Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gender Issues in Art (Feminism)

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Women in Art has been a subject that has been present throughout most of the course of history, however, over these years, the object of the woman has changed in social, cultural and political meaning. Nowadays, modern-contemporary artists have been known to ‘attack’ the traditional values of women that more historical art has held a meaning that depicted the woman as an object, rather than a being; a submissive figure, rather than a dominant one.

Two examples of artists that have represented and conveyed socio-gender issues through art are Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman, whom, both by using various forms of print media such as photography have challenged and questioned the dominant ‘male’ influences in art, society and on women in general. Both have incorporated elements of post-modernism such as appropriation in their works, but moreover, it is the rather witty, dark humour and satirical statements that have made their work so notorious and confronting.

Krugers work addresses the cultural representations of power, identity and sexuality, and challenges the spectacles of stereotypes and cliches. Works such as "We have received orders not to move" and "You are not Yourself" shows how women are viewed through things such as mass-media. Because the female body is so matter of fact in its objectification and commoditisation that it has become one of the oldest clich’s in advertising and through Kruger’s work of often violent imagery of the female form has exposed viewers of her work to the fact that we are spectators of our bodies as they become carriers for and that are transmuted by gender illustrations of social location and inequality.

The reason that her work is as successful as it is can be partly blamed upon her initial career objective of entering the media arts field. She began a stint as a graphic designer for the popular magazine Mademoiselle which she later quit to pursue sculpture. However, her more popular works have the deep influence of her time spent in graphic arts as she had acquired a skill in being able to capture an audience’s attention due to her experience with advertising and publicity, her brazen photomurals being displayed not only in museums and galleries, but in open, public displays such as billboards and bus stops.

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Her trademark artworks, proclaiming forward ‘in-your-face’ messages on women’s rights and issues of power are dominated and emphasised by the use of black white and red. By using red as a contrasting colour, it instantaneously creates an unsettling clash with the flatness of the monochromes, eliciting a sense of anger from within the work itself onto the viewer, creating almost a sense of discomfort and fear into whoever may be viewing Kruger’s work.

With regards to You are not Yourself and its connection with gender issues and feminism, Kruger has successfully managed to create a work that invokes a sense of terror or alarm. A technique characteristic of Kruger is that she has appropriated an image from perhaps a magazine or a photograph of a woman and has transformed it into a rather disturbing image by overlaying the effect of a shattered piece of glass, fragmenting the original image. The words “You are Yourself” have been purposely made larger than the more hidden, reclusive “not”  by having a bold “you are yourself”, Kruger has re-created a somewhat ‘motivational’ and positive statement expressing a woman’ freedom…. However, this is not so, as by cleverly placing the “not”, the slogan has been transfigured from what appeared to be an uplifting saying to “You are not Yourself” which expresses the restrictions that are placed upon women in society to say, ‘be who they want to be’.

The letter themselves have been individually cut and pasted to resemble a ransom note, once again communicating an impression of apprehension.

The work, "We have received orders not to move", like "You are not Yourself", is representative of the restrictions that are bound upon women in today’s society. In this work, Kruger is attacking the general stereotype of the fact that women are seen as ‘powerless’ due to the fact that we live in a primarily patriarchal society that is principally dominated by men. Once again she has managed to create a fairly confrontational work by using the image of a woman, who appears to be uncomfortably hunched over with many pins and needles inserted in her body. The pins and such create the concept of being unable to move with the woman herself being unable to make any movement due to the fact that she is pinned down. By using blacks and whites along with the bold text, the overall simplicity of the work has in itself highlighted its message of women’s oppression.

Like Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman’s works are also heavily related around the concept of gender issues in society and feminism. She primarily uses the media of photography and, in similar respects to the Japanese artist Yasumasa Morimura; she frequently incorporates herself into her own images. When she initially began to explore her ideas and concepts, it was at a time when the art world was just beginning to focus on the relationship between the existence of a mass media society and how the implements of this society such as television, film, and photography could be used to further reinforce and redefine the icons of the rapidly expanding popular culture.

Sherman has expanded her work beyond her recreation of film stills, one of her best known series of works, and used her technique of photographic parody to comment on some of the influences of gender stereotype such as the magazine centrefold, fashion magazine spreads, advertising, childrens literature, formal portraiture as well as mannequins. Over the course of her career, her work has progressed into being more aggressive in its tone and more explicit in its messages.


Untitled #188 and Untitled #61 are both reflectant of the way that Sherman exposes the stereotypical view of women as being a ‘sex-object’ as her mockery and condemnation of her views on the female stereotype has become more and more pronounced, her biographer, Rosalind Krauss, has described it as the erotic fetish that clouds every media image of the female. Along with representing feminist issues in her work, Sherman also incorporates an element characteristic of the postmodernist movement known as ‘double-coding’ whereby messages conveyed in particular works may be contradictory in their meaning. Also, she blurs the boundaries of gender, confronts the division between original and copy, nigh art and popular cultures using a method that lies between representation and reality.


From Sherman’s ‘Disaster’ series, Untitled #188 features a ‘blow-up’ doll twisted upon various debris. The doll itself is symbolic of the sexual side of woman - the fact that the doll itself is naked atop of the rubbish and the overall set-up of the shot can be similarly linked to something like a rape scene, its overall representation is the violence that is inflicted upon females. The semi-deflated state of the doll and the fact that it is cast haphazardly amongst a pile of rubbish shows that it has been abandoned and is no longer of use. Sherman has challenged the audience on social and gender issues whilst still managing to question the perceptions of reality. The work itself it’s confronting in a sense due to the appalling state of the deflated ‘sex-toy’, but at the same time, it has a slight humorous undertone about it.

