Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In the play The Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare’s portrayal of three different forms of love was the reason for the large amount of controversy throughout the play. Parental Love, unconditional love, and lust heavenly influence the main characters of the story and made them react in the way they did. The character’s inability to control their actions due to these different forms of love gives the message that love is the strongest force

Viola is the first character that is introduced in the play. At the beginning of the play parental love is first demonstrated when the reader discovers that Viola has just survived a tragic boat accident and her brother, Sebastian might have died in the process. The thought of the loss of her brother, the last person other than her carrying their family’s title gave Viola the ambition to search for Sebastian as well as a husband in IIIyria that would let her family’s title live on. Sebastian who also demonstrated a large amount of Parental Love for his twin sister, vowed to walk all faces of the earth in order to seek out his sister and fight to keep his family’s name alive. It is this separation between these two twins and the fact that neither one of them are certain that the other is alive that the reader is able to determine that Parental Love is what is keeping them from giving up.

Lady Olivia, a young beautiful woman of royalty was also influenced by parental love for her brother, who had recently died. Her strong devotion towards her brother’s death caused her to isolate herself from the outside world, vowing that it would take seven years for her to gain the strength to once again be a part of society. It is through the actions of Olivia that the reader can come to realize that if it was not for the hope of survival that Viola and Sebastian had for each other, neither one of them would have been able to carry on throughout the story in trying to strengthen their family’s title. Being only concerned towards their family, Olivia, Viola, and Sebastian are very different than the other characters in the play because rather than gaining something, these three characters only wish to experience what they once had.

Lust in addition to the other two forms of love proved to be a large motivation for some of the characters throughout the play. Duke Orsino was the first character of the play to experience this feeling, through his inability to do nothing but listen to love songs and dream of marrying Lady Olivia. Duke Orsino neglected to give up on pursuing Olivia, even with the countless amounts of failed communication attempts that he experienced. It is throughout the story that it is inferred that the Duke was so interested in Olivia because it was the only thing he could not have. It is this thought this information that reader is able to infer that Orsino is experiencing Lust and not Unconditional Love. His inability to give up sending her messages or even personally going to Olivia to show her his true love, shows the large amount of ignorance that Duke Orsino demonstrates.

Mavolio was another character that demonstrated being highly motivated on Lust throughout the play. Being that the Duke as well as Mavolio both demonstrated a large amount self-pride the reader could infer that if both of the characters were not so caught up in themselves, they would be able to realize their wrongs. Mavolio’s false representation of authority and self-confidence was the reason that he was so easily manipulated by the other workers of Olivia. Thinking that he too should rightfully marry Olivia, the reader could instantly come to realize the relation of power and marriage that both Duke Orsino and Mavolio have towards Olivia. It is this strong desire to gain what he wanted that causes Mavolio to be so easily manipulated in being thrown in jail. It is because of the Duke and Movolio’s desire to gain power that caused them to have an interest in Olivia, their pathetic attempts to attract her did not demonstrate the large amount of effort in love that others in the story represent.

Unconditional love or the love that someone has regardless of the loved one’s actions was largely demonstrated in both Viola as well as Antonio’s actions. Viola who was at the beginning of the play alone, fell in love with the conceitedness of Duke Orsino. She even went to the extent of dressing up like a boy in order to see and speak with the Duke Orsino. In addition to dressing like a boy, Viola who was now known as Cesario delivered love messages to Olivia in an effort to be with Duke Orsino. The sacrifice of her appearance and identity to serve the one she secretly loved showed that Viola possessed a form of love that the Duke was far from discovering. Antonio who found and nursed Sebastian back to health also resembled Vila on another level. Taking a strong interest towards Sebastian over a short amount of time, Antonio risked his life so that Sebastian could be reunited with his sister. In an effort to do so he put himself at a risk of getting injured and was thrown in jail for Sebastian. Antonio still cared for Sebastian, even when he thought he was Viola, this shows the reader the extensive amount of unconditional love that Antonio had for Sebastian. Even when Antonio though Sebastian had stolen his purse and left him in jail one could see that he still had love for Sebastian. It is through Viola and Cesario’s representation of unconditional Love that they were soon able to gain the compassion or friendship that they sought out. The fact that they actually were able to accomplish what they sought after demonstrates that their intentions were pure.

After realizing the complexity of this play and being able to place the different forms of love that were represented into three different categories, I could not help but to be surprised. Before taking this course I definitely feel like I was not able to analyze writings as vividly as I am today. I feel that having to analyze a whole Shakespeare play as the last blog is the most challenging of tasks. In addition to being one of the most difficult blogs, I feel like it is definitely a realization of how greatly I improved in analyzing literature. At the beginning of the semester I never thought I would be able to fully analyze poetry, to finally be able to fully understand a Shakespeare play was exciting for me. This class was very inspirational for me and I really hope that I can continue developing my analytical skills in my future years of college.

On Monday April 18th, I went to Dan Misleh’s lecture on Climate Change in McGuire. After going to it I could not help but relate it to love. Being that we all live on this earth together and we are all doing things to harm it; I believe the real issue in climate change is that we as a species are taking advantage of the earth. If we as a race fully embraced the earth and realized how greatly we are hurting the environment, we may be able to make a greater impact on conservation than what we are doing now. Realizing our love for the earth and being able to compromise it for some of the technologies we do not need may be the most important topics that we as a civilization must take into consideration. Global Climate Change will forever be an issue for us; it is our job to prolong this process as best as we can so that future generations can further see the beauty that we see in the earth today.

If it was not for the character’s portrayal of these multiple types of love the play would not have ended as happily as it had. The large amount of confusion that occurred throughout the play gives the reader an ending note that love directs people in the right direction when for the right reason. Showing the difference between love that is pure and love that is based on desire, Shakespeare shows the greater meaning and direction of love.
Anthony Mahfood

April 25,2011

Understanding Literature

Dr Ellis

Happy Ending

In the play Twelfth Night William Shakespeare love betrayal and comedy came together to create an entertaining play. The love triangle in this play is very complex and seemingly never ending. The betrayal is one of the main reasons that the love triangle is so confusing because it adds twists to the relationships of the characters as would happen in real life. To add to the love triangle much humor is sewn into the story with very intense dialogue.

The love triangle consists of Orsino, Olivia and Viola. Orsino is in love with Olivia and she has no interest in being with him. Orsino always send his servants with gifts and messages to give to Olivia but she never seems to be interested and turns them away. One day when Viola is dress up as Cesario, Orsino sends Viola to tell Olivia how much Orsino loves her but that plan backfires when Olivia falls in love with Cesario. When Viola goes back to tell Orsino that Olivia still does love him we find out that Viola is in love with Orsino. In the end Viola and Orsino get married and Olivia marries Violas twin brother Sebastian. This was a very happy ending and put the book together.

The ending of this play reminded me of when I was leaving my community service because when I went to my first day I thought to myself what am I getting my self into. There were young children running around out of control. I wanted to get out of there it was all chaos and felt powerless. What surprised me the most is how close I became to the student I was mentoring and how much they trusted me and could listen to me. Everything came together at the end of the community service just as it did in the end of the play.

In the play there was maybe moment of betrayal especially in the beginning because Sebastian lied to Antonio and Viola lied to everyone. This betrayal causes most of the drama in the love scene. This series of lies makes me realize that although on the outside this story and my life seem so distant and different the problems and situations are very similar to my own. Another scene where there is betrayal is when Maria plays the prank on Malvolio and makes Malvolio believe that Olivia is in love with him. Malvolio starts to dress very weird and act happy. This made people believe that he was going crazy and they locked him in the closet. Even while he was in the close they still played pranks on him.

Overall the main thing I am trying to say is I found it easier to relate to this story than one would imagine. Shakespeare may have been alive hundreds of years ago but the main themes and problems that occur during the story are still prevalent in our daily lives.

