Honors English Final Project Part 1

The final project of the year!! Quite exciting, isn’t it? And at the same time, I will miss my crazy class for the few weeks between semesters. But I’m sure you want to know what exactly the final project is. Trust me, for quite a while, so did I. 😉 And the project is: (drumroll please): a notebook!! (Not quite what you were expecting, was it?) Yes, it is a notebook collage of our memorial to Montgomery, Alabama. We are allowed to use any media we want: pictures, menus, glitter glue, markers, pens, stickers, pencils, socks, absolutely anything. As long as we can relate it to Montgomery.

I began my notebook by gluing pages together. Not the most exciting of tasks, but it needed to be done, and it was actually rather fun to do. I also numbered the pages as I glued them together. I should mention that by accident I had picked up a graph paper notebook as opposed to a college-lined notebook at Target, so I was rather furious before I realized that a graph paper book would be “out-of-the-box”, and so would make my notebook interesting, although unplanned. I then glued two pieces of paper together and then glued them to the cover of the notebook. And then the fun began. I DREW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Okay, I exaggerate a bit. I put stickers on the cover, and then I drew a heart, a star, and a book. Not exactly Manet. The stickers were music stickers (of course) and shiny letter stickers that I used to spell the words “A Bookworm’s Guide to Montgomery Alabama”. I figured I’d stick with my little bookworm theme. I even used the same color of blue pen! (Which isn’t that much of a surprise, considering it’s my favorite color…) And then I mostly made the table of contents, and I began a section of it, and then the class period was done. Kthxbai. XD And yes, that was a rather abrupt way to end it, but it was for comedic effect. And that’s actually almost exactly what happened.

And so, that was the first part of my final project for Honors English I 1017 at Auburn University Montgomery in Montgomery, Alabama! And I should have kept that elaborate sentence for the final post about this project. Ah well. I’ll probably do it again.

And so my dear friends, I leave you now, with the promise that I shall be back again sometime soon with part 2 of my final English project. So until then! Read onwards!!

Do Not Research This Book

Okay, sorry, I had to start that way. That’s what my English teacher said immediately after handing us copies of a chapter from a book that she would not tell us the name of. She didn’t even tell us the name of the author! No idea why, but I’m hoping she’ll tell us more next class period. “Do not look up this book!” she said. “Don’t even try to find it on Google!” Why? No idea. However, I shall continue on with my post about this most mysterious chapter anyhow. And so.

The chapter, “I Had a Dream,” starts off with the author arriving in Montgomery, Alabama. He says that he sees a sign as he enters Montgomery, which, having lived here for half my life, surprised me as I have never seen it. Then again, this book was written in the 1990’s, and I didn’t move to Montgomery until 2005. The first place he visits is the Capitol building on Goat Hill (a name which has always cracked me up) and he joins a school tour of homeschoolers (woot woot!) who are touring the Capitol building. Did you know I’ve never toured the Capitol? That’s rather sad… Anyways. He makes an interesting observation that the tour guide is black, but all the governors and all of the tour group are white. I’m only about three pages in, and already I can tell it’s going to be an interesting perspective on race in the South. He also mentions quite a lot about the Civil War and the Confederacy (something I’ve always known was in Alabama, and have tried assiduously to avoid) and the Civil Rights movement (something I’m the tiniest bit more interested in), and I was immediately interested to hear what he had to say. I may not like all the violence associated with Alabama in general and Montgomery in particular, but I’m curious to know what other people think about it. The homeschoolers he spoke to (actually the homeschool parents) seemed to be skimming over the issues of slavery and what the Civil War was actually fought over, but later on in the chapter he brings up things other people say pointing to an idea that no one really knows what the Civil War was fought over, or at least, everyone disagrees for the most part.

