and gore, they have so much more to them! Our unit started off with a field trip to Seattle. On this trip we visited the MO POP museum as well as a haunted house!!! During this trip, our goal was to identify what makes a horror movie scary and why people are scared of certain things. To add to that, we had to discover why people like horror. For example, after we went through the haunted house (Georgetown Morgue) everyone wanted to go again. The haunted house was terrifying, every kind of fear was in the house! For some reason I wanted to go again, and by the end everyone was full of adrenaline.
In class we watched a short documentary, “Why Horror”. The documentary touched on the main aspects of why people enjoy horror movies. Something that was interesting was the aspect of a safe flight, meaning you know that you are not in danger. It also depends on your culture, what bothers them and how they approach life and death.
The MO POP had an excellent horror exhibition that answered many of our questions.
I had never thought about how many factors of horror there are (the unknown, unseen, unconscious, etc.). The factor that scares me the most would have to be the unexpected, you expect reality to function, something shatters our expectations and we feel shock and distress. This factor would fall into the category of the element of absence, the other element is the element of presence. This includes categories such as helplessness, urgency and pressure. Out of these helplessness is for sure the more unnerving, simply because you have a lack of power and can’t make your own choices. It’s the feeling of isolation, the only one left and can’t call for help you literally feel helplessness.
After taking the time to analyze other horror movies such as Get Out, Halloween and Frankenstein, as a class we discussed the continuity and change and what societal issue the movie reflects. For each movie we wrote a post answering questions about the continuity and change as well as the filming techniques and dialogue. Watching these movies was crucial in order to really depict what we wanted to include in our own movie and how to tell a good story with not just dialogue but using foreshadowing, symbols and actions of the characters. Halloween used some really interesting techniques that told the story from different points of view (POV) from the murderer and the victim. From watching these movies, we were also able to discuss the social issue that the movie is reflecting on. Go check out my posts about the horror in each of those movies!
One of our first major milestones was reading the novel Frankenstein. This novel was a great introduction to our horror unit. What I found so interesting about the book is how many perspectives Mary Shelley represented. By having so many perspectives gave you a better insight of each character making the novel more engaging. In this story it is not so clear who the monster truly was, some people may think it’s Frankenstein’s creature and others could think it was Frankenstein. In THIS post I explained who the monster is in my opinion.
Moving on into the movie/trailer, for this horror unit our project was something very different compared to our previous assignments. Just like our Winter exhibition in Grade 11 this project was a class production. The reason I called it a movie/trailer is because originally our class was assigned to create a horror movie but with a short timeline we were only able to make a trailer. We had to use the knowledge and resources we were given and apply them to a final creation. I personally really enjoy class projects mainly because everyone has unique ideas and different talents and when we put all the ideas together we can create something pretty cool. Obviously working as a class can also be a challenge because there are so many ideas and we had to stick with one and I think that is what was the most challenging as well as producing a schedule where the majority of the class were available.
I did not realize how many different roles there are in a movie production!! Our class followed the format and assigned many roles to make this movie possible. Within the roles we had a key creative team that consisted the director, producer and story writer.
I originally put myself forward as director because I had a certain vision for the movie but I was then assigned to the script team where I could contribute to the story line. It was also good for me to be in the script team mainly because it made me step outside of my comfort zone. The script certainly took the longest, it involved writing and consulting with the class and then revising, it was a long process but eventually we developed a decent script!
We decided to focus on the issue with stereotyping teens and the issues that lead to that. We had decided it was going to be about a bunch of teens staying after school to clean up a prank they pulled, an angry janitor ends up taking revenge on the teens. The script for sure took patience and it taught me the importance of critique and how to take it in a positive way. During filming I was also assigned to the lights along with Calum. Our role was to collect the lights and set them to the appropriate setting as well as transporting them to the scenes.
Sorry for the bad quality
We all as a class were dedicated to this movie and worked after school and on weekends. To ensure everyone was updated on the filming days detailed call sheets were created.