Final Blog

In my final blog, I will be discussing the second half of the play “The Twelfth Night” which was written by William Shakespeare. My last hours at serving at Cristo Rey also took place last week which was such a great opportunity. The amount of care and love present in the type of service I was participating in made working with the children so much more enjoyable. However the love that I have fostered when working with these children has also caused me pain, much like the characters of the play. They are in bad situations and I worry that they may never escape.

The last three Acts were in my opinion the best part of the play. Viola, who is still disguised as Cesario, denies Olivia’s passionate love for him (her). Olivia who is now swooning in love with Cesario confessed this to him but in reply he states that no woman will ever be granted access to his heart. Conversely, the Duke still sends his grand love letters to Olivia. In the end, Olivia falls in love with Viola’s twin brother, Sebastian, who is disguised as yet another person at the time. The Duke realizes that in the end he never really loved Olivia, only the idea of loving someone. Viola reveals herself to the Duke and they realize and admit their true feelings about each other.

There is a lot of love and passion present in this story but although it caused much happiness in the end, it caused more pain in the beginning. Love can be thrilling when it is good to you but when love doesn’t give back, it hurts. This was Olivia, Viola and the Duke’s predicament in the play. They all loved someone who didn’t love them back and that was the cause of their suffering.

Much like at Cristo Rey, love is the cause of my suffering. I wish that I could help these kids more than what I am currently doing. As I left the high school, I wondered if I made a difference. I feel as if my help was only a temporary fix to the problems these kids face in their lives. While I tried to provide guidance inside the classroom, I only wish that I could have helped them as much outside the classroom. Hearing their stories and realizing the tough life that they live, I was beside myself. In the end, I felt as if the only thing I could do was hope and pray that they would do the right thing.

This semester has taught me a lot but if I had to choose one thing of most importance, I would have to say that it has shown me how intricate poetry can be. I never realized that poetry can have so many level of understanding. It’s safe to say that this course has shown me how interesting the art can be. Now that I understand poetry a lot more, I appreciate it in a way I never did before Loyola.

Final Blog!

From early on in the play, it was easy to see that the ending to “The Twelfth Night,” by William Shakespeare, was going to be exciting. The first half of the play had set up so many different problems that I was not sure if it was possible to fit all of the solutions in the other half of the play. “The Twelfth Night” is a play about identity. So many people in this play are misrepresented, but they are exposed at the end. Eventually, the charade comes to a close. However, at the end of the play, all of the main characters have gotten their way. It is a happy ending for everyone except Malvolio.

After receiving the note from Maria, Malvolio begins to act like an idiot in front of Olivia. When he quotes the lines from the letter, Olivia has no idea what he is talking about, and fears that he is insane. Feste, Maria, Sir Toby, and Sir Andrew begin to convince Malvalio that he is possessed and crazy. Feste impersonates a priest and convinces Malvalio that he is hallucinating.

While all of this is going on, Olivia is asking Viola to marry her. The ‘love-triangle” is getting more and more complicated by the scene. When Sebastian arrives at Olivia’s house, he is mistaken for Viola. Lady Olivia begs for his hand in marriage. Since Lady Olivia is a beautiful woman, Sebastian happily accepts. He still has no idea that Lady Olivia is in love with his sister. Sebastian also has to fight Sir Toby and Sir Andrew. Sebastian begins to think that everyone around him is insane. The misrepresentation of the characters causes all of their problems. Luckily, in the end of the play, almost all of the characters end up getting what they wanted. Olivia is with Sebastian, Viola is with Orsino, and Sebastian and Viola both know that the other is alive.

This semester went by far too quickly. I cannot believe that it is already coming to a close. I learned a lot about myself in this Understanding Literature class. Before this class, I had always felt completely lost in poetry, and the only novels I enjoyed were war novels. This class helped to open my eyes to the other types of available literature. I feel that it has made me a better-rounded student. Analyzing poetry was not something that I ever thought that I could do before this class, but this class has given me the confidence to examine poems and figure out their deeper meaning. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in this class, and I feel that I have learned many great lessons that will help me in the future.

The last two cultural events that I attended this semester were for Invisible Children’s Fund, and “Living Rightly With the Earth.” I have always felt great sympathy for the children in Northern Uganda and in the Congo. In high school, I was the Vice President of the Invisible Children’s Fund Fundraising Club. However, I had never heard a survivor of the attacks speak in person. When Francis (a man from Uganda who survived two rebel attacks) approached the microphone, I was very nervous. I had heard many stories of the horrors in Uganda, but had never heard someone speak about them live. Francis had a soft voice, and told the story of how his family was killed in front of him. Francis’s bravery astonished me. This man has lived through horrible things, and he still has the courage to go on stage every night and tell his story. He said that he wants to change the world, and making those speeches is the best way that he knows how. Francis is an inspiration, and when I was able to go up to him, look him in the eye, and shake his hand, I knew that his hardships are making him stronger. He is channeling all of his energy into trying to fix the horrific situation in Uganda, and will not stop until there is major change.

“Living Rightly With the Earth” was not nearly as grave. Mr. Misleh was explaining the Catholic Church’s updated stance on the climate. He said all of the things that you would expect. He talked about “caring for God’s creatures,” and how we are “stewards of the Earth.” He talked to us about how to pray for the earth and pray for change, but did not give us anything to do about that change. Sure, he talked about turning the lights off when you leave a room, or turning off the sink while brushing your teeth, but I have heard those things hundreds of times. I felt that the presentation was not well put together, and did not put any of the students in a attendance any way to make a difference. I was very disappointed with the way that the presentation was put on, but I am happy that the Church is beginning to weight in on social issues other than stem cell research, gay marriage, and abortion.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Last Blog!

As I write this last blog, it’s amazing how fast this semester went by. It feels like only yesterday we were talking about Kahu in The Whale Rider! This semester’s work has all built up to the last big piece we are currently reading, Twelfth Night by Shakespeare. This play stresses what can go wrong when there are mistaken identities. When Viola, the main character, pretends to be a boy, a series of misfortunes takes place, including her falling in love with Duke Orsino and having Countess Olivia fall in love with her. By pretending to be someone she is not, Viola creates this love triangle where everyone is loved by someone but doesn’t want to be with them. Olivia is loved by the Duke, but wants to be with Viola, the Duke is loved by Viola, but wants to be with Olivia, and Viola is loved by Olivia but wants to be with the Duke.

In the first two acts of the play, Viola is able to conceal her identity and help the Duke try to win the affection of the Countess even though she is in love with him. However, by Act III, the readers discover that Sebastian, Viola’s twin brother, is alive and is currently in Illyria. This poses a problem for the main character because if her and her brother ever run into each other, her façade will be ruined and her secret of being a girl will be revealed. By the fourth Act, as Sebastian begins to explore the Illyrian empire, the other characters begin to confuse Viola for her brother. By having the twins dressed exactly the same, it beings to cause many problems for the main character.

This problem becomes apparent when Antonio arrives at Lady Olivia’s home and accuses Viola (who he believes is Sebastian) of being heartless when she does not help him when he is arrested by the Duke’s police force. Then, Viola gets accused of injuring Sir Toby and Sir Andrew, when in actuality it is her brother Sebastian who does this injustice. The craziness of mistaken identities comes to a head when Sebastian secretly marries Lady Olivia. It is here where the reader discovers the extent to what the characters will do for those they love. Viola is willing to lower her social ranking to be a servant in Duke Orsino’s court because she wants to be with him. Olivia, on the other hand, is willing to marry a stranger because she is certain that she is in love with him.

