School

The ‘Skin Colour’ Pencil Crayon

As a white person I know I can never truly understand the injustices that a person of colour goes through and I acknowledge my white privilege. This blog post and project are about the research I did to better educate myself about black oppression, injustice and experiences. Hopefully, this blog post can help others educate themselves as well.  

When you think of a ‘skin colour’ pencil crayon what colour do you think of?

On Instagram I came across this post:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CBKQWkrhojP/?igshid=q0hun64wmdul

After looking at this post I realized how true this statement is. During some point as a kid, I learned to associate the peach colour pencil crayon as skin colour. This is where the problem starts and as a society, we need to change. As a movement towards change and representation that ‘skin colour’ is not always white, I created a statement art piece to represent this. 

A box of pencil crayons that says the words skin colour and includes pencil crayons that are representative of all skin colours. I was initially inspired by the idea of visual representation from our grade 11 unit on conceptual art. This piece signifies that we need to teach all kids about black history and culture in school, while also showing the importance of diversity and loving your skin colour. Children aren’t born racism. They learn it, so if we can be teaching children from a young age about the importance of embracing others, equality and love, we can make a positive change for the future and eliminate racial discrimination and injustices. Although I know that pencil crayon sets like this already exist, I created this in response to the Instagram post I saw and to signify that change needs to happen. After creating the art piece, I decided to research more in-depth about the ‘skin colour’ pencil crayon, and what I came across was a wealth of information. The three that stood out to me were a TED talk, a research article, and the film made called a class divided.

Humanea

The TED talk was a very powerful and moving talk by Angélica Dass called “The Beauty of Human Skin in Every Colour.” While watching, I learned about the significance of her photography project called Humanea, where she captured the beauty and diversity of over 3000 people from 13 counties.

What made this art so extraordinary was how through the power of media, the art was displayed globally in exhibits, news, websites, and publicly on sides of buildings. We see the significance of Humanea as it teaches people of all ages that all skin colours are beautiful. This is definitely a TED Talk that is worth watching!

The Human Colour

The Research Article I read was called ‘The Human Colour: investigating the attitudes and perceptions of learners regarding race and skin colour.’ The study took place in South Africa and look at how grade 3 students perceive skin colour through pencil crayons. Throughout the article, several studies explained that took place within the classes. One of which was where the children were asked to draw a self-portrait of themselves. During this experiment, many of the kids used colours that were lighter than their skin colour to draw themselves. Specifically making the colour of their face much lighter or not even colouring it in at all. Another study that was done within this article was where the grade 3 students were asked to name some colours of pencils crayons. The results were astounding, the majority (91%) of children from the Afrikaan class called the peach coloured pencil crayon ‘skin colour’ or human colour’ or in Afrikaans ‘menskleur.’ These results show that kids, even at a young age, understand the racial divide in our current society. This needs to change so we can have a just society where children can grow up proud and confident of the colour of their skin.

Word Art that I created to say ‘Human Colour’ in over 15 languages

Another issue that was brought up during this research article was when teachers say they “see no colour.” This is a problem because seeing no colour means they aren’t accepting that people have differences, which creates more of an issue. Instead of “seeing no colour,” we need to embrace diversity and teach children diversity and differences are good, but everyone needs to be treated equally.

Class Divided

A Class Divided

Class Divided was a film that was about a teacher’s 20-year experiment about racism discrimination of 3rd graders in the classroom. The teacher, Jane Elliott, who created the exercise for her students divided her class into two groups based on their eye colour. Brown eye students and blue eye students. Fro one day, the teachers treated the blue eye students better, giving them more recess time, telling them they were smarter, and giving them more opportunities to do well. The following day the brown eye students were given these privileges, and the blue eye students were treated poorly and told that they were not smart and couldn’t do anything the brown eye students could do. While on the privilege side, many of the students bought into the idea that they were better than the other students; however on the day they were treated poorly, they got a glimpse of what it felt like to be discriminated against. This was such an impactful experience for the children that taught them so much in just two days. When the kids came back later on as adults to talk about the influence and impact of this exercise, it still resonated with all of them to this day. What was interesting is when the children were praised for the school work they ended up doing much better consistently after the experiment ended. This experient shows the influence that teachers have on students at such a young age. If we were to integrate more lessons like this, I think young children would be able to understand inequality and be willing to fight for change.

 

For this last unit EVER in PLP leading up to this final project, we looked at ‘Politics and Economics’ and ‘ Justice and Revolution’ throughout the 70s until today. Specifically looking at the historical events that could help us answer our driving question ‘How can we as educated citizens fight the power?’ The topics that interested me most were those in the justice and revolution path as I’m very interested in sociology. Learning about historical events throughout this time period has helped me build my knowledge and connect situations to current events. 

To ‘fight the power’ we need to come together as one and fight for change. How I’m trying to contribute and do my part is through education. By striving to learn more about black history, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries and researching and signing the petition I will continue to fight for a just society. I am also using my voice to stand up for black lives through social media and speaking to family and friends. I will continue to speak for change as Black Lives Matter is not a trend, inequality and discrimination have been happening for hundreds of years and we need to fight up against it today, tomorrow and the following days until our society is equal.  

We are Living Through History

Earlier in the school year, our class did a project on significance, focusing on the driving question, “What makes an event significant?”. Specifically looking at historical significance which follows criteria under these categories: 

Importance: Who were impacted by the event at the time? Have people been affected by the event? Why was it so important to them? How were people’s lives affected? 

Profundity: This refers to how deeply people were impacted by the event. Was the event superficial? Or deeply affecting? How were people’s lives affected? 

Quantity: Did the event affect many, everyone, just a few? 

Durability: How long were the people affected by the event? Was the event lasting or only temporary? 

Relevance: This refers to the extent to which the event has contributed to historical understanding. Is the event relevant to our understanding of the past and/or present? Does the event have significance to us? 

Now only a couple months after completing this project, we are living through a global pandemic, COVID-19. An event that is undoubtedly going down in the history books as significant. During this time in isolation, our class has been studying how dystopias help us understand what’s happening in our current situation.  

Throughout this blog post, I’m going to be taking you through my learning of how significant this pandemic is on our society and the future.  

This is the digital media art I created using the word significance and photos that represent COVID-19. Each picture represents a different part of the pandemic, including social distancing, the news, the spears of the virus etc.

To start off the unit, we learned about what utopias and dystopias are. First, we focused on utopias by splitting into groups and created our very own ideal society. This was a fun way to start the unit and understand that utopias encompass an ideal “perfect” society. 

When given this assignment, it made me think of an experience I had doing an activity with a similar objective. When I was 11, I went to an international camp centred around diversity, and one of the activities that I remember most vividly was about creating an “ideal society.” Although I don’t remember all the details of the event, it was one that stuck with me from the camp as it showed that a person’s idea of a “perfect society” is ingrained into their head even from a young age. All of which stem from your world view and ideology

To understand dystopias, we looked at dystopian literature. In specific, we were assigned one of four books, including Station 11, Handmaid’s Tale, World War Z and 1984. I read 1984 alongside with my group members Parker and Calum. 1984 was written by George Orwell in 1949. What’s pretty neat is my mum read also read the book when she was in high school in 1984, and now in grade 12, I read the book. 

When beginning to read 1984, it was a lot different from what I expected, specifically the author’s style of writing and the fact that the book didn’t end with an ending that felt rewarding to the readers. It’s based around the whole idea that “big brother is watching you.” Throughout the book’s entirety, we see the impact of a totalitarian government and the power of technology. 

Each week we would have a group discussion during one of our two weekly class Zoom calls. This was where we could discuss the section of the book we read, including characters, notable quotes and interesting connections to our own lives or other literature we’ve learned. What was great is during our discussion, we each brought different connections to the table, which lead to long in-depth discussion. The book discussion was one of my favourite parts of the unit, as I enjoy expressing my opinion within a discussion format. 

During this reading, we had to highlight and take notes for specific parts that we thought were important and/or connected to our current situation. Usually, I don’t like taking notes while reading as it distracts me from the reading; however, this time, I found it really helpful as I was able to look back and pull evidence form my notes for discussing and writing assignments. 

Examples of some of my notes and highlighting

While also reading, taking notes, and having discussions with our peers, we wrote weekly dystopian journals where we had to connect our reading to current events. Although I always find it challenging to write connection pieces, I really enjoyed writing these journals as I allowed me to learn more about COVID-19 from apolitical, societal and security perspectives. My first journal was about the ‘Reality Control’ in 1984 connected to Trump, giving Americans a false sense of hope about COVID-19. My second journal was about the ‘thought police,’ which relates to people telling on others for breaking the COVID-19 rules. My third and final journal was about the party’s statement “freedom is slavery” and its connection to the stay at home order. If you would like to read my journals, I’ve included them down below. 

