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Monday, March 14, 2011

Learn Like You Will Live Forever

I was sitting at the library today, researching psychoanalysis with some classmates when my eye caught a pamphlet that said, “Learn like you will live forever.” I have heard similar sayings like “Live like you will die tomorrow” and “Love like you will never get hurt.” Both of those versions are powerful in their own right, but the library’s quote resonated with me more so than the other two. In todays world, there is so much going on, so many perspectives, so many different types of people, and so many conflicting ideas. At first glance, “learn like you will live forever” seems like a cute saying one finds in a library, but it could not be more relevant in today’s world.

Personal Confession…

I guess I sometimes try to only know enough. It is easy to only pay attention to what happens in my hometown and block out the rest. Global warming scares me, people’s prejudice towards homosexuals and other races makes me sick, and hearing about mass poverty and illiteracy makes me feel helpless. This blog is my decision to be here (Present in what s happening now. Not trying to avoid things or ignore things). So I have decided that every day I am going to take at least 10 minutes and read. Read the news, I think cnn.com will do the trick along with Christiansciencemonitor.com. I will also read blogs. I know my friend Kyle writes a phenomenal blog about LGBT issues that I will try to frequent more often.

I guess the main thing is that I know how detrimental ignorance can be. I am by no means ignorant about the topics mentioned above, but as a young adult about to enter college, these issues are important and I should be more versed in them. The thing is, most of the problems we face in the world arise from the fact that some people decided to stop learning. For example, a lot of people in the older generations have chosen not to believe in global warming because they didn’t learn about it growing up. Of course, I am not saying that one should believe everything they read, but informing oneself is imperative in the process of finding who you are and what you stand for and what is right.

At the end of the day, staying on top of news will only help you understand the world more. You don’t have to believe or subscribe to anything, but, at least you are seeking to understand.

I have spent the last 15 minutes reading different articles. I hope you will follow suit and either start this process by yourself or click on the links below.

Japan Tsunami

Upheaval in Libya

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia

Until Next time,


Monday, March 7, 2011

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

In my English class, we just finished reading Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. While reading the play we focused on the different lenses that it could be read through: formalist, psychoanalytical, mythological, feminist, reader response, and Marxist. All lenses provided a different insight in to the play, and made Hamlet much more interesting to read. The lens that I liked the best was reader response. For the reader’s response lens, we looked at lines that could portray Ophelia as innocent and needing guidance and protection vs. rebellious and in need to rules. The character Polonious could also have been read in a number of different ways, his lines could be taken as wise or as pompous. Lastly, we focused on Hamlet as crazy/mad vs. incredibly intelligent.

We also discussed how stage directions, costumes, and gestures of the actors would also play a huge factor in making the audience believe one persona or another. For example, we could position Polonious a little bit higher up on the stage to make him seem more important, we could make Ophelia avert eye-contact to show rebellion, and we could make Hamlet pace around and act crazy. We could dress Ophelia in white and put her hair in a braid to make her seem more naïve, and put Polonious in gaudy cloths to make him seem pompous. All of these elements that the director decides on will play a huge role in the way each player is portrayed.

Hamlet outside of Hamlet…

The thing is, Shakespeare’s writing was meant to be preformed, so even though his writing is incredible, especially from a formalists point of view, there is so much meaning to be found in the tone used, the way the actors interact, and the clothing and props used. I have been paying attention to the people around me, the programs on T.V. and the pictures in magazines. It is very interesting to see how all the analysis that my class did about what actions, clothing, and tone would make an actress seem innocent or rebellious, wise or pompous, intelligent or mad.

This picture is of the cast in a hit T.V. series called Gossip Girl. The picture accurately portrays each of the characters in the program, starting with the girl on the left, Serena. Serena is wearing a black short dress, it is more reveling than the dresses that the other two girls are wearing and her head is held a little bit higher than the rest. Her posture and clothing choice she is more outgoing, sexier, and attention hungry than the other two girls. The girl in the middle, Blair, is much more covered up, making her seem more sophisticated and mature. The hand on her hip shows she has a lot of confidence and is powerful. However, from this picture you can tell that there is a power struggle between Blair and Serena. Blair is in the middle and Serena, though on the side is standing closer to the camera. It is unclear from this picture who the leader of the girls is, but if you are a follower of the show you know that the power shifts between the two often. The blonde on the right, Jenny, is in an harmless looking spring dress. The mixture of her posture and hands behind her back lead us to assume that she is more timid and new to the group. The color of the dress and the hair covering part of her face makes her seem innocent compared to the others.

I enjoyed analyzing the text in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but I enjoyed thinking deeper about HOW these famous lines could have been interpreted. So then I thought about how in real life people dress or act in order to carry-out a vision of themselves. Everyday when you wake up you decide what “character” version of yourself you want to play. The outfit Shakespeare might have chosen for Ophelia could have been an all white cover some dress vs. a busty red dress, we will never know, but which ever outfit she did wear, tells a lot about who she was and what she wanted people to think of her. I think that that point is important for people to remember in today’s world. There are a lot of opportunities to portray yourself as one thing or another through the things you wear to school to the pictures you post on Facebook. After reading Hamlet and realizing how much room there is for interpretation, I realized the same holds true in all of our lives. Because we don’t know how his character’s were supposed to dress or act, we have to decide for ourselves. Although this unknown part of Shakespeare is interesting to explore, I don’t want people to make assumptions about me. So even though the characters in Shakespeare can live mysteriously in the plays they live in, we don’t have the luxury of just being judged by our words. Our actions speak louder than words often time, and I am going to do my best to always keep this fact in my head.

Until next time...