Untitled #61 is fairly similar in content to Untitled #188. It too has focused on the stereotype of the portrayal of women in a sexual context. This time, Cindy Sherman has used the object of a mannequin as being the central focus of the photograph. This too, is a fairly confronting work as we find the mannequin naked, in an awkward position, staring directly into the audience, emitting an unsettling and unnerving atmosphere. Like Kruger, Sherman is making an attack upon the values and perceptions that society today holds that are primarily related to women due to the influence such as various aspects of the media such as television and radio and certain areas of pop culture such as what is generated throughout magazines.

In conclusion, both Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman have communicated ideas about cultural issues, in this case gender and feminism, through a variety of techniques and media which has resulted in the production of work that challenges values and stereotypes spawned by elements of today’s society and that invites the audiences into questioning modern day perceptions of such contemporary issues.



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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Advertisements

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Argument of Evaluation

Advertisements are involved in almost every part of our daily lives. They are involved when we watch television and listen to the radio. They are involved when we get up and use our name brand toothpaste, when we eat our breakfast and go to work. It is almost impossible not to be affected by all the advertisements. That is why private companies spend tremendous amounts of money for a slight glimpse in someones life. There will always be one ad that can usually stick out when flipping through these magazines. I found a particular ad like this in Gentlemens Quarterly (GQ). GQ is obviously primarily for men. The magazine focuses on mens personal style and taste, from what he wears to the way he lives his life. GQ covers subjects ranging from finance, food, travel, entertainment, celebrities, sports, grooming and fashion (Conte). The average man that reads this periodical is probably going to be a man ranging in his late twenties to his sixties. A man that is also middle to upper class, who is able to enjoy certain aspects of life that the ads portray, will read this magazine. Therefore, any advertisements that are in this magazine will have to appeal to this demographic to be successful. The advertisement being evaluated is for Tommy Hilfger clothing. This print ad is very effective in GQ because it appeals to the main audience the magazine is looking for. This ad will also stick in the audiences mind because of its association, vivid use of color, and its sex appeal.

The ad takes place on a beach with a man and a woman. The models are wearing the Tommy's clothes while rolling around on the sand. Tommy's signature appears in the bottom right-hand corner with his emblem. The scene that is being photographed is a remake of the movie, From Here to Eternity. In having this type of scene, the agency has already appealed to the main demographic by making the audience reminisce about this old movie. The two models in this movie are acting as Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster in their famous scene together on the beach. In this scene, waves crash in toward the deserted beach for... the films most memorable, famous and shockingly torrid (for its day) love-making scene on a sandy Oahu beach. Back at the edge of the Hawaiian beach surf, the waves churn up white caps and breakers. The water rolls up the beach and races toward Karen [Kerr] and Warden [Lancaster] who lie together. Their bodies are tightly locked and intertwined in an embrace as they kiss each other and the white foaming waves pour over them (Dirks). This memorable part of the movie is being recaptured and is used to sell the clothes depicted in the print ad. The main point of advertising is having the audience remember the ad and the company. In remaking a movie, the audience is able to subconsciously think about Tommy Hilfiger and his clothes when they think about the pleasant memory of watching this Academy Award Winning film. It is very effective in advertising, because even if they dont buy the product, the audience will remember who the ad is by and hopefully tells someone else about it. This is a major part of this ad, however, there must be more to the scene to make it effective for the reader to look at the print. They are other pieces of criteria that need to catch a viewers attention.

Another aspect of effectiveness is the contrast of the color, blue. It most significant color in the entire background, as well as the color that both models are wearing. Therefore, that is the first thing that catches the readers eye in the ad. Before the eye goes to the subjects that are depicted, it automatically goes to color. An almost overwhelming sense of color is effective, but it isnt too overwhelming to take away from what the picture is trying to convey. It gives a sense of connection in the picture; the sense that the ocean is connected to the tide, which is connected to the woman, who is connected to the man. Blue is another color which is very popular in advertising. People perceive blue as cool, serene, and relaxing as well as... confident and dependable... [B]right blue can communicate the playful and youthful feelings (CIAd). The ad is implying that these clothes are cool and confident and people will feel relaxed in them, as well as feeling relaxed and comfortable when looking at the ad. This sense of ease and comfort creates the mood and connects to the other parts of the ad.

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The last aspect of effectiveness has to do with sex appeal. One of the main aspects of sex appeal can be construed in Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture by Berger, who makes a statement about dark hair Dark hair is connected in the American mind... with notions of sexual passion, in contrast to blond hair that is connected with innocence and sexual coldness and unresponsiveness (Berger). He also suggests that because this takes place on the beach, that it represents a certain type of sexual freedom. In the ad, both have dark hair, which represents many inhibitions being thrown away; it is more natural then reserved and rigid. This is a simply natural ad.

The ad definitely effective in this magazine. It appeals to the demographic of GQ by appealing to middle to upper class and middle-aged men because it associates itself with an important movie of their time. Tommy Hilfiger is a middle to upper class designer as well, so the audience should be able to afford the clothes. However, another important part of it is that it all connects in the end. The main color, the hair color, as well as the movie all ties together. This ad is effective because it has contrast, remembrance, as well as sex appeal. It achieves all the goals that an agency would want for its clients campaign, it is very successful.


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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Janet Laurence

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Artists construct a presentation, reflection or a critique of their world for the viewer. Two artists that are an example of this are Yun Suk-Nam and Janet Laurence.

Janet Laurence strives to inform audiences with her views of art in society and art relating to history and the environment. She is interested in presenting art as something more than decorative or something personal.

Her work is interactive and usually involves the audience’s senses, for example she includes various different textures in her installations and her work will include sounds, sometimes speech or music.

Laurence is enthusiastic about her site-specific works. She participates in a variety of projects with architects, and enjoys the involvement in research and scientific investigations. With what she learns she incorporates it into her installations so other people can experience it.

