Typical Hero’s Journey: Ree

1. THE WORLD OF COMMON DAY: Ree is a poverty stricken sixteen year old whom takes care of her mentally ill mother and two younger brothers in the constant absence of her father. The story’s setting is the Ozarks area in the middle of winter. (Pgs.1-8)

2. THE CALL TO ADVENTURE: Deputy Baskin informs Ree that if her father does not show up to court the following week the authorities will take ownership of his bond payment, the house, leaving Ree and her family homeless. (14)

3. REFUSAL OF THE CALL: Does not occur.

4. MEETING WITH THE MENTOR: Ree meets with Uncle Teardrop who warns her to not go asking around in Hawkfall. (25)

5. CROSSING THE FIRST THRESHOLD: Ree goes to the Hawkfall valley anyway to ask Megan and Little Arthur about the whereabouts of her father and finds nothing useful. (52-56)

6. TESTS, ALLIES, AND ENEMIES: On the hill of Hawkfall, Thump Milton refuses to see Ree so the Mrs. Thump must deal with her and discourage her questions about her father. (59-61)

7. APPROACH TO THE INMOST CAVE: Blond Milton takes Ree to the burned down crank house which is supposedly the last place Blond Milton saw Jessup. (76)

8. THE SUPREME ORDEAL: Ree is severely beaten by Mrs. Thump and her two sisters when Ree decides to try talking to Thump Milton again. She is rescued by Uncle Teardrop from the entire Milton family. (129-137)

9. REWARD – SEIZING THE PRIZE: The Milton women come to Ree’s rescue and take her to her father’s location. (179)

10. THE ROAD BACK: Ree has to cut off the hands of her father to prove his death because his body is submerged underwater with an engine block tied to his leg. She sees the consequences of irritating the Milton family. (184-186)

11. THRESHOLD CROSSING – “RESURRECTION”: Ree turns in the hands of her father to Deputy Baskin and is able to keep the house. She says, “Dad’s hands brought sorrow and a blessing.” (187)

12. RETURN WITH ELIXIR – “FREEDOM TO LIVE”: Ree gains knowledge that one can survive the Ozark area and the many families that reside there. She plans to use the excess money to buy a car so she and family can escape the deadly cycle of family name expectations. (193)

The THS Version of The Laramie “Pretty Ridiculous Or Just Expected Class Topics”

So before I even start writing on what I took away from the project, I want to draw your attention to the title. A couple people in class got annoyed when people said “The Laramie Project Project,” so to keep the peace I decided to play both sides. If you are smart and creative you would have seen that I wrote The THS Version of The Laramie PROJECT but added a couple words that actually relate to our class in general and what I plan on discussing later on!

I think the best place to beginning is my project. The beautiful Natalie and I interviewed individuals about interracial relationships between African Americans and Caucasians. Thinking of the people in Tucker, I expected black and white relationships to be acceptable by the majority and our research advocates my prediction. We only had one individual who condemned such relationships and she lived outside of Tucker in the country. I was actually hoping for more people to be against interracial relationships because I thought it would make the project more entertaining and controversial. (Admit it, who does not like controversy?) From my project, the most interesting thing I realized was how difficult imitating a person was. It is not merely their words but the tone in which they say it. Not only does the person have a stance, but you have to copy their body language. Even when I acted as my own family, whom I have known for seventeen years, I had to fix myself and start over because I did not feel like I was presenting them well enough.

Now, the other projects. I believe by Monday, I was seriously wondering, Why are there so many interviews on love? Is it a young adult thing that consumes us and unconsciously found its way in our project designs or is it a minuscule coincidence? Either way I am happy there was some variation in the answers given. For example, Anna and Laura were able to find a person in the Tucker community, Mr. Venkatesh, who did not believe in interracial relationships and Mary and Naima revealed conflicting views on the acceptance of teenage love.

