Exploring Pop Culture

Honors English I Third Six Weeks Extra Credit

We’ve been reading literature this semester and exploring such themes as loss of innocence, good versus evil, duality, obsession, humankind’s tendency to abuse power, and personal responsibility versus societal expectations, among others. The classic literature we read is not the only place you can find these themes. In fact, one reason we study literature is to help us to better understand and interpret our own time and experiences.

Take what you have learned studying the novels we have read to analyze a piece of pop culture. You may choose a modern novel, a movie, or a television show. You may not select anything that is recognized as literature. The point is to see how you can find these universal themes in all modes and genres.

The details:

  • Although you are analyzing pop culture, you must still maintain a formal writing tone.
  • You must reference at least one of the pieces of literature we studied for comparison.
  • The depth of your discussion will determine the amount of your extra credit.
  • Of course, grammar and mechanics will be figured into your score.
  • You must have quotes. How many? Enough to make your point/s.
  • Blog posts and comments are single spaced with double spaces between the paragraphs. (Yes, I know.)
  • You may add pictures if you know how.
  • To italicize text in a comment, put <i> in front of what you want to italicize, and </i> at the end of it.
  • Your submission must be in the form of a comment here on Logophiles.
  • The last day to submit for credit is December 1, 2017.
  • If you do not follow all of these directions, you will get no credit at all.
  • When I finished my entry, I noticed that I have about 600 words; you do not have to have this many. If you have between 350 and 500, you will be in good shape.

As always, I will go first.

As I have mentioned, I love watching television, but I don’t watch with my brain in the off position. pushing daisies, lee pace

These past few weeks, I have revisited one of my all time favorite television shows, Pushing Daisies.  It’s a fantasy. It’s a mystery. It’s a romance. It’s a fairy tale. It’s a work of art on television. Ned, a piemaker (Lee Pace) can raise the dead with a touch—but only for sixty seconds; after that someone else has to die to take their place. If he touches the resurrected person again, death becomes permanent. One day, Ned raises Charlotte, a.k.a Chuck (Anna Friel), his childhood sweetheart. They discover they still love each other; unfortunately, Ned cannot ever touch Chuck again, or she will die. Ned works with Emerson Cod, a grumpy private eye to solve murders by asking the dead who their murderers were in those sixty seconds and then collecting the often substantial reward for finding the killers.

Pushing Daisies is one of the most literary television shows that has aired in a very long time. Of course, this doomed it to a short run since the American public by and large does not watch television to think; it aired from 2007 to 2009. As Daisies is the story of Chuck, “the dead girl who was not dead” (“Dummy”), viewers are exposed to an exploration of duality. Throughout the series, the witty language exposes the two sides of things. The use of oxymorons calls to mind the use of such language in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet when Romeo referred to the duel as “much to do with hate, but more with love” (I i 165). Ned chides Chuck for calling for a fresh start  “because starting fresh means something else is ending stale” (Fuller “Circus Circus”). Conversely, in the final episode, “Kerplunk,” the Narrator reminds viewers that the reverse is also true. “At that moment, in the town of Coeur d’Coeurs, events occurred that are not, were not, and should never be considered an ending. For endings, as it is known, are where we begin.”

Duality is not the only theme Pushing Daisies explores. Loss of innocence is a prominent theme throughout the series. Olive Snook has been in love with Ned since before Chuck was reanimated. When Chuck enters their lives, she is puzzled Olive Snook Pushing Daisiesby their lack of any physical contact believing at first that this means that she still has a chance with Ned. She even half-heartedly accepts Chuck as her friend. When she discovers that Ned had been lying to her about everything ever since she had met him, and that Chuck was only remaining separate from Ned because she would literally die if she touched him, her loss of innocence was heartrending. In a tirade to Chuck she says, “You’re not really dead, you’re just pretending to be dead while other people who think you’re dead are heartbroken”(“Girth”). She is so distraught that she leaves Coeur d’Coeurs to join a convent. There, however, she learns that she cannot escape the world because she discovers a murder for which she needs to call on Ned’s and Emerson’s help to solve.

