Semi-autobiographical narrative

It was a time of great change and a time of new beginnings. I walked through the crowded and bustling halls of the oh-so-pretentious Edward S. Marcus High School with bright eyes and excited, nervous energy. Naïve and innocent, I had not a clue as to what to expect these next four years to be like. Everyone always claims high school is the “time of your life”,  so that is what I expected. In hindsight, I would not say high school was the time of my life, but I will say it helped shape me as a person. This “shaping” process was at times painful and at times exhilarating, but I am thankful for it now. My first year in high school, I was on the volleyball team, and I was Homecoming Duchess. I also dated the good looking football player- yes, I realize this is starting off so cliché and idealized sounding, please bear with me. The hallways doubled as my catwalk, as I strutted from class to class all the while schmoozing and climbing up the social ladder each step I took. Looking back, I laugh because I was never one for schmoozing or small talk, and I am still not to this day. Then my sophomore year came, and I received a reality check. After playing volleyball since I was in the fifth grade, I decided it was not for me anymore. I also broke up with my football player boyfriend whom I had dated since the fifth grade as well. Everything that was comfortable and familiar to me, I no longer had. In addition, I failed my drivers test on my 16th birthday which was devastating. My parents bought me a one series two door BMW prior to me driving on the wrong side of the road and failing my test. Yes, I drove on the wrong side of the road. You heard that right. In other words, if my ego had not already been knocked down a few notches, it for sure was now. Before I knew it, my sophomore year had come and gone. I was now a junior staring blankly at college applications and anxiously waiting for my SAT scores to come in. My freshman year I would’ve told you I was going to attend TCU and be a cute little sorority girl on her way to earning an MRS. degree. By my junior year, I knew that was not in any shape or form what I wanted for myself. After I decided volleyball was no longer for me, I enrolled myself in AP classes which gave me a much different perspective on what I wanted. I had just begun tapping into my learning potential, and I wanted more. By this time, I would classify myself as a full-blown nerd. My friends had all started partying on the weekends, and I was not about the party scene. Morally, I disagreed with a multitude of my friends’ choices. I spent a great deal of time with my parents for this reason. My parents and I have always been extremely close, but they truly became my best friends as pathetic as that sounds. Honestly, they make some pretty great friends, and I am so grateful for them. If it had not have been for them, I am not sure I would have been able to cling to my morals as strongly as I did and avoid the party scene which got many people in serious trouble. My senior year was my favorite year by far. I did a lot of personal development and discovered all kinds of things about myself. My previous years in high school, I did things because other people wanted me to. I never did what Sydney wanted to do. By my senior year, I was as selfish as could be. If I did not want to see you or talk to you, I did not. It was lovely. I was apart of yearbook with all my friends. We drove the teacher crazy, but it was so much fun. I won a senior superlative- best dressed along with Conner Dimoush- a boy who lives across the lake cove from me. I discovered I am passionate about working out and eating healthy. I found cross fit and Pilates. My mind was clear and my body was functioning as well as it had ever functioned. I had a new-found motivation and drive. Being selfish was the best thing I could have done for myself, and I recommend everyone be selfish if you are from the ages of 16-25. I received my acceptance letter to Austin College, and I could not have been more excited. The world was full of opportunities waiting to be taken, and I was going to do just that. All in all, my time in high school changed me for the better. From the day I walked into Edward S. to the day I walked out of Edward S. for good, I was not the same person. I realize and acknowledge that I am an incredibly privileged child, and the issues I wrote about are so miniscule and petty in the grand scheme of things. At the time though, they did not feel that way. For the time being, I know what I want, and I am on a mission to get it done. I thank Edward S. for the good times and the bad, and I look forward to how these next four years at Austin College may reshape me once again.