There were many ups and downs with filming but overall it was a super fun experience. I learnt so many lessons about working with a vast team. Our movie was never finished and it simply came down to communication. We had to work with a short timeline and we couldn’t quite get all of the shots done in time. We also didn’t take into consideration how long it would take to get from scene to scene with all the props, lights and camera operators. The editors did what they could with the footage and created a really good trailer instead.
To conclude, I learnt so much from this whole project from looking at issues in society, analyzing horror movies and their deeper meaning, but most importantly how to work as a team and manage time and communication. These skills are for sure transferable to future projects or even future jobs.
By now I have a solid understanding of the story of Frankenstein, from reading the novel by Mary Shelley, watching Frankenstein (1931) and watching a similar movie that ties in the story of Frankenstein, Gods and Monsters.
You may think that it is easy to depict that the monster is the creature; his appearance portrays that he is the monster. This is due to the fact that he is the big scary and abnormal creature so from the get go people assume he is the monster. However, when you break down the character and delve into his backstory, you realize that the Creature actually symbolizes innocence. Looking from another perspective you get the sense that the creator, Frankenstein is in fact the man behind the scenes who created the creature in the first place. Although Frankenstein’s intentions weren’t to create a monster and cause destruction, but indeed to create life and do something progressive that will change lives (literally). This being said I don’t think either are the monster. In this case society is the true monster in disguise. Society uses stereotypes and labels for the creature because he is abnormal and looks monstrous when in fact he is the opposite. monster in disguise, and this is all show through lighting in the movie Frankenstein (1931).
In the movie Frankenstein (1931), James Whale uses lighting to enhance the events in the movie, as well as using it in a way to shape the characters and their personalities. In some scene you can barley see what is on in the screen; in comparison, there are scenes where the light almost blinds the audience. The two contrasts of lighting represent innocence and darkness. We see this with the villages (society) vs the Creature and the Frankenstein.
This scene at the end is crucial, it symbolizes the innocence of the Creature and Frankenstein and darkness in society.
Rewinding to when the Creature was first engineered, the reveal of the Creature is the epitome of his innocence. This is shown from his dark shadow slowly turning around into the light. Right at that moment the creatures innocence is conveyed through the lighting, showing he has been born out of the dark and into light.
Furthermore, his innocuousness is represented in the scene with the virtuous young girl who saw the creature as a friends where as everyone else saw him as a monster. The whole scene is lit up extending the pure innocence of both characters. It is obvious that the drowning of the girl was done unintentionally and it is communicated in his terrified face expression that he knew he did something wrong. The creature just saw the girl as a flower like the ones she was throwing in the lake, with the creature having no life experience, assumed that she would also float just like the flowers.
Now let’s have a look at the creator, Frankenstein. As I said earlier, his intentions weren’t to create a monster, he was trying to advance science. At first he thought he had created the impossible, bringing a person back from the dead. He even refers to himself as God, “now I know what it feels like to be God”. Something I noticed is when he confesses to the doctor what he has created a chandelier is turned on but the ray of light is just shining on Frankenstein the creator enhancing his idea that he is “God”.
As soon as Frankenstein realizes what he created automatically felt the guilt and blame. This was conveyed on his wedding day, the only focus he had was on the creature and how he could prevent any other deaths. Through out his wedding day the exposure was lightened, implying that Frankenstein is truly innocent, he would never want to hurt a soul. Further more I depicted the way his wife Elizabeth is portrayed. James Whale also uses lighting to show her character. She is also naive and she is the figure that enhances Frankenstein’s innocence.
As you can see from this image, the light is only shining on Elizabeth instead of lighting up the whole room.
Now that I have concluded that both Frankenstein and the creature are in fact not the monster. It is fair to determine that society is the monster. There actions towards the creature show that they immediately jump to the conclusion that he is a monster just because of the way he looks, which is stereotypical.