After his brief stint admiring the fact that monuments recognizing white people adjoin equally large (or small) monuments recognizing black people all over Montgomery, he takes a trip to Selma. Here I learned something new: the Selma to Montgomery march was not completely peaceful. Police were actually very cruel to the marchers at the Selma bridge, and undoubtedly killed quite a few of them, though the author never explicitly said so. Somehow I had always been under the impression that the march was, if not entirely peaceful, more peaceful than his and others’ descriptions of “Bloody Sunday”. The author visited a school here (I suppose his book is about his travels to see what school-children learn about the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement) to see and hear what they were learning and what they thought about the Civil War and Civil Rights. He made some visits to the local memorials and museums also, and spoke to residents of Selma, the curators (I believe?) of the museums, and even the mayor of Selma, who had been mayor on Bloody Sunday. The people he spoke to – the mayor, the people at the museums, and the teachers and school-children – all seemed nice enough until he brought up race and the Civil War and Civil Rights. Then they all seemed to be somewhat racist against whatever race it was they were not. Perhaps “somewhat racist” is too mild a term, but I am not entirely sure what the correct one would be. Perhaps if you read that chapter, you could tell me. Of course, I have no idea how you’d find the chapter, seeing as how I have no idea what the book is called…

The author’s final visit was to Greenville, Alabama, where he visited a school that was integrated, but where the students segregated themselves by force of habit and not by conscious decision or by enforced rules. At that school, the teacher didn’t even teach the Civil War, because at that time Alabama didn’t require history teachers to teach American history before 1877. Makes it quite simple to skip over the nasty parts, wouldn’t you agree?

I have no idea what the author (whatever his name may be) got or hoped to get out of his visit, as I have no way of reading the rest of the book, but I can tell that this chapter is a good preview of what I and my Honors English class will be doing the rest of the year. I still don’t like what happened during the Civil War, and some parts of the Civil Rights movement are still too sad and bloody for me to enjoy, but reading this chapter has made me quite curious to go and explore the monuments, memorials, and museums in both Montgomery and Selma. It rather irks me that I’ve lived in Montgomery half my life, and I had never heard of a big black wall covered in names from the Selma-Montgomery march that apparently resides somewhere in downtown Montgomery. Sheltered, much? I hope you find my explorations of memorials as exciting as I hope I will. And in the meantime, don’t research this book. My English teacher will be very upset if you do.

Read on, dear fellows, read on! (Just… not this book, okay? 🙂

Halloa!!

Greetings sirs and madams!

I realize my blog has been, well, rather boring of late. I do sincerely apologize. My life has been equally as boring as my blog: that is, it has been full of schoolwork. (My life is never boring while I have my brain [and Netflix], but still. It sounded good.) I have been reading some, though less than I would like, and I have certainly been watching BBC shows on Netflix in my small amounts of spare time, and I have been playing music, though less than I should, but I regret that I haven’t had the time to write about all these wonderful things. (And yes, that was a run-on sentence with way too many comma splices. That’s how I think. I’m sorry.) I shall try to be better about being more interesting, I promise. The semester is nigh on being finished, so hopefully I shall have more time to write. Until then, my lovelies, read on!

(Oh, that’s rather good…I quite like that. Perhaps I’ll make that my new catchphrase at the end of blog posts. Hmm…Opinions?)

{Read on!}

Examining “Trash”

Might I just say: I really really really really really love this episode. It pretty much doesn’t make any sense if you haven’t seen “Our Mrs. Reynolds”, but if you have, then it is BRILLIANT. It is really good. I’m not exaggerating. Much.

So, with that preface, I should say that in this episode we meet Saffron again. Only this time, she’s introduced as Bridget. Huh? Yeah, you heard me right: Bridget. And she’s married to one of Mal’s old war buddies. Awkward much? So yes, it turns out that Saffron/Bridget has married multiple men. Hmm…

So, as you could probably guess from my previous paragraph, deception and double-crossing is a major theme of this episode. The most obvious example, and the one that will almost definitely take up the whole of this post, is Bridget/Saffron’s deception of Mal and all the other men she’s married. The adventure the crew of Serenity undertakes in this episode is a scheme of Saffron’s to steal a very valuable gun from a former husband of hers. Somehow she obtained all the plans, blueprints, and security codes for the house, and found out the victim’s (horrible word, sorry) schedule for the next 18 months. No one bothers to ask how, but it turns out that she had some sort of relat

Examining “Safe” and “Our Mrs. Reynolds”

I shall begin with the Firefly episode “Safe” for two reasons: 1) it’s been a while since I saw it, and therefore I’m not entirely sure what to talk about, and 2) I greatly prefer the episode “Our Mrs. Reynolds”, so I want to be done with “Safe” quickly. XD Although they’re both pretty amazing episodes. Obviously, as with all Firefly episodes, I highly recommend them.