A far more devastating loss of innocence is for Chuck when she discovers that Ned is the cause of her beloved father’s death. When Ned brought his mother back to life and did not observe the sixty-second limit, another life had to be taken–that life was Chuck’s father. chuck refused to look at or talk to Ned for days following that revelation because she could not face the knowledge, mirroring Dr. Lanyon’s reaction to Jekyll’s revelation: “I can not, even in memory, dwell on it without a start of horror” (Stevenson 41). Because neither of these characters was completely innocent, unlike Dr. Lanyon, both eventually recover. The show demonstrates the inherent difficulties in keeping secrets and refusing to accept the reality before one, even when that reality is unpleasant.

Works Cited

Fuller, Bryan, creator. Pushing Daisies. Warner Brothers Studios, 2007-2009. DVD.

Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet: Entire Play,  shakespeare.mit. edu/romeo_juliet/full.html.

Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dover, 1991.

 

 

 

 

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46 thoughts on “Exploring Pop Culture

  1. Over the summer, I watched the movie Wonder Woman. After learning about loss innocence, I realized this was a perfect example of the theme. This movie is a story of a young princess named Diana who is raised on an island of only women. A pilot crashes on the island and tells about a war in the outside world. Diana thinks she can stop the war and leaves the island with the pilot. Previously, Diana only knew of her world and not anything outside of it. The pilot, Steve, and Diana arrive in London. Immediately, she is opened up to new people, things, and places.

    While in London, Diana seems very confused with the world around her. Steve is trying to guide her through the city. She wants to find the war immediately, but he has to go do something first. Diana says, “We made a deal, Steve Trevor. And a deal is a promise. And a promise is unbreakable.” Because of her innocence she does not realize in the real world people break promises all the time. At first, Diana believes the world is a wonderful place just like her island, but as the story progresses she soon realizes the evilness in the world. She tells Steve, “I used to want to save the world, this beautiful place, but I knew so little then. It’s a beautiful world of wonder and magic…Until you get closer and then you see the darkness.” Diana is referring to her innocence she had as a child, but when she traveled the world her innocence slowly disappeared. Just like Diana’s realization of the evilness in the world and Jem also realizes that many people are evil.

    While watching the trial, Jem lost his innocence. He thought that Tom was going to be proven innocent, but he was wrong. He thought the world was good and had no evil. As the year went on, he learned that the world was very cruel. During the trial, he becomes sad because Tom didn’t win. While the jury is out, Jem says to Pastor Sykes, “…don’t fret, we’ve won it…Don’t see how any jury could convict on what we heard.” Jem is convinced that Tom will be innocent based on the testimony in the trial.

    Diana and Jem both lose innocence in their stories. Diana realizes the world around her is not what it seems and Jem realizes the people he thought he knew turned out to be evil. Wonder Woman is a great example of loss of innocence.

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  2. Walt Disney’s The Lion King is a delightful children’s movie about the life of Simba the lion. Simba is the prince of the Pride; his father is Mufasa, the respected king of every animal in the Pridelands. As Simba grows up, the audience can see how he loses innocence. The movie starts out with him as a cub, unaware of the evil that lurks just outside of his home’s borders. In the scene where Mufasa is teaching Simba how to pounce, a messager reports spotting hyenas in the kingdom. Simba wants to go with his father but is rejected because it’s too dangerous.

    After Mufasa leaves, he goes to his uncle, Scar. Scar acts like he cares about Simba, but he secretly despises him for being heir to the throne.Unaware of his evil intentions, Simba starts a casual conversation with the bitter lion. He won’t learn how truly evil his uncle is until much later on in the movie. Scar’s first plan to kill Simba is to tempt him to go to the elephant graveyard by saying “It’s far too dangerous. Only the bravest lions go there.” Simba insists that he’s brave enough to face whatever lies outside the borders. His incessant prodding makes Scar “accidentally” confess the existence of the elephant graveyard. Simba invites Nala to investigate it with him. His mother says they can go, on one condition-Zazu has to go with them. This leads to the song “I can’t wait to be king,” which demonstrates Simba’s frivolous ideas of what being King entails. He doesn’t realize that there’s more to it than getting to do whatever he wants.