Who knew today we would be living a moment in history as the entire world suffers through the global pandemic of COVID-19. With over 2 million confirmed cases and almost 200,000 deaths, the universal goal is to flatten the curve and decrease the consequences of the virus on our society. While many countries are doing their part by enforcing self-isolation and social distancing, in the United States, there is by far the most cases in the world. Even though these numbers seemly keep increasing, according to Trump, the number of new cases is declining, and it's time to "open up America again" (Trump). In comparison to the health officials who would like to be overly prepared, Trump has time and time again has "underestimated the threat" (Washington Post). In correlation, George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984 shares similar attributes in terms of security and the distribution of information. Within the first section fo the book, we learn from Wilson's perspective the life of people within the totalitarian government of Oceania. Wilson's Wilson's job was to "rectify the original figures to make them agree with the later ones" (chapter 4), making them adhere to the Big Brother's Ideology. During one instance, the chocolate rations were decreased from 30 grams to 20 grams. Following the announcement was made regarding the quotas decreasing soon after a voice on the "telescreen" revealed a demonstration to "thank big brother for increasing the chocolate rations to 20 grams a week" (chapter 5). "Reality Control" is what Ingsoc called the shuffling of statistics and event historic records gives a distorted perspective of the truth. Within this dystopia, information was changed to the extreme to adhere to the party's views from children's books, films and posters to sound-tracks. Although the United States doesn't literally change the numbers of cases, by Donald Trump telling people that the number of new cases in American is decreasing to the point where the United States can return to normal gives people a false sense of reassurance and puts more people at risk of getting the virus.

"BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU" is a recurring statement throughout the dystopian novel 1984. The totalitarian government within the book has built the society off of people's fear. A fear of the party, a fear of the Thought Police and a fear of others. This fear carries through to our current society by way of people "snitching." During the panic of COVID-19, there has been an increased number of people reporting others who are not abiding by social distancing rules. Within the book reporting, people to the Thought Police undoubtedly harms society. Children denouncing their parents for thoughtcrimes, making it "normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children”(Part 1, Chapter 2). In today's society, The effects of people reporting on others is highly debated. While reporting on others is being encouraged by government officials, experts say it can "adversely affects minorities" (Zeidler, CBC). According to the City on Vancouver, hundreds of people have called the non-emergency police line regarding COVID-19 and social distancing. Reporting those who do not follow to distancing rules is encouraged by many government officials across Canada, including the mayor of Montreal, who has "encouraged people to call the police if they see people not practicing safe distancing" (CTV). From an opposing opinion, Colin Bennett, a political science professor at the University of Victoria, believes that "snitching on those around us can have unintended consequences that reduce social cohesion and tend to adversely affect minority groups." People want to feel a sense of control during these uncertain times where they do not have control of the situation. A statement Bennett made regarding the harmful effects "snitching" has on our community correlates with the societal issues present in 1984. He stated, "Tolerance builds communities, rather than surveillance and watching and reporting on people." Through 1984 we see how the extremes of the totalitarian government put its people in contact fear that "there might be someone watching" (Part 2, Chapter 2). While the adverse effects seemly divide our society, snitching on others gives people a sense of reassurance and purpose, which translates to 1984, where characters urge to report those who disobey rules to the "Thought Police." Because of the immeasurable amount of surveillance and fear of everyone else, Oceania's people are divided and disconnected. From the beginning of the book, we see the dullness instilled into the members of society "is expected to have no private emotions" (Part 1, Chapter 9). Consequently, people find pleasure in reporting others' wrongful actions. It puts their fear of the uncontrollable at ease. Both 1984 and current events display how it is human nature for people to want to be in control of a situation.
The major themes throughout the entirety of 1984 are the totalitarian government and power through technology. Through the party's slogan, "War is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength,” (Orwell) we learn that individuals' thoughts and emotions do not prevail in government-controlled dystopia. Although we do not have the same rules in our current society, the statement "freedom is slavery” (Orwell) correlates with isolation orders given by the vast majority of governments around the world. By maintaining social distance and staying home as much as possible, our society will regain the normality (the freedom) that we previously had. 
 As the virus spread across countries and gained the status of a pandemic, different governments dealt and continue to deal with COVID-19 in different ways. Some more successful at flattening the curve than others. Vietnam is amongst one of those that have been successful, with 328 cases and zero fatalities. By closely monitoring the outbreak, the COVID-19 Control and Prevention committee created a "Response Plan to contain the virus" (Ly). They began by preemptively close all the schools. The government took action early on, which limited the number of cases in Vietnam, which led to the country being able to return to more normality than the majority of other countries.
 In comparison to Vietnam, countries like the United States have struggled to "flatten the curve" with an increasing number of cases each day. The first reported case in the United States arose in the middle of January, which was around the same time as the first case in Vietnam. However, the US didn't have the same approach to "WIN THIS (COVID-19) WAR" (Trump). With local and regional governments having carried perspectives on how to combat the Corona Virus, this led to a prolonged amount of time before the government issued the stay-at-home order. It wasn't until mid-April that American schools started to go online, which is three months after Vietnam preemptively closed their education facilities. 
 Vietnam took measures to protect the country, including "Aggressive contact tracing and strict monitoring of the quarantining of suspected infection” (Vu & Tran). The ministry of health released an app and website to help limit the spread of inaccurate information and update people on the current situation. While the United States is also trying to develop apps to track the spread of COVID-19, the apps will not be effective because people will choose whether or not they put the app on their phone. The technology's involvement in the fight against the virus relates to the control and containment with technology prevalent throughout 1984.
 While we know that the objectives of our current society in comparison INGSOC are opposite, our community who's purpose is to heal and protect in contrast to a big brother government that is interested "solely in power, pure power" (Orwell). The societies boast some similarities during this global pandemic within government and technology. Countries are trying to use our technologically advanced society to combat COVID-19 and be able to return to normal. 

As a final element of this unit, we were tasked with working as a group to answer the driving question, ‘How do literary dystopias help us understand what is happening now?’ My group decided to create our take on the Big Brother Posters in the book based on the INGSOC party’s slogan “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.” 

Here are the posters we created:

 

My Poster

Calum’s Poster

Parker’s Poster

I created the freedom is slavery poster, which I connected to how following the self-isolation and social distance rules will lead to our society returning to the normal freedom we had before the virus. By creating these posters influenced by the posters in 1984, we were able to visually show how the book relates to our current situation. 

Once we created the posters, we then presented them to the class through Zoom and screen sharing. Although this is an entirely different way of presenting, I’m glad we were able to show our learning to our teachers and peers. In many of my other classes, once learning at home began to take place, many of my other teachers and their classes weren’t fully equipped to transition learning online. Within the PLP, I have enjoyed being able to continue to learn and improve throughout the last couple of months of grade 12. 

Throughout this unit, I was able to connect and reflect on how dystopian literature relates to the global pandemic and the society in which we live. Threw these connections, I was able to gain a deeper understanding of why people are reacting the way they are to the pandemic and what the world is doing to ‘flatten the curve.’

The Significance of the Birth Control Pill

What does it mean for something to be significant? From its definition on google, we know that significance is “sufficiently great or important to be worthy of attention.” But what does this word really represent? In class, to build our understanding of significance, we read the definition of historical significance on The History Thinking Project. This helped me to outline that to make something significant, it has to meet the criteria, including its importance, profundity, quantity, durability and relevance. 

To take our class understanding to the next level, we completed individual research projects to show the significance of a specific topic. We chose our topics from the Billy Joel song “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” which mentioned more than 100 events that took place between 1949, which was the year of Joel’s birth, until 1989 when the song was released. 

Through our events within this song, we had to answer the question:


How do we make choices about what is worth remembering? 


From the number of event choices mentioned in the song, I wanted to choose something that had to do within the realm of human rights and equality. I ended up getting my number one choice, the birth control pill, which was a significant contributor to the women’s rights movement and women’s rights within the workplace. 

To truly show the significance of the creation of the birth control pill for my final project, I created an interview-style podcast to get multigenerational opinions on the making of the pill and its relevance to today. The three women I got interviews with were ages 30, 48 and 76. 

Before we talk about the podcast, let’s take a step back and look at the process leading up to my final product. After picking our topic, our first assignment was to do some basic research about our topic and write a two-page writing sample answering the following question:


  • Who / What is your topic? What’s the basic Who, What, Where, When, Why, How? 

  • Why is it significant? Or Who do you think it was most significant to? 

  • Why were YOU drawn to it? You may use “I” in this writing sample. Convince me this is the topic for you. 

  • Initial thoughts on “communication.” We just started, but what are some possibilities of how you may communicate this information to your peers? 


At first, I thought that this would be quite a bit of writing. However, once I began researching the birth control pill, I learned so much about its history and creation that 2 pages of research and answering the questions above was very doable.