Analytical piece & Research Piece- House of The Spirits and Volver

Historically, men reigned superior to women in various facets of life. From the home to the work place, women find themselves fighting a constant battle for equality not only in earlier South American society but in American society today. The fight has become a focus and priority in today’s society, but prior to the 21st century/recent generation of millennials, this has not always been the case. The novel, The House of Spirits, illustrates the struggle pre-21st century for gender equality through the lives of multiple hispanic women. Throughout the novel, they each exercise their own individual, personal strife towards a common goal. The feminist activism begins with Nivea who specifically advocates “to be allowed to vote and attend the university” (Allende 47). This provides insight into the wide span of avenues in which inequality exists-  not only in politics but in education as well.  Following suit, Clara contributes to the cause as she blossoms under the summer sun while living in Tres Marias, “[understanding] that there is a place for her” (Allende 117). She flourishes as she devotes her time and energy to educating the other residents of Tres Marias on various subjects- reading, writing, general healthcare. This newly discovered passion for investing her time into earthly phenomena rather than the “supernatural” (Allende 117) empowers her- driving her to express her dissatisfaction with the status quo amongst the other women of Tres Marias. Additionally, to end chapter four, Allende references an anecdote about a group of hens who unite and retaliate against an abusive fox. Not only does this anecdote foreshadow the eventual downfall of the oligarchy system in Latin America and rise of economic equality, it more importantly aims to foreshadow a revolution of the genders. Hens, believed to be born “stupid and weak” (Allende 157), unify to exert influence and gain earthly power. All in all, this novel serves as the author Allende’s declaration of independence as well as a declaration of independence for a suppressed female population. Additionally, Allende’s novel, House of the Spirits and Almodovar’s production, Volver, are strikingly similar in a variety of ways. To begin simply, both works take place in “traditional, patriarchal, gender-separated (and fascist) Spain,” setting the scene for a rarely viewed look into the lives of the female characters. House of the Spirits and Volver are both almost revolutionary in that they focus on the relationship between men and women but more importantly the issues specific to women only- issues that spurred shame in the hearts of many women prior to recent times and were rarely written about or talked about. The husband/wife dynamics between Clara and Esteban are reminiscent of those of Raimunda and Paco. For Clara and Raimunda, “men…tend to be malevolent, irrelevant or simply absent” and of lesser priority than connecting with the supernatural or in Raimunda’s case, keeping house or working a day job. On the opposite side of things, the male characters share habits as well. For example, Esteban and Paco are two sexually frustrated individuals who as a result, harbor an interest in preying on young girls. These two works do not place much emphasis on the male gender. However, when the men are depicted, it is a rather disturbing and somewhat alarming depiction. In chapter five of House of the Spirits, Allende goes into depth about Blanca during puberty and the inevitable menstrual cycle. This is significant as historically, menstruation was not a topic of conversation or much less a topic found in a piece of literature. Likewise, Almodovar makes a “startlingly risqué joke” when Raimunda is asked about Paco’s blood on her neck claiming it was “women’s problems”. These two examples are not only comical but help bring attention to what was once an uncomfortable subject for some. All in all, Allende and Almodovar were pioneers of the feminist movement in South American society. Specifically Allende, as it was incredibly rare for an author of an award winning book to be a woman much less a woman writing about gender inequality. Although, her success did not come without objection. Critics felt her work was strikingly similar to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude. Their likeness is still up for debate today. Almodovar was influential to the movement, as he was a homosexual male. His sexual orientation not only made his work a bit taboo for the times but offered people a different view on the issues at hand. Similar to the feminist movement in the United States, the feminist movement in South America, was studied by many, criticized and even condemned by some, and served as the catalyst for social and economic change for women. The movement began in 1900 and by 1920, the movement was in full effect and was apart of every middle class females political vocabulary. In the beginning, there were three capitols in Argentina that served as the hub of the feminist movement- Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and Santiago. Among the broad, over-arching topic of feminism in South America, there are two main factions of the idea. There were feminists who focused solely on labor movements and the struggles of working women, and there were feminists who focused on the aspirations and wants/needs of middle-class women and their equality in regards to their male counterparts. The first group of feminists relied on the teachings and writings of August Bebel- a German socialist politician. His followers were typically of the lower socioeconomic class but nonetheless just as important to the movement. They saw the wage gap and unsafe working conditions in factories as inconsiderate and unjust, as they were the mothers of future generations to come. The other group found inspiration in philosophers such as John Stuart Mill. These women emphasized ideas such as suffrage, women’s public health, and the role within the family.  In regards to suffrage, women felt that if they worked and paid their taxes then they too should have a say in who is elected to lead and create laws. When it came to public and reproductive health, there was emphasis on the teaching of social hygiene within schools, providing proper gynecological services as well as information on how to prevent diseases and how to prevent pregnancy. Throughout South America, there were issues regarding prostitution, the child mortality rate, and over-all health and wellness of women. Feminists believed the key to combatting these problems was better education and access to proper healthcare for all women- not just those who were able to afford it. Additionally, many of these topics in reference to women’s health were seen as risqué and were taboo to talk about at the time. Feminists urged these topics to be normalized and made comfortable to discuss in mixed company while not losing the sense of urgency and importance these issues demanded. A wide variety of people recognized and acknowledged the platform on which the feminist movement stood. However, the two groups continued to struggle to persuade anarchists in efforts to gain the support of the labor force. Specifically, Anarchists framed the feminist movement as a bourgeois ideology discrediting it in the eyes of many as well as stirring up apprehensions from many. Support from the labor force was crucial as the majority of the population fell under this category. At the time, there was an influx of women leaving the home to work in undesirable conditions. This stirred emotional responses and created a hot political topic as the original, traditional image of the female staying home and tending to the family became less prominent than before. For many who opposed and even condemned the movement, their reasoning always circled back to the same thing as before. It is hard for some to accept a new and different image that conflicts so intensely with the previous image so deeply engrained in their society. All in all, the works mentioned above give a voice to a group of people who otherwise would not have one, and without these works and all they entail, the world in which women live and function would look much different.