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From as early as the 70s, I was always interested in the idea of how art worked in a space  how art could contribute to the definition of a space and make the viewer participate holistically within that space.

I realised we still have a life that is strongly entwined with our natural environment. I wanted to bring that out in my work, so I made a conscious decision to make work which was about relating to our environment.

Laurence found gallery work to be confining, and she came to appreciate the possibilities of exhibiting outside. She has worked with several artists and architects to produce works that are site-specific, and used natural, scientific and architectural materials.

She examines the history of the site and builds it with this in mind, also using materials from the era and that relate to the people of that era. In ‘Edge of the Trees’ for example she uses the culture of the Eora tribe as part of the theme. She wants people to see the lives and places that have been replaced with today’s living. She uses honey, seed pods, hair, and ash to create the atmosphere of the Eora tribe. The tall wooden posts represent a forest, but they are neat and in proportion, like a building.


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Monday, August 15, 2011

Bartleby

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The Fatal Effects of Alienation

Alienation is a strange and profound state of being. One can choose to alienate oneself from society, or on the other hand society itself can alienate them. The feeling of alienation can occur when one simply gives up and finds no purpose in life. Some circumstance or event that perhaps has caused these people to alienate oneself from society and life in general has propelled the individuals who see life differently.

And what about those who are alienated by society and don’t realize it until its too late. “Freewill” is the only way out of a situation such as alienation. One must have the will to keep on going, to find a purpose in life. Life is not about giving up. William Wordsworth put it best when he described life as endurance without hope. In this world there are those of us who are strong enough to endure life, while others simple lay down in defeat and find no purpose or reason for life as Bartleby has done in Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener.”



In Melville’s story, we encounter a young man who saw society as an institution of hopelessness. Bartleby works at the Dead Letter Office burning letters all day with no social interaction. Even after Bartleby changes positions at his job and has the opportunity to converse and interact with the other employees, he chooses not to. Bartleby has become a dead man psychologically. Bartleby resounds with a ferocious passivity. His persistently passive attitude is focused at the regulated routines of normal society. This shows that Bartleby has acknowledged the senselessness of life without hope, which he knows it to be. As a result of Bartleby's hopelessness he refuses to do many things by simply responding “I would prefer not to.” When Bartleby's boss asks him “will you go home with me now-not to my office, but my dwelling-and remain there till we can conclude upon some convenient arrangement for you at our leisure? Come, let us start now, right away.” Bartleby responds by saying “No at present I would prefer not to make any change at all” . Bartleby's unique behavior is one that can be defined by existential philosophy. Clearly this shows how Bartleby has given up and can not find any purpose in his life or life in general. The effect of alienation on Bartleby withdraws him from society and causes distress upon himself leading to his death. Because Bartleby fails to exercise his own freewill, he dies.


Much like Bartleby, we encounter a teenage boy named Herald Krebs, in “Soldier’s Home”; whose institution was the military. Krebs was forced to grow up quickly, and robbed of his childhood. When Krebs returned home to his family, he alienates himself because he cannot accept his surroundings. The army taught him, there are no consequences, you do as your are told, no thinking required.” He did not want any consequences. He is also confronted with having to lie to fit in with the society. “Krebs found that to be listened to at all he had to lie”. The army also made him a liar. Now the only thing Krebs can do is watch the world go by while sitting on his front porch. The army corrupts this young boy, and made him a victim of alienation by lying to him, and not allowing him to think for himself. Just like Bartleby, Krebs knows no other way. This is why he alienates himself from society



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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Artist Analysis: Frederick McCubbin

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Artist Analysis: Frederick McCubbin

“Discuss the importance of McCubbin’s work to the tradition of landscape painting in Australia”

As a renowned, Australian-born landscape artist, Frederick McCubbin’s work is of great importance to the tradition of landscape painting in Australia as he draws his ideas from the hard working Australians from which our culture has derived. Seen as a painter of heroic figure compositions set in nationalist landscapes, McCubbin studied at the Artisans School of Design under Louis Buvelot during the late 1860s. Influenced by other prominent artists to the likes of Jean François Millet and Jules Bastien-Lepage, McCubbin followed many of there ideas and styles by using the realistic approach of ‘Truth to nature’ which enabled McCubbin to paint the world as he sees it and how it really is.

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The Australian landscape is made up of beautiful colour and texture, which has been endlessly depicted by other artists such as Eugene Von Guerard. As a European Artist, Von Guerard finds beauty in such things as our traditional foliage, fauna and the mountain ranges, where as Frederick McCubbin, being of Australian decent sees beauty and appeal in portraying the life and hard work of people that live and work the land. McCubbin paints with a nature as he sees it rather than with the academic ideal. He paints a documentary of life on the land and about national pride as apposed to painting a ‘pretty picture’ that will look good with the decor. Using renaissance techniques, McCubbin painted rural workers, Aussie pioneering spirit, settler’s and historical events which help shape our knowledge of Australian hardship on the land in the 1880’s. His aim being to tell the Australian story of settlement. Fred McCubbin’s methods of painting was by painting plein-air out in the landscape surroundings, and then back at his studio would place figures in the painting after he had painted the landscape. An example of when McCubbin would have done so, is in his painting ‘Down on his luck’.

Along with the help of other artists such as Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton, McCubbin collaborated to introduce new techniques of painting, by mixing compositions and stature and figure drawing along with impressionist’s techniques of broad brushwork and atmospheric effects of the Australian light. Frederick McCubbin often used the romantic approach to his use of colours, which were often quite juxtaposed. Thus, meaning that when up close, these colours were side by side and were not mixed, but from afar, the colours would blend, and form an object The colours would be softened down to create a poetic and nostalgic flow to the scenery. Once relocated to Mount Macedon, McCubbin began to experiment in illustrating light and its effects on colour in the nature. This allowed McCubbin to portray the landscapes at different times of day in different weather conditions, giving a true indication of how the landscapes can offer more than just pretty daytime paintings.

