My Table

Hello again from home! To start off with our new unit, Fight the Power,we had a quick reflection on the habits of mind in the PGP course. This first milestone was thinking about our personal mission statements (I had to revise mine) and starting with the end in mind, sound familiar? 

This was my dream board I made last year to create my end goal.

Your role models have an impact on your mission statements and your end goals, they are the people who inspire you. On that note our task was to create a personal mission statement and an end goal as well as incorporate our role models to show how they might get you to your end goal. To show this visually I created a “meeting” room with all my role models of how they can help construct my end goals. Take a look:

Let’s break it down a little to explain why these people are my role models. My personal mission statement is all about how you choose to deal with a bump in the road. You can either let it bring you down or you can empower others. All of my role models have faced conflicts in the past but have fought for themselves and others to raise awareness. 

Ariana Grande

I didn’t choose Ariana Grande particularly because of her music but for her bravery after the terrorist attack at her concert in Manchester. The terrorist attack affected the whole country as well as the world. It casted fear over the UK especially in Manchester and of course for Ariana. Ariana could have traveled back to the US and moved on but instead stayed to produce a concert to fight terrorism and support the families whom were affected, One Love  Concert. This concert was the most powerful concert I have watched with 55,000 people present. Multiple other artists immediately traveled to be a part of the concert and be by her side. The concert was in honor of the victims and to raise money to help the victims and their families. Ariana stood strong to fight this battle and sang even after the trauma she just went through!

 

Princess Diana

Princess Diana died in a tragic car accident however, her work towards over 100 charities as well as her royalty duties has been recognized and celebrated. I admire Princess Diana because even though her marriage was falling to pieces, she managed to shift the face of the British monarchy to become more involved and connected to the citizens and people round. I watched Princess Diana and Prince Charles’s interview regarding their marriage. Even from an outside perspective it was obvious that their love life wasn’t as perfect as it seemed and then it was revealed that Charles had an affair. Overall the fact that Diana was motivated to connect with the people by attending charity events during and after the marriage made her monarchy days so much more memorable. 

Malala Yousafzai

I discovered who Malala Yousafzai, a Packastan activist, was and her accomplishments when reading her novel a while ago, I am Malala. Malala was shot by a member of the Taliban after she voiced that girls should have the right to learn which made her a target. She recovered in the UK where she was able to tell her story around the world to make a difference. She now has a fund called the Malala fund where she travels to visit girls that are in a similar position to her. Her goal is to make their stories heard around the world. After reading the novel I felt pretty empowered by her accomplishments and bravery. 

Dara Howell

Dara Howell is a Canadian freestyle skier who was the first to win a gold medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics, 2014 in ski slope style. I really admire Dara for her recovery from an ACL surgery that happened at the big air World Cup in 2018-19 but then achieving a bronze medal in Italy once she recovered. She also inspires me because of her courage to jump the big air however, her resilience is why she is one of my role models. She showed me that injuries should get in the way of your dream. When I had my ankle surgery of course I was pretty mad that I missed out on the ski season but I looked up to Dara because of how positive and calm she was throughout her injury.  It showed that by taking a break makes you come back even stronger!

 

My Granddad

My Granddad has always been a significant part of my life. I look up to him because of his patience and kindness. He always does what he can do to improve his community, such as always picking up  litter he see no matter how gross it is and reading books to kids at elementary schools. My granddad was one of the people who supported and encouraged me to pursue in my engineering degree. Whenever I visit he shows me the new furniture he built in is shed and demonstrated the steps one by one how he built it! As I said I really appreciate and value his patience and kindness. He has inspired me to take more action in my community.

Dystopian Novels

I’m sure you will know that there is a world wide pandemic currently happening, COVID-19.

COVID-19 has impacted so many lives and the economy, no one was ready for this catastrophe. As a result of COVID-19 we have been introduced to school online which has its pros and cons. Luckily with PLP it wasn’t too hard of a jump to move to online since we already have the apps and technology to do so. The hard part was not having any social interaction in the class, but at least we could “see” each other. However school still carried on and we begun our first online project, The New Norma which Introduced us to literary dystopias.

You could say we are living in a dystopia right now since the whole world is in panic mode and it is unknown what the outcome of the virus will be. In this project we were assigned a dystopian novel and our task was to analyze how dystopian novels teach us about what is happening now. In my group was Sam, Spencer and Robbie.