 “Selected for a Virtual Library (Local Access Only Subscriptions).” Selected for a Virtual Library (Local Access Only Subscriptions). N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.         

“Promoting Feminist Amefricanidade: Bridging Black Feminist Cultures And Politics In The Americas.” Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism 14.1 (2016): v-xi. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.

Belej, Cecilia, and Ana Lía Rey. “Feminism And Women’S History In Academic Institutions In The Southern Cone: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, And Uruguay.” Journal Of Women’s History 4 (2013): 265. Project MUSE. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.

Ortner, Sherry B. “Too Soon For Post-Feminism: The Ongoing Life Of Patriarchy In Neoliberal America.” History & Anthropology 25.4 (2014): 530-549. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26 Nov. 2016.

Image result for feminist movement

                Image result for feminist movement in south america 

Abstract

Technological advances- helpful or hurtful??

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude

Throughout 100 Years of Solitude, technology plays an ironic, influential role in the building of Macondo. In our world, the objects introduced are mainstream, everyday objects but to the primitive people of Macondo, these objects are almost mystical. The gypsies and their items ignite the pursuit of wealth- wealth being defined as technology, knowledge, and gold. Each character in the novel has a different way of pursuing one of these things but there lies a major commonality amongst all of them- the more technology, knowledge, or gold they acquire, the worse off they become. Macondo starts off as an almost utopian, Eden-like place that slowly deteriorates as more and more foreign objects/ideas are introduced. There is a hint of irony in this as well, as innovations and ideas are supposed to improve standard of living, not deteriorate it.

 

“Everything Is Known”: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude.” Time and the Novel: The Genealogical Imperative (2015): n. pag. Web.

 

Edison, K. Thomas Alwa. “The New Trends In Latin American Bloom “Magical Realism” In The Novel Of Gabriel García Márquez’ One Hundred Years Of Solitude – A Postcolonial Study.” International Journal Of Multidisciplinary Approach & Studies 2.1 (2015): 1-5. Academic Search Complete. Web. 31 Oct. 2016.

 

Patricia Drechsel, Tobin. “6. Everything Is Known: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years Of Solitude.” Time and the Novel: The Genealogical Imperative. 177. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015. Project MUSE. Web. 31 Oct. 2016.

 

Dorfman, Ariel. “One Hundred Years Of Solitude By Gabriel García Márquez.” Brick 91.(2013): 113-114. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 31 Oct. 2016.

Post 4, 5, & 6

Throughout various works of literature, authors often use figurative language to illustrate their thoughts. Specifically, metaphors and symbols are employed to convey deeper meaning in an abstract and creative way. Although metaphors and symbols are used for the same purpose, they come in many different forms, all distinguishable from one another- arguably, this variety found among our language is what makes English and American literature so rich and alluring.  Metaphors range from extended metaphors to personification, ect. Symbols, for example, take on different forms such as hyperbole,  archetypes, ect. All of these were evident in 100 Years of Solitude, poems by Neruda, and The Postman.