Villagers burning the creature because their assumptions are that he is a destructive and a murderer.
Looking at a modern approach as a class we watched a movie called Gods and Monsters. The movie told the story of James Whale, the director of the movie Frankenstein. Here is a short summary of the movie if you haven’t watched it.
The movie isn’t entirely about Frankenstein but it is for sure a representation of the characters the Creature and Frankenstein, the creator. In the movie Clayton the gardener is representing the creature and James is indeed the creator. Through out the movie, James is trying to bring Clayton into his life. The same question goes for the movie, who is the monster? Again I don’t believe either are the monster. Clayton’s character develops into James’s companion, Clayton sees James pain and lonesomeness and tries to help him. Later on in the movie we discover that the reason James is so focused on Clayton is from his experience in the war. Clayton reminds James of a guy that James liked in the War, he gives him comfort and company.
James however, may seem like an evil figure but in fact he suffers the impact of the War since he was a soldier. We see this with his constant flash backs form the War that cause him to act out. James also implies that his eyes are the monsters, “the only monsters are here” (James Whale), and points to his eyes implying the past. Lighting is slightly an aspect with the flash and darkness of his past memories.
Overall from reading the novel, watching the movie and a modern take on Frankenstein I was able to determine that the monster wasn’t any of the main characters that people may assume are. The lighting in Frankenstein enhanced and proved who the monster really was.Society plays a key role in shaping peoples characters. In the movie and novel of Frankenstein society plays a role on peoples actions such as the creatures. Society can also jump to quick conclusions and treat them like their stereotype.
To begin with, you may not want to read this post if you haven’t seen the movie as for there are major spoilers! You may have read my last post where I analyzed the movie Halloween, this post is a break down of a more recent movie, Get Out and the real horror with in it.
Get out is a movie that has so many factors that contributes to the horror, the helplessness, mistrust and the gory aspect that makes you cringe and look away. However, in my opinion the mistrust, in other words, the unexpected and helplessness is the real horror in this movie. Early in the movie Chris, the African American protagonist, has doubts about the visit to his white girlfriends house in a deserted area, surrounded by forest. The father of the girl friend also mentioned to Chris that the nearest house is across a lake. This just contributes to the fact that if something were to happen he would be stranded.
Furthermore, at the beginning of the movie, after the car crashed, you got a sense that the police would be biased therefore, wouldn’t be on Chris’s side since they were adamant for his ID even though he wasn’t the driver. This just devotes to the idea that Chris is even more secluded and helpless if something were to happen.
The other major factor of the horror in the movie, is simply the mistrust and unexpected role ofthe girlfriend and family. The family to the viewers looked like a classic middle class family, “the kind of people who shop at Trader Joe’s”(The Guardian). Throughout the movie, the girlfriend was a significant character that showed empathy and awareness of the racist comments that were directed towards Chris. In some cases she would be more outraged by her families comments than Chris. This blatantly conceptualized that Rose was on Chris’s side, as a result is trusted by the audience and Chris. The audience wouldn’t believe that the one good white person is also evil, but at the end you discover the twisted reveal that Rose is indeed in the picture which is what makes the movie so clever but terrifying. The audience go away with a thought of, who can I trust?
Unlike Halloween where it was a challenge to depict the motivation for the killing, the killings in Get Out have a bit more context behind them. Right off the bat, when Chris arrived at the middle class, white family’s house, it was obvious that the family had a connection with people of colour. Through out the story the family showed more and more power and control over their black servants, almost like the are being controlled like puppets on a string. When the silent auction for Chris happens, it is clear that the whole family want power over the people of colour and look at them as objects.
In doing so, the father (a surgeon), takes their brain away and replaces it with a white persons brain. The soul of the victim is then put into a “sunken place” trapping them and allowing the white brain to take control. This restricts the black person from having a voice and control over their actions.