Significance of Birth Control There is a long history of birth control dating back to the Ancient Egyptian times. However, many of these forms of birth control were often unsafe and did not work. It was not until the 1950s that research began for oral contraceptives, aka the birth control pill. A chemist by the name of Carl Djerassi created the first version of the pill in 1951; however, he was not equipped to proceed with testing, production and distribution. During this same time, a woman by the name of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, met with Gregory Pincus to discuss the idea of creating a girl control pill for women. Her objective being that she wanted to give women the ability for women to be in control of their bodies. The following year scientists Gregory Pincus, Min-Chueh Chang and John Rock, began their testing to create a safe and effective birth control pill. With the financial help of Katherine McCormick, a biologist and women’s rights activist by the mid-1950s, birth control pill trials on women occurred. The first of which took place in 1954, where 50 women were tested in Massachusetts. Following this successful smaller-scale trial, a larger clinical trial was conducted in Puerto Rico, where there were no laws against birth control methods. This trial was also proving itself a success. The FDA then approved the pill in 1960, and within a two years, 1.2 million women were on birth control pills. Although approved by the government and available at the time, the pill strung up a great deal of controversy religiously, philosophically, ethically and socially. Half the states prohibited the use of the pill for unmarried women. Nonetheless, oral contraception positively changed women’s lives forever. Women had control of their bodies and able to prevent unwanted pregnancies. It also opened up scholarly opportunities to pursue future education and pursue a career. These were significant steps for women’s rights during this time, as many women were expected to stay at home and raise a family while the man of the house would be the breadwinner. During the women’s rights movements in the 1960s and 70s, many women marched for their reproductive rights as having control over having a baby was a physical symbol for a greater chance of equality. In 1965 the Supreme Court said that married couples have the right to use birth control and ruled that it as a “protected in the Constitution as a right to privacy.” This was another significant step as it solidified women’s rights to use contraception. For this project, I wanted to pick a topic within “We Didn’t Start the Fire” that fell along the lines of human rights and equality. Having been a part of an international educational and peacekeeping organization called CISV, who’s mission is to “educates and inspires action for a more just and peaceful world” (cisv.org). Many of the values instilled in me from this organization surround their educational content, which includes human rights, sustainable development, conflict resolution and diversity. As these areas are such vital parts in what I believe in, I wanted to pick a topic that resonate with them. My top 5 topics were all along the lines of human rights; however, I decided to go with birth control because of the significance oral contraception has had on women rights and independence from their creation until today. Since this project is so open-ended towards how we would like to present the significance of our topic, it’s challenging to narrow it down. Initially, I thought of two different ways to potentially exhibit the importance of birth control to the class. One of which is a video and the other a piece of conceptual art. For the video, I was thinking that I could use the power of perspective by interviewing several people from a variety of ages about the importance of birth control in our society. Having opinions from people who were around during the time that birth control was created to modern-day perspectives. While also including the historical significance during the time. Although I’m not entirely sure how I would encompass these perspectives in a way that solidifies the importance of my topic. From creating videos in past years of PLP, the videos with views from outside sources are the ones that are the strongest. For last year’s exhibition, when our class created pieces of conceptual art to represent some aspect of the Vietnam war. I found creating a piece of conceptual art had a very powerful impact as it gave something that upon first glance might not seem important a deeper meaning. By using conceptual art, I think with some more research, I could create a piece of art that represents the significance of birth control within society throughout the 1960s until today. I believe that either one of these ideas could be used to show the importance; however, as we were only given our topic last class, I’m not sure that these are the ideas I will pursue.

Following learning and understanding the basics about our topic, we then moved onto the next step, asking questions! Within the questions, I decided I wanted to target mine towards the birth control’s impact on women in education and the workplace. Writing down all my questions got me to think about the why behind what we were learning. Looking at why certain things are significant and how they affect outlives today. 

driving question:


What impact did the creation of the birth control pill have on women’s rights during the 1960s and 70s?


With a driving question constructed and many other questions unanswered, the next phase of this project was intensive research to really grasp a deeper understanding of the birth control pill. I used different sources and investigated to find what I needed, which included analyzing what life was like for women before, during and after oral contraception was created. One of the things I found interesting was the people involved in the creation of the pill. Specifically, the women who funded over $2 million (equivalent to $23 million today) to research and development of the birth control pill. Katharine McCormick was a women’s advocate, a biologist and the second woman to graduate from MIT. Without her aid, I don’t think oral contraception would have been created so quickly.

Before I created the podcast, myself and my teacher unanimously decided that I would create every aspect of my podcast from the music to writing the script and question to getting my own interviews. This was the right choice, as it meant that I didn’t have to deal with any copyright issues. Also, it felt more rewarding at the end to say that I created this entire podcast. To create my own music I used GarageBand and to edit my podcast together I used an App called Ferrite

Background Music on GarageBand

Interviews

I mentioned before how I got interviews with three women ages 30, 48 and 76. These were great because it allowed me to learn about the impact of the pill from first-hand experiences. Having gotten an interview with a woman who was around before the immense spread of the birth control pill, it was interesting to hear her experiences and perspectives regarding birth control options. Specifically, she mentioned that many times it relied on the man to be in control of contraception, whereas the birth control pill allowed women to be in control. My favourite quote from this interview was “the pill became what everybody used, so it became universal.” I liked this quote because it really showed the massive effect the pill had on people all over the world.

During my second interview with the women who’s 48, listening to her perspective was great as she both is an entrepreneur and has a family. When I asked her about how the birth control pill affected her won life she could really relate to being able to establish her business then have a family when she felt ready. A quote that really goes along with that is when she said, “the introduction fo the pill gave women and their partners the ability to plan when they could have children, which allowed women time to establish more of a career.”

My last interview was with my cousin, who is 30 years old. She is a very career-focused person and is working as an engineer. Her advocation for women’s rights really showed through in her responses as she talked about the impact the pill had for women’s rights not only in the workplace and education but in relationships as well. She was also an excellent representation for the younger generation in regards to my question I asked about societal stigma in the younger generation as she could relate to her own experiences as a teenager not too long ago. It was so fascinating to see the difference between the different ages as it opened my eyes to see some various different perspectives.

Editing

When editing the interviews, this was quite challenging as I had 20 minutes of audio from each one, and I had to edit to down to 15 minutes. All of what was being said seemed like valuable information, so choosing what I was going to keep was probably one of the hardest parts. On top of going through and editing down the audio multiple times, I also cut out as the long pauses, repeating words, likes and umms. This was a lengthy process; however, in the end, it was definitely worth it.

Presentation

After creating my podcast and becoming a master of my own learning, the next step was to present the significance to my class. To have something up behind me while I was speaking I created a Keynote with some images which emphasized what I was talking about while displaying my thesis and driving question.

Birth Control Pill Presentation

Create cinematic presentations, share them with a link, and collaborate with others in real time.

During my presentation to the class about the significance of the birth control pill, I started off by showing my introduction clip to my podcast, which highlighted some of the most essential points from my interviews. Then I followed up by giving a brief history of the pill and also mentioning the significance in terms of the number of people affect and its relevance to women today. To solidify the points I was making, I then showed one of my favourite interview clips, which emphasized how the pill gave women the ability to control when they wanted to have a family and build a career they were proud of. During the interview, it was stated that “the pill gave us as women control over our own bodies,” which highlighted the fact that women now have control over their own fertility. I finished off by talking about the progression of the pill and how its creation has laid the stepping stones for more advanced birth control methods in the future. This final statement was a combination of my own perspective I gained from my research and the women I interviewed views of how birth control will progress in the future. 

This project was one of those experiences which taught me way more than I would’ve learned from a textbook. I allowed me to go into more depth about a subject that I’m passionate about and learn about its significance from people who have first-hand experience. It allowed me to ask questions and discover the why behind its impact on the workplace and women’s rights. Best of all it allowed me to relate what I’m learning to today’s society and truly look at the impact that the birth control pill will have in the future.

Political Ideologies

Ideology is defined as the study of an idea, specifically the science of ideas. Before our classes where we learned about ideologies, I never went into more detail about what an ideology is or how essential ideologies are in our day to day life. Now that I’m 17 turning 18 and almost legal voting age, I need to do research on different political parties that resonate with my ideologies. These lessons about ideology helped me to reflect on my worldviews and ask the question, “what influence does society have on my worldview and ideology?”

During class, we took notes from a lecture our teachers gave us about the different ideologies on the political ideology spectrum. Although lectures are not my preferred way to learn a topic, its excellent preparation for university lectures next year. What I found is that when writing information down in standard note-taking, it didn’t really stick. However, when reading over my notes, highlighting key points and doing research on the topic, I felt needed clarification. I found that I was able to grasp a complete understanding of the different types of ideologies.