100 Years of Solitude was loaded with metaphors and symbols to describe the pursuit of wealth, the power of nature, the brutality of warfare, and the aspects of magical realism found in the novel. To begin, the arrival of the gypsies introduce the idea of the pursuit of wealth. Entering town, “[everything was] shaken by a whistle with a fearful echo and a loud, panting respiration.” This whistle referred to in this quote is one of the many foreign objects brought into Macondo by the gypsies. To us, these objects are mainstream, every day objects but to the primitive people of Macondo, these objects are almost mystical. The gypsies and their items ignite the pursuit of wealth- wealth being defined as technology, knowledge, and gold. Each character has a different way of pursuing one of these things but there lies a major commonality amongst all of them- the more technology, knowledge, or gold they acquire, the worser off they become. For instance, Jose Arcadio Buendia immerses himself in the study of alchemy. Aureliano Segundo dug endlessly for gold, and Ursula displayed great dedication to her pastry business all in search of the same outcome.  Macondo starts off as an almost utopian, Eden-like place that slowly deteriorates as more and more foreign objects/ideas are introduced. There is a hint of irony in this as well, as innovations and ideas are supposed to improve standard of living, not deteriorate it.

Switching gears to Neruda, his poem “Walking Around”, is centered around the ideas of life and death as hinted at by the phrase used “wombs and ashes”. Although, the poem also subtly comments on Neruda’s dislike towards the shift in government and societies shift in focus towards the pursuit of material items resulting in a breakdown of society similar to 100 Years. Neruda, wishing to see no more innovation writes, “the smell of barbershops makes me break into horse sobs”. Neruda would rather be dead than be an active participant in the world around him. The word barbershops plays on the readers senses and is representative of the kind of materialistic services the upper class frivolously indulge in. He continues on to illustrate a stark contrast between the lower and upper class by writing about the “orthopedic shops and courtyards with washing hanging from the line”. In this comparison, he is practically placing blame on the upper class for the poor circumstances of the lower class- in a sense, placing the lower class in the role of the victim.

Lastly, in the movie The Postman, Neruda and Mario make many remarks that reveal how they view and think about metaphors. To summarize, Mario learns from Neruda that metaphors are a way to express oneself in an abstract and indirect way that is only understandable if the audience is open enough to understand it. Neruda and Mario first appear to be very different people but slowly, we see that “Mario is really a more complex individual. He occasionally makes some startlingly insightful observations, such as ‘the whole world is a metaphor for something'” (Berardinelli, J) similar to Neruda. With the help of metaphors, Mario, who once was unable to communicate his feelings effectively, can “express himself” (Atanasov, D.S.), as if he were a poet himself.

All in all, metaphors and symbols played an influential role in 100 Years of Solitude, Neruda’s poem “Walking Around” and the movie The Postman. Without these works and all they entail, our world would look much different. In other words, works like the ones above filter through society and bring attention to issues that otherwise might have been overlooked. From class stratification to the decline of a community, these works serve to educate and be an example for future generations of humans to come.

 

Berardinelli, J. (n.d.). Postman, The (Il Postino) | Reelviews Movie Reviews. Retrieved October 13, 2016, from http://www.reelviews.net/reelviews/postman-the-il-postino

Atanasov, D. S. (2016). Il Postino Blu-ray. Retrieved October 13, 2016, from http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Il-Postino-Blu-ray/120330/#Review

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown & House of the Spirits

First of all, I would like to note that the first similarity that came to mind in regards to this movie had nothing to do with House of the Spirits or Volver. Instead, it had everything to do with my life this week. Lolololol. Seriously, I was a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown, so I found this movie to be very relatable. Okay enough of that, let’s get to business now.

Almodovar’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Allende’s House of the Spirits both focus on women, SURPRISE SURPRISE. In the beginning of both, the female characters somehow find themselves incredibly dependent on the sh*tty men in their lives. Although, as the movie and the novel progress,  the women’s emancipation proves constant and subtle. The women find small ways to free themselves. For instance, Allende’s Clara relies on the power of stories to escape her reality and somewhat free herself from Esteban at times. Almodovar’s Pepa relies on the help of her friends and “sleeping pills” (lol) to cope with Ivan leaving her. Finally, she realizes she is “tired of being good,” giving her the push to find her freedom and fully embody “the movement she represents”.

On the contrary, a difference I noticed between the two works was in House of the Spirits, Clara is the victim of multiple accounts of infidelity on her husband’s part while in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Pepa plays the role of the “other woman”. I found it interesting to see the kind of attributes Clara possessed as the victim in comparison to Pepa the “other woman”. Additionally, I found it intriguing that both works focus on women uniting and helping one another and working together towards a more egalitarian society but Pepa, as the other woman, kinda disregards that in the sense that she is sleeping with another woman’s husband.