This theme of things appearing to be something they are not was definitely something that I can relate to this semester. At the beginning of the year, I chose to do the service component instead of the events. I originally went in the first day, thinking that this service was only a requirement I had to fulfill in order to pass the class. But, by the end of the first day, I realized that this service opportunity was one I was going to cherish. Nicole, Victoria, and I realized that by coming each week, we were becoming role models to these middle school children. By tutoring them every week, we were able to see the great improvements in their schoolwork. And as the weeks passed by, we formed great friendships with the girls that came each and every week. By the end of last week, they were so proud to show us their report cards and the improvements that they have made throughout the semester. But, by helping these kids out, I learned a great deal about myself as well. By helping these kids improve their grades, it made me realize that there is a great importance in being a role model for kids who don’t have very many positive role models in their lives. By volunteering, I was able to discover my love for helping others who are less fortunate than I am.

Another surprising thing I discovered this semester was my improved understanding of poetry. When I first saw the syllabus at the beginning of the semester, I was nervous because in the past, poetry has not been my strong suit. But as the semester went on, I began to learn that the subject of poetry is not as hard as I thought it was in the past. By the end of the semester, I found myself loving reading each new poem because I was able to easily understand it! Through poetry and service, this semester I have learned a great deal about myself and the strengths I have developed here at Loyola University Maryland.

Mistaken Identity

In the second half of the play, Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare, the theme of mistaken identity continues. Viola, who continues to play the role of Cesario faithfully, denies Olivia’s love despites her passionate and sincere confession. She states that no woman will ever enter “his” heart. The Duke, on the other hand, still aimlessly sends love letters to Olivia. Perhaps the most representative example of such theme is Olivia’s marriage to Viola’s twin brother, Sebastian, who is disguised as yet another guy. She mistakes Sebastian as Cesario and decides to marry him; and they do.
This twist of fate, this irony, and these disguises reminded me of a conversation I had with one of my volunteers regarding service. She was one of our twenty volunteers who serve at Health Leads at the University Of Maryland Medical Center. At our last reflection session, she said something that rather scared us. She started talking about one of her clients. That client is about our age and a new mom. She desires to have a job in retail and thus came to the volunteer. The volunteer said that if her client wants such a job, then she should “go to the mall!”, because that is how she got her job. The interesting thing is that she did not regret what she said but rather seem annoyed with her client’s request. As one of the service coordinators, it is our responsibility to make sure that volunteers do not just serve, but also learn and be able to reflect on their service experiences. We asked her whether she has thought about the reasons why her client came to her instead of looking for the job herself. She shook her head. We asked her whether she has thought that maybe one of the reasons is that her client does not have the means to get to the mall, that public transportation or any kind of transportation poses obstacles. I took a city bus at the beginning of the summer. They do not always come on time and do not always provide a direct route to the destination. Furthermore, if she were to go to the mall herself, who should take care the baby? If she does find a babysitter, perhaps she is intimidated to be interviewed, or perhaps she does not have a good outfit to impress her employer. These are just few obstacles I can think of for her client, the actual client may face many more.
After our conversation, the volunteer looked at us quizzically and said, “oh, I never thought about these things.” I was proud that we were able to convey such important message to the volunteer, that we were able to help our volunteer connect her service experience to social justice issues. After all didn’t the volunteer mistakes the client’s identity? She thought that her client would be able to not only go to the mall but also get a job at retails just as easily as she did. She thought that her client was not being productive based on her seemingly solvable request.
Identities can be very easily misinterpreted in our society. We are human. We judge. We judge on appearances first then other criteria, if we haven’t turned away. Olivia was attracted to Viola’s physical appearance first. It is only after this attraction, she became attracted to her messages. The volunteer judged her client’s physical appearances as well as her social realities first before she thought from the client’s point of view. She thought of her as someone who is a new mom, someone who depended on her help, and someone who is not productive or cannot be due to her so called poor life choices. We are human and we judge. If one thing I have learned from service this year is how not to judge others. How two very different people can be brought together and share a lot of commonalities. How what appears at surface is far different from what it really is. I remember that my first blog is about how this woman challenged and was the opposite of my perception of the urban population. I hope all volunteers would have such a chance to meet diverse people and learn from their experiences.
The most surprising thing I learned about myself this semester through this class is my newly founded love for poetry. Before taking this class, I always associated poems with negative connotations; that they are written by people from centuries ago about lofty subjects in language that is hard if not impossible to decipher. I am glad and proud to say that my perception of poetry has changed for the better since then. Not only did I learn how to read and analyze poems, I also was exposed to a variety of them. From love poems such as “My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun” by William Shakespeare, to odes such like “I Sing the Body Electric”, to unconventional poem like E.E.Cummings’ “l(a,”, I realized how much poems express, how much there is to say about them, and how it is truly an art not a drag to read and understand poems.

Final Blog

This final blog is about the second half of the play Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. I enjoyed reading this play. It was a play about love, trickery and contained a great amount of humor. The second half of this play is very similar yet opposite to the first half in terms of characters and their feelings. It was strange to see Olivia, a women who said she would not love for seven years do to the passing of her brother, falls in love with a 'man' and marries him quickly. This is strange considering that Orsino at the end of the play accepts the fact that Olivia does not love him. It seems that he never truly loved her but loved the idea of loving her and being in love with someone. He then realizes his feelings for Viola who is in love with him.
Another aspect of the play that added a great deal of humor was the way Malvolio acted. After finding the note he acted the way it recommended him too. What was very funny was how Olivia was extremely confused at his actions and thought he was mad. It was a great prank to be pulled on him and it was necessary because he actually thought he should be a king. Malvolio was more worried about the power of being a king rather than being in love with Olivia. He just wanted to boss people around and wondered what that would be like. This play was very interesting. It was filled with love triangles, deception, and humor.
One thing that I learned about myself from this semester is my appreciation for literature. I have taken advanced literature and English classes in high school and never really appreciated what was going on in class. I did not read all the books because many were boring. This semester the readings and poem seemed to interest me. The discussions were a great way to learn about what I was reading. I learned to understand poetry and truly appreciate literature.

Final Blog

For this week’s blog, also the last blog I will be talking about the second half of the play entitled: “The Twelfth Night” written by William Shakespeare. Also for my last event of the semester I completed about two weeks ago was helping out a cause here at Loyola to support and spread the word about sexual abuse. The play focused on love and trickery as two major themes, I related this to the event because it focused on how you should always express your sexual desires with people, and only if you love them and watch out for the people who are just using you.
William Shakespeare a well-known play writer described a party on the Twelfth night celebration incorporating love and trickery into it. We read the last three Acts III – V. These last three acts were in my opinion the climax of the play and the resolution. The play ended with a bang as many people previously who weren’t in love falling in love, or people realizing they were in love with people they should have been with the whole play. The duke finally realized he loves Viola who has been in love with him forever, and in a comedic sense Sebastian and Olivia end up being with each other after Olivia thinks Sebastian, Viola (Cesario) twin brother is actually Cesario.
My favorite and I think most comedic part about the whole play was Malvolio. I believe this because of how stupid he is when he falls right into the prank set for him. He dresses up in yellow pants and smiles all day long, doing the complete opposite of what Olivia actually likes and wants.
I have read some Shakespeare before: Hamlet, A Midsummer Nights Dream, King Lear and now Twelfth Night. I have always struggled to read and understand the meanings of him I believe this time I had a better basis towards reading it. This I believe was because of the amount of reading poems this semester and the amount of Shakespeare I have now read. By no means do I believe Twelfth Night to be the hardest and most eloquent play by him, as I think this to be Hamlet, but with the uncomfortable reading zone with poems and my previous background with Shakespeare I believe I was able to tackle this play and get most of the full meaning out of this time.
A few weeks ago I completed my last event, by doing two in one week it gave me an extra one for a week when I could not complete one. This event was created to spread the word about sexual abuse for men and women throughout there college lives. The statistics were staggering with 1 in 8 men getting sexually abused and 1 in 4 women. This event was very basic but I believe very strong as being volunteers we had to wear a t-shirt showing the statistics and walk around school one day showing people how staggering and raising awareness. I was very skeptical at the beginning of the day because I didn’t think many people would care or even look twice at the shirt but sitting in my classes that day I could see more than just me wearing it and people were actually reading it and realizing that a huge number of people in that room would probably be affected by this one day in their college career. For the soccer team we have 9 freshmen, from these 9 people at least 1 of us according to the statistics will one day experience this and have to deal with it one day. This hit me hard thinking about it throughout the day and it really showed me a new look when I enter every classroom as some days I count how many people are there and think how many of them may have this happen to them.
Because this is my last blog of the semester we are supposed to write something surprising we learned. For me it was the way I was able to step out of my comfort zone and read poetry and as the semester progressed be able to interpret it a little better, not saying I am an expert or anything near it but comparing the first poem to the last I can find out more deeper meanings and see things I never would have seen before.