The director, Jordan Peele also incorporates sound effects and certain objects to enhance the horror. The movie uses the soundtracks and sound effects to heighten the suspense in the movie. The use of repetition in the sound effects are a trigger and enables the viewer to sense when something bad is about to happen. For example, a high pitched violin effect would play when Chris detected something was off. In similar fashion, there are very specific sounds that are emphasized such as the stirring of the tea and the flash of the camera which made the audience really pay attention to those effects. The flash of the camera was related to bringing back the soul of the victims of the “sunken place” back for a short period of time. The flash capturing the soul is a representation of the power of technology in today’s society. With these emphasized details really makes the viewer pay attention and wonder why use these sound effects?
The stirring of the tea was a representation of the hypnosis by the mother and every time you hear the stirring, you knew the mother was going to take charge. Another perspective of why the tea was chosen as the hypnosis tool, is because it isrelating way back in history to theEuropean colonialism tied to the tea trade. Furthermore, there were other techniques such as the silence whenever Chris left the scenario, this implied that Chris was their focal point and target throughout the whole movie and when he was out the picture there is silence. Silence is also a good way to add suspense, the unknowing of when there is about to be a jump scare.
As well as commenting on historical events, Jordan Peele does an exceptional job of incorporating modern connections and commenting on today’s society such as stereotypes. To be specific, the stereotypes of the people of colour, Chris. Immediately in the scene with the police officer and the couple as I mentioned earlier, the officer automatically asks for ID from Chris even though he wasn’t the driver.
This implies that the African Americans are stereotyped as people who cause trouble and need to be looked over, even if innocent. Some more stereotypes of Chris we see is the during the family get together, the comments Chris receives from various family members such as suggesting he plays sports and feeling his arm strength is showing the stereotype that he plays basketball which is a very black dominated sport.
Throughout the movie there are many symbols that are reflecting on a historical aspect or are in fact foreshadowing. Early in the movie, there is a scene where Rose hits a deer whilst driving to the house. When Chris looks down, staring at the dead deer, the viewer gets a sense that the dead dear is foreshadowing his future by entering the house. Proof of this is when Chris is trapped in the basement and looks up only to find the dead deers head hanging on the wall. The deer is also a representation of Chris’s innocence. The fact that Chris grabs the deer head and kills Rose’s father with it shows the audience that his has lost his innocence and is now on the run to escape. Therefor, flipping into his survival instincts.
Now to reflect back on Frankenstein, Get Out and Frankenstein where very different and don’t have that much in common. However, both Frankenstein and Get Out are filled with plot twists and suspense. Throughout the story of Frankenstein, you are on edge since you don’t know what the creature will do next, same goes for Rose’s family.
Get Out has a significant separation to any normal horror film. They have incorporated issues in society that can touch so many people universally making it so popular.
In class we have been discussing and dissecting the movie Halloween to go along with our horror unit. Most importantly in this post I will be emphasizing on the continuity and change, as well as a break down of the real horror in the movie.
The horror in Halloween is represented in may ways, however I think the concept that makes it so terrifying is the idea of the unstoppable and the monster itself. Late into the movie we find out that Micheal Myers is unable to be stopped by Laurie. Specifically, when Laurie’s attacks Myers with the sewing needle, the audience and Laurie both find out together that Myers is unstoppable in other words, cannot be killed. This concept is terrifying due to the fact that the viewer will never get the release of being able to feel safe again. This is represented at the final scene when Laurie and viewers believe Myers is dead but look back and he has disappeared. This plants an idea in the audiences heads that he is still out there and makes you wonder, will I be the next victim?
Another concept that contributes to the horror in Halloween is the appearance and the slow and stalk like movements of Micheal Myers. Throughout the movie you always have the unnerving feeling that he is stalking you. The other factor that makes the movie so terrifying in how simplistic the monster is and the expressionless mask that covers his face. The fact that the monster is just a human wearing a mask, captures the viewer with the thought that anyone could be a psycho killer. In a way the more simplistic the monster is, more realistic the story and monster may seem.