Driving Question:


How do literary dystopia help us understand what is happening now?


How we answered the question:

To back track a little before the project we had to define a dystopia vs a utopia. A utopia is your ideal/perfect world, whereas a dystopia is the complete opposite where fear and injustices are present. Before our project started I started watching a dystopian TV series called The Man In the High Castle which is about if the Nazi’s won the war. It is certainly a dystopia!

To fully understand the two terms in small groups we designed and created our own Utopia. There are many aspect to creating a perfect society. You have to think about the laws/rules, punishments, education etc.

Take a look at our ideal world:

Dystopia

I was assigned to read World War Z (WWZ) which was my second choice. I had seen the movie in the past so I already had a understanding of the story line although I was surprised to find that the movie and the book are actually very different.

The movie is told from the perspective of one person during the pandemic, where as the novel has a different take on the story. The novel is told from multiple people with one interviewer trying to write a report of how each country dealt with the virus. The report included the emotional side, “the human factor”. As you could imagine in a worldwide catastrophe people would be scared and confused and those emotions can impact your actions. 

Once a week we “met” with our group and discussed the novel as well as shared our journal ideas. The journals were a way to connect our dystopian novels to current events using evidence, and to start thinking about our final product. Overall we completed three journals all connecting to different aspects of the book. There is a lot of misguided information regarding COVID-19 and it was important to do in-depth research. This was really interesting because there is constantly new News coming out everyday and it is important to know what is happening around the world especially in these times when we are all stuck in our homes. I really enjoyed researching about Donald Trump’s new “cure”!

My first journal connected the fact that fear overpowers your actions and instincts in uncertain situations. My example was Donald Trump’s “cure” to COVID-19 the hydro…. People believed the president even though the drug hadn’t completed full testing. It was really fascinated to me how the President of the United States could promote a cure that wasn’t even tested! In WWZ a similar event occurred when someone claimed they found a cure to the zombie virus when in a matter of fact it was a hoax. This just shows how desperate people are when it comes to finding a cure and that the fear of not having the medicine overpowers your instincts making you more gullible.
My second journal explained how these crisis’s make people less innocent. In the US the gun sales have significantly spiked, this is due to the fear of disorder within the government. Another factor is for safety and security. In WWZ neighbors were turning on each other, chaos broke out. 
Finally my third journal shed some light onto the situation, and how world wide pandemics can bring people together with a shared experience. Recently there was an online concert called Together At Home. It was a creative way for artists to collaborate and bring everyone together and lighten the mood. 

Back to the project! Our end goal was to create a 10 minute presentation as a group that answered the driving question. The presentation could be in any form, keynote, video etc. As I mentioned earlier, WWZ is an interview style. Similarly we wanted to make our presentation an interview. We agreed that a News report with interviews would be more engaging to the audience. Just like WWZ we decided to “interview” people from around the world who have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 emotionally and economically. 

Our Thesis:


Literary dystopia, while fictional, can give us insight into the ways human beings react emotionally to a worldwide pandemic. 


Many employees or business owners are worried about how the economy will end up as well as unemployment. Our goal of the video was to capture the impacts COVID-19 has had on many different communities. It was also to delve into different perspectives and how people are dealing with this crisis. After some brainstorming we agreed on the following characters:

Interviewer: Me 

 #1 Pig farmer (Saskatchewan) – Robbie

#2 Medical worker (Italy) – Spencer

#3 Worker in oil rigs (Alberta) – Sam 

#4 Protest sympathizer (US) – Robbie 

The pig farmer was a side to COVID-19 that I hadn’t thought about until Robbie mentioned it. Basically the farmed animals are fed the left overs from buffets in some places in the US especially in Nevada. The only problem is that all the buffets have been closed due to COVID-19, therefore farmers are having to find other sources of food for their animals.

In Vancouver we can see how much Alberta is struggling because of how cheap oil is at the moment! Alberta crude oil is a historically low demand since no one is driving as well as the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. As you could image an immense large of Alberta’s economy is from oil, and with a low demand means that Alberta is going to have to come up with a new way to build up their economy. The current crisis has exposed the flaw of Alberta relying on oil. Alberta is going to have to economically diversify itself in order to stay stable whether that be looking at more sustainable options.