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Some of the significant ideologies we focused on included liberalism, conservatism, capitalism and nationalism.

In our western society (“industrialized west”) all political parties are part of liberalism, some more left-wing or right-wing than others. The values for liberalism are freedom, individual, reason, justice and toleration. Liberalism believes in justice and tolerance with the belief we can all live together. We can see liberalism all throughout our society, for student council within school exemplifies freedom of speech. From the names of the political parties in our community before this lesson, I only thought that the only party that was followed liberalism as an ideology was the liberal party. This was an eye-opener for me has definitely opened my eyes to the different types of ideologies and the political parties in our society.

Capitalism

The economic system based on profits is known as capitalism. The capitalist ideology looks at the supply and demand of the market and believes that everyone can increase their economic growth. This was an interesting ideology to learn about because last year when I took economics, we talked a lot about the impact of supply and demand on our society. Connecting my prior knowledge to these lecture notes allowed me to put these ideologies into perspective and gain a deeper understanding.

For one of the ideologies, we learned about we were challenged to create a trailer displaying the characteristics of this ideology. Specifically, one of our teachers challenged us to make a trailer using the preset Bollywood iMovie trailer. One of my classmates Izzy and I were up for the challenge and decided to create a communist trailer using the Bollywood preset. This was a challenging yet fun task as we had to portray the communist ideology in the span of a minute without talking. We decided to base the story on a communist school where everyone was the same and was taught to believe that communist is the only way.  To show this in the video we created a shot of two students with the exact same school supplies using just Izzy as two people. This represents that every person in communism is treated the same and has the same things in communism. Down below is our video:

One of the things we did each class, which was different then what we usually do in PLP was taking daily quizzes. This bought up a lot of nerve and anxiety when I heard the word quiz as in many other classes, tests and quizzes are used as a marking scale instead of a gauge of if we understand the subject. The first quiz I took about political ideologies, I got 5/10. This was a tough grade for me to get as my mind automatically goes to thinking I won’t be able to understand what I’m learning. However, after taking a step back and looking at my results, I was able to learn from my mistakes and improve my understanding. Each day we were given these quizzes, our teachers gave them to us in a different format from verbal multiple-choice to written fill in the blanks. Through these quizzes, it was interesting to see which style of test-taking suits my learning best. Personally, I found the test-taking that was open-ended and allowed for several answers was the style that suited me best as I was able to expand upon my solutions and truly show my understanding. By the last ideology test, I ended up getting 10/10, which showed that by taking the time to learn and absorb the information being given, I was able to improve my knowledge.

After learning about ideology, we then individually took a quiz to see where we fall on the political ideology spectrum. The quiz we took was on a website called the Political Compass, which gave a very neutral approach meaning the quiz wasn’t geared more so to the left or right side.

Some of the questions on this quiz were difficult and challenging to answer, which made me think deeper about what was being asked. The questions ranged from global to political to personal to really get the full spectrum of areas. An example of one of the economic questions is, “If economic globalization is inevitable, it should primarily serve humanity rather than the interests of trans-national corporations.” We then had to answer with either, strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree.

The results for the survey fell on a 4 direction graph instead of just a side to side graph. Once I answered all the questions, I was then given my results. I fell in the areas more to the left and libertarian. This didn’t come as a surprise to me as many of the factors of my life, including where I live, family influence and personal experiences, have led me to my beliefs. Specifically, growing up in Deep Cove has definitely been a major contributing factor to my own ideology. On top of where I live, a massive contributor to my worldview was built at the young age of 11 while taking part in an international camp apart of an organization called CISV. This opportunity allowed me to learn about different cultures, ideologies and global perspectives. Having had the chance to immerse myself alongside people from all around the world has made me want to make global changes in our society for the better. These goals of creating a more equal and loving community resonate with my worldview, which has shaped the ideology I believe in.

mPOLs 2020!

Oh hey, it’s the end January, so that means… mPOLs!!!! 

If you don’t already know, mPOLs are our mid-year presentations of learning. Instead of the usual parent-teacher interviews, we as students demonstrate and reflect on our knowledge to our teachers and parents. This allows for the opportunity to look back on work and become better learnings. This being my ninth presentation of learning, I’ve grown accustomed to reflection and critiquing myself. Nonetheless, each year I face a new set of challenges and take my knowledge to the next level. 

This year my mPOL will be focusing on my opportunities for improvement through the driving question:


What is my learning goal that I want to reach by the end of this school year, and how will I meet it?


Looking back on my last presentation of learning

TPOLs 2019

Looking back on my last presentation of learning, on top of asking a question to my parents and teachers, I also set a summer goal for myself. This goal was in the hopes of leading myself on the right track to improving my reading and writing skills. Throughout the summer, I told myself I wanted to read at least 2 books and write at least 2 non-academic blog posts. I achieved this summer goal and wrote a blog post about my achievement and its impact here:

Starting The School Year Off Right!

The Importance of Revision 

The Taming of The Shrew, 1920s Style

During our first unit of the year, we dove into learning about what makes something a classic, whether that be literature, film or a play. Specifically looking at Shakespeare, play the Taming of the Shrew. One of our assignments was to write an essay on whether or not the taming of the shrew is a classic. In the planning stages of the essay, I found it especially challenging to come up with a solid point with evidence. Writing is difficult for me, especially when it’s arguing for a specific side (aka whether or not It was a classic). 

I decided to say the Taming of the Shrew was a classic. Using the source ‘What Makes Literature a Classic’ as a reference point, I wrote the first draft of my essay. This first draft was not writing I was proud of. I generalized a didn’t focus on one specific point area of what makes The Taming of the Shrew a classic.

When we were given the chance to revise our essays I took this as the opportunity to take a step back and rethink my points of what makes the play a classic. Instead of immediately trying to write an essay down, I decided to focus on the planning stages of writing an essay. From reading a book on how to write a good essay I know that the steps to writing an essay are like a triangle meaning that if you spend more time planning you will spend less time writing and if you spend less time planning you will spend more time writing. Because it made it easier to write I decided to outline my entire essay before writing. Doing this made it so much easier to clearly outline my points and find evidence to back up the point I was trying to make. I based my essay on how Kate’s strive for independence resonates with women throughout history, focusing primarily on the ideas of relevance among generations. By focusing on one aspect of what makes The Taming of the Shrew a classic, I was able to give several examples from that one point that help solidify my opinion. 

Through taking a step back and focusing on the preparation stages, I was able to be much more successful in the long run. This is something I will continue to keep in mind not only throughout the remainder of the school year but throughout my post-secondary experience.

The Importance of F.A.I.L.ing

 

The last unit we worked on was our horror unit, which was a complete learning experience, aka F.A.I.L. (first attempt in learning). The class project within our horror unit was to create a horror film. However, this project did not go as expected, and our final project wasn’t even close to a full-length horror movie. Although the movie didn’t work out as expected, what I learned during the creation process and reflection were far more beneficial than those that I would have gained if the movie was a success.

Movie? More like a F.A.I.L.

 

My role during the movie production was production designer. As a Production Designer, my job was to work one creating the vision that the critical, creative team had for each scene. I definitely didn’t pursue my role to its full potential, as I should have communicated more with the director as to what the scene should look like. Even though I did research about my part and what it entails I feel as though I should have been more thorough with what I did. As I didn’t know my role to its full extent at the time, I felt that my perspective wasn’t heard on specific aspects of the scenes. This was unquestionably a learning experience for me as I had to find a middle ground for my role where I was beneficially contributing to the project.

As mentioned before, our project didn’t really work out as expected. I think some of the main issues that we had were a lack of leadership and lack of communication. With 17 people in our class, communication was crucial; however, we lacked doing it. In a real movie projection, there are a large number of people who all work well alongside one another. Our class was a disjointed unit as each team within the production split off instead of working alongside one another. After reflecting on this project and where we went wrong, I think the lack of quality time we spend during pre-production was an initial gauge towards the end result of this movie. 

From teamwork to movie production skills, there are many things I learned from this experience. Throughout this movie production, the most important skills I learned was the value of communication and pre-production. Although there were what I learned from our movie projection, they are skills I can apply to every assignment to become a more productive student and reach my academic goal towards exhibiting work that is extending under the proficiency scale. 

The Importance of Hard Work 

During this year, I’ve been trying to go up and beyond to reach the standards I’ve put in place for myself. To do so, this includes putting numerous hours into my work to exemplify the type of student I want to be. For our most recent project, the task was to show the significance of one of the things mentioned in the Billy Joel song “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

I decided to choose birth control as my and to show the significance, I created a fifteen-minute interview-style podcast. Through my interview with 3 women ages 30, 48 and 76, I got their first-hand experience and multigenerational opinions of the pill’s significant over the past 60 years. This showed the profundity, quantity and durability of the pill in our society.