You may wondering why does he kills these innocent people? The motivations for his killings are pretty murky but when you start to delve into his backstory, you can see that Myers has been neglected in the past by his family and doctors. The fact that the Myers was sent to a mental hospital and never got a treatment, gave him the feeling of neglect of his family. This would motivate him by wanting revenge or trying to disrupt happy families.
In many movies you just think of the story line and the acting of the characters however, Halloween uses unique camera techniques (POV shots) that enhance the horror in the movie. The way the camera is used enables the audience to have perspectives of both Myers and Laurie. You get to see through the lenses of both characters which allows the audience to have a better understanding of the characters and perspectives. Moreover, from having the camera following under the mask and through the eyes of the Myers, gives the illusion that he is watching you. The other camera technique is by filming a panorama of the surrounding with the monster out of sight. This creates the uncertainty of where Myers is lurking and when he will next attack, “he seems to slip right past in the background of several scenes, watching characters who rarely take notice that they’re being watched”(The British Library).
The victims of Myers murders were coincidentally related to gender and promiscuous activities, from looking back into the 70’s was an era where women’s power started to creep up.
In every horror movie there is always a reason for choosing a specific topic. By researching the time period gives you a backstory of what the movie may have been based off. For Halloween, I believe it is commenting on the freedom women have because of the birth control that was invented late 60’s. Suddenly women had more freedom which many men and people of the older generation opposed this new creation. Back to my point before, Myers murdered the women when they were taking part in promiscuous activity. Therefore, Myers is reflecting and portraying the many of men’s opinions in the 70’s of the thought that women now have more freedom since birth control was invented.
To go along with our horror unit we have been reading the story of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. This gave us a perspective of what horror was like back in the 1817. From reading the novel and watching more recent horror movies, there are many correlations and differences between the two.
During the time period Frankenstein was written was among a new discovery of electricity and the idea of bringing back the dead. With that in mind, Frankenstein is all about creating a destructive human like creature and bringing back the dead. In both movies the monsters aren’t out of the ordinary crazy creatures, they are both humans the only difference being one is dead and one is alive but the concept is still there. The comment on society in both movies is along the lines of acceptance and being accepted in society. The creature in Frankenstein and Micheal Myers both experience neglect by society which is what influences their killings.
Furthermore I found the movie a lot more appealing than the book and this is due to the pacing. Frankenstein took more time into exploring the characters and the setting where as in Halloween the first scene is a murder which already intensifies the movie. Frankenstein is significantly more reflective, for example when the creature looks at his reflection vs Myers, the creature has more emotion where as Myers doesn’t delve into his emotions. In Frankenstein you definitely get a better backstory of all the characters and understand their motivations unlike Halloween where there isn’t much backstory of Myers and why he is targeting all these innocent people. However, we don’t see the same suspension and intensity in Frankenstein as we do in Halloween.
Overall I think that it is fair to say that Frankenstein was the first story that influenced horror today. Also in combination Halloween has guided the horror film industry with it’s unique techniques that make the movie truly a horror film.
Chosen Article citation:
“Mary Shelley – Author of Frankenstein.” The British Library, The British Library, 15 Jan. 2014, www.bl.uk/people/mary-shelley.
Now you may be wondering how a play that was written in 1590 can still be a well talked play in today’s society. This follows into our unit of Shakespeare and the Taming of The Shrew. Throughout history the play has been altered to the time periods views and values, specifically theviews on women. By taking a classic play Taming of The Shrew set in the Elizabethan era, we were able to convert the play into a Victorian perspective. This involved delving into the cultural, intellectual and emotional setting that shaped people’s lives and actions in the past.
Group members- Sam and Claire
To rewind a bit, we started off by focusing on the roles of women and how differently they were looked at in the past.
Looking the picture below, do you think something like this would be acceptable in our society today?