 

Price of oil in Alberta

To enhance the interview, our teacher suggested that we should actually interview someone. So we decided to interview the tour guide they had in Vietnam, Alister. COVID-19 has taken a huge toll on his job since of course no one can travel, so no business. Alister also almost got stuck in Vietnam, he made it out on the last plane!

Here are the questions we asked him:

How did the pandemic change the way you do your job?

What changes do you see happening to your job once the pandemic restrictions are lifted? How do you think travel will be affected?

What does quarantine look like where you are right now?

What is your opinion on the laws surrounding quarantine restrictions? Are they fair or out of proportion?

We know you were trying to get out of Vietnam recently. How much panic was there at the airport?

For the interview a zoom meeting was set up. Unfortunately I had a class at the same time so I couldn’t interview him but I got a run down from the rest of my group. He talked about how at the moment he is unable to work however, they are still able to plan future tour groups and expeditions. To our disappointment the audio didn’t pick up from the call so we were unable to include the interview in our video… 

The presentations were really interesting because each group had a unique take on the driving question. Over all dystopian novels can almost give you a scene of hope since they for the most part have a happy ending. I am excited to see what the outcome of virus entails. Will there be more online courses, will business have to completely change paths or will more people always work from home, no one knows.

A Monkey That Revolutionized Space Technology

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. 

Work Cited:

“First Monkey in Space.” First Monkey in Space – Albert Monkey, www.monkeyinspace.net/first-animal-in-space/first-monkey-in-space/. Jan 11, 2020

Morton, Ella. “The Amazing Tale of a Twice-Married Monkey Astronaut.” Slate Magazine, Slate, 3 Nov. 2014, slate.com/human-interest/2014/11/miss-baker-the-first-monkey-to-survive-a-trip-to-space.html. Jan 10, 2020

“Animals in Space.” NASA, NASA, history.nasa.gov/animals.html. Jan 13, 2020

Greenfieldboyce, Nell. “After 50 Years, Space Monkeys Not Forgotten.” NPR, NPR, 28 May 2009, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104578202. Jan 13, 2020

“Overview.” NASA, NASA, mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/mission/overview/. Jan 12, 2020

“Microphones.” NASA, NASA, mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/mission/rover/microphones/. Jan 13, 2020

SpaceX. “SpaceX.” SpaceX, www.spacex.com/. Jan 13, 2020

Spacexcmsadmin. “Falcon Heavy.” SpaceX, SpaceX, 16 Nov. 2012, www.spacex.com/falcon-heavy. Jan 9, 2020

The Monster

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.

The Horror in Get Out

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 Halloweenthis 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 of  the 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 is  relating way back in history to the  European 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.

The Horror of Halloween

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.

Taming of The Blue Stocking

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 the  views 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.

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.

 

Conceptual Art and Vietnam War

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. 

Now the first question you are probably wondering is what is conceptual art?

My Conceptual art:


Examples of 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.

Interestingly we looked at the neuroscience behind it:

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.

 


 

The Research…

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. 

Historical 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.
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.

 


 

The Building…

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. 


 

The exhibition…

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. 

“We Shall Over Come”-MLK

The Civil Rights Movement is a significant part of history that shaped the way we live today. I think out of all the units we have covered, the Civil Rights Movement was the most interesting to me. I think mainly because it was a time period that involved so many brave individuals, such as Martin Luther King, the Freedom Riders, Mamie Till, and more. We followed the timeline of the 1950’s and 60’s. Like always we had a driving question to keep us on track. 

“How can the actions of an individual change a system?”

Now for this project I worked with Isobel. Our video had to connect to historical, modern and a Canadian individual. In our video we used the idea of how an individual can impact a society, and even have a contribution to the Civil Rights Movement. In our video we use the term Sugar coat, we believe that for a system to be changed, the un sugarcoated truth needs to be revealed.

If individuals had sugar coated these groundbreaking moments, would the Civil Rights Movement have still advanced?

Let’s find out…

 


 

To rewind a little, I will talk about the learning that I did to get to my final understanding of the question. In our last until we discovered the 1950’s and in this unit, we kept following the timeline.

Through out this unit, we have covered a lot of the ground breaking moments. We didn’t just learn about these events, to really push our learning we had to connect these events together. We started off by learning about the Rosa Parks bus boycott. 

Rosa Parks 1955
Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to white man on a Montgomery city bus. Rosa sparked the bus boycott. By not giving up her seat, it helped end segregation on public buses.

