DragonBall Z

DragonBall Z
This is the Dragon... Dragonball Z. An anime show highlighting some of the best that human imagination has to offer.

Who are you?!

  • I like directing, editing and watching movies.
  • I like to play Call of Duty 4.
  • I like to play Rainbow Six Vegas 2
  • I LOVE going to Mr. G's class everyday.
  • There is no place like my real home.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Reflective Essay

I can remember all the way back to my first day of school when I walked into class. I was unsure of was to expect because I heard a lot but now I know that it was only the beginning of the largest transformation for my writing since learning the ABC’s. I started off with the wrong foot and slowly I strived to redeem myself from the embarrassment from the first major paper. In the middle of the year I shown some progress and Snapgrades became my new best friend. Near in the end of the third quarter, my writing made it to the point where I felt comfortable and now I am able to convey my thoughts and my vocabulary is stronger and my sentences flow. Writing and understanding literature has made things and reasoning in life is easier. The improvement is unavoidable and I am not only shocked but also proud of the strides that I have taken in a tough course.

Back in September, we had received our first major paper assignment for the course. It was the explication of the year and I was actually unsure of what an explication was. I read the hand out but was still uncertain as to what the task at hand was. “Find the deeper meaning,” and I tried to look at the poem over and over again only to realize that the poem was still a big blog of mystery to me. I ended up writing about this in my explication and received an F. I was a little upset because there were hours put into the essay and I felt as though I did the best that I could. But I was wrong.

Looking back and re-reading my essay, I see the all the faults and wonder what I was thinking. I still did not fully understand the task of explicating a piece of literature. It was not until we began having class discussions about pieces of literature that I began to realize what explication was. Listening to the other students and Mr. Gallagher speak gave me clues as to what to focus on and strategies that would help make the explication process easier. I took the ideas back home and began to apply the strategies to my writing and then I began to pump out respectable papers. But, I am never happy with respectable papers because I remember I would always click on my Snapgrades link and end up being disappointed with the grade.

The disappointment only helped me to become a better writer in the end. I continued to observe and continued to improve. The blog on the Brueghel painting of Landscape with the Fall of Icarus was the next major paper that highlighted the next step that I had taken in my writing. Regarding myself as a visual learner, I was excited to find that the task involved explicating an actual painting instead of a piece of writing. I had fun breaking down the painting and all of the components from the foreground to the background. The requirement for a grade was a thousand words which I felt was totally possible with the amount of interest that I had in the project. I was happy with what I had written but still did not achieve the kind of grade that I had learned for. My grades were always in the B range and I was desperate to leave the B Club. I hit a plateau and didn’t know what to do to improve my writing.

I then used the model papers posted on the blog to find the little things that were missing from all of my papers; the difference between the A paper and the B paper. I read the theses and the conclusions and the textual evidence found in the A papers. I payed close attention to the comments left by Mr. Gallagher. I tried to apply all of these criticisms to my writing and my grades went up little by little.

By the middle of third quarter I think I had found my “writing mojo” and I was confident with my writing abilities. Explication was no longer a burden and I felt up to the task when class was given the James Joyce Paper. Everyone was talking about it as if this was the end of the world as we knew it and I was nonchalant about the whole idea. In the end, I produced a ten page paper that I feel is my best work to date. When asked to select a favorite and a best piece of work from the year I was sad to not be able to put the Portrait Paper in both categories.

I was happy with the paper and happy with the grade because it exceeded my expectations. I still had faults here and there throughout the essay but when compared with the Red-Shift Analysis; it is like reading from two different authors. I know that my writing and my analytical skills have made significant strides I am happy with the end result. The course was hard and rigorous and I feel that it was necessary for all of us to become better writers. I know that it changed my writing and I am now content with my output in Mr. Gallagher’s Senior Honors. I made it through the minefield.

Red Shift Major Paper

“Red Shift” by Tim Berrigan

While reading “Red Shift” by Tim Berrigan, I feel confused and lost. It is difficult to understand. It is hard to dissect the underlying meaning. The speaker’s language is very ambiguous and loose. I do not know why Berrigan chose to say certain things in “Red Shift”. Berrigan’s writing is autobiographical and represents a lot of what can be found in his life. What does “Red Shift” mean? Why does he jump all over in his poem? Why does he go from being specific with dates, times, and settings to vagueness and having to use one’s imagination to get a picture in one’s mind? Tim Berrigan’s “Red Shift” is an addictive poem because I listen to it and want to hear it again and again.