The hardest part of creating this podcast was the numerous hours of editing I spent trimmer the audio clips and choosing the best points from my interviewees to show the significance of birth control. The original length of the audio from all the interviews was over an hour-long, and I edited it down to just 15 mins. This editing probably took me an estimated 15+ hours of work plus on top of that time to create a presentation and practise presenting. Even though I struggled through the hours of work to create the podcast, it was worth it as I was able to improve my podcast and interview skills while building an artifact that genuinely shows the significance of birth control. 

I decided to choose an interview-style podcast as I knew it would take me outside my comfort zone and challenge me to become a better learner. Although this project was challenging for me, it has been the project I am most proud of this year as it encompasses so many different aspects to create it.  

Present and Future 

This year has been tough to balance for me. With school, basketball, scholarship and university applications and trying to implement gluten-free options into the school. Through this past term and a half, I’ve felt overwhelmed as there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. As with our presentations of learning, we always have to pose a question to our parents and teachers. I thought that the best use of this question would be in regards to balancing my life in my years past high school.

My thoughtful question is:


Throughout these projects, I’ve learned the importance of communication, preparation and always working hard. What can I do within my PLP courses over the next 5 months to better prepare myself as a learner for my academic years in post-secondary?


 

Movie? More like a F.A.I.L.

Introducing the Dirty Work horror film trailer, movie probably not coming to a theatre near you.

Have you ever worked so hard on a project to just to find out that it was a F.A.I.L. (first attempt in learning). This is what happened during our class project within our horror unit when we tried (emphasize on tried) to create a horror film. Although the movie didn’t work out as expected what I learned during the creation process was far beneficial than those that I would have learned if the movie was a success. 

The project started way back in October with a field study to Seattle where we visited the LeMay American Car Museum, the horror exhibit at the MoPOP, and the Georgetown Morgue Haunted House.

Our first stop was the LeMay Car Museum. You might be wondering as I was, what does a car museum have to do with horror? Well, it doesn’t have to do with horror but instead how different cars represent society during different times throughout history. When looking at horror we did the same thing, looking at how horror movies, books and the genre, in general, reflected on society. At first, I wasn’t super eager to spend an entire afternoon at a car museum however when we got there it was super interesting to look at both how society affected what cars were made and how the cars affected how society was viewed. 

The second place we visited was the MoPOP (Museum of Pop Culture) to visit the horror exhibit as well as do a workshop. The horror exhibit was a very interesting place to visit as we were able to see props used in horror movies and watch videos about famous horror movies throughout history. While going through the horror movie exhibit a small group of us talked to a horror movie fanatic. This was really cool to hear from his perspective as I’m not a huge fan of horror movies myself so I don’t understand the whole appeal of watching such scary movies. The horror movie fanatic talked about the some of elements of aversion that we had previously talked about in class like the unknown and unbelievable. He also mentioned how he likes the adrenaline rush and scare factor. Getting the opposite side of the spectrum in comparison to myself was very fascinating as I was able to look at horror from a different perspective. 

outside the MoPOP

Horror Exhibit

The final important place we visited was the Georgetown Morgue. One of the scariest haunted houses in Seattle and definitely the scariest haunted house I’ve ever been to. During the haunted house, I felt a combination of fear and adrenaline. The entire time I was in the haunted house it felt like it was never going to end, we were being chased by the actors with seemed like chainsaws and knives through creepy dark rooms. While the entire time I was in there I just wanted it to be over the minute I got out I wanted to do it again. After learning about the effects of horror and why people like it, it was interesting to identify my own reactions to horror and analyze why I reacted in such away. 

Although we had talked about the horror movie in class we hadn’t assigned any roles. The first evening of this Seattle field school was about advocating for what role we think would suit us best. Prior to learning about the basics of film making, I didn’t know much about all the roles that worked together to make a movie run smoothly. I decided I wanted to go for the producer as it played a massive role in the production and I wanted to take that leadership. To gain more knowledge about this role I decided to get in contact with Simon Barry, a Canadian screenwriter, director, and film and television producer. Despite the fact that I wasn’t chosen for the role through my research and interview I learned a lot about the necessary skills and character needed for a producer. These skills were applicable to the role I did end up receiving as a production designer.

The first thing we started off by doing in pre-production was come up with a story idea. We started off brainstorming ideas and narrowed it down to be about high school teens surrounding the issue of stereotypes. One we had the basis of our story we then the art department which I was apart of created the characters. Following knowing the basis of the story’s outline then came the hard part, the script. Even though I wasn’t apart of the script team I could see the amount of work that was being put into the script, with constant revisions the script team had a lot of work on their hands.

When we finished the script and began finalizing pre-production this is where we should’ve spent more time. However, everyone was super eager to get right into filming and production that many crucial parts of pre-production for partially skimmed over including the storyboard. I was one of the people that helped out with the storyboard but I could have done away the better job of outlining what was happening in the scene I was assigned. Although I spent a number of hours drawing the storyboard the outline of scenes I created wasn’t thorough enough. On top of that part of the scene, I created wasn’t exactly how the director envisioned it. The critical piece of information we all missed during the pre-production was communication. Just through simply the key creatives and storyboard team talking we could’ve created a storyboard that would have been strictly followed during filming. Even during filming the storyboard wasn’t used to the slightest which shows our lack of communication between the different roles. After reflecting back on the movie I learned the importance of preproduction and planning. The more work you do before production the earlier filming becomes. 

During production is where our half knit planning showed the most. Each scene took longer than expected and there were various aspects that we didn’t take into account. For example, because we were filming in December our school had a bunch of Christmas decorations. Each time we filmed we took down these decorations and had to put them back up which took a lot more time than expected. I think if we were to film a movie like this in the future we should give ourselves extra time to do the setup and takedown. 

As a Production Designer, my job was to work one creating the vision that the key creative team had for each scene. I definitely didn’t pursue my role to its full potential as I should have communicated more with the director as to what the scene should look like. Even though I did research about my part and what it entails I feel as though I should have been more thorough with what I did. Because I didn’t know my role to its full extent at the time I felt that my perspective wasn’t heard on certain aspects of the scenes. This was unquestionably a learning experience for me as I had to find a middle ground for my role. Doing what I knew I was supposed to do while also helping out in different areas needed.

I think some of the main issues that we had were a lack of leadership and lack of communication. With 17 people in our class communication was crucial however, we lacked doing it. We were a disjointed unit as each team within the production split off instead of working alongside one another. Although we had a number of problems during the creation of this movie and we dint end up finishing the actual movie I learned so much from the creation process. From gaining knowledge about movie production to learning to work alongside 16 other people this project really was a FAIL (First Attempt in Learning). 

IF you would like to check out the other blog posts that I wrote during this horror unit check them out down below: 

GET OUT, A Movie’s influence on society

The Horror Within Halloween (1978)

Monster Who?

Monster Who?

Frankenstein – A green, 9-foot tall monster that was created by a mad scientist, right? Well, not exactly.

The Original Frankenstein story is very different from the perceived creature we see represented in Hollywood. First of all, just for clarification, the creature is NOT called Frankenstein (you might have already known that, however before going more in-depth within the story I did not). Frankenstein is the name of the creator, and his creation is referred to as” the creature” or “the monster” never receiving an actual name. The original story derived from the novel Frankenstein, which was written in 1823 by a woman named Mary Shelley. This book is known as the first horror of its kind in the horror genre setting the basis for the ever so popular growing industry that brings in hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley

Within this original story, there is a sense of mental complexity. Frankenstein is kind of a story within a story within a story. At the beginning of the book, we follow captain Walton while he writes to his sister, describing his expedition to the arctic. We then follow the journey when they find a man (Victor Frankenstein) who is on the search for his creature. Through meeting Victor, the story then takes place through his point of view, telling the story of the creation of the monster and his life. The final perspective within this story is the creature itself, within Victor’s part of the story. So as you can see, the story is pretty confusing.

Before expanding my knowledge about the history of the story, I always assumed the monster was the creature created by Victor Frankenstein. However, after finishing reading the book (and using Sparknotes to gain a deeper understanding of what was happening), and watching the 1931 Frankenstein and Gods and Monsters as well as doing my own research, I’ve determined the real monster within the story is Societal Influences and pressures. 

Within the book…

When the monster is first created in the book, Frankenstein states, “breathless horror and disgust filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had created” (Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus). Victor was not only horrified about the physical appearance of the monster but as terrified toward what others would think of the creature he had created. This set the stage for how society would influence the monster’s character. When the monster was first created, he has no knowledge of how people are treated, nor any knowledge toward how the world works. After his creator’s reaction of fear towards him, the monster left to a village where he received the same response, repulsed and scared by his appearance. After the experiences of being treated like that Frankenstein’s creature stayed away from people, hidden in a hovel outside the DeLacey Family small peasant cottage. From this point on, the creature watched the family and learned how to speak and read.