Rosa Parks was one of the first sparks of the civil rights movement. By not giving up her seat sparked the sparked the movement. We also looked into Cauldette Colvin, another bus boycott. We looked into the similarities and the differences between the two events. Something that surprised me was the fact that Cauldette  had refused too give up her seat before Rosa Parks. The reason Rosa Parks Boycott became popular is because she was a good symbol for the civil rights movement. Rosa was educated and wealthy. The difference for Cauldette Colvin was that she was only 15 years old and also pregnant. Implying that she wouldn’t be a good “role model”. The movement leaders thought that people would focus more on the pregnancy than what she actually did. It showed me that the Civil Rights Movement was more planned out than I thought it was.

Claudette Colvin
Claudette Colvin was known as a pioneer of the civil rights movement. Claudette refused to give up her seat on a public bus to a white women, nine months before Rosa Parks did the same thing.Claudette argued that it was her "constitutional right".

This was pretty much the first topic that we had looked into that really changed a type of system, the bus system. After the boycott, African Americans refused to take the bus until they were granted equal seating rights. 

From the bus boycott I realized that that was only the beginning of the civil rights movement and there were many more events that took place, such as Little Rock Nine and the desegregation of schools. 

 


 

As I mentioned earlier in the video we had to connect the topic to a contemporary event. I think it was important to look at modern events because it is important to not be in a little bubble, but to be oblivious that racism still exists today. 

We started off by reading a novel called Dear Martin by Nic Stone. This novel took place in America. Before I read the book, I didn’t quite realize that racism is still a big problem today. The novel made me think about what I can do to educate others about the issues that are still happening today. 

To really get as much out of the book and get an understanding of it, we had to participate in a seminar every week. Not going to lie but I wasn’t too excited to start off with since we would have someone marking how much we participated. I’m not the type of person who loves saying my ideas in front of everyone. The first seminar was a little nerve racking, however I realized how chill they were. By the end of the seminars I enjoyed them! From the seminar we challenged each other’s thinking. The first seminar was ok. I think it took the class a while to be able to dissect the novel and really challenge each other. In our seminars we also talked about movies and documentaries that we had watched along the way. Something that I took away from the seminar was that by connecting all of the events we had covered, was the most effective way to learn. Each event were building blocks that followed one after another. We discussed how each event falls into one another by making historical connections and contemporary connections. I also learned from doing these seminars, how to formulate my own opinions using a resource, and to have evidence to back it up. 

I missed one of the seminars so for a make up assignment I partnered up with Hannah, and we discussed basically all the events we had encountered. A point that Hannah and I discussed was how other countries viewed America during the civil rights movement. I had never really thought about the perspectives of other countries on America. America was always known as this perfect country, “the American dream”. But my question is what do they mean? America had so many issues to do with racism that have still been carried out today, like we saw in Dear Martin. 

Similar the murdering of Manny in the novel, an event that happened in the year 2000, was a 10 year old African American, Damilola Taylor was also murdered for racial hate. I had knew about this event for a while, although I had never really looked into the case until I started to learn about the civil rights movement. 

I looked into Damilola Taylor when we were introduced to a reflection portfolio post to connect historical and contemporary events. This is where I thought that I could talk about Damilola Taylor. I then just had to find a historical event. 

 

Emmett Till 1955
Emmett Till lived in Mississippi when we was murdered by two white men for wold whistling at a white woman. Mamie Till, his mother decided to display the body of Emmett at his funeral. By showing the body, made African Americans realize what the white people were capable of. Mamie encouraged people to be more vocal. Emmett Till's death was the opening to the civil rights movement.

Just like Damilola, Emmett Till was murdered for racial hate. Something that I found really interesting about both events is they wouldn’t have been as popular if the parents for the kids hadn’t said anything. Before Emmett was murdered, there had been so many other horrible murders that didn’t make the media, because they had been altered or pushed under the covers. This is where the idea sparked that if people don’t unsugar coat these events, people will realize change needs to happen. The mother of Emmett Till, Mamie had spoken out about Emmetts death and at the funeral she had even shown the body of Emmett for everyone to look at. I never thought that by showing people the body we have that much of an influence on people to want to change society. Connecting to Mamie Till, Richard and Gloria Taylor had advocated for their son also. I think the fact that I was able to find the connection to those events, has made me more aware and I am able to make connections to even more recent events.