The two projects I really want to dive into are Megen and Mikaela’s IB to the outside world interview and the emphasis on football interview by Huy and Nicholas. In my opinion, both interview topics were expected; however, the replies they received were not. As IB students I think it is natural for us to wonder how others perceive us since we took on the challenge of a more rigorous course load and a reduction in our social lives. Anyway, when students started commenting on how stuck up IB students were, I got offended. (Then I really sat and thought about it and I realized we were to some extent, but they do not need to know that.) During the football interview, which I was a part of, I was very surprised that the coach and Mr. Jackson denied the special interest in the football program, when it was clear to EVERYONE else. I mean, really?! The saddest thing though was the fact that no one, except for me, in the interview really challenged the “tradition.” If you see injustice, is it not your duty to change it?

Overall I really liked the project. Thank you Mr. B for assigning it in the first place and thank you class for voting Natalie and I with the best project!

Is the Book Really Better Than the Movie?

The Laramie Project, Moisés Kaufman, Pgs 67-69

Overall, the film adaptation created by HBO was mediocre. I expected that with such a intense and serious topic, the film would not have been so “staged.” There were some high points in the film like the interview with the Baptist Minister. This scene was displayed as a deviation from the play where Amanda Gronich, member of Tectonic Theater Project, met the minister on the street after eating a meal. What makes this scene so interesting is the fact that Amanda becomes very emotional and breaks down after her interview with the minister. She was distraught that she allowed him to say such heinous things about Matthew’s “lifestyle.”

“…I hope that Matthew Shepard as he was tied to that fence, that he had time to reflect on a moment when someone had spoken the word of the Lord to him- and that before he slipped into a coma he had a chance to reflect on his lifestyle” (Kaufman 69).

It was a rare opportunity for the audience to get to know the personalities of the members of the Tectonic Theater and their reactions to the opinions of the people of Laramie. The film adaptation reveals that they are also human with feelings, beliefs, and their own lifestyles, which could very much be like Matthew’s. I think that the play avoids adding the members’ opinions in order to keep the integrity of the production and show no bias in the content. I was very pleased that the film added this simple but necessary ten seconds to their movie.

Aside

The Sexuality, the Spectrum, and the Socratic Seminar

photoAfter skimming through the novel, I  noticed Moisés Kaufman added two similar quotes which belong on separate ends of the spectrum. Now, how can the quotes be similar and different at the same time? The quotes below are similar in their purpose and approach; justify their preferred sexuality with as much bile and condemning language possibly. The ends of the spectrum are pro-homosexual and pro-heterosexual.

“You and the straight people of Laramie and Wyoming are guilty of the beating of Matthew Shepard just as the Germans who looked the other way are guilty of the deaths of the Jews, the Gypsies, and the homosexuals. You have taught your straight children to hate their gay brothers and sisters. Unless and until you acknowledge that Matt Shepard’s beating is not just a random occurrence, not just the work of a couple of random crazies, you have Matthew’s blood on your hands” (Kaufman 56).

&

“Do you cry like a baby on TV for all of your patients or just the faggots” (Kaufman 71)?

As I said before, the quotes above are similar but different. The reason I chose these quotes is their representation. The Laramie Project has a theme where the thoughts and opinions of the town are evaluated. Then, there is the question of whether or not Matthew’s death was a hate crime. I believe the origin of the colossal battle for the hate crime ruling was clearly represented in the quotes: the beliefs of the world range from extremist to moderate and back to extremist. Kaufman, whether it was intentional or not, slips in the opposing attitudes but from the point of view of the outside world (as if Laramie was a goldfish in the fish bowl). I think the opinions (more like attacks) from the world truly affected the psyche of the town on how strongly people felt about sexuality. For example, Rulon Stacey never realized the “magnitude” of hate one could possess. In general, the town was pretty moderate on sexuality. Most of the people interviewed were contempt with heterosexuality, but would never be gay themselves.The diction and metaphor to the Germans citizens during the Holocaust were not necessary, but both quotes were fueled by pain and emotion. In the end, I personally disagree with the presentation of these emails just because they reveal so much negativity on something I think is super irrelevant (yes, sexuality is a point but it is not THE point) in the case of a brutal beating and murder of a young man.