    Upon arriving at the graveyard, Zazu commands the cubs to turn around. He claims the Outlands are too dangerous. Simba, unaware that some animals can hurt him, declares, “…I laugh in the face of danger. Ha ha ha!” He’s very shocked when his laugh is returned by three hyena cackles. Suddenly, he’s aware that some things are actually dangerous. This is the first time in his young life that something could actually hurt him. Nala and Simba could’ve died if Zazu hadn’t been there to get help. Once Mufasa saves the cubs and sends Nala home, he chastises Simba for disobeying him. He tells him that being brave doesn’t mean purposefully seeking out fights. Simba realizes that his dad isn’t actually fearless. As they look up at the stars, Simba asks, “We’ll always be together, right?” Mufasa answers by telling Simba the story of the great kings in the stars who provide guidance to the living. As the stars are always watching over Simba, so shall Mufasa. Mufasa is teaching this lesson to Simba just as Atticus guides Scout and Jem through their losses of innocence. Both fathers care dearly for their children, although Atticus certainly met a better fate than Mufasa did.

    (Spoilers ahead, you’ve been warned) The next day, Scar tells Simba there’s a surprise waiting for him in the gorge. Simba is excited, not knowing that terrible events are about to take place. After all, he still believes Scar is good. Suddenly, the ground starts shaking. A herd of buffalo comes thundering over the edge of the ravine. Scar goes to get Mufasa, acting like he’s concerned. They both arrive at the scene; Mufasa throws himself into the fray to save Simba. The cub is thrown to a ledge, and Mufasa jumps to the rocks. Scar latches onto him with his claws, but instead of helping his brother, Scar throws him off into the wildebeasts below. Simba feels heartwrenching sorrow for the first time as he witnesses his beloved dad falling to his death. The audience can see his heart breaking as he begs Mufasa to wake up. Scar appears from the dust, declaring that the king is dead. He tells Simba that he’s to blame, therefore he must leave and never return. Simba is too shaken and naive to know any better, so he runs away.

    Upon running away, Simba is discovered by Timon and Pumba. They teach him the meaning of hakuna matata: no worries. Growing up with the two care-free animals cultivates an attitude of indifference to anything that’s not enjoyable in life. The reappearance of Nala makes him lose his nonchalant demeanor. Simba realizing he needs to take responsibility for his kingdom is his second, less extreme loss of innocence. Returning to the Pridelands as an adult changed how he perceived his life. His uncle was no longer the kind, albeit eccentric, lion he had thought he was as a child. During the fight with Scar, Scar tries to blame Mufasa’s death on Simba. The lionesses believe him until Simba forces Scar to confess to the murder.

    The movie ends with Simba standing with Nala atop Pride Rock, as Rafiki the baboon presents a cub to the kingdom. This scene reflects the opening sequence, where Mufasa and his mate presented Simba to the kingdom. Comparing these two moments showcased how Simba followed in Mufasa’s pawprints. He had to go through many trials to remember that Mufasa lived on in him, but he made his father proud in the end.

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  3. Loss of Innocence is when a character in a story starts as someone who believes, acts, or feels as if the world is full of only positive things; also someone who has never experienced bad in their lives. For example, in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, Scout Finch starts the novel as a young girl who believes the neighbor is a monster (pictured to the left) and her best friend is her brother. As the story progresses, Scout matures and experiences things that she will never forget. In the novel Jem Finch, her brother, gets beaten by a grown man. As all these events are happening Scout’s point of view of the world starts to change. Yet, loss of innocence is not only displayed in old, school-required novels, but also in modern television shows, like Grey’s Anatomy.
    On March 27th, 2005, Grey’s Anatomy’s very first episode was released. In season one, episode one, “A Hard Day’s Night” Meredith Grey was introduced. Meredith starts as a young intern who has not experienced the harsh aspects of the world yet. Of course she did have a rough childhood because her mother had an affair, then tried to commit suicide when Meredith was only 5 years old. Through all of this she still remained strong, but as the series continues Meredith gets broken down by traumatizing events.
    In season one, episode nine Addison Montgomery-Shepherd was introduced. Meredith started the series by having an odd relationship with, Derek Shepherd, only to find out he was her boss and married. This was only the first of many tragic events to happen to Meredith in the series. Many things led up to her loss of innocence also: Her sister’s, husband’s (pictured above), mother’s, and father’s deaths, a tragic plane crash with many of her friends, she almost died twice, her best friend moved across the world.
    There are so many more tragic events that happen in this series the mature and change Meredith Grey, but these are the main points that make Meredith lose her positive mind set. As the series goes on she attempts to stay out of drama and act more as an adult, other than a child. This is the same case for Scout Finch. Both female characters learn and mature as their stories go on, expressing the theme, “Loss of Innocence”.