In our class obviously we concluded that you wouldn’t see that as a advertisement because it basically implying that women are weak and need a man. However, in the past something like this would have been respectable. We could also determine this by reading Miss Brill by Katherine Mansfield, that was written in 1920. By being a single woman in that time period was very out of the ordinary. If you were single, you were perceived differently compared to someone who was married. For women, having a husband, house and kids was the expectation. The same concept is advertised in Taming of The Shrew.
There were a couple things to think about throughout this topic. We had to juggle with the idea of how the play is a classic, and as well as the roles of woman. As we started to look at the Taming of The Shrew and the backstory, it was quite a shock to find out what the definition of a “Shrew” is. In fact one of the reasons I classified the play as a classic is that it is still a heated conversation in present day for its controversy over the roles of women.
Over the summer we started off by reading a classic to get us in the mindset of what a classic is. I read The Wars by Timothy Findley. which was a great representation of WWI. In my reflection paragraph I determined the book is a classic for its artistic quality, “men were exploded where they stood—blown apart by the combustion.” This quote really stood out to be because it truly conveys the reality of warfare which I think makes the book a classic.
Since this is an English/history class, for the English component we wrote an essay where we had to determine whether the Taming of The Shrew is a classic or not. My first instinct was that yes in fact it is a classic since Shakespeare wrote the play. After some thinking, I wanted to argue that it isn’t a classic however I couldn’t find enough points to back me up. The pros out weighed the cons, therefor I concluded that the play is a classic. These are the top three reasons I believe make up a classic and indeed Taming of The Shrew ticked all of those boxes.
What makes a classic?
I believe for a play to be a classic, it has to be popular and well known in modern day as well as acknowledged, has had an influence on modern literature and finally, includes universal themes that are relevant in today's society.
For our final milestone we had to combine both ideas that I talked about in to a animation of Taming of The Shrew. To practice our understanding, the catch was that we were required to set the play in a different time period. By doing this we had to research our given time period and alter the play as needed to fit the time period.
Before we started our animation, we did some individual work to deepen our understanding of the time period. Our first milestone was to create a multimedia video that represented the roles of women in that time period. We were also required to use language from the time period. To improve for the next milestone I just needed to include more language from the Victorian era. I could try to demonstrate that competency in the animation.
We mainly focused of how the roles of woman had changed over time. It was interesting seeing other groups videos and watching how the roles of woman had changed over time. The time period my group was assigned was the Victorian Era. It was difficult at first because the Victorian era only shortly followed the Elizabethan era. As you can see from my image I created, we decided to change the name of the play to Taming of The Blue Stocking. Instead of being called a Shrew, in the Victorian era Women would be called a Blue Stocking. This was the most significant difference we found since the time periods were pretty similar.
The first draft we did was maybe not the best. There were a few technical issues and it was way too long!!!! For our second draft, we were able to cut down the script and sharpen up the video.
For our final unit in grade 11 we went in depth into the Vietnam war. As you know from previous posts, every year we participate in two exhibitions every year. This year we presented our themes of the Vietnam war in a way that had never been done before in PLP, using conceptual art.
Conceptual art is all about the idea behind the art, not the art it self. I was a little optimistic at the beginning about the fact we had to make art since I am not an artist. However, we were reinsured that our art didn’t have to be a masterpiece, it just had to have a solid idea behind it. The idea/story becomes the machine that makes the art. I was happy to hear that to make good conceptual art you don’t need any artistic skill or any technical abilities.
In class we looked into the neuroscience behind conceptual art, this made me really think about how to get my art piece to catch someone’s eye. It is all to do with what people find appealing to the eye. It is about what colours, form or even the spatial arrangement. The main questions is “What is beauty in the brain?”. Interestingly the simplest art is the most appealing, reduction and constant. It makes people focus on the things or concepts. For contrast the article was referring to the artist placing an object within a specific context, to make the art noticeable.