 

Canby, Vincent. “Review/Film Festival; Concentric Eccentricities in Almodovar Tale.” New York Times. N.p., 23 Sept. 1988. Web.

Kempley, Rita. “‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’ (NR).” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 22 Dec. 1988. Web. 22 Sept. 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

House of the Spirits & Volver

Allende’s novel, House of the Spirits and Almodovar’s production, Volver, are strikingly similar in a variety of ways. To begin simply, both works take place in “traditional, patriarchal, gender-separated (and fascist) Spain,” setting the scene for a rarely viewed look into the lives of the female characters. House of the Spirits and Volver are both almost revolutionary in that they focus on the relationship between men and women as well as issues specific to women only- issues that spurred shame in the hearts of many women prior to recent times and were rarely written about or God forbid talked about.

The husband/wife dynamics between Clara and Esteban are reminiscent of those of Raimunda and Paco. For Clara and Raimunda, “men…tend to be malevolent, irrelevant or simply absent” and of lesser priority than connecting with the supernatural or in Raimunda’s case, keeping house or working a day job. On the opposite side of things, the male characters share habits as well. For example, Esteban and Paco are two sexually frustrated individuals who as a result, harbor an interest in preying on young girls- please excuse me while I vomit. These two works do not place much emphasis on the male gender. However, when the men are depicted, it is a rather disturbing and somewhat alarming depiction.

In chapter five of House of the Spirits, Allende goes into depth about Blanca during puberty and the inevitable menstrual cycle. This is significant as historically, menstruation was not a topic of conversation or much less a topic found in a piece of literature. Likewise, Almodovar makes a “startlingly risqué joke” when Raimunda is asked about Paco’s blood on her neck claiming it was “women’s problems”. These two examples are not only comical but help bring attention to what was once an uncomfortable subject for some.

 

SFGate

By Stein – http://www.sfgate.com/movies/article/Leave-it-to-Mama-to-clean-up-the-mess-2484510.php

The New York Times

A. Scott – http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/03/movies/03volv.html?_r=0

 

 

 

 

 

Women Werkkkk

Historically, men reigned superior to women in various facets of life. From the home to the work place, women find themselves fighting a constant battle for equality. The fight has become a focus and priority in today’s society, but prior to the 21st century/recent generation of millennials, this has not always been the case. The novel, The House of Spirits, illustrates the struggle pre-21st century for gender equality through the lives of multiple hispanic women. Throughout the novel, they each exercise their own individual, personal strife towards a common goal. The feminist activism begins with Nivea who specifically advocates “to be allowed to vote and attend the university” (Allende 47). This provides insight into the wide span of avenues in which inequality exists-  not only in politics but in education as well.  Following suit, Clara contributes to the cause as she blossoms under the summer sun while living in Tres Marias, “[understanding] that there is a place for her” (Allende 117). She flourishes as she devotes her time and energy to educating the other residents of Tres Marias on various subjects- reading, writing, general healthcare. This newly discovered passion for investing her time into earthly phenomena rather than the “supernatural”, (Allende 117), empowers her- driving her to express her dissatisfaction with the status quo amongst the other women of Tres Marias. Additionally, to end chapter four, Allende references an anecdote about a group of hens who unite and retaliate against an abusive fox. Not only does this anecdote foreshadow the eventual downfall of the oligarchy system in Latin America and rise of economic equality, it more importantly aims to foreshadow a revolution of the genders. Hens, believed to be born “stupid and weak”, (Allende  157) unify to exert influence and gain earthly power. All in all, this novel serves as the author Allende’s declaration of independence as well as a declaration of independence for a suppressed female population.

hens

 

Pan’s Labyrinth

Director Guillermo del Toro explores many themes throughout the movie, Pan’s Labyrinth. From the preservation of decency amongst humans facing dark circumstances to the focus on how a child’s innocence effects her reality, del Toro conveys these ideas in an ambiguous manner, leaving room for various interpretations of the movie. To expand on this, del Toro utilizes the magical, fantastical realm to illustrate Ophelia’s innocence. While some may view this realm as only a figment of Ophelia’s imagination, others may view it as a phenomena she truly experiences. From fairies to fauns, Ophelia’s fairytale-like fantasies help her cope with the bleak times that surround her. Additionally, Del Toro emphasizes the relationship between innocence and this other, abstract realm when Ophelia asks Mercedes, a grown woman, if she believes in fauns. Mercedes states that she use to but no longer does.

Pan's_Labyrinth