Anyway, the Socratic seminar for The Laramie Project comes dead last in my book of in-class discussions. I felt like nobody really understood the aim or what was supposed to come out of this, so the answers and questions reflected that. From what I gather, everyone in our class accepts homosexuality; however, the thought of it being the cause of Matthew’s death is fuzzy. I think it is difficult for us to even have an opinion on this matter when we have not seen any evidence and we have read conflicting testimonies. Therefore, it was hard for people to back up their points with concrete items. Lastly, I want to add that our class is too emotional in terms of Mr. B liking our values. I think he is trying to build up our oral analysis skills, but cannot resist the temptation of putting in his own input. He is human. I am not trying to be a kiss up, but I do not think the complaining is worth a thing. Just keep doing what you are doing and move on.

The Laramie Project

The city of Laramie, Wyoming is small and quaint. Everyone either knows everybody, knows the business of everybody, or are some how related. It is a town where few LGBT people reside and the closest gay bar is in another state. I believe the town itself was a preferable environment for the incident because the motto or the typical saying from the people there is “live and let live.” In other words, what happens happens and let people be who they want to be. However, that could be understood as let a gay person be gay or a murderer be a murderer because that is their nature; they were born that way. (Thank you lady gaga!) Another reason is the fact that the town is very isolated from the rest of the United States. In the late 1990s, there were barely any laws passed for gay rights and not as many out-of-the-closet people. If the city was used to LGBT people around, I do not think this attack would have been as brutal or even occur based on “gay panic.”
One of the reasons I enjoyed the book version of the play is the format. It is unusual and light. In the Author’s Notes section of the book, Moisés Kaufman explains that the book was written in moment work, the scenes are just snapshots of moments. I think the book was written in such away in order to reveal the point of views of the incident from many citizens of Laramie. The feelings and perceptions of these characters in different moments are glass pieces that fit together to create a large mosaic. Sadly, the mosaic is about the death of a young gay boy named Matthew Shepard.
I read an article on the incident itself. Yesterday the Matthew Shepard Foundation slammed a new book, by Stephen Jimenez, which challenges the fact that McKinney and Russell attacked Matthew because he was gay. Jimenez wrote that McKinney was used to homosexuals and having intercourse with them. Also, Jimenez says that McKinney wanted to rob Matthew because he looked like he had money and easy to take advantage. In his opinion, the homosexual advocates exaggerated the entire story to push hate crime legislation. I am surprised that a gay person would write such things, but then again, everyone is not the same. I do not know what to believe in terms of McKinney’s feelings about homosexuals when in the Laramie Project he does not like gay people who try to hit on him. I am very upset that this event even occurred, but I do not think it needed as much media attention. Other people died around that time but the story everyone wanted was Matthew’s. Then again, why did it take 10-11 years for legislation to be passed to protect the rights of LGBTs?

Mendell, Sean. “Onswipe.” Onswipe. Towleroad, 30 Sept. 2013. Web. 01 Oct. 2013.

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My Epilogue of Crime and Punishment

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So today we had to finish Crime and Punishment and I am so relieved because it’s over. This book was so long and unreasonably long and drawn out it could’ve been a nice simple 300 page book where Raskolnikov commits the crime, he feels guilty, gives himself away, then suffers the consequences in Siberia. However, the book as a whole was pretty good. I enjoyed the story in the fact that we incorporated psychology and psychological theories but still the book was way too long.

Now the ending itself was pretty lame. I think it’s because Daisha and Bri had their project where they kind of told everybody the resolution of the novel. I wish there wasn’t so much talking involved and it got straight to the point. Of all the characters in the book, I loathed Svidrigailov the most because he could not get the hint that Dunya did not love him. And for some stupid reason, it took a gunshot to the side of the head to wake him up and realize she did NOT love him! (This reminds me of Bella in Twilight and her ridiculous depression and obsession for a single person.)Then he is a major pedophile for having a 16-year-old fiancé and nightmares involving young girls committing suicide. I am very happy he committed suicide.