Final Blog 4/25/11

For this week we had to read the second half of “Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare. Also, with this being my last blog, I will say what surprised me most about this year.

In Act III scene 1, Viola goes again to see Olivia to deliver another message of love from Orsino. As she is meeting Olivia before Viola can deliver her message, Oliva confesses her love for Viola’s alternate ego, Cesario. Cesario tells her that it is very kind that Olivia feels this way about “him”, but he cannot love her back. Cesario tells Olivia that “no mistress will ever have my heart” and although Olivia seems to take this to heart, she deep down really loves him and begs him to come back. Cesario does this for the sole reason of trying to convince Olivia to love Orsino.

In scene III Antonio and Sebastian finally arrive at Illyria. Antonio shows concern because he is not welcome in Illyria. Orsino has a grudge against Antonio and this bother Antonio and he shows genuine fear of being in Illyria. However, Antonio cares for Sebastian so much that even the most hostile places he will go for him. This is a true friendship and connection the two men have, they will do anything for one another. This seems to be one of the major themes of the book, love in different ways. There is love in passion like Orsino’s love for Olivia and there is love in friendships like that of Sebastian and Antonio.

Scene IV has Olivia very confused. She loves Cesario but cannot have him for reasons unknown to her. As she sends a servant to try and convince Cesario to come back to her, she has a confrontation with Malvolio. Convinced because of the prank that Olivia is in love with him, he wears his ridiculous yellow stockings and quotes the letter that he thought Olivia sent to him. Olivia knows nothing of the prank and is confused and leaves to go see Cesario. Malvolio however, still is sure that Olivia loves him. His stubbornness only adds to the enjoyment of those who have played the prank on him.

Further in the scene, Antonio arrives at Olivia’s. He sees Viola dressed as Cesario and mistakes her for Sebastian, her twin. Once there, since Cesario is supposed to duel Sir Andrew, Antonio volunteers to fight for “Sebastian.” This does not go over well as Antonio is immediately recognized as a wanted man in Illyria. They arrest him and he begs Viola to help him. Viola finds it strange that she speaks of a man named Sebastian and runs off to try and see if he is still alive somewhere, under pure hope that he is in Illyria.

The rest of the book continues with its maze like plot, as Sebastian is taken by Feste the clown to Olivia, with Feste under the impression that this is Cesario who Olivia wanted him to seek out. Thinking this is Cesario, Olivia tells Sebastian how much she loves him and wants to marry him. Seeing no problem in marrying such a beautiful woman, Sebastian agrees and they go off to get married.

In the final Act and Scene, Orsino finally musters up the courage to go to Olivia and confess his love to her in person with Cesario (Olivia). On the way they see Antonio being dragged by the Illyrian soldiers and once again Antonio mistakes Cesario for Sebastian and yells at him for betraying him as a friend. Having no idea what Antonio is talking about, they both continue on their way to Olivia’s. Upon arriving, all hell breaks loose. Sebastian gets into a fight with Sir Andrew and Sir Toby. Sir Andrew arrives and accuses Cesario, but Viola says that she was not responsible. Finally to clear everything up, Sebastian arrives and apologizes for beating both of them up. He then finally sees his sister Viola. They question each other for a while about their birth and realize that they have finally found each other. Discovering that Cesario is actually a girl, Orsino asks her to dress in woman’s clothes so he can see how beautiful she really is. After all is said and done, they have a double wedding and the play ends.

In my opinion, this was a very good play to read/end the year off with. The most surprising thing that I learned this year was that I enjoy reading poetry. I never knew how easy it was for me to understand and comprehend poetry. I plan on reading more poetry more often now because of what I have learned in this class.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Final Blog

Before break, I attend the exhibit at the Loyola Notre Dame Library, “Letters from Andalusia.” The exhibit highlights writer Flannery O’Connor’s unique relationship with the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. O’Connor was not only the most important female Catholic writer of the 20th century, but was also a treasured correspondent of poet and College of Notre Dame English professor Maura Eichner, SSND ’41, through late 1963 and early 1964. O’Connor’s letters to Sister Maura offer insight on her abiding Catholic faith, as reflected in her body of work. Andalusia refers to the O’Connor ancestral farm. Flannery returned to the farm in 1951 when she was diagnosed with lupus. The letters between Sister Maura and Flannery O’Connor take place during O’Connor’s battle with the disease.

The exhibit holds special meaning to me. My junior year Theology teacher had much respect for Flannery O’Connor as a writer. As a result, we spent nearly three months analyzing some of her works. Some examples of what we read are “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” “ Everything That Rises Must Converge,” and “The Lame Shall Enter First.” Her works although usually grotesque and startling, reflect her strong Catholic faith. It was interesting to see examples of her faith through personal correspondences rather than her short stories.

Letters are a motif repeated throughout the play Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare. The play features several messages sent from one character to another. The messages are sometimes sent as letters and other times in the form of tokens, such as Olivia sending a ring to Cesario. Such messages are used for purposes of communication. An example is Maria’s letter to Malvolio. Maria pretends to be Olivia in an attempt to trick Malvolio to believe Olivia loves him. Another example is Sir Andrew’s letter demanding a duel with Cesario, Viola. These two are actually opposites of O’Connor and Sister Maura’s correspondence. These letters are meant to deceive, or so poorly written, they shouldn’t be delivered.

Malvolio writes a letter more like the famous messages between the religious women. Malvolio who is isolated in a dark room writes a letter proving his sanity. The letters leads to Olivia’s comprehension of a confusing situation and Malvolio’s release from his imprisonment. Flannery O’Connor is also isolated, but on her ancestral farm rather than a dark room. Her letters are ones of clarification as well. They are meant to explain faith. Despite her isolation, O’Connor had a deep understanding of human nature. She was able to write about human ethics, how they relate to morality, and how to practically apply faith in a modern world. Her letters take people out of the dark rooms of their lives and into the light of a new, strong faith.

We began to discuss what was the most surprising thing we learned in class this semester. Although several other people said what I want to, I will repeat it because it is very true for me. I was struck by the fact that I enjoyed poetry. My senior year, I had a horrible English teacher who made me dread going to class. Coming from such a bad experience and into a class with positive energy was a major adjustment. With the support provided by my classmates as well as Dr. Ellis, I realized I could understand poetry. It wasn’t a foreign concept, too lofty for me to understand as my previous teacher presented it. I’m not sure I will ever be a poetry aficionado, but I now have a respect for it as a literary form and will never be afraid to dive into a poem.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

“The Twelfth Night,” by William Shakespeare, shows a problem that is very widespread; people want what they cannot have. Orsino loves the Lady Olivia, but she has no interest in him because she is mourning her brother. She says that she will not let a man see her face for the next seven years, and this increases Orsino’s desire for her. In the second scene, we find out that Viola is going to try to dress up as a man and be a servant in Orsino’s court. Viola has also just lost her brother and she is very upset. Viola pays the captain to help her “pull off “ the disguise.