The turning point in the book is when the creature sees his own reflection in the water and knows what society sees which made him lonely. When the monster asked Victor Frankenstein for a mate, to him he thought it would give him meaning in life. However when Victor refused because he thought that it would do more harm than good this lead to all the monster’s retaliation and revenge towards his creator, killing all of his loved ones. Throughout the entire novel the monster didn’t have an identity with no name and no one who excepted him. Not using a name within the story creates a sense of uncomfortableness making the creature seem inhumane or unbelievable. These techniques are ones used in the “Elements of Aversion”. You can read about how modern horror implement these in my previous two horror posts down below. Society had a major impact on who the creature became, people’s unwillingness to accept differences was the read monster within the story.

Within the 1931 Frankenstein movie…

The 1931 Frankenstein movie has a completely different start than the original book. Instead of being set in the artic the movie’s first scene takes place in a graveyard where Frankenstein and his henchman dig up the bodies of the dead. As the original book and the 1931 movie were released almost 100 years apart we can see how horror evolved overtime. The horror within the book was the mental complexity and long build-up of the characters and story. Whereas within the movie the horror is built quite quickly and there is a use of sound and imagery that portrays the horror for the viewers to see. Within the book one of the major themes is revenge which is displayed threw the initially mistery of all of Victor Frankenstein’s loved ones being murdered by the monster. No one other than Victor himself knew about the creation of the monster however in the 1931 movie people knew about Frankenstein’s intentions and thought he was crazy. Dr. Waldman a professor of anatomical studies who was once of Frankenstein’s professors said “Frankenstein was interested only in human life. First to destroy it, then re-create it. There you have his mad dream”. Within the movie, he was referred to as crazy fro going of the regular track of the known science during this time period. This reflects on societal expectations during the time period. People were expected to follow society however if someone went against the norm they were “crazy”.

One of the key aspects of the movies is when Frankenstein’s henchman, Friz, steals the abnormal brain instead of the normal brain to put into the creature. This is a very interesting aspect of the story that really reflects on Hollywood and our society during the time the movie was created. Unlike the book there needed to be a purpose for the behaviour the monster exhibits throughout the movie. The abnormal brain disconnected the monster not only from society making it even more different than just the appearance. At first, when the monster is created Frankenstein is in awe of what he has created saying “the brain of a dead man waiting to live in the body I made with my own hands, with my own hands”. However, as the story progresses there is a pivotal scene that drastically changes the perspective of how we perceive the creature when he throws the little girl into the pond which kills her. At first, when the creature is with the little girl we seem sympathy towards him however as soon as he tosses her in the pool the creature shifts to a monster. Throughout the entire film we don’t see the monster say very much whereas in the book the monster was literate and spoke immaculately, the movie seems to pivot us against the monster from the beginning. It seems from the points I’ve brought forward that the monster was created as a killer for a horror film and didn’t develop as many characteristics as the monster within the book.

Within Gods and Monsters…

Gods and Monsters was about James Whale the director of the 1931 Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein movies. This film was different from both the book and the 1931 Frankenstein movie as it wasn’t directly about the Victor Frankenstein and the monster. Instead, James Whale and the gardener Clayton Boone were somewhat a depiction of these characters. The movie follows James Whales’s life when he is retired and his health is becoming increasingly worse.    James strongly believed that the creature wasn’t the monster in the movie, instead he said that “the monster is noble and misunderstood” (Gods and Monsters). He describes the film as “A comedy about death” (Gods and Monsters) which is the complete opposite then many would describe the movie. This statement towards taking a different approach to filmmaking relates to Frankenstein in the money when everyone thinks he is crazy for creating life. While relating to Victor in the movie Whales also relates to the Creature with his sense of loneliness and need for someone. James talks about his experiences in the war to Clayton, talking about a friend he lost during the war. At many moments during the movie Whales flashes back to certain experiences during the war which show the traumatic effect the experience had on him.

A critical quote during the movie was when James whale said “The only monsters are here” (Gods and Monsters) while at an event. This quote doesn’t reference himself nor Mr. Boone but the people around him which I think implies that the real monster is humanity itself and the society we live in.

Although initially when reading Frankenstein or watching the movie we might think that the monster is the creature itself as that’s what’s presented on the surface. However when we dive into the significance of the text or the underlying message we can see a deeper meaning within it. The societal influences and pressure present in ‘Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus’, ‘Frankenstein (1931)’, and ‘Gods and Monsters’ all relate to real-world moments throughout history and today’s society. From small issue like not fitting into a “standard” that’s put in place to larger issues like not excepting people who have different religious, race or sexuality. People’s identities are in a constant battle with societal pressures and standards.

GET OUT, A Movie’s influence on society

Have you ever watched a modern horror movie? Nowadays, our society is continually being desensitized within the genre of horror, this means the industry needs to regularly come out with new and unique ideas to keep the viewers engaged. Get Out is an excellent example of a modern horror that tackles an unfamiliar perspective on fear. The film uses an array of storytelling techniques while addressing racism issues in our society.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FGet_Out&psig=AOvVaw049PSIDKqY3poR6fpww-W9&ust=1574134069911000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAIQjRxqFwoTCMi-kr_o8uUCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

Get out tackles a new take on horror, one that differs from the usual slasher film when the plot is somewhat expected. The film encompasses the feeling of isolation that slowly builds throughout the movie. The feeling starts off as soon as Chris, an African American man and his Caucasian girlfriend of 5 months Rose head to her parent’s house over the weekend. On the way the couple hits a dear, when the police come to report to the incident, the officer asks Chris for his driver’s licence even though he wasn’t the one driving. This sets the tone for the racism dynamic of this area, setting the tone that there probably aren’t a lot of black people living in that suburb. The house is located on a property far away from any other homes, “the nearest house is across the lake. Total privacy,” said Dean, the father of Rose. At first, in the movie, we might not think anything much of these little comments about the location or racially clumsy comments from Rose’s family and the other white people. However, they are a vital part of setting up the entire plot of the movie.

At night during one part of the movie, Chirs goes out to smoke and sees the black groundskeeper, Walter, running straight for him then, at the last minute he veers off to the side. Then he sees the Georgina, the black maid almost ghostlike it the window. Upon these weird events, he returns inside where Missy (Rose’s mum) convinces him to go into her office, where she can apparently cure his smoking. However, instead of curing Chris’s smoking, she takes him to the recollection of the night his mother died. This was an impactful part of the movie as it gives us a Chris’ backstory and really allows us to feel the emotion that he felt during that night. Missy then uses that feeling of weakness to send Chris into what she calls “The Sunken Place.”

 

“The Sunken Place” is a metaphor for all people who don’t feeling like their voices are heard. So many people can relate to this feeling from black people’s freedom, even to mental health illnesses. When Chris is put into “The Sunken Place,” it’s like he’s lost with no way out; he can see what’s happening on the outside, but no matter what Chris does, he cant be heard. These types of scenes in movies where the audience can connect and have empathy towards are the scenes that differ a film from being good to great. “The horror movies that stick with us are the ones that offer a unique twist on the character’s perspectives of the horror” (Get Out – A New Perspective on Horror)

The mental complexity aspect of “Get Out” is a crucial part of making the movie so compelling. We expect horror movies to be lots of blood and gore. The uneasiness we feel throughout the film is much more complex than the fear of the unbelievable or unknown. It’s a fear that is built within us about other people. For the majority of the film, we don’t see this type of horror, it’s not until the end. These aspects are encompassed at the end during the killing scene. Instead, through the depiction of the characters within the story, a deeper level of fear arises. The underlying concern of racism within our modern society. In NPR’s podcast interview with Jordan Peele about the ‘Human Horror’ of Racial fears, he said he wanted to show that “The fear that a black man has in a white suburb is real.” This is a crucial part of the creation of what makes the movie so terrifying, bringing the real-life fears that so many people in today’s society deal with to the screen. Another scare that Jordan Peele wanted to touch on in the creation of this movie was “the fear of meeting your future inlaws for the first time” (Peele). Having these layered aspects of fear within the story allows a significant number of people to relate to it, making the fear aspect so much more integrated into you when watching the movie.

Within this movie, the use of filmmaking and storytelling is very strong. As viewers, we follow Chris’ perspective throughout the majority of the movie. This is a very interesting view especially when the other characters begin to unfold. The specifics we learn about Chris unlock details about characters within the story. The other African American people who are the groundskeepers at the parents’ house seem to have something off about them. The way they interact with other people is not normal and almost seems as if they are under a spell or constantly in a daze.