In the episode “Safe”, the Serenity and, obviously, crew, land(s) on a backwoods Old West/medieval style planet. I say Old West because it has a very frontier-town feel to it, and also because the whole series is a “space-western,” so of course they try to add as many Wild West aspects as possible to it. I say medieval because River finds a festival and proceeds to join in their maypole/Celtic dancing. She learns the steps eerily quickly, and then throws herself into the dancing with all the abandon of a small child. She and Simon are then kidnapped by the villagers who need a doctor, and he does in fact help some of then, but then River uses her “powers”, and the villagers proceed to label her a witch and attempt to burn her at the stake. I won’t tell you what happens next, but considering the fact that they are in every episode for the rest of the series, it’s rather obvious that they survive.

The second episode, “Our Mrs. Reynolds,” is, in my opinion, one of the more brilliant of the episodes in the series. In it, Mal accidentally gets married to a local girl on the planet they were visiting, and then tries to get her off the ship, but they are already too far gone. The girl, Saffron, is very naive and scared, and has many antiquated ideas about what a wife should do for her husband. The crew takes pity on her, and they decide to take her to a planet where she can get a career for herself. It turns out, though, that Saffron is actually trained as a companion like Inara, and she sabotages the ship, sends it hurtling towards some underhanded ship dealers, incapacitates Wash, Mal, and, indirectly, Inara, and flies off into the nonexistent sunset (no sunsets in space, remember? But if she’d been on a planet, there almost definitely would’ve been a sunset). Luckily, though, everyone comes to and realizes what has happened in time to rescue the Serenity from an ignominious defeat in a scrap heap and they fly off to confront Saffron.

So hopefully this summary has piqued your interest enough that you will now go off and watch these episodes, and delight in the comedy, sniff at the tragedy, and gasp at the partially scary parts (though none are half as scary as “War Stories”). And please do comment: I’d love to improve my writing. See you around soon! Watch more Firefly!!

Examining “The Message”

Ah, another Firefly examination! Yes, I love TV!! But I must say one word of warning before you rush off to enjoy the brilliance of Joss Whedon in “The Message”: IT’S SO DEPRESSING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *sobs* And so, on that cheerful note, we begin.

The primary question my beautiful teacher asked us relating to “The Message” is: What new elements of character are revealed throughout this episode? Now, I’m pretty terrible with plot summaries, and I wasn’t really going to include a full episodal summary (I don’t care if that wasn’t a word before: it sounds cool and it is now *evil grin*), so I would highly recommend watching this episode before reading further. Of course, I highly recommend watching it anyways, but still.

This episode is really the first episode where we learn anything about Jayne’s past, and also about his emotions. When the crew goes to the post office (and I’m being a bit generous with that term here) to see if there’s any mail for them, Jayne receives a box from his mother. It’s always amusing to find out that tough guys have a mother, isn’t it? 😀 We find out that Jayne is rather uneducated, in that he is a very hesitant reader, but he cares about his siblings when he reads that one of them is sick. He also is very pleased with the garish orange knitted hat his mother enclosed in the box, and he proceeds to wear it throughout the rest of the episode.

The adventure the crew of Serenity has in this episode is because of a crate they receive at the post office that contains the body of a young man that Mal and Zoe fought with in the war, and they run into trouble with the Alliance while trying to transport him home. Because they see this young man, we get to have a flashback moment into the battle where the man Tracy, Mal, and Zoe fought together. We realize that Mal used to be incredibly more impulsive than he is in the rest of the series, and it provides a great comic aspect to the depressing rest of the episode. I had always found Mal to be reckless and impulsive before, but seeing that flashback made me realize how much calmer he is compared to how he was in the war. We also see that Zoe was very calm and methodical in the way she did things in the war, and never showed any sort of emotion besides anger, and even that was slight. I suppose her marriage to Wash and also the fact that she was no longer in the war made her realize that she could lighten up, laugh a little, and generally enjoy herself more.

As you have probably noticed, I could go on for quite a while longer, but I shall spare you the burden (burden isn’t quite the word I was looking for, but as my mental dictionary/thesaurus is not functioning at the moment, it’ll have to do) of reading more of my attempts at critical analysis of the show Firefly in general and the episode “The Message” in particular. Ah well. I shall be back shortly with more analyses of more episodes. Go watch more Firefly. I promise this will make more sense then. Well, I hope anyways… 😀