In the third scene, Olivia is being courted again. This time, the man is her uncle’s friend. Olivia has already made it clear that she wishes to be left alone, but people continually disregard her feelings. On the other hand, I do think that wearing a veil for seven years is ridiculous. The death of a family member is traumatizing, but you have to move forward with your life. Lady Olivia will never be happy is she just sits around and mourns her brother all day.

In the next scene, we find out that Viola has taken the name Cesario. She is pretending to be a teenage boy, and she quickly becomes one of the favorite servants. Then, Viola is ordered to deliver a message of love to Lady Olivia. Viola protests, saying that Lady Olivia has not shown interest in the past, and will not show it now. However, the real reason Viola does not want to deliver Orsino’s message is because she is falling in love with him.

When Viola goes to Lady Olivia’s home to deliver the message, she is not received well at first. After Lady Olivia is told that he is a very delicate looking young man, then she wants to see her for some reason. I have not quite understood the infatuation for a teenage boy with delicate features. I feel that it is unrealistic to think that Lady Olivia would want to hear his message just because the boy looks “girly.” Lady Olivia loves the young “boy” however, and sends a ring to “him” after “he” leaves.

At the beginning of Act two, we find out that Viola’s brother Sebastian is still alive. However, Sebastian thinks that his sister has drowning in the wreck. Sebastian and Antonio decide to go to Orsino’s court, despite the amount of enemies that Antonio has.

In Act II, Scene II, Viola, Orsino, and Olivia find themselves in a love triangle. Each one of them loves someone who does not love them back. It is a very difficult situation for Viola. She feels helpless, and does not know how to fix the situation.

When I went on the quad to look at the CCSJ Service Immersion program, I was stunned with how many programs we had. It was a real motivation to see how hard the students were working to fight for their cause. Project Mexico was especially vocal, and made the experience significantly more exciting. I also signed three random petitions. They were in such a rush to get signatures that I was not even sure what I was signing, but just by the passion that the students were putting into it, I knew that it was a good cause. It was a great experience. I just wish that there were more service trips in America. We do not have to leave the country to find impoverished people in need of shelter (we do not even have to leave Baltimore!). Doing Habitat for Humanity in the United States encourages national pride, and it is a great experience.

Final Blog!

The Shakespearian play, Twelfth Night, tells the story of a young woman Viola who gets herself into a messy situation by changing her identity. While reading Act I and Act II, I found myself relating the character relationships and story line to one of my favorite movies She’s the Man. When one of my friends told me that the movie was created based off of the Shakespearian play, I was shocked and excited to be able to relate what I was reading to what I have seen in the movie. The first thing that I noticed was the fact that all of the characters names are the same. As you can imagine, for someone who has a hard time understanding Shakespeare this made it a lot easier for me to understand the play.

The Duke, Orsino, is madly in love with a beautiful woman named Olivia. Olivia is in morning because of her lost brother and claims that she will hide under a vail for the next seven years in honor of her brother. In the movie, Olivia is sad and uninterested in men because of her recent ex-boyfriend. Although Orsino, also know as Duke, is shy and intimidated by Olivia in the movie, his expectations in the play the complete opposite. He is confident that Olivia will fall immediately in love with him and she will be so in love with him that she will forget all about her deceased brother.

When Viola arrives to Illyria, she decided to disguise herself as a man named Cesario so she can serve the duke. In the movie, Viola disguises herself as a man when she goes to Deliria so she can get what she wants there as well. In both the movie and the play, Duke and Viola form a close relationship together almost immediately. Duke decides that Viola is the perfect person to be a messenger and convince Olivia that she belongs with Duke. He sees Viola (Ceserio) as a very feminine and soft man and he thinks that someone with those types of qualities will be able grab her attention and get the job done. Before Viola is about to leave she expresses to the audience that she has fallen deeply in love with the Duke: “To woo your lady—(aside) Yet, a barful strife—Whoo’er I woo, myself would be his wife.” Viola realizes that she loves the duke and doesn’t understand how she is possibly being a matchmaker for the man she loves.

The real problem is revealed when Olivia, falls in love with Viola (Cesario). When Viola recites the love poem that the Duke prepared for Olivia, she is completely uninterested. Viola doesn’t get Olivias attention until she begins to have a deep, genuine conversation with her. Although Viola is relating their discussion to the duke, Olivia can’t help but see (Cesario’s) genuine, kind personality that she has been searching for in a man. Because of this, Olivia falls deeply in love with (Cesario) and sends him away to tell the duke she is not interested. When she sends (Cesario) away, she gives him an excuse to come back. When Sebastian returns, Violas twin brother, it opens the door to hidden secrets being revealed.

If I were to pick one thing form this semester that shocked me, I would have to pick one of the events that I chose to attend. On February 23rd, I went to the Library Auditorium to watch a 2-hour documentary called Waiting for Superman. The documentary followed a few low-income families from different areas of the United States and gave viewers an up-close look at the conditions of local school systems. I was absolutely devastated by some of the statements in this film. For example, 68% of inmates are high school dropouts. If you do the math, we could send each inmate to a private school with the amount of money that is spent to keep them in prison. Most people think that children from low-income families can’t learn, but the truth is, they can. If the right accountability is applied, you will get the results you need to. The proof was clear as I watched Anthony, Daisy, Francisco and Bianca excel when put in a stable, effective learning environment. The end of the documentary showed each child waiting with their parents to see if they had made the lottery for a spot at one of the best schools in their area. Watching them wait as a number after number was called truly broke my heart. Both the child, and their parents know that is they are not chosen the chance of them receiving a proper education is very unlikely. I have always been grateful for the life that my parents have provided my sisters and I, but I have never been as thankful as I was at this very moment. As soon as I got back to my room, I wrote my parents a letter, letting them know that I truly appreciate all that they have done for our family. My dad was surprised by the letter and called me to let me know that it almost brought a tear to his eye. Knowing that I have such a loving family and I am so incredibly fortunate for what they provide me really warms my heart. Waiting for Superman was truly an eye-opening documentary and I highly advise everyone to take the time to see it.

So long, farewell

            This being the final blog of the semester makes me realize how quickly the time has passed. I came into Understanding Literature kind of kicking myself for not having taken the class earlier, and lamenting about being one of the only sophomores in the group, but it turned out neither of those things mattered in the end. I had add/dropped an EN101 class last semester because I didn’t feel like I could relate to the professor, and I am so glad things turned out the way that they did. Over the course of this semester, I have come to appreciate everyone in our class, and the convergence of all the different personalities. From Kyle with his quietly confident and astute observations to Dorothy with her soft-spoken intelligence to Kelly with her bubbly personality, Anthony with his signature island accent and Nicole with her eternal optimism and cheer, I will really miss everyone in our class.
I began the semester wanting to do service, but when I realized it wouldn’t be feasible with my schedule I was disappointed. I thought the events would be fun but wouldn’t give me the kind of satisfaction and sense of personal growth that service would. Once again, I was wrong on both accounts. While I enjoyed most of them, some events were decidedly dreadful, but I never left having not learned anything. I grew a great deal from attending events held by all different kinds of groups on campus, and got to know some great people in the process. Probably the most surprising element of the semester was how far I was able to push myself outside of multiple comfort zones: in my writing, my reading, and the way in which I experienced Baltimore. Short stories have always been a favourite genre of mine, and the ones we read this semester further enhanced my love of them. I was even able to re-visit ones I had read before like “The Cask of Amontillado” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find” and look at them with fresh eyes. As a Creative Writing minor, I didn’t think my analytical skills were up to par, but this semester showed me how much potential my critical writing has to grow.
However, it seems no matter which English class I take, I cannot escape William Shakespeare. I loved Hamlet perhaps more than anyone can love a play, but overall I have never been a lover of reading his work. Clearly a fan of unrequited love, Shakespeare's depiction of Orsino's longing for Olivia is nothing short of masterful. He crafted Act 1 in such a way that the audience learns much of their information through indirect characterization and the conversations of characters seemingly removed from the issues about which they are speaking. Olivia's devotion to her dead brother speaks to classical themes in which Shakespeare is known to dabble, and Viola's decision to dress as a teenage boy and adopt a new persona demonstrates his love of putting his characters in disguise. Shakespeare always creates an intricate web of relationships, for example Orsino loves Olivia but Olivia can't be bothered with him and Viola who is dressed as a boy falls in love with Orsino. It's like being privy to messy high school drama, or a soap opera. 
I was excited when Sir Andrew challenged Malvolio to a duel, because the duels between the Montagues and Capulets were my favourite part of Romeo and Juliet. The different disguises became difficult to keep track of after a while, so I had to keep a little cheat sheet of who was wearing a disguise in which act. Sir Andrew, Sir Toby and Maria's decision to play a prank on Malvolio and trick him into believing that Olivia is in love with him has set the stage for what I am sure will be a great deal of intrigue in the second half of the play and I look forward to reading it. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Looking Past a Façade- Final Blog