Frederick McCubbin’s painting’s are of great importance to the tradition of landscape painting in Australia. Through his use of varied styles, theme’s and techniques, he has managed to depict the ‘truth’ and reality of the hardship of a new country whilst still managing to highlight the beauty of Australia’s most prized and outstanding landscapes.


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Saturday, August 13, 2011

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Uses Colour Imagery in “The Great Gatsby”

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Throughout the novel “The Great Gatsby”, F. Scott Fitzgerald consistently uses colour imagery to create atmosphere in different scenes, to bring out the characters’ personalities, and to reinforce theme development. Even though he refers to a vast array of colours, they differ in prominence and influence.

The most prominent colour Fitzgerald uses is green. Gatsby can be said to be green with envy over the fact that he lost the love of his life, Daisy to Tom Buchanan. He is also envious of the “old money” people he invites to his parties. This fixation with old money and his belief that Daisy rejected him because he did not have enough money is what drove him to be rich. This desire for money brings out the dark side of Gatsby’s character, because of the illegal and unethical means by which he obtained his money through his connections to Wolfsheim. When Gatsby was rich enough to move into his own mansion in West Egg he would at night watch “a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been at the end of a dock”. This green light at Daisy’s house and the “ green breast of the new world” symbolized to Gatsby hope, a chance to revive his love, to relive the past with Daisy, and a promise of his dream of being reunited with the American dream.

The most frequently mentioned colour is white. The author uses it to enhance the character of Daisy. He notes that the first time Nick Carraway meets Daisy at her home, that the house itself was “ …white Georgian mansion” with “windows gleaming white” and Daisy was dressed in white. All of this reflects on the wealth, cleanliness, innocence, purity, and beauty associated with Daisy. Daisy herself recalls her “ white girlhood”. This use of the colour white suggests privilege, purity, freshness, and innocence and helps characterize her as the princess who appears in Gatsby’s dream. Moreover the continuous use the colour white throughout the text in relation to Daisy reinforces the perfect, goddess like, pedestaled image that Jay sees her as.

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Fitzgerald uses the colour yellow in the novel to contrast the wealth of Gatsby and the Buchanans. He also uses it to indicate the corruption and decay, which contributed to destroying Gatsby’s dream and ultimately the American dream. The citizens of East and West Egg have their lives centered on money. It is the yellow and gold colours that represent old money of Tom and Daisy while green represents the new money of Gatsby much like the old currency of gold and the current currency of paper. Gatsby wanted very much to be a part of that old money. Money allowed him to entertain the wealthy class and he believed with money he could win Daisy back. At his parties the orchestra played “yellow cocktail music”, and Gatsby was wearing a “caramel coloured suit” when he lied to Nick about his past. He bought the yellow car so he could win over the true love of Daisy, but this did not fool anyone. The yellow car became the most important symbol of decay as it became the topic of conversation among the townspeople for it was the cause of Myrtle’s death. It was termed the “death car” by the newspapers. These examples regarding the use of the colour yellow by Fitzgerald emphasize the corruption and decay of that era.

The colour blue in the novel represents hope for the future. It brings to a land that is dead, a smidgen of hope for lost time. In the Valley of Ashes it is a colour that is displayed by “the eyes of Doctor T.J.Eckleburgh as blue and gigantic”. His blue eyes present a contrast to the grey atmosphere that prevails in the Valley of Ashes, which is symbolic of both a God looking down on a superior world and a pure colour amongst all the grey. Blue is also used to emphasize the fantasy world that Gatsby aims to create. Tom and Daisy’s relationship, which is based on wealth, not love, is seen as an unhappy, blue relationship. Gatsby’s parties were just part of his dreams and illusions and seen as being out of touch with reality. “In [Gatsby’s] blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths” thus leaving the impression that Gatsby’s house and blue garden was a place where people came to get away from the realities of the real world. Gatsby’s lawn was blue, “he had come a long way to this blue lawn” but failed to reach his dream, a dream so close, but yet so far away which he failed to grasp.


Fitzgerald uses the colour grey to characterize George Wilson as a man with no hope in an atmosphere of desperation in the Valley of Ashes. He uses the Valley of Ashes scene to provide the majority of uses for the colour grey in the novel. This colour is symbolic of the hopelessness that thrives in the valley. Phrases such as “a fantastic farm”, “a grey land where a line of grey cars crawls along an invisible track”, and “ash grey men stir up clouds of ashes with spades” all emphasize that people who live in the Valley of Ashes are of the lowest class, with no hope of escape from that environment. The atmosphere surrounding them is grey, thus, contributing to a situation of destitution and hopelessness. When George Wilson, who operates the garage in the Valley of Ashes, is introduced to the reader the use of grey ashes allows the reader to see that Wilson is not that well off and the grey ashes crush him, leaving him no hope for a better future. The fact that Myrtle Wilson died in the grey setting of the Valley of Ashes leaves the interpretation that grey is symbolic of death.

Fitzgerald’s use of colour imagery is integral to the novel in that it connects the characters, sets the atmosphere throughout, illustrates various themes clearly, and emotionally affects the reader and their attitude towards the novel.


Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York Simon and Schuster, 15. 11-18.


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Friday, August 12, 2011

High Holy Days

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Analyzing Faith and Doubt in “High Holy Days” by Jane Shore

The main idea that Jane Shore is making in “High Holy Days” is that the child or young teenager is a “Chosen One,” (line 54) and she must free the Jews from Anti-Semitism and the Nazis just as Moses saved the Israelites from the Egyptians. She had no idea she was going to be the chosen one just as Moses did not. Moses was lost too just like she was before God helped him find his way.