The mental complexities within ‘Get Out’ correlate to the buildup of horror present in the novel Frankenstein. Although Frankenstein was written 200 years ago and did differ in themes and context from ‘Get Out,’ the way the two stories make people think about the what and why something happens is similar. In Frankenstein, the buildup is the monster become literate and gaining human-like characteristics. The entire first half is spent getting to know the creature and following alongside him as he gains more knowledge. Then the horror begins once the monster feels a sense of loneliness and wants revenge on his creator. Although Get Out follows an entirely different premise, the way the story starts with a sense of trust between Chris and Rose, having been dating for 5 months and visiting her parents. Then having the parents welcoming at the beginning, all continually builds up until Chris notices something is off, and it goes down from there.

One of the first scenes of the movie is when the dear is killed by their car on the way to Rose’s parents’ house. This is a symbol of the innocent being killed which is a reoccurring symbol throughout he remained of the movie. Rose is bringing Chris into harm’s way, but as viewers, we want to trust her because for the majority of the film she doesn’t seem to be in on what the family is doing. She is also empathizing with Chris’ experience. Rose is aware of how her family is treating Chris, a sense of trust when she seems to convey that her father never treats her boyfriends the way he treated Chris. She is more annoyed about the situation than he is which makes it so she wins his trust and the viewers’ trust as well. Throughout the film as our trust diminishes for Rose’s parents and brother, we as the viewers build a strong trust with what seems like the only sane person (Rose) other than Chris. The more and more the movie progresses the more we think they shouldn’t make the “last good white person” in the scenario evil, but they do just that. Breaking that trust that was built from the very beginning of the movie. There is then a feeling of fear and loss of hope, ever odd is turned against Chris and the one person that was supposedly on his side had turned, everything seems lost in the final scene of the film. Both Chris and the views are surrounded by a feeling of isolation and no one around to save him.

Get out was a statement on society bringing up a variety of societal issues both historical and in the present day. The movie touches on the issues some of which include police brutality and enslavement. Within Rose’s parent property they have a groundkeeper and a maid both of whom are black. This is a statement about the slavery that took place in the united states from the 1860s all the way until the 1950s. As mentioned earlier our first experience with the police in this movie is when Rose and Chris hit the deer and follow up with the police officer. The police officer doesn’t treat Chris with respect. We later come full circle at the end of the film in the final scene when Chris is trying to escape and both Rose and Chris are lying on the road bloody when a police car rolls up. In my mind when the police car rolled up I thought that Chris was going have an awful experience with the police and be blamed for everything. I think this is what the producer Jordan Peele intended the audience to think and feel and it as with police brutality that takes place in Amerca today and Chris’s previous experience with the cops earlier in the movie. The movie uses Real-life racial tensions to help build the suspense of the story. However, the policeman got out of his car it was Chris’s friend, the one who was right all along about the white family in the suburbs. During NPR’s podcast talking with director Jordan Peele, Trevon Martin is referenced and it’s saying that the movie connects to today’s issues in society with unlawful brutality based on assumptions. A quote from Peele during this podcast was the following “the big problems when talking about race is the us vs them, their racist I’m not” as I feel like that’s how society has divided itself. He followed up by saying “We all have issues to deal with in regards to race internally, it’s part of being a human being,…it’s how we as individuals chose to deal with our internal racism is our only way out”.

After watching Get Out and Halloween when hanging out with some friends one night we decided to watch a horror movie, Anabelle: Creation. Before starting this horror unit and expanding my knowledge of the genre of horror I didn’t really see the point in watching a terrifying movie. However, after learning about the filmmaking strategies and the feeling of the unfamiliar and unknown I gained an understanding of why it’s become one of the most popular genres. From watching Get Out and Halloween from an academic standpoint where I was taking notes and looking out for symbols and characteristics within the film, I automatically began to do that in my head during Anabelle: Creation. One of the things that I noticed during the movie was the use of silence. The suspense was long enough that viewers might begin to let their guard down but as soon as that happens a jump scare or loud horror music would happen. Through learning about horror films I was able to relate the techniques to ones I see in films on my own time. This horror unit has given me a new appreciation for the film industry.

 

 

The Horror Within Halloween (1978)

When it comes to horror movies I’m definitely not someone you’d called a “Horror Movie Fanatic.” I’ve watched maybe a total of 5 horror movies and each time there quite a few times I’m covering my eyes. But what makes these movies so terrifying and is the reaction I’m giving off the reaction that horror movies are trying to get? Through this post, we are going to be exploring the horror film Halloween 1978 to gain a better understanding of horror. 

Halloween was a pivotal point in the horror film industry, many say the true beginning of industry. However, before Halloween, there were many more historical pieces that made the genre grow. For example, Frankenstein, a book written in 1817. Although Frankenstein was written so long ago it shares many resemblances to Halloween. For instance, in the novel, the being created is only referred to as the creature or the monster. In the movie many of the times Michael is just referred to as he or it. This strategy used in horror makes the villain an outsider to our society which adds in a feeling of the unfamiliar. Both the movie and the novel deal with a similar fight to the question of what is humanity. In Frankenstein it’s the constant fight for the monster to feel belonging, Mary Shelly makes the creature have human-like characteristics which throughout the book challenges the idea of what it means to be human. In Halloween, the topic of humanity is also tackled through Michael’s lack of childhood. After killing his sister he is admitted to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, where he is locked up until he escapes years later.

The films also differ in a variety of ways, one of which is the pace of the story. During the time that Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein the idea of bringing the dead back to life through electricity was thought to be a plausible idea. To make the book a horror story the story messed with your morals, in the way that the reader begins to feel bad for the creature who is not being accepted into society even though he is killing people. It’s weird how empathy builds towards the side of the story that is not the good side. Our braIns have been numbed to horror through being able to see horrific real-life horrific photos of what’s happening during wars or in other countries. This lead to the continual increase in how terrifying horror movies are today. If a novel following the same exact story of the Frankenstein book were to come out today instead of 2 hundred years ago the book would not be considered horror because of where our society is today.

So what makes horror horrifying? And in specific, what makes Halloween a horror film? Well throughout the film the “Elements of Aversion” come into play. The feeling as a viewer that you have a lack of power is defiantly one aspect the production team was trying to go for. During the movie, our lens on what is happening is greater than those of the actors. We are able to see Micheal lurking around, stalking the characters in the movie. This makes the audience uncomfortable watching as there is always a feeling of no control. Specifically, when Michael begins to target people there is a sense of helplessness as the audience can grasp what might happen before the characters in the film would realize it. 

Another element that creates fear is the unstoppability of the antagonist, Michael. As soon as he chose victims and stuck with them throughout the movie. Any sense of control the viewers might feel towards the movie is taken away very quickly. One of the shots used in the filming was a first-person point of view shot. This was a crucial part of setting the tone of the film, starting off with a swaying camera as if it’s someone walking. Then using the most effective perspective, in my opinion, the camera angle through the mask which adds a completely different perspective into the film.

During the film, many of the shot angles were from the back of Michael’s head while the people he was stocking in the shot unknowingly continued with their life. These camera angles were an aspect of the filming that really stood out while watching Halloween for the first time. The camera angles were also a huge part of making the movie so effective to the viewers. Another thing that caught my attention was how the production team of the film through sound effects, lighting and filming angles was able to make a quaint little town into a location with a creepy feeling.  

The film starts with a scene in which a boy named Micheal kills his sister in his own home on Halloween night. This begins the entire set up of the film with a sense of vulnerability as we don’t know the reason behind the killings. The remainder of the film stays murky towards why Michael Myers chooses his victims as we never get a glimpse into the mind of the antagonist. Specifically, the few times we see the movie from Michael’s perspective we never really get to see his facial expressions which makes it even harder to read his character and mental state. However when looking at the connections between the first murder and the following ones in the film. The girls murdered were all similar ages and from his home town of Haddonfield. This shows something about the emotional connection that Michael might have to the town he grew up in. 

We don’t know why he targeted young females however during the time period. However this action within the movie has a direct reflection on society during the 1970s. The 1970s were a time of change, standing up for whats write and what we believe in. One of the biggest movements during the time was the Women’s Rights Movement. Early on int he movie we can see the influence that this time period had on the movie. Specifically but very subtlely during the classroom scene, we see Laurie’s education-driven mind. However, we also see many stereotypes present to women at the time like the girl who talked about cheerleading and so forth. on top of portraying idealized characters during the time period, the killings within the movies also had a reflection on reality vs society expectations. In The New York Times Final Reviews of a horror classic, it states that the movie is “a moralistic streak”. The girls who have sex were killed and the ones who were virgins survived.

Laurie, the main character is a key part of the development of the story. In my opinion, the way the director decided to portray this character sets the story up throughout the rising action. We see Laurie as a girl who is well-spoken yet exhibits a sense of innocence. Throughout the film Laurie has an awareness of Michael, seeing glimpses of him for split second. After Michael murders both of her friends Laurie remains the sole survivor of the group. Laurie’s character is known as a symbol of the feminist movement. The movie was the first huge role for Jamie Lee Curtis, the actress who played Laurie.  The video below explains more about Jamie and her experiences with the movie.