Twelfth Night, by Shakespeare, is a play of love, deceit, and identity crisis that is one of the more amusing works of the time period. Twelfth Night, which is the basis for the movie “She’s The Man”, is easy to relate to, seeing how human interactions and life is already naturally complicated, but love only causes things to get more complicated. This play emphasizes the idea that it is important to realize that nothing is as it appears and that true love is worth fighting for. Through my service, I have realized how important it is to look past the appearance of a person, or even a situation, before judging it. Most of the time, judging a person or a situation solely based on the outward appearance will almost always be inaccurate. This play proves that everything on the surface is a façade, while each person is motivated by their own feelings of mourning, love, annoyance, and confusion. This theory could be seen in day to day life, where some people will put on an act in order to accomplish their own goals, or even gain the approval of their peers.

In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, there are themes of love and deceit which are only complicated when other characters get involved. All characters are eventually interconnected in a complicated web of love and heartbreak. Viola’s actions of posing as Cesario in order to get closer to Duke only complicates things when Olivia falls for Cesario, and not Duke. When Viola falls for Duke, she can’t act on her feelings because she is posing as a boy. This is important because it shows the significance of gender roles during this time, where Viola knew that in order to work for Duke, she would only be able to pose as a boy. Whereas Olivia would have gladly hired a woman to do work for her if she was accepting visitors, Duke would not. A reoccurring theme throughout the first half of the play is the role of messages and letters delivered to other characters. Duke trusts Cesario so much that he allows Cesario to deliver love letters and messages to Olivia. When Cesario goes to Olivia to deliver these messages, she ignores them, yet follows after him and gives him a ring. This ring represents her attraction to him. The ring is supposed to act as an excuse for Cesario to return to Olivia. With each token and letter, the relationships become more and more complicated by the mistaken gender roles and mistaken identities that each person takes on. Another incident in which a letter plays a main role in a character’s deceit was when Maria decides to write a letter, pretending that she was Olivia. With the note, she enclosed a ring. The letter was intended for Malvolio, whose arrogance was annoying everyone else. Maria wrote the letter, posing as Olivia, saying that she was in love with the letter’s recipient. Malvolio had to act a certain way, as stated in the letter, to profess his love for Olivia in return. Little does he know, the letter was written by Maria, and the tasks that are asked of him (wear yellow socks, for example) are the very things that Olivia despises. The reoccurring themes of unintentional deception and love are important to the play’s purpose, which allows readers to understand the true happiness of people who love each other, while other people are defeated by a family member’s death or even a broken heart.

During service, it is important to be unbiased and keep an open mind. When Molly, Victoria, and I first went to service at Guilford Elementary School, we had no idea what to expect. We didn’t even know where the school was! When we finally got to the school on one of the first Wednesdays of the semester, the small school parking lot was overcrowded by parents waiting to pick up their children. We were greeted by some confused stares by parents, but their children smiled and waved. I was uneasy at first, realizing for the first time that this school was entirely different than the school I went to when I was little. The inside of the school was worn down, old, and dirty. Doors were broken; the tiles were stained with dirt. The middle schoolers were screaming and running down the hallways with no books, or even a backpack. The teachers would poke their head out of the door, but they wouldn’t do much to reprimand the kids. Occasionally, a teacher or administrator would walk by and tell the kids to stop running or get back to class, but the kids didn’t listen. I was worried that this was going to be more of a babysitting job than a place for me to tutor kids once a week. Once I met the kids that I was working with, I realized that these kids were different than the rest of the kids in the school. When they entered the room, they were loud and unfocused, but when we finally started working with them, their façade faded entirely. They became quiet, diligent, and focused. They wanted to learn. I was shocked at the difference a few minutes could make! I thought that this was just another example of how looks and actions can be deceiving and how each person has a motivation for how they are acting. The kids that we work with each week come to Coach Class in order to earn extra credit while getting ahead on their school work. Often times, they are forced to sit through the 2 hour class. At first, it’s hard to get through to the children and convince them to put effort in to their work. Once you get to know them on a more personal level, they are more willing to open up to you too, while letting their barriers down. When their barriers are down, they are able to learn more and I was able to learn more about how each of the kids learn.

I learned a lot this semester, both in the classroom and during service at Guilford Elementary Middle School. I believe that I got the most out of doing the poetry presentation on “My Papa’s Waltz”. It forced me to be confident in my own analysis of a poem that was completely foreign to me before this semester. It also allowed me to lead a discussion about a poem that I believed was really interesting. I loved being able to explain both perspectives of the poem while allowing my peers to make their own interpretations of the poem. It also forced me to get over my fears of making a presentation in front of a group of people. I was comfortable doing presentations similar to these in high school, but this was my first experience doing so in college. I’m glad that this presentation was my first one for college, as it helped me prepare for other presentations I’ll have to make next year, especially as a Service Coordinator at CCSJ for Presence for Christmas and the Good Stuff Campaign. I became more comfortable talking and participating in class because of the presentations as well.

Last Blog

Blog 9

Kelly Gajdzisz

At my last day at service I realized how appreciative our service there was to the children and the program overall. There have been many problems I have been exposed to and that I have helped with at this school. I have learned that help is always needed in situations like these where there is lack of guidance and structure in these children’s lives. Role models, such as college students, are always needed to help and encourage these scholars in the right direction. Through situations like these I have learned that I have made a difference in someone’s life.

During one lesson I decided to play a game involving figurative language. I would yell out a noun and they would have to describe it using an adjective, adverb, simile, or metaphor. I yelled, “Describe one of your parents using an adjective.” One of the girls looked at me goes, “I don’t got a father,” and the other one said, “I don’t know who my father is.” They continued to describe their mothers using words like, crazy and nuts. As 13-14 year old I would have probably called my mother crazy too. I realized that I have reached the maturity level in which I can appreciate not only what my mother does for me but my father as well. I know that everything they do to me or for me is out of love. But these children didn’t even have a father as a role model to look up to. I cannot imagine not having a father figure in my life. Without one I would have lacked guidance and discipline. I do not know these mothers or any further information about their family structure so I cannot say they are not disciplined or guided correctly without a father. All I know is by having a father raise me I have gained a lot and I feel sorry for those children who never had that chance. This experience makes me look at life in a more thankful manner and appreciate that I have two wonderful role models in my life. It shocked me to see that these children both did not have fathers, let alone not even know them. I was naive to the fact that not everyone was as lucky as me to have two loving parents. It made me value my time and experience more with these children because I got to be their role model. Though I could not even come close to giving them the guidance and love my father has given me, I gave them at least something. Even if it was only for a few hours once a week, I gave them some sort of guidance and education that they may not always get at home.