The author uses diction throughout the poem to help the reader better understand how the speaker is feeling. For example, “It was hot. A size too large, my wool winter suit scratched” (lines 1-30) shows how she is hot and uncomfortable; she doesn’t want to be there because she doesn’t understand the true meaning of why she is there. Later on she says, “I watched it fall one drop at a time. I felt faint. And breathed out sharply, my nose spattering blood across the page.” (lines 50-55). Here God chooses her to free the Jews from Anti-Semitism and the Nazis. The blood symbolizes her sacrifices she must make in order to make this happen, just as the priest is to consecrate the Ark of the Covenant by sprinkling the blood of a sacrificed bull and goat on the cover. Near the end of the poem, instead of just saying, ”I went back into the Jew-hating world,” instead the author says, ”And I reeled home through the dazed traffic of the business day - past shoppers, past my school, in session as usual, spat like Jonah from the whale back into the Jew-hating world.” (lines 68-7). This choice of words along with the previous seven lines shows the reader how she goes back into the rest of her everyday life, with determination to change the situation.

The author uses tone throughout the poem to give the reader a sense of the atmosphere and the feelings of the characters. For example, we feel a sense of seriousness in the beginning of the poem in lines 7- when they are all praying for help from their God. “Mother next to daughter, father next to son flipped through prayerbooks in unison trying to keep the place.” The mood changes to a puzzled feeling later on in the poem during lines 57-60 when she is unsure of what she is supposed to do. “Why would God choose me to lead this congregation of mostly strangers, defend them against the broken windows, the spray-painted writing on the walls?” Towards the end of the poem the mood changes to a triumph feeling in lines 61-7 when she is determined to change the world. “Overhead, the red bulb of the everlasting light was burning. As if God held me in His fist, I stumbled down the synagogue stairs just in time to hear a cyclone of breath twist through the shofar, a battle cry so powerful it blasted city walls to rubble. And I reeled home through the dazed traffic of the business day - past shoppers, past my school, in session as usual, spat like Jonah from the whale back into the Jew-hating world.”


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The author uses imagery in the poem to enable the reader to see what the speaker sees. For example, in lines 4-11 the speaker describes to us the Synagogue, which is the setting. “The shul’s broken window bled sunlight on the congregation; the Red Sea of the scarlet carpet parted the women from the men. Mother next to daughter, father next to son flipped through prayerbooks in unison trying to keep the place. Across the aisle, my father wore a borrowed prayershawl. A black yarmulke covered his bald spot. Later on in lines 50-5 the speaker is making a sacrifice to God, and we can see how this works because the blood symbolizes bull and goat blood sacrifices. “I watched it fall one drop at a time. I felt faint. And breathed out sharply, my nose spattering blood across the page. Towards the end of the poem we see the speaker being guided by God in lines 61-6. “Overhear, the red bulb of the everlasting light was burning. As if God held me in His first.”

Throughout the poem the author uses diction, tone, imagery, and the speaker to show us the main idea of the poem that the child or young teenager is a “Chosen One,” and she must free the Jews from Anti-Semitism and the Nazis just as Moses saved the Israelites from the Egyptians.



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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In how far does the language reflet the progress/ development of the action?

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In how far does the language reflet the progress/ development of the action?

The place where the story takes place is Westminster Abbey. In the book Brave New World Huxley changed the function of it. It used to be a church but now it serves as a night club where more than 500 people are able to dance to Synthetic Music. Westminster Abbey in A.F. 6 is the total opposite from what it had been before. A church is a rather quiet and holy place in contrast to a night club. This shows how even the values of the society have changed and that they do not believe in the same God as we do.

When Lenina and Henry enter the Westminster Abbey Cabaret, the atmosphere is hot and breathless. In the moment they enter the scent and color organ is painting a tropical sunset (p. 67) and 16 sexophonists are playing an old favorite “There ain't no Bottle in all the world like that dear little bottle of mine”. Lenina and Henry are exactly the 401 couple that enters the Westminster Abbey Cabaret. This signifies the fact that they are followers and that they adhere to state doctrine and makes one conclude that they are very carefully counting how many people are in the room.

Although the sexophonists sound like wailing and moaning cats the music seems to be entertaining to its listeners who are obviously are havin a lot of fun. However the sound is described as being full of harmonics and is heading towards a climax. Which follows when the conductor let loose the final note, a thunder in A flat major is played. After that there is a diminuendo and the music almost comes to silence. But then the 16 sexophonists burst out into song. This can be seen as the climax of the whole scene. There had been a tension in the music and the listeners expected something to come. Their expectancy has been fulfilled when the sexophonists began to sing the song “dear little bottle of mine”. In contrast to the sunset in the beginning, the singing is accompanied by an explosive sunrise, indicating that the night is over and the day, something new begins.

By now Lenina and Henry are dancing in another world. On the one hand this is caused by soma which makes them feel a warm and richly colored world, the world of soma-holiday, but on the other hand the music also causes their ecstasy.

The sexophonists stop playing and their part is taken over by the Synthetic Music Apparatus which starts playing a very slow Malthusian Blues. This tells the people in the room that the party will be over soon, and like expected the Apparatus tells them “Good Bye”.

All the girls in BNW have a Malthusian Belt on which they carry contraceptions. Playing the Malthusian Blues suggests the idea that they are reminded to have sex that night.

Huxley uses a lot of sarcasm in this scene. Everything is artificial, even the sunset and surise are produced artificially by the color and scent organ. Moreover everybody takes this drug soma, which has no side effects, in order to feel happy. There is loud music played by a Synthetic Music Apparatus and ever once in a while they alternate with 16 sexophonists. It is loud and very bright, it is nothing we would ever expect in a church.