When watching this movie as a student looking for answers towards the historical content and connections of the film It puts an entirely new perspective on movie-watching specifically within the horror genre. Before becoming educated on what makes horror terrifying, watching a horror movie didn’t really seem like a good idea to me. However, now that I have a better understanding of horror I have a greater appreciation for its impact and reflection on society.

Work Cited

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/509838/20-things-look-while-watching-john-carpenter’s-halloween

https://www.denofgeek.com/us/movies/halloween/277049/halloween-jamie-lee-curtis-on-the-trauma-of-laurie-strode

The Taming of The Shrew, 1920s Style

This is my first official school post from my final year of grade 12; with us just passing the one month mark, its time to write about our first unit of the school year — this unit-based our studies around two main ideas. We looked at gender roles throughout history and what makes something (literature, movies, etc..) a classic. Incorporating both of these topics, we completed a final project in small groups to show our understanding of gender roles during a specific period using the Shakespearean play The Taming of The Shrew. Watch the short animation below to see whether you understand our representation of The Taming of The Shrew set during the 1920s.

After watching the animation, I hope you understand the message of gender roles during the 1920s. If not, don’t worry throughout the remainder of this blog post, I’ll explain the learning I did alongside my group to obtain an understanding of both classics and gender roles. 

,https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjTmcGr_4vlAhVQIjQIHZlJCQIQjRx6BAgBEAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.sutori.com%2Fstory%2F1920-s-gender-roles–PRb3DxXk1FC1WWoTPbVgqHHy&psig=AOvVaw21aTaDs0iCeYuqFy9KR2m3&ust=1570601141256193

We actually started this unit in the summer by choosing and reading a classic novel. Instead of just reading one I decided to read two of the books were assign to complete a reading goal I set out for myself at my end of the year grade 11 PGP meeting. This was beneficial as it allowed for me to choose from the two books for which one I wanted to write a short review on. The two classics I read included The Wars and The English Patien,t, both of which were excellent, somewhat challenging reads. Sometimes with assigned school bo,o,k,s I don’t enjoy reading them, however I really enjoyed the books and during my family’s vacation in Winnipeg any free time I had I would read the books. Plus the more reading I do the more it will improve my reading and writing. Following reading both books, I decided to write my review on The English Patient as I really enjoyed the format in which it was written and the artistic, descriptive language used throughout the entirety on the story. 

Here is my review:

After reading the short story by Michael Ondaatje the previous school year I knew that I wanted to read another piece in his style of writing. When we were given the option for our summer reading assignment to read The English patient, which is one of Ondaatje’s most famous books, I immediately decided this was going to be the book I read. At the beginning it took me a couple chapters to really get into the story however once I began to be immersed in this sensational story I didn’t want to put the book down. The one complaint I have is the jumping between the present and the past timelines as at times the story felt a little disjointed and confusing. Nonetheless I love this book for the story being told and the wording in which it was told. The format of writing used by Ondaatje truly encompassed that of a poet. The descriptions and similes used throughout the novel really helped to paint a picture in my mind, from “a scurry in her mind like a mouse in the ceiling” Chapter 1, to “the sapper’s arm sweep out and the canvas walls collapse on themselves like a sail” Chapter 10. You can see the use of poetic devices throwout the entire book. The story follows four characters undertaking their own journeys during World War Two and how their lives intertwine at a villa in Italy, A nurse named Hana, a bomb defuser named Kip, a thief named Caravaggio and of course ‘the English Patient’. The story toys with your emotions and leaves the readers grasping for an answer to who the mysterious burned English Patient is. During the entire novel as new elements of the story were told, slowly but surely his character is revealed showing that he isn’t exactly who the others at the villa thought he was at the start. This is definitely a book I would recommend to others to read although at time a little confusing was one of my favourite reads!

Following writing this review we then wrote an opinion paragraph about whether the book we read was a classic or not. For my paragraph I said that The English Patient was a classic because of the longevity of Ondaatje style of writing. The idea behind the message of my paragraph was a very strong point however to improve the way it was presented in the paragraph I could have focused my writing a little bit more to make this powerful statement that exemplifies my point. 

The English Patient is a captivating story with a lot of depth and emotion, truly putting the classic into the meaning of a modern classic novel. The style of writing uses imagery, metaphors and similes to capture the essence of of the 4 main character’s as their lives intertwine throughout the story. During the book this imagery is used to help the reader gain a breath of the depth of the story and a more profound understanding of what is being said. During chapter 2 a scene takes place where Caravaggio sustains injuries when his both his thumb are cut off. Following the description of this violent event in the book, a short sentence is said “Like a wish in a dream”. Upon first glance a reader might not notice the depth of this sentence or apply a deeper meaning, especially following a part in the story with such a horrific act. However when thinking about the style that Ondaatje reflects in his descriptions within his writing, these truly encompass a story with quality and allows readers to better understand a story through an alternative lens. This is truly a classic that can be analyzed through the story and descriptions using parts like this quote to grasp at why and how this has an impact to the story. Being able to apply these analysis skills and really try and gain a deeper understand thorough the writing is one of the aspects I think makes this book a classic. The English Patient has and will pass the test of time, I feel as though I could read this book again in 5 years and gain a great appreciation and deeper understanding for the book. Another quality that supports the fact The English Patient is a modern classic would be its universal recognition and appreciation. Receiving various universally recognizable awards including the Booker Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award for English-language fiction and the Golden Man Booker shows that the book is well respected and enjoyed.

The next aspect of classics we looked at as a class was Shakespeare in specific his comedy, The Taming of The Shrew. As Shakespeare plays were meant to be performed instead of read, as a class, we went to the live performance of The Taming of The Shrew, performed at Bard on The Beach. With the play set during the Wild West, it was fascinating to see how the director decided to take the play as more of a love story instead of a “taming” story. Watching the story live helped me understand the story and helped bring a somewhat overwhelming and confusing play into perspective. 

After grasping an understanding of the play, we were split off into groups and tasked will creating a short animation of one act of the taming of the shrew during a certain time period. My group, which included Alex, Ryan, Chiara and Myse,lf, were tasked with act two of The Taming of The Shrew during the 1920s. 

Before staring the animation, we needed to gain a deeper understanding of gender roles during the 1920s. To do so, we created multimedia to show women roles during our time period. I decided to use Keynote to create a short animation and a recording to go alongside the animation. With my first draft, I didn’t include links to the photos I used so for this blog post, I went back and added the links as well as decided to add some music to the video to aid in emphasizing the points I was trying to get across.

Once each of us individually created multimedias to show our understanding of the time period. We then went on the begin planning our animation by cutting down the sc,ript, creating characters, and finally creating a storyboard. Alex and Ryan edited the script, Chiara designed all the characters and I created the storyboard. Throughout the entirety of this proje,ct, our groups worked very well together delegating and evenly splitting up tasks, as well as working alongside one another when we had time to work on the project together. 

During the creation of this animation, we took a look back on classics. By writing an essay about whether The Taming of The Shrew was a classic or not. This was a hard question to answer, as I had good points on both sides of the argument. I ended up arguing that Taming of The Shrew is a classic mainly since it is still recognized and performed today. Below I’ve included a copy of my essay.

 

Following writing this essay, we then focused on creating our animation using our previous work from the storyboard and script editing. One we got started, we realized that creating a short animation was a lot more complicated than we thought, especially our original idea of using adobe animate (which is a pretty time-consuming program to use). Our first draft was very basic, with mostly just a recorded script and a little bit of animation.

What we learned from this draft was that our animation needed to be a whole heck of a lot shorter and have more animation to make it more interesting. After working together and many hours of revision and work, we created our final draft, which I would say is still a work in progress and something where we can learn from our mistakes. Originally our animation was supposed to have the characters’ mouths animated while our audio was going; however, after several tries using different mouth positions for each sound, it, unfortunately, didn’t end up working. This was definitely a learning experience and something where we can’t get frustrated with ourselves if it’s not always going to turn out the way we want it to. Although the final draft was due, I think our group will continue to revise our animation to reach fro a higher grade on the proficiency scale.

Throughout this unit, I’ve really tried to put in everything to go up and beyond; however, as a good number of the assignments were solely writing, I found it very difficult to meet the standards set in place. Writing has always been difficult for me, even when I put hours upon hours of research, planning, and writing in the final result is never where I want it to be. However, instead of letting this bring me down, I will continually practice my writing through writing more blog posts and reading regularly. To compare my progress and improvement during the year, I will compare myself on the proficiency scale and ask for feedback on all future assignments. My goal for the end of the year is to obtain, then maintain an exceeding on the proficiency scale to show a deeper understanding of the curricular competencies.

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