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    1. You know, I may be the only person in the industrialized world who had never watched Grey’s Anatomy. You did a good job of demonstrating that it has more to it than just the superficial plot points.

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  4. Lately I’ve been watching a show on Netflix called Jane The Virgin. This is a novel about Jane’s life and all the decisions she needs to make that will influence her type of lifestyle. Jane lives with her grandma and mother in a small home. Jane’s mother, Xiomara, is a single mom. Xiomara made rash choices that makes Jane want to be different. Jane has her own schedule for her life, like when she should finish college, when she will get married, and when she will have her first child.
        Jane has decided to keep herself for marriage. She has been dating her boyfriend Michael for 2 years. They plan to get married and be each other’s forever. Jane even shared her schedule with Michael. Jane works as a waitress at a hotel but she wants to become a writer for her full time career. One day Jane goes to the doctor to see if everything is alright, and she accidentally gets artificially inseminated. At first she is emotionally distraught. After working so hard to have her “perfect” life, she is pregnant with a strangers baby.
        Jane finds out that her son’s biological father is the owner of the hotel she works at. Besides having a hard time realizing she is pregnant. She also feels conflicted about having to have a relationship with Rafael, the father. She wonders how Michael will react to this. After time, Michael gets over it and learns to love the baby and get along with Rafael. He loves Jane so there was no other choice for him.
    In Romeo and Juliet duality is shown when Romeo and Juliet fall for each other. The hatred they are supposed to feel for each other is contrasted by their love for each other. As Juliet laments after learning Romeo’s family name, “My only love sprung from my only hate! / Too early seen unknown, and known too late! / Prodigious birth of love it is to me, / That I must love a loathed enemy.” Juliet and Romeo are in love just like Jane and Michael. Both couples have something that comes between them but love brings them together. Romeo and Juliet have their families who are in a feud and don’t get along of course. Jane and Michael have a kid, well only Jane’s by blood. Bringing Rafael into their life began a feud between Michael and him.
    A big moment when Jane experiences loss of innocence is when she learns that Rafael sabotages Michael’s job as a cop. He ruins his career, Jane thought she knew who Rafael really was. Everyone expected Jane to find something positive in this, the way she always had with past experiences. Jane makes the decision to stay away from Rafael. Also, Jane decided to leave Michael because of his reaction when he punched Rafael when he came to know why he lost his job. So far, Jane’s life plan has not gone as she wishes it would but she shows that she is a strong woman now and that she will make the right decisions based on the safety of her baby.
    Jane The Virgin is a comedic and dramatic telenovela based on Jane’s life. The telenovela demonstrates how much a decision can affect one’s life. Besides demonstrating how anything can happen even if it’s not on the schedule.

    Works Cited
    Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet: Entire Play,  shakespeare.mit. edu/romeo_juliet/full.html.
    Urman, Jennie, creator. Jane The Virgin. CW Network, October 2014 to present.

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    1. Wow! I am not going to the doctor again for a long time! (Just kidding!)

      You mention duality from Romeo and Juliet, but don’t overtly discuss it from Jane. What duality were you referencing in Jane? I think I know, but I’d like you to mention it directly.

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      1. Loss of innocence is when someone hasn’t experienced or learned from experience. They believe everything is possible in the world. Jane demonstrates that by creating her organized schedule and perfect life. She doesn’t know what’s coming her way. She loses innocence when she goes through all her struggles, as I mentioned in my other paragraphs. She also finally loses her virginity, right after Michael and she get married.

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  5. For the three people in the world who have not yet read the Harry Potter novels or seen the movies, be warned, there are spoilers ahead!

    The wizarding world of Harry Potter is a pop culture icon. There are movies, parodies, songs, and even a theme park that represent the magical world of Harry and his friends. However, one cannot find a better outlet for this world of imagination than the books. Readers can envision the captivating story of a young wizard and learn and grow with him as he loses his innocence and gains friends. When harry was a baby, a dark lord attempted to murder him, but Harry survived with part of that dark lord, Voldemort, inside him. Years later, Harry, with no memory of his attempted murder, is transported to an abusive aunt, uncle, and cousin to live for many years before he is rescued and travels via Hogwarts Express to a school that teaches witches and wizards how to perform magic. The story turns dark, however, as the series progresses. A looming danger threatens Harry and his newfound wizarding friends. Voldemort, alternately known as “You-Know-Who,” is brought back and begins to rebuild his stature of power as Harry progresses through school.