Another aspect Huxley satirizes is birth. In the song “dear little bottle of mine” the bottle took over the role of the mother. They love the bottle and are sad that they had to leave it because the skies are always blue and the weather is always fine in it, there is nothing in the world that can be compared to that bottle.The song derives from another theory of Freud which says that in times of trouble one wants to go back to a lower state of development. This is in great contrast to the state's motto, which says Community, Identity, Stability, since they do not have any development. Besides that people in Brave New World are always happy because they take soma at every opportunity they get.

The text is written in literary language. Huxley uses a lot of adjectives to describe the action very precisley. In the beginning, when Lenina and Henry enter the Cabaret the sentences are short without any subordinate clause. After the describtion of the wailing sexophones, the sentences become longer and have a lot of subordinate clauses. This is exactly the time when the tension increases. In the part where Huxley describes the music, he is very precise by using brackets in which he explains the notes that are played by the sexophonists.

The action is always refered to the artificially produced society, for example the bottle song and in the end even the feelings of Lenina and Henry are described in a way that also reminds the reader the bottle that their body grows in. This shows that the people are happy the way it is, they do not want it any different, which is influenced by hypnopeadia lessons, of course, but right now, while they are dancing, they have what they ever wanted, they are inside with the blue sky and the fine weather, feeling like twin embryos gently rocking toghether on the waves of a bottled ocean of bloodsurrogate. The bottle is the only thing that they are allowed to have feelings for, that they can admire. They are supposed to have sex with as many partners as possible but never develop any feelings for them. It is abnormal to go out with only one person, like Lenina and Henry do. Maybe they developped some kind of feelings for each other since it says in the text that they have what they always wanted. They are supposed to only want the bottle, but Lenina and Henry want each other.

In the end, when they are in some kind of numb state, just like in their hypnopaedia lessons, and again they hear commands out of the speakers, they are told to leave, in a genial and musical politeness. They are very used to always do that what they are told, so that they probably would not have noticed that the show was over by themselves. They always need someone to tell them what to do, which once more shows that the Individual does not count a bit in this society.

To sum up we can see that the moral values in BNW have been turned upside down from the values we have today. Individuality does not count anymore, people are supposed to have promiscuous sex and even a church, that has been a quiet and holy place before, does not receive any respect anymore, it is turned into a loud night club.



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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Hamlet

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The search for justice causes one to act blindly through anger, rather than through reason. Everyday we are confronted with a problem that requires us to make a decision. In most cases, the decisions are made without much thought, and therefore result to catastrophic consequences. In the play, Hamlet, William Shakespeare creates an elegant hero, which our modern society can relate to the individual as a deterioration of human character. Disillusionment, depression, and despair are the burning emotions churning in Hamlet's soul as he attempts to come to terms with his fathers death and his mothers incestuous marriage. Unquestionably, there are many elements that compile a tragedy, which consist of everything from the murderous villain to the fallen hero. However, for a play to encompass a tragic hero, there must be a few essential components within the hero. Most importantly, the main character must be of noble birth, acquire heroic attributes, and possess a moral flaw, which leads to his own demise. Furthermore, the hero must be placed in a position beyond his control but have the ability to choose his own destiny by acting pertinently. Therefore, it is evident that Hamlet demonstrates characteristics of a tragic hero when confronting his dilemma to gain revenge upon his father’s death, however, it ultimately leads to his own demise.

Like most tragic heroes, Hamlet’s nobility and valiant qualities are the main characteristics of a Shakespearean tragic hero. Specifically, his significance in the play as the Prince of Denmark, shown when Horatio says, “Hail to your lordship!” This announcement clearly shows that Hamlet has Horatio’s full respect when he calls Hamlet, “lordship.” Horatio’s welcoming statement illustrates how Hamlet has met the requirement of royalty. In addition, it appears that Hamlet has the authority to direct his friends to perform duties for him, such as looking out for the ghost in the beginning of the play, when Hamlet asks, “Indeed, indeed, sirs, but this troubles me. Hold you the watch tonight?” Hamlet’s friends respond by agreeing to watch for the ghost and leave Hamlet’s presence by saying, “ Our duty to your honor.” Other than Hamlet’s noble birth, his heroic quality such as his bravery also allows him to be a tragic figure in Shakespeare’s play. Primarily, his bravery can be shown when he takes the chance in following the ghost, when he tells his friends, “Why, what should be the fear?” This bold remark demonstrates even through dangerous times, Hamlet still chooses to settle his curiosity rather than backing away. Without doubt, these assertions display Hamlet’s figure of high royalty and bravery. Therefore, these initial qualities make Hamlet fall from grace even greater than projected.

As we see the play progress, Hamlet’s destiny begins to unravel by his own actions. In the beginning of the play, we see Hamlet suffering from the loss of his father. He expresses his sorrow in the soliloquy, “O that this too too sullied flesh would melt…”  This important soliloquy displays Hamlet’s feelings after his father’s death and that he wish he could die to escape this excruciating pain. Shortly thereafter, Hamlet is disillusioned by witnessing the appearance of the ghost, King Hamlet. The ghost arouses Hamlet to revenge his death when he says, “foul and most unnatural murder. This distraught proclamation appalls Hamlet at the revelation that his father has been murdered by his Uncle Claudius and vows vengeance upon his father’s death. While Hamlet tries to pick up the pieces of his shattered idealism, he consciously embarks on a quest to seek the truth. Hamlet’s destiny is now determined once he has seen the ghost because he will not allow Claudius to get away with such a sinful act. With this in mind, Hamlet devises a plan to ensure that the ghost is telling the truth and not lying to him. Hamlet resolves to devise a trap for Claudius, forcing the king to watch a play in which the plot closely resembles the murder of Hamlets father; if the king is guilty, he will surely show some visible sign of guilt when he sees his sin reenacted on stage. By doing so, Hamlet will then obtain definitive proof of Claudiuss guilt. The plays the thing…wherein Ill catch the conscience of the king. The king reacts by standing up and in shock of seeing his actions take place before his eyes, it is clearly evident that Claudius did murder Hamlet’s father. By analyzing these conclusive actions, it is clear that Hamlet’s destiny starts to unfold while learning the truth about his father’s death. With this newfound knowledge, he dedicates himself entirely to seek revenge for his father’s unnatural death.