We did a lot of lessons on conceptual art and some activities where we had to try and figure out what the artists story was. It was pretty challenging at times to try and figure out the idea behind it. It was interesting to hear everyone’s perspectives of the story, since everyone had a different take on the art. That just shows that with conceptual art, the audience can interpret the story how they want. I was surprised on how many stories can be made from just one piece of art.
With all that knowledge of conceptual art, our task was to create conceptual art to represent an aspect of the Vietnam war. We learned about the Vietnam war in class an then our teachers had to go on a trip with another class. That being said, we were given the resources we needed to learn about the Vietnam war independently. Our teacher had spilt up the war into themes (ex; leadership and decision making, who fought in the war, how the war was fought etc).
We were told that when they come back, we would have an “exam” on the Vietnam war… We thought they were kidding but they came back and gave us a test, half multiple choice, half written. We never received our marks for the written but lets just say I should have studied more for the multiple choice!
By the time they got back, we were able to sort the class out into themes. I chose to focus on leadership and decision making. When we were learning about the war, there was a lot about Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) sending troops to Vietnam. I thought it would be interesting to do some further research on his decision to deploy more troops. Something that I was unaware of, was how fixated LBJ was on the number of Viet Cong killed vs US killed. He even manipulated the statistics to make it look like more Viet Cong where dead when of those numbers weren’t just Viet Cong but civilians and US troops.
“I counted sixty-two bodies, when he later read the official tally of dead, he found that it listed them as 130 Viet Cong killed”(Turse, p 210).”
For our art work, since we were creating a gallery we had to write a historical and ethical judgment piece to go along with our art. The historical paragraph basically explains what my piece is and what it is all about. To constrict these paragraphs we went through a process of getting our pitch approved. The first pitch was not to satisfactory so I had to revise my writing. I actually decided to slightly change my idea and I did more research on my new topic so I could write a well written paragraph.
During Lyndon B. Johnson’s (LBJ) presidency, he made some clouded decisions that could be argued as morally wrong. LBJ did anything he could to halt the spread of communism, such as being fixated on inaccurate statistics of deaths in the war. This was to show that America was governing the Viet Cong in North Vietnam. His ideology was that if there were more Viet Cong deaths than US troops, America’s propaganda made the public believe that they were winning. LBJ was so obsessed with the numbers, that he demanded that his troops were to “Kill any thing that moves”(Turse, p 211). This implies that US troops were detonating Vietnamese villages, or even shooting at unarmed women and children in the area, “I described them as so many women between fifteen and twenty-five and so many children, usually in their mothers arms or very close to them.” (Turse, p 212). At the time American civilians were oblivious to what LBJ’s intentions were. In this situation LBJ was not the enemy, he was escorting the US to “victory”. However, from a troops perspective they could all see through LBJ’s plans and it was obvious to them that the deaths were being miscounted on purpose,. “I counted sixty-two bodies, when he later read the official tally of dead, he found that it listed them as 130 Viet Cong killed”(Turse, p 210). Moreover, LBJ wasn’t aware that by sending more troops to Vietnam just widened the war. In reality the constant deploy of troops blocked any kind of victory for the US.
Ethical Judgment/ Artist Statement
In my art piece, I wanted to reveal the unknown truth about what LBJ was suppressing to the public. I think that when people think about sending troops to Vietnam, they don’t consider what was really happening behind the scenes. Even I was unaware at the beginning of how LBJ managed to persuade government to keep sending more troops until it got to around nine million troops. I found it really upsetting that LBJ was sending troops based on inaccurate statistics. In my art piece, as you look through the tunnel, you will notice more and more troops until they block out the light at the end of the tunnel. This exemplifies that by sending more troops to Vietnam, just widened the war. The troops at the front is what the American public saw, just Viet Cong deaths. However, if you delve further into LBJ’s decision you can see that unarmed civilians and American troops were being killed at a higher rate than the Viet Cong.