    The more Harry learns, the closer Voldemort comes to making his big move to destroy Hogwarts, the wizarding school, all muggles and mudbloods (non-magic people and muggle-born wizards) and “purifying” the world. In the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort kills Cedric Diggory, a friend of Harry’s and a fellow contestant in the Triwizard tournament. This, the first death of a well-known character is a pivotal turning point in the story. Hogwarts becomes a darker place, with more protection around the school and less trust among the students and faculty. This is an obvious loss of innocence in Harry because he begins to see the wizarding world as a more dangerous place. Throughout the series, Harry makes more friends and loses them, and a more significant death is that of his godfather, Sirius Black, with whom he had just recently reunited with. Again, Harry experiences a significant loss of innocence because Sirius was the closest thing Harry had to a father, and after his death, Harry felt the same remote longing he had felt when he saw his parents in the Mirror of Erised. “There was a terrible hollow inside him he did not want to feel or examine, a dark hole where Sirius had been, where Sirius had vanished. He did not want to be alone with that great, silent space, he could not stand it -” (Order 821).

    Much like in Harry Potter, Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird expresses a loss of innocence, but in a not-so-violent way. The main character, Scout, learns of the harshness of the real world when her father is assigned to defend an innocent black man, but the man is put to death. Scout sees the ignorance and cruelty of people in her town, people she thought knew better. “This time we aren’t fighting the Yankees, we’re fighting our friends” (Lee 87). This is paralleled in Harry Potter with the betrayal of Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Draco , one of Harry’s peers, helps some Death-eaters into Hogwarts, which ultimately results in the death of a beloved headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. This is further reiterated as Snape’s viewed betrayal of the entire school by physically killing Dumbledore.

    These small battles all lead up to the Battle of Hogwarts, in which Voldemort is at full power and he and his Death-eaters attack Hogwarts head-on. During this, the final book, Harry finally discovers that, he, himself, has a part of Voldemort in him. The night Harry got his scar, Voldemort left a little piece of his soul in Harry, and the Battle of Hogwarts could not be won without ALL of Voldemort being destroyed. This segment is seen as the biggest loss of innocence in the entire series, as Harry accepts his own death so that his friends can destroy the dark lord. “Harry understood at last that he was not supposed to survive. His job was to walk calmly into Death’s welcoming arms.” (Hallows 691)

    Works Cited
    Lee, Harper. To Kill A Mockingbird. J.B. Lippincott Company, 1960
    Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 2007
    Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 2003

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  6. You’re right Ms. Rains, Bob Ewell is kind of similar to Scar. Just as Scar blamed Simba for Mufasa’s death, Ewell accused Tom Robinson of hitting Mayella. Both villains used the innocent characters as scapegoats.

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    1. Well there are other surface connections, such as their deaths at the end or their unkempt tendencies of lash violence, but i think the real comparison to make is the underlying reason for their role as a villain. You can blame most of it on being raised in a racist time (like Bob Ewell) or the loss of the crown to a sibling, (Scar). while those are the obvious reasons, it never shows you any real provocation to heinous actions, because there not. Both of these characters are driven by pure evil, which helps move the plot along of course, but makes sure there is no solemn light of sympathy to shed. There is always some underlying tone, like self-doubt to overcome, or jealousy, but the point remains that both characters are defended by causes that fueled the fire, but in no means started it.