Once Hamlet has received confirmation that the ghost is telling the truth, he begins to lust for revenge and the deterioration of his once noble character begins. In particular, this is illustrated when he observes the king’s reaction to the play and proclaims, “When the churchyards yawn, and hell itself breathes out Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood.” This outrageous statement now shows that Hamlet can now kill Claudius after the confirmation from the reaction of Claudius towards the reenacted murder. Hamlet begins to display his dismantled character soon after he witnesses the king’s reaction toward the play. Throughout the play from this point onward, it is apparent that his character starts to deteriorate. For example, Hamlet’s rudeness to Ophelia and how she says, “O what a noble mind is here o’erthrown! The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s eye, tongue, sword, Th’ expectancy and rose of the fair state…” With this distressing statement, Ophelia describes how Hamlet use to be loved by the towns people and how he had a noble mind. Now Hamlet has changed from the scholar she once knew into athe insane person that now stand before her. Ophelia is lost and confused because he once loved her and now all of a sudden, he begins to criticize women and saying how they behave like monsters. In addition, Hamlet turns all of this corruption and decay into a big joke after he kills Polonius. When Claudius asks where he has hidden Polonius’ body, Hamlet quips; “At supper.” Hamlet’s deterioration in character is through his insensitive response towards killing Polonius and by a mocking comment on the whereabouts of his dead body. These undignified actions cause him to fall from his heroic figure into a character of lustful revenge. Finally, by killing Claudius, it ends the bloody cycle of revenge.

For one to be a tragic hero in the Elizabethan era, the main character must be of royalty, obtain of heroic attributes, and possess a moral flaw, which leads to his own downfall. Furthermore, a tragic hero is one who is presented with an inescapable situation against unbelievable and constant opposition, despite his heroic strengths, he is manipulated or toyed with by forces beyond his control. In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, Hamlet faces a very difficult decision, a decision that may change his life and after-life forever. Throughout the play, Hamlet struggles with his own destiny as a tragic figure because he must die to be able to restore the moral order. As a result, we can identify Hamlet as a tragic hero because of his matching characteristics with the ideal Shakespearean tragic hero. With this said, William Shakespeare uses the tragic hero as a device to shed light onto a variety of different human flaws that the reader can relate and as well to sympathize for Hamlet. This device acts as a constant reminder of how destructive our society can be and the consequences of doing vengeful actions. In fact, the daunting thing of human nature is to accept ourselves and know ourselves. Our destiny, our stories are sometimes tragedies; we all fall like Hamlet if we do not reflect and learn from his lesson. Hamlet is like the inner person of all mankind and sometimes tragedies cannot be avoided without divine intervention.



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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Comparison of 'Emma' and 'Clueless'

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A Comparison of “Emma” and “Clueless”

The film 'Clueless', written and directed by Amy Heckerling, is an adaptation of Jane Austen's novel 'Emma' and closely parallels the story in terms of character development and action. Although Emma was written in 1816 and developed ideas and issues of that period in time, 180 years on we can still recognize and identify with the exact same issues. This just proves that despite all the radical social changes that have taken place since Jane Austens time, people and life havent really changed all that much. The general life issues of money, love, friendship, class and finding ones place in the world are raised in both texts.

From the very beginning of both movies, we can see the similarities between the two main characters. Emma Woodhouse, the protagonist in Emma, is part of the rich, upscale society of a large and populous village called Highbury, in nineteenth century England; while Cher Horowitz lives in rich, upscale Beverly Hills, U.S.A. In both 'Clueless' and 'Emma', both of the main characters, Cher and Emma, are spoiled, high-class snobs who are looked upon with admiration and popularity by all. Cher and Emma are among the cultural elite and because of their wealth and class they are spoiled and tend to think too highly of themselves. studentcentral.co.uk

Relationships are one of the key issues raised and explored in both texts. One of the relationships explored is that between the daughter and her father. Both Emma and Cher have a close yet out of the ordinary relationship with their father, as each girl is the apple of their fathers’ eye and can do no wrong. And both Emma’s and Cher’s fathers are very generous with not only their love but also their money and constant compliments.

It is here that the real problems of both Cher’s and Emma’s situations come to light. Both girls have the habit of getting rather too much their own way and a disposition to think a little too highly of themselves. In both movies the girls’ mothers died when they were quite young and at first viewing do not have a major part in either movie. But at second glance we can begin to see the root of the fathers over-indulgence. Because of their wealth, Emma and Cher are spoiled, in control socially, and tend to think too highly of themselves. This is a result of the lack of a maternal figure in their lives and the fact that their fathers and governess (in Emma’s case) were too lenient and indulgent during their upbringing. .

Another branch of the relationship issue that is shown in both movies is friendship, and follows on from the issue of Cher’s and Emma’s wealth and power.The snobbery of both girls leads Cher and Emma to, in their eyes, take pity on Tai and Harriet Smith, two girls of lower social status. Emma decides that Harriet should be made into a proper young lady, and that the friends Harriet has already made are unworthy of her and causing her harm. Even though Emma has never met Mr Martin, with whom Harriet has strong feelings for, she declares him as coarse and unpolished and very unfit for her friend. Emmas haughtiness causes her to assume that Harriets acquaintances are not good enough for her, and that they are holding Harriet back from a better social life and status, even though Harriet is in the social class she should be in and as Mr Knightly points out, “We do not even know her parents. They could be pirates for all we know!”