Recently I watched a short documentary about an African American called “Black Sheep”. The documentary conveyed the message that racism is still a huge problem today.

To fit in he bleached his face and put in blue eye contacts just so he wouldn’t get beaten up. This was a true story and I think like we discussed in the seminars and from researching Damilola, I can conclude that racism is still a huge problem today. 

 


 

Now you are probably wondering about the video Isobel and I made, and how it connects to everything we have covered. For the video as I said earlier, we could make our own thesis to answer the overall driving question. We also had to connect a modern individual to a historical and Canadian individual. Isobel and I did some brain storming and then we realized that we both did a similar topic for our reflection post. We decided to go the idea of by un sugarcoating events, it can reveal the imperfections in society. We ended up using Damilola Taylor, Emmett Till and Carrie Best (the Canadian).  I had never quite realized that the reason Emmett Till’s death was so significant was because it was publicized. I think that was my take away from this unit, for something to change, people need to be vocal. I can take this message away with me and use it in my life. This unit has made me open my eyes and made me be more alert to the problems in my community. 

Emmitt Till & Damilola Taylor

In PLP we are currently learning about the Civil Rights movement. Our unit is called ‘We Shall Over Come’. The term, ‘We Shall Over Come is the anthem of the Civil Rights Movement. Some key people that we have researched so far are, Rosa Parks, Emmitt Till, Claudette Colvin and a bit of Martin Luther King Jr. We have also looked into connecting contemporary events with historical events which was our task for this post. As always we have a driving question to consider;

How can the actions of an individual change a system?

I chose to research Emmitt Till and Damilola Taylor. Both of these young individuals were murdered because of racial hate. The reason I chose these two individuals, is because for both cases at first the murder was sugarcoated and people were clueless of what really happened. It was because of the parents, of that reviled the truth to the media and to a crowd, that people acknowledged these defaults in society. The media is the most powerful tool. If an event ends up on the front page of the news paper, people will read it and the word spreads. This is why the parents of the individuals I researched, stood up and let out the truth, to encourage people to fight for justice. 

My post will be answering, by not sugar coating the truth such as Emmitt Till and Damilola Taylor’s murder, it can reveal the imperfections in society. My two examples is the death of Emmitt Till and Damilola Taylor. This collage I created is so you can visually see the two events historical and current and how there are still devastating events happening in modern day. The pictures of Mamie and the parents of Damilola’s parents speaking up, imply the importance of saying something instead of pushing the truth under the covers. 

 


The historic event I chose is the death of Emmitt Till.

Emmitt Till was the age of 14, when he was killed by two white men for wolf whistling at a white women. In my opinion I think it is outrageous that a 14 year would be killed for something as small as wolf whistling at a white woman. Since Emmitt Till was colored, white people didn’t pay much attention to the case. The suspects were taken to court for a trial, but of course the white men won, and weren’t pressed any charges. At Emmitt’s funeral, his mother, Mamie, decided to display the body. People could realize what the white people were capable of. The impact of Emmitt’s mother un sugarcoating the murder was a contribution to the civil rights movement.  

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My contemporary event I chose to research is Damilola Taylor’s death.

Damiloa was only 10 years old when he was stabbed by a group of white teens. The theory accepted by the police is that he was attacked and fell on a broken bottle, later bleeding to death (which is a lie). He died 10 days before his 11th birthday.

 

His parents took the news and explained that there needs to be change. There is even a film on the BBC which is a documentary of Damilola. 

His mother Gloria Taylor, was popular on the news and on various panels. In fact in a centre was set up in memory of Damilola. The Damilola Taylor Trust was established in May 2001 in memory of Damilola Taylor who was tragically killed in 2000 by an act of violence by two boys not much older than him. The Damilola centre is a place where youths can have fun and be away from violence. Gloria also confronted the authorities to get their facts straight about her son. 


I’m not saying that it was a good thing that these two innocent boys were killed. However if non of this happened, it wouldn’t have sparked that change in society that needs to happen. By un sugarcoating these murders, people realize that there are imperfections in society and this is when people want change. After researching these topics I have realized that even in modern day nothing is perfect. In my collage as I mentioned earlier, you can see that a lot of the pictures were of news papers and the parents standing up implying that by letting the truth out, will improve society.The end of racism may be on the right tracks however, there is still a long way to go. If more people like  Manny, Gloria Taylor and Richard Taylor can change a system then may be one day racism will come to an end.