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  7. Sometime last year, my dad was driving me home from school and we were listening to National Public Radio. It was on the segment which streams reviews about books and movies, the part I usually ignore. This time, however, I was acutely interested in the topic. The critic was reviewing what sounded like a Netflix show based off A Series of Unfortunate Events, one of my favorite series of books by the enigmatic and talented Lemony Snicket. I do not usually watch Netflix as a habit–or, in fact, at all–but this review profoundly intrigued me. As soon as the show came out, I spasmodically watched the entire first season. I was stunned. The plot was close to the books and yet differed in the best possible ways, the acting was superb, the music and presentation was captivating, and the mysteries left unsolved for Season Two still imbue me with a sense of urgent anticipation. As well as being one of my favorite shows on Netflix, A Series of Unfortunate Events contains many themes; several of these correspond to the themes in the literature that we have been reading in Mrs. Rains’s class, most prominently the theme of obsession.
    A Series of Unfortunate Events is largely the life story of three very unfortunate orphans, Klaus, Sunny, and Violet Baudelaire (respectively Louis Hynes, Presley Smith, and Malina Weissman). The Baudelaires are rich, sheltered, and happy until a catastrophe befalls them: their family mansion is burned to the ground by a mysterious arsonist, and their parents perish in the inferno. The Baudelaires are relocated to their “closest” living relative: Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris), a despicable villain and terrible actor. Olaf is not related to the Baudelaires and is only concerned with stealing the enormous fortune that their parents left them to inherit when Violet, the oldest, comes of age. Olaf contrives a dastardly plan to pilfer the fortune, but the children foil him in a combined effort. For the rest of Season 1, the Baudelaires are bounced from relative to relative, with Olaf obsessively following them and hatching new plots to enrich himself and inflict misery upon the orphans.
    The simple fact that Olaf follows the innocent orphans everywhere, trying incessantly to steal their fortune, shows that he is an obsessive, malevolent force in their lives. In each episode, Olaf gloats about a new scheme to get the fortune, daydreams about his life with the fortune, and rages about his inability to procure the fortune. He is totally intent with insuring the orphan’s misery and poverty: after the Baudelaires prove his guilt and force him to escape at the end of “The Bad Beginning: Part Two”, Olaf snarls in Violet’s ear “I’ll get my hands on your fortune, if it’s the last thing I do. And when I have it, I will tear you and your siblings from limb to limb”. It is manifest throughout the show that Olaf is not only obsessed with the Baudelaires’ fortune, but with their deaths as well. After tracking the children down for the third time in “The Miserable Mill: Part 1”, he attempts to recruit his evil ex, Dr. Orwell (Catherine O’Hara), in his latest scheme to gain the fortune and ruin their lives even further. Dr. Orwell at first refuses, saying that Olaf left her to drown under a bridge, but when Olaf says, “What if I told you we had another chance to destroy the Baudelaires? . . . Fate has brought us together, my pet; fate, and fortune!”. This chance to harm the Baudelaires, in addition to obtaining their fortune, sways Orwell to help Olaf. It is clear that Orwell, as well as Olaf, is obsessed with making the orphans as miserable as possible.
    The villainous obsession that Olaf and Orwell show in repeatedly attempting to harm and steal from the Baudelaire’s is similar to the level of obsession shown in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet profess to love each other passionately many times, but in reality, their “love” is more of an obsession. Romeo is, and has always been, obsessed with the prettiest girls, a habit revealed when he complains to Benvolio that his latest interest, Rosaline, has sworn to be a nun. Benvolio suggests that Romeo forgets Rosaline by “giving liberty to thine eyes./Examine other beauties” (I i 235-236). This statement by Benvolio, one of Romeo’s closest friends, shows that this is only too often what Romeo does to spark fresh “love”. Romeo is also very fickle in his devotion to his true loves: if he sees a prettier girl, he will inevitably become completely obsessed with her. This is exactly what happens with Rosaline; Romeo ardently exclaims “One fairer than my love? The all-seeing sun/ Ne’er saw her match since first the world begun.” (I iii 99-100). As soon as he sees Juliet, he forgets Rosaline completely: “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight,/ For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” (I v 59-60). He is never in love with any of the girls, he is only obsessed with their good looks. Juliet, as well, shows signs of obsession towards Romeo. She proclaims her love for Romeo after seeing him for the first time, and suggests that they get married the very same night. She often remarks on his good looks, agreeing when the Nurse says, “Though his face be better than any man’s, yet his leg/ excels all men’s, and for a hand and a foot and a/ body, though they be not to be talked on, yet they/ are past compare.” (II v 42-45). Both lovers are bound together, not by a true love of one’s traits and company, but by a naive obsession of good looks that equals the evil obsession shown by the villains in A Series of Unfortunate Events.

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  8. I chose a modern movie, Wonder, for the analysis of themes that we have studied in literature this semester. The movie is based on the New York Times Bestseller which tells an inspiring story about the character of August Pullman. The story is an emotional drama that portrays the life of Auggie Pullman as a fifth grade student who enters school for the first time in his life. His life until now has been spent recovering from twenty-seven surgeries to make his face look “normal.” Auggie was born with a facial deformity which causes him many physical difficulties. Since the twenty-seven surgeries, he still looks different, but he is ready to take a giant leap into school. The book takes the reader through Auggie’s fifth grade school year.