Therefore, to prove Mr Knightly wrong, Emma sets out on a mission to push Harriet forward to a more desirable status. Emma is optimistic that her influence on Harriet will be more than positive and sets out to improve Harriet and to detach her from bad acquaintances, and to introduce her to good society where she would form new opinions and gain the manners and customs appropriate for a woman of Emma’s social status. Harriet Smith is neither a clever or bright person and desires nothing less than to be guided by any one she looks up to. Harriet is therefore perfect material for Emma to mould.

In 'Clueless', like 'Emma', Cher sets out to improve Tai, the new girl at school and the equivalent to Harriet Smith in Emma. Like Harriet, Tai is obviously of a lower class than Cher as her clothes lack style, her hair is stringy and dyed a fake red colour, she has a thick unpolished accent and she likes to smoke drugs. Cher pronounces her “adorably clueless” and consequently decides to give her a complete makeover a new hairstyle, new make-up and a new wardrobe. Cher honestly believes that she is taking that lost soul in there and making her well-dressed and popular”. She proudly tells Josh, “Her life will be better because of me. Through Cher’s actions and words towards Tai, we can see that here, like Emma, Cher is not just helping Tai out of the goodness of her heart, but to feed her own ego and pride.

Another issue that is explored in similar contexts in both films is the idea of marriage and dating. In 'Clueless', the girls express to Tai their “rules for dating”. Cher explains that they are not allowed to see certain males, and should only date the men that will help them to get further up the social ladder. Tai is so captivated by her mentor that she does not disagree, even though she is being pressured into ignoring her own heart. On her first day at her new school, Tai meets and instantly likes Travis in the cafeteria. However, Travis is from the long-haired, drug-smoking, lower class skateboarder group, to which Cher says, No respectable girl actually dates. Cher will not allow Tai to mix with a boy of lower social status, even though Tai and Travis would have made a good couple because of their common interests and similar social status and upbringing. Cher automatically assumes that if Tai were to date Travis, Tais social status at school would plummet.

To draw Tai’s attention away from Travis and to improve Tai socially, Cher makes it her mission to find a proper boyfriend for Tai. She is shown the various social groups of the school that includes a small group of boys that are the only “acceptable” ones. One of these boys is Elton, a rich snob and the equivalent to Mr Elton in Emma. Cher immediately decides that Elton is the boy “suitable” for Tai and immediately sets out to make a good match. However, her plans backfire when she learns that Elton has not been showing feelings for Tai all that time, but rather ones for Cher instead.

The same happens to Miss Woodhouse in 'Emma'. After helping Harriet Smith to refuse Mr Martin, Emma, like Cher, makes it her mission to find an appropriate match for her clueless friend. However, Mr Elton, like Elton in Clueless, reveals to Emma that he actually loves her and not Tai. After her first failure in the matchmaking department Emma, and Cher, feel confused and “out of control”.

This is where another issue that is raised in both movies appears which is the depiction of love. The arrival of Frank Churchill in Highbury is of great interest to the gossiping social group and Emma is immediately attracted to him, just as Cher falls for Christian on his first day at school. The arrival of both Frank and Christian in 'Clueless' and 'Emma' cause Mr Knightly and Josh to see for the first time the nature of their real feelings for Emma and Cher as they both feel seething jealousy when they see both girls falling for obviously the wrong types.

Emma and Cher have never been in love before and only know the concept of love from friends and romance novels. Therefore, when they find themselves attracted to Frank Churchill and Christian they immediately assume that they are in love. However, as they find themselves becoming more attracted to Mr Knightly and Josh, Emma admits “that I am not in love with Frank” and Cher discovers that Christian in gay.

With the exception of the exclusion of a few characters and minor story lines, 'Clueless' is a faithful adaptation and update of Jane Austen's 'Emma' and accurately illustrates all of the issues made by Jane Austen. Most of the characters and plot parallel the original story but the major similarity between the two are the issues raised, which shows us again that although society has changed over the past 150 years, the main concept behind life will never change.



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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The issue of Goodwill

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The issue of Goodwill

Goodwill is the difference between an acquisition price and the acquired firm’s net worth. Massive write-off among European companies for goodwill they paid for acquisitions a few years ago did affect European share markets. A particularly case was Vodafone, the world’s largest mobile-phone company. Anticipated goodwill write-downs are expected to shift per-share earnings by cents and into the red for both 2001 and 2002, according to a consensus of analyst forecasts compiled by IBES. George Hodgson, a European equity strategist pointed out that non-performing asset was the main reason for write-off goodwill. In addition, he suggested a further consideration of those holding non-performing asset for growth. There are always arguments about writing-off goodwill. Some investors counter that the write-downs are merely an accounting measure, with no cash-flow implication and therefore safe to ignore. Others figure investors had anticipated those write-downs. Some strategists stated that the problem will not affect the market much. However, it probably is the time to make investors jittery. After Enron’s case, lots of US companies are restating their earnings because of accounting issues continue to grow. An example will be Nvidia, a supplier of chips for Microsoft’s Xbox video-game system, became the latest company to disclose that its accounting practices are under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. It is struggling for professional money managers to make money for investors whose gain may wipe out with one terrible profit warning. It seems that the earning season has hardly been upbeat, since European companies are evenly split between those that have exceeded analysts’ expectations and those that have fallen short. A survey of fund managers suggested that Europe is gaining favour in investor’s minds not with their wallets. While U.S. investors show a preference for European equities, European investors still prefer U.S. stocks. One of the firm’s European equity strategists stated that European equities are now 1% below fair value and most investors are waiting for clearer buy signal. An optimistic opinion illustrates that the string of downgrades to European corporate earnings come to an end. However, there are still doubts about how extraordinary the factors are. Overall, it is easy to present assets being overpaid, but it is always a question that what exactly amount the assets being overpaid.



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