I feel bad for Raskolnikov. I’m happy that he has somebody that understands him and loves him for who he is even though he killed two people. I despised his pride which continued to consume him to the point that he was ill. Yeah about that, why did that Dostoyevsky decide to kill the mom and make everybody ill all of a sudden I didn’t understand the point of that. I am sorry this blog was unusually opinionated but I decided the best way to get my true feelings about the novel was to verbally say it out loud and record it. I’m excited about our next book…no sarcasm there!!!

Is Raskolnikov evil and am I a psychopath?!

Continuing our discussion in class, I do not think Raskolnikov is evil. I believe that evil is a man made phenomenon because it is all perception. Humans do what they do best, survive; however, it is not until laws are created that humans become restricted in their actions. So now human actions are considered evil or non-evil based on whether they follow the criteria of the law. I do, though, believe Raskolnikov made a bad decision and must held accountable. That is all it is, bad decisions. I agree with John Locke in the fact that humans are born with a clean slate and are influenced by their education. But I would then add Socrates paradox in that no one knowingly does wrong because they have their own justification.

Raskolnikov, like many other criminals, believes that his crime was not a crime because he had sufficient reasons for killing Alyona. Criminals do not know what is “good” or “bad” in accordance of society because they are based off the societies perceptions of whether it is “good” or “bad.” Hence, the manipulation of stories by the media occurs. George Zimmerman, whom I do not think is evil either, was perceived by the media as evil but clearly in the courts the jury says otherwise. One jury member especially believes that he did the right thing. In my opinion, he should be charged just for taking a life unnecessarily.

So, I am very happy to report that I am not a psychopath. My scores from the first time said I was narcissistic and histrionic, but the second try did not name me narcissistic. Either way I am a little disappointed. There is a part of me that wishes I was a psychopath (but able to control it) because it would bring a very nice class discussion. HaHa. I think psychopaths are very interesting because the development of their brains are slightly different. After listening to the TAF recording, I would like to meet a psychopath.

Morality Test and class discussion

It is rare that I find a topic that remotely affects me emotionally, let alone logically and ethically. There are brief moments where I have pondered whether my decisions were right or wrong, but never have I ever had to share these thoughts publicly and risk judgement; so thank you Mr. B.

After our class discussion on morality, I have warmed up to Anna and Natalie’s idea of its nonexistence. How could there be universal morals if everyone believes in different things? Personally, I think intentional murder is an example to this concept only because everybody’s life is worth the same. If titles, money, friends, power, etc. are stripped we are all humans; hence, who has the right to take another life? In Crime and Punishment Raskolnikov takes it upon himself to kill Alyona because he thought she was an evil woman and a leech in society. No one is perfect. We have all done good and bad but by whose judgement are we condemned?

I enjoyed this topic very much because it encouraged myself to question my beliefs and actions. It is very unnerving to realize what you are taught, good and bad, could be wrong, gray. Knowing more about Socrates idea of logos, ethos, and pathos I will try harder to find the origin of my opinions. One opinion that changed for me is abortion. I am a practicing catholic who accepts abortion if vital, yet I furiously condemned intentional murder in class…just something to think about.

C&P Connections between Raskolnikov, Dostoyevsky, and Nietzsche

In the novel Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky introduces Raskolnikov with similar characteristics that resemble himself. For instance, both men are Russian-born and poor. Dostoyevsky was diagnosed with epilepsy and Raskolnikov suffered from delirium and chronic unconsciousness because of guilt. Another unpleasant similarity they share is addiction; Dostoyevsky was a gambling addict while Raskolnikov had a drinking problem. One personality trait the two do not share is isolation. Throughout the novel, Raskolnikov pushes people away from him whereas Dostoyevsky was involved in the Petrashevsky circle and the Betekov circle (for financial help). 

Dostoyevsky uses Friedrich Nietzsche’s superman and will to power philosophies in his novel. Raskolnikov displays the superman philosophy  by believing he was better than everybody, above the law, and could easily get away with murder. The will to power philosophy was introduced when Mr Luzhin states “Love yourself before all others, for everything in the world is founded upon self-interest.” In other words, unless one’s life is improved or able to be saved from death, no action will be taken.