This experience reminds me of the story we read by Langston Hughes, “Thank You Ma’am.” The old woman disciplines the boy who tries to take her purse. She offers him food and a sense of order. It is evident that he lacks guidance in his life because of his poor actions, but she offers that to him. Even if it is only for a short period of time that he is in her house and in her presence, he learns something. From her assistance he is directed down the right path upon leaving. In a way I represent the old woman and my mentors symbolize the little boy. The boy in the story may not have had parents, just like these girls may not know their fathers. The grandmother takes him under her wing and in a way that is what I try to do with my mentors. Not that they did anything bad or stole from me but I am directing them in the right direction. Being a college student I am what they envision themselves being in the future. I try my best to give them the guidance they are lacking. I can only hope that after my last day I have impacted their lives as much as the old woman did to the boy.

Throughout this semester in Understanding Literature 101 I learned to look beneath the surface because things are not always what they seem. It may sound cliché but through analyzing poems and stories, it has become clear that there is always an underlying meaning. The words written down may look like something upon when they are first read when in fact they mean something totally opposite. This new way of learning can be applied not only to literature but through out my life in all areas.

Final Blog

As the final blog for this class, the assignment was to read the first two acts of Twelfth Night written by William Shakespeare. Throughout the play, the scenes alternated between Duke Orsino and Countess Olivia residences. The play starts off with Duke expressing his love for Olivia who has sworn off men while she grieves for her father’s and brother’s deaths. Along comes Viola, who has survived a shipwreck and has been separated from her brother Sebastian. Viola decides to dress as a boy and work for Orsino. Orsino sends Cesario to talk to Olivia for him and eventually Olivia ends up liking Cesario. Also Viola (dressed as Cesario) starts to fall in love with Duke, which makes matters even more chaotic. I am assuming as the play goes on, the characters confuse Sebastian with Cesario and even more drama will unfold especially when Olivia finds out Cesario is a girl and Viola likes Duke. As a form of communication, the characters either travel to the person’s residence or send letters. Orsino makes Cesario memorize his love letter to Olivia and Maria (Olivia’s chambermaid) writes a fake love letter to Malvolio (Olivia’s head servant) from Olivia as a prank. Besides symbolizing love, the letters also represent dishonesty. When Cesario delivers the message, Olivia thinks it is insincere and refuses to think it is filled with compassion. Maria’s letter is simply fake to begin with as it is a joke. Another major part of the play when there is dishonesty is the fact that Cesario is actually Viola in disguise. Viola decides to disguise herself and work for Orsino because she is foreign to Illryia and wants to figure out more about Illryia and the citizens. As a man, she has more rights and is allowed to more than if she was a woman, showing readers that Viola is bold for risking her identity and is willing to overcome challenges presented to her.

After reading a couple of scenes, I remembered one of my favorite movies, She’s the Man is based off this play! Although a few of the characters are different in the movie and play, I found it easier to understand which characters were which since I could visualize the character’s face with the name.

Another part of this week’s blog is to address the most surprising thing I’ve learned. Reflecting on this past semester I am most surprised I have more appreciation for poetry. I never liked poetry and I honestly thought I would dread reading all of the poems listed in the syllabus. As the semester went on and I began to learn how to understand the language, content, form and meanings I started to appreciate it more. Because I was able to grasp and comprehend them, I found myself relating the themes to real life situations and experiences. I liked that we had to write blogs comparing our outside of the classroom service to the poems assigned. Now that it is the end of the semester I feel I can connect with poetry better and have a greater appreciation for it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Final Blog (Event + 12th Night and Reflection)

Twelfth Night or, What You Will, by William Shakespeare shows humor through the use of play on words and mistaken identities. Shakespeare uses double meanings, homophones, and hidden gender identities to express the playful and mischievous love throughout the play. He does this to show the reader that things aren’t always what they seem.

By using homophones and words with two meanings, many of the characters misunderstand each other, leading to a humorous dialogue and turn of events. An example of this can be seen on page six where Sir Andrew uses the word “tongues” but the pronunciation is interpreted by Sir Toby to be, “tongs”. This turns the conversation away from foreign languages and turns into a joke about Sir Andrew’s curly hair. Sir Andrew, a fairly dim-witted individual, is unable to redirect the conversation and is, instead, confused and goes along with the misunderstanding. Another way that Shakespeare uses humor is through the use of gender misrepresentation. Viola, the female twin, pretends to be a eunuch in order to gain access to the Duke’s council. Failing to realize that she's a female, he calls her Cesario. At the time of Shakespearean literature, the exploration of sexuality was mostly regarded as taboo; the use of mistaken gender identity pushed the boundaries of sexuality in literature and proves to be humorous even today. Throughout the play, many misunderstandings, and misrepresentations are seen, both in dialogue and in gender.

Shakespeare shows his brilliance by manipulating the English language through the dialogue between characters in the first half of the play. He uses homophones and other word plays to create humor, causing mischief between characters. He also writes boldly about sexuality by disguising Viola as a male, creating more humor and messy love triangles. This play represents some of the most timeless comedic episodes and pushed the boundary of English literature.

The event that I attended, Invisible Children, this past week held a drastically different tone than the humor of Shakespeare. The video that I watched was horrific, moving, somber, heart wrenching, and inspiring. The flood of emotions overwhelmed me. There was no play on words, no misrepresentation in the video, the message was clear: the children in Uganda need our help. Oppressed by Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), children in Uganda are captured, enslaved, brainwashed, and forced to fight in his army. LRA soldiers rape the women in the villages and many families feel it is unsafe to leave their homes. These are atrocities that need to be and can be fixed. The Invisible Children campaign, a group of humanitarian college students, is working to install radio towers for emergency broadcasts and is petitioning our government to find and stop Kony. Tony, one of the children that the organization met during their first visit to Africa, lost his mother to HIV and dropped out of school. Now educated and part of the organization, Tony travels across the US preaching the importance of education for the advancement of children in Uganda, asking for monetary support to put the children through school. It is important that we answer his call for help and not ignore the atrocities occurring to the people of Uganda.

This documentary was one of the most inspiring films and events that I have attended this semester. The civil war in Uganda is truly horrific and unspeakable. It is amazing that a few college students, like ourselves, could make such a difference in the lives of the Ugandan children, especially Tony. The Invisible Children organization is currently working with the U.S. government to help the suffering children in Uganda, hoping to stop Kony’s war crimes and civil war. It is important to do our part in every way possible, realizing that there are children in Africa that need our help.

The most surprising thing that I learned this semester was the connection that literature has with my life; both short stories and poetry can seem timeless. English is not by any means my favorite subject, yet I found myself enthralled by some of the short stories, and captured by the poems. As college is such a pivotal time period in my life, as well as many of my classmates, I was pleasantly surprised that the literature that we read was so pertinent and appropriate to our own lives. The link between our Jesuit education and our homework was evident and I never thought that I would leave my comfort zone and enter the heart of Baltimore. I was surprised to find myself not as a student of Loyola, but as a part of the community, a student of life as I walked through the Walter’s Art Museum and traveled on the bus through the streets of the city. In the end, the most surprising thing that I learned this semester wasn’t one thing at all. I was surprised to learn that I had a love for poetry and short stories, that they could move me, that I would find a connection to the community around me, and that my studies would take me out of my comfort zone and into the heart of the real world.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Anthony Mahfood

April 12,2011

Dr Ellis

Understanding Literature


In the novel Shane, by Jack Schaefer, Shane is the protagonist and he has all the characteristics of a leader. Shane is first seen asking Joe Starrett for water for himself and his horse. This introduction shows that Shane is not afraid of anyone. Also, it shows the audience that Joe Starrett is a generous man because his response to Shane’s question was “take all you want”. Joe invited Shane to stay for dinner and then for the night and eventually breakfast. After breakfast Shane begins to uproot the tree that Joe has been working on for years. Joe begins to help Shane and as a team they are able to uproot it. Because of this Joe realizes that Shane is a good worker and hires him to work with him. Shane at first doesn’t know if he wants the job but he eventually gives in.