The title “Red Shift” may have been chosen because of the United States involvement in the Cold War. The poem is written in the early 1970’s and a lot of important events occur with regard to the nonviolent conflict. There is Fidel Castro and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Soviets have there iron curtain in Eastern Europe. The North Vietnamese are gaining the upper hand in the war against the South and the Red is slowly covering the Earth. Red is communism. It is blood, war, love, and death. “Red Shift” means a shift in Tim Berrigan’s life. He is no longer loved and has lost a love one. It means a shift in the mind of the people in society because there are communists out there and it is shameful to be one. Life is no longer the same as what is used to be which explains the shift.

Tim Berrigan says “I am 43. When will I die?” If you put an emphasis on the I in that sentence, it sounds like he is saying “When will I die?” When is it my turn to become red? Tim Berrigan is going through a mid-life crisis where he does not know where to go. He is shifting from being young to old. That is why shift is chosen.

Who is he speaking to? He mentions a nineteen year old girl who is his lover. She died before the poem was written because according to these lines:
“ Not that pretty girl, nineteen, who was going to have to go [everyone dies sooner or later], careening into middle-age so, To burn & to burn more fiercely than even she could imagine so to go.” (Tim Berrigan)

She probably died in a fire and she is Tim Berrigan’s first love. Again, the Red is a symbol of the fire that takes her and her death that results from it. She is gone from him and now he is alone and does not know where to begin again. He wants his red (death) to come so that he may join her again and never leave her side. He wants to marry her and grow old with her and die with her as noticed in these lines:

“I would never & never will leave alone until we both vanish into the thin air we signed up for & so demanded To breath & who will never leave me, not for sex, nor politics, nor even for stupid permanent estrangement which is Only our human lot & means nothing.” (Tim Berrigan)
He mentions that he will never leave her side and they will turn to dust together but that never happens. She is gone and he grows old all by himself.

Why won’t he die? Tim Berrigan says “I will never die.” Everyone dies. Will he become the first immortal or will he live on in the hearts and minds of anyone who reads this poem? Will his spirit accompany this poem and all of the copies that are made of it? “Red Shift” is hard not to think about after hearing because the audio makes you want to hear it again. The Speaker brings the poem alive. Tim says in the poem “I came into your life to change it & it did so & now nothing will ever change That, and that’s that.” This statement is easy to agree with because his voice enters the head and will stay forever.

Still this poem is enigmatic in its language. Reading it for the first time will throw you off as it did to me. Maybe the people that Tim mentions are his family; maybe there are close to him. His spirit does live on to nag. It nags through the poem that is so hard to understand and comprehend. Tim Berrigan has a message and it can be interpreted in many different ways as there are people with the ability to interpret it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dialectical Journal Entry 3.24.08

Hamlet has finally agreed to turn himself into the King and is following Rosencratz and Guildenstern. Over and over, Claudius asks where the body of Polonius lies and Hamlet answer that it is at supper and the maggots are eating. I see Hamlet now as not being insane anymore but more leaning towards an extraordinary actor who is inheriting the traits of the character he is trying to play. Why does he say all of these sarcastic remarks that go around Claudius’ question only to reveal it right after? I think Hamlet enjoys seeing Claudius flustered and annoyed because of the hatred he has for Claudius after what happened to his father. But Claudius is finished being toyed with, “Where is Polonius,” (4:3 line 30) and Hamlet reveals knowing that this is his new father and Hamlet has that sort of subconscious feeling to respect or receive the punishment. Hamlet then finds that going to England is going to be a great thing and he happily waves goodbye to his mother, but not to Claudius who has taken the other father’s place. In lines before, Hamlet revealed the location of Polonius’ body almost out of fear. There is a contrast in those couple of lines. He does not love Claudius nor does he show a lot of respect. But, when there is a time when Claudius uses his Kingly powers to demand respect – it is given. As for Hamlet only saying goodbye to his mother, Claudius is not his real father. In his reasoning, Hamlet talks of marriage between one woman and a man and how he is only saying goodbye to his mother because Claudius was not apart of the original marriage. Claudius answers, “Thy loving father, dear Hamlet,” or “I love you, Hamlet,” (4:3 line 48) in the line before; does this mean that Claudius has taken Hamlet under his wing as his new son? I do not think Hamlet cares and so he is off to England where he will be put to death.