    There are many themes we have covered in class this semester that are shown in this movie. One of those is the loss of innocence. Auggie loses his innocence because he is born in a state that he learns is not acceptable socially and that he cannot control. He hears and feels students making comments about his facial deformities. They sometimes talk in private, but he says, “students’ faces don’t lie” which means that even when they don’t say anything, their face tells what their minds are thinking. The way people look at him, staring with a emotionless gaze, and the way they talk to him bring hard core truths about the way humans sometimes act around one another. In other words, people can be cruel and merciless with or without saying any words. He learns that life is unfair and that everyone is not going to accept him and treat him as a “normal” kid. Auggie comes to a point in the story that although his innocence as a child is questioned every day that he begins to fight back for what he knows is right. In return, his friends Jack Will and Summer see that Auggie is a real person with real feelings and with a great sense of humor. In one scene at the lunch table, Auggie and Jack Will have an encounter where they poke fun of the way Auggie eats and both children have a great time. Summer agrees that Julian and the other kids at the table are really not so cool after all.

    Another theme in the movie was good versus evil Auggie has to face walking into school everyday with mean stares and into class with no one to sit with. Julian especially makes it hard on him by making fun and drawing pictures and leaving them on his desk and in his locker. Some of the other kids laugh. Auggie is able to withstand such standoffish (evil) behavior by showing the students up in class. Auggie is smarter, more prepared for class, and really has a knack for science. Auggie uses his strengths to “show up” Julian and his team during the school science fair that Auggie and Jack Will won. This also shows humankind’s tendency to abuse power.

    These themes follow the same trends as with Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird. He was born into a family as an African American and in a time period where “ when it’s a white man’s word against a black man , the white man always wins.” These things Tom had no control over, just as Auggie had no control over his physical features. In addition, Tom experienced, just as Auggie, humankind’s tendency to abuse power. Auggie was smaller, weaker, lacked self-confidence, and was usually the “underdog.” Tom Robinson was much the same in that his inherited race made him weaker, less of a human being, and he knew his words carried no weight against the accusations of Bob Ewell.

    This was a good movie with a lot of other great themes around compassion, taking care of those less fortunate, and choosing to “be kind.” Be Kind is now a national movement that schools all across the country are pledging to help fight bullying in schools. Unfortunately, this is a problem that exists all over the country.

    Works Cited

    Chbosky, Stephen, creator. Wonder. Lionsgate Mandeville Films, 2017

    Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York : Grand Central Publishing, 1960. Print.

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  9. About a few years ago, I watched the movie, Thor. The movie opens with Thor being crowned king. With that mentality of a king in mind, he rashly goes to the hated adversaries of the Asgardians, the Frost Giants. He puts himself and his team that in danger. After he almost kills himself, he travels back to Asgard, where his father Odin waits for him. Odin is furious of Thor’s brash actions and punishes him. Thor’s punishment is being exiled to Midgard (Earth). Thor’s mighty hammer is also taken from him. Until Thor learns some humility, he cannot come back to Earth.

    When Thor is sent to Earth, he meets a woman named Jane Foster. Thor stays with Jane while he is exiled. This part of the movie is very comical since Thor is unfamiliar with Earth’s customs. One time, he has just had his first cup of coffee. He really likes the drink and threw the mug on the ground and exclaimed, “I want another!” (Marvel) Eventually, he learns Earth’s culture and learns how to act around people. It was obvious to the viewer that Jane and Thor would soon fall and love, and of course, they did. Then, Earth is attacked by Loki, Thor’s adopted brother. Thor protects Jane and the Earth from Loki’s fury. Since Thor has learned humility at that moment, he received his hammer. After he defeats Loki, he departs from Jane and goes back to Asgard.

    In these examples of the character, Thor, this demonstrates a loss of innocence. A character that has a similar experience to Thor is Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. At first, Scout is rash about her actions too. She calls Arthur Radley “Boo” because she doesn’t stop to think that he is a human being, much like Thor when he rushes into battle with the Frost Giants. She then learns that calling Arthur a nickname is not appropriate. At the end of the novel, she states, “Mr. Arthur, bend your arm down here, like that. That’s right sir.” (Lee 282) This quote demonstrates that Scout learned