My art work wasn’t too difficult to build. However, it was definitely time consuming. It involved multiple trips to the Dollar Store to pick up more paint or lollipop sticks. Essentially I used a giant card board box to be the tunnel and then I just create a bunch of people representing Viet Cong, civilians and US troops (read historical paragraph to find out what they mean in my piece). It was challenging to place the figures in the tunnel so you could see them all. I also had to find a very bright light to light up all of the people. I chose to use tissue paper so that it would look cool when a light is shining from the back.
For the exhibition we had the trouble of dividing up us up into rooms. We wanted people with the same sort of ideas to be in the same room. Mimi, Simon and I all had a similar topic.
We were focused on the troops that were sent, therefore we were all in the same room. We had our usual chaos an hour before the exhibition started with not finding enough curtains and making our room fit the theme.
Over all I would say that the exhibition was a success! We got a lot of really positive feed back on our projects. Also as I was explaining my project to the parents, I realized how much I really learned about the Vietnam war. I had a quick look at my peers projects and it really showed that I think our grade got a good grasp on the Vietnam War.
It is that time of the year again when we present to our teachers how we have grown as a learner. For our Tpols we are required to answer the question, why do you feel you are ready to advance to the next grade level?
A capture of what we have covered this year
A personal twist
Grade 11 has definitely been the most demanding grade so far. Unlike in grade 10 when all of our classes were enrolled with PLP, this year we had multiple other classes as well as PLP.It was certainly a challenge to adjust to the new course load. However, I think I did a good job with keeping up with everything. This year we have covered a lot from the Civil Rights Movement to the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The Civil Rights Movement project I think had the most impact on me as a learner. We didn’t just focus on the past events, but we connected them tocontemporary and Canadian events. From connecting events through a timeline, you really see the big picture. You see what is getting better and what mistakes have been repeated. Where I live, you could say it is in its own little bubble and this unit made me step outside that bubble and really delve into events that were covered up.For the contemporary event I was able to relate my thesis to multiple events. I did lots of outside research so I could get find the most evidence to back up my point. I branched out and watched a documentary that was a similar story to Damilola Taylor (our contemporary event).
As well as video making, this year we covered a lot of literature and really focused on our writing skills. This was definitely a skill that I needed to work on…
I think I will start off with a fail attempt of an essay. This was the first essay we wrote of the year. It was an in class timed essay! The essay was based on the all of the ideas we had covered in the Civil Rights Movement. Let’s just say I had basically forgotten how to write an essay. I did not feel confident about my essay at all when I was done. Moving forward, I realized that I should probably practice writing more and I think our teacher realized that also with the class. After lots of practice we wrote our final essay about the unit, ‘The World On the Brink’.
The world on the brink essay, in my opinion, was pretty good compared to the first essay I wrote. I spent a lot of time researching and organizing my essay. I used the resources our teachers gave us, such the research data bases. I was able to find speeches and documents that I could incorporate in my essay. I even was able to use other events that JFK was involved in to backup my point and how he learnt from previous mistakes. The post I wrote to tie the unit together, connected all of the events we focused on and how they relate to each other. I also made some small graphics to make my post more interesting.
Finally, I wanted to highlight my PGP progress. In PGP this year we covered a lot!! The biggest take away for me in the course, was how to stay productive and setting achievable goals.
At the beginning of the year we made many short and long term goals. Looking back now I was able to reach some of these goals school related and in my personal life. I think what made me achieve them was by writing them down. I learnt that by writing down your goals, it reminds you everyday of what you are working towards. Even having my dream board visible was a good motivator to try and strive for my goals. In PGP as I mentioned earlier, I discovered many new tools to stay productive. After reading the 7 Habits of Mind, I reminded myself to prioritize and to “put first things first”. This was a good quote for me. With all of the course work and outside school activities I had this year, it was important to prioritize to get tasks done.
Overall I think it is fair to say that I am ready to advance to the next grade level. I think all my skills from PGP will be useful next year especially for grade 12! I have also really learned how to stay motivated and how to stay determined. Also with my growth as a learner, from writing skills to time management, I think I will be ready for next year.