It is obvious from early in the novel that Bob really likes Shane and wanted to be just like him Bob is very interested in Shane’s gun. He asks him why he does not carry it around anymore. Shane obviously feels safe around the family because when he first came onto their farm he was always on his toes reaching for his gun at sound of anything loud.

The first thing that came to my mind was the connection between Bob and Shane was the connection between the children that I was mentoring and myself. Bob portrays Shane as being his hero. The moment when he tells his mother that he loves Shane and asks he if it is “ok” if he loves Shane almost as much as he love his father indicates how much Bob cares for Shane. I related this to the when I told my students that I was not coming back. They really looked sad and TJ who never really did work started to work diligently finished all her work that day. This showed me that she cared and appreciated the time I took to come help her and I believe that this was her way of telling me good-bye and thank you. My other student Devon wasn’t very happy and asked me to stay because he liked the way I taught math because I took the time to explain every step. Hearing and seeing these reactions made me feel good about myself and made all those hours worth it because I know that they were appreciated and well spent.

Later on in the novel Shane gets into a fight and this really worries Joe’s wife, Marian, she thinks that it could cause danger to the family but Joe realizes that Shane was just defending himself and the people at the bar could see that. Marian goes and talks to Shane and asks him not to leave although Shane never said he was going to. Marian feels like he is, and wanted to let him know that he was needed around the farm. This also reminded me of mentoring because the first day of mentoring my supervisor said to me that means a lot to faculty and children to have mentors. This also made me realize how important it was to go even on those Mondays when I was tired from the weekend. I wanted to nap, but I knew that the children were there waiting on me and the teacher needed the extra hand so I pushed through my tiredness and put a smile on my face and went to do what I knew was right. In the end it paid off and I am glad that I never missed a Monday.

Event Blog

Monday night I attended Take Back the Night’s “1 in 4 / 1 in 8” forum about sexual assault. I am surprised I did not even know about the event until one of the representatives from the club came to hand out the t-shirts which some people in our class had ordered. There are people close to me who have been the victim of sexual assault, so I was interested to learn more about this terrible problem, and ways I could help in the fight to end it. As I walked from my dormitory to Knott Hall, I wondered why similar forums had not been held previously. Loyola prides itself on producing complete individuals through the Core, service and faith. However, this is such a serious problem that I find it utterly astonishing that it has not been addressed. I have attended many lectures and forums on race, but never any on gender issues or one addressing the incredibly disrespectful language used by boys at Loyola on a daily basis. Loyola’s faculty has sexual harassment training to prevent inappropriate behaviour – why shouldn’t we?
It was good to see so many students walking around today wearing the shirts sold by Take Back the Night bringing awareness to Loyola, but this notion in it of itself raised questions for me. First of all, is awareness even enough? If 25% of American women have been sexually assaulted, it seems this should be something about which all people are aware, and action should be taken. Additionally, at the forum, there were only about 8 men, and those present were not the kind of men who needed to be converted. The boys who really needed to hear the message tonight were I am sure relaxing comfortably in their dorms without a care in the world. One of the girls at the lecture brought up the idea of an AlcoholEDU-style program for students dealing with sexual assault. This is a pretty interesting idea and I hope someone brings it to the attention of the administration because I think it is one that should be taken seriously.
At the forum, the Take Back the Night group stated that most incidents of sexual assault begin with alcohol or a party. Ordinarily the two people barely know each other if at all, and that made me think of a theme in Jack Schaefer’s Shane: the allure of the stranger. From the first pages of the novel, the narrator and his family are in complete awe of this stranger who comes into their lives. However, that theme is essentially where the similarities between the event and the novel end. The character Shane seems to blow into this family’s life and helps to both unite them and bring about a better understanding of each other.
Shane exemplifies the quintessential Western hero. He is strong but subdued, although he is always willing to stand up for what is right. This also relates to the Take Back the Night forum, in that the group talked about standing up for those who are afraid to tell the truth. Shane wants to escape his violent past, and survivors of sexual assault want nothing more than to escape the memories of their attack. Shane illustrates the impact violence has on a person, and intimates that one can never really escape it. Shane and Joe travel in town where he has a confrontation with one of Fletcher’s men, Chris. Chris gets into Shane’s head, and his blood begins to boil. This results in a quintessentially western bar fight, demonstrating how difficult it is for someone to truly escape their past. Survivors of sexual assault must feel the same way: seeing the face of their attacker every night when they close their eyes or having constant flashbacks of their assault. The Take Back the Night forum really impassioned me to stand up for these women and men who have had to endure such a horrible act. I hope Loyola continues to recognize the group's work and promote sexual assault awareness on campus.

Service And Shane

Shane by Jack Schaefer is a novel that takes place in the Western United States during the 19th century. Shane, a mysterious cowboy type dressed all in black, shows up one day at the Starrett’s home asking for water. He is unlike anyone they have had before. Bob, who is the narrator and the son, grows accustomed to him and takes a liking in Shane. Even though he didn’t intend to, Shane, ends up staying at the Starrett’s home for a couple of days in an attempt to rest up. Bob and Joe look at Shane as their new hero. Both the boy and his father find excuses for Shane to stay longer than intended because they enjoy having him around. As more and more issues arise with Fletcher and the land, Shane decides to stay for a while longer to help with the farm.

For me the immediate connection the family gains with Shane reminds me of my relationship with the students I tutor at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. The kids at school seemed to immediately recognize that I was someone they could look up to. In their eyes, I am a hero because I have gone to college, something which most if not all the students at Cristo Rey strive to do. I have formed a friendship with these kids and have grown to be a large part of their life in school. This friendship came unexpectedly but I am happy that it has happened because it makes me feel like I’m doing something good. Some of the children I work with ask me questions about my life and want to get to know me because I have been an influential factor in their school life. I’m glad that they take the time to get to know me because it shows that they actually care. They always ask me how college is and if I think they can be accepted to a good school. I tell them that if they work hard enough, they can get into any school they want.

As the novel progresses, we see that Shane has decided to live with the family and serve as a hired hand on the farm. It is as if he is part of their family now. At one point, however, the reader sees that the powerful land owner, Fletcher, wants to take over all the local farm land, including the Starrett’s. Shane wasn’t going to just stand by as his home was taken over. The land issues grow and grow and Shane becomes overwhelmed and fed up with the drama. One night, Shane suddenly rides off to the local bar where he knows Fletchers men are drinking. Chris, one of Fletcher’s men throws a bottle of soda at Shane who retaliates by breaking Chris’s arm. Through this, we see a glimpse of Shane’s dark past. Bob and the family wonder about Shane’s real identity and if they will ever discover his real past.

This discovery of the Shane’s past reminded me about my volunteer tutoring experiences at Cristo Rey. By helping out the same students week after week, many of them have come to trust me as a friend and someone they can talk to. One example of this took place the week before our spring break. One of the students asked me for help. They asked me what I would do if a drug dealer gave me money for no reason. I said I wouldn’t have accepted the money because of who it came from. I told the girl that drug dealers are unreliable and dangerous people and that if she took money, I would give it back because people just don’t give money out. What surprised me is that in a matter of weeks, I had developed such a good relationship with these students that they trusted me enough to discuss something of this magnitude. This proves that people who are very unalike each other can come together and form a relationship. This relationship, it seems is much like the relationship between Shane and Bob. Both gain from being close with the other: Shane gains a close friend and someone he can trust while Bob gains a model of leadership. In my volunteer experience at Christo Rey, I have gained friends and it seems as if they have gained a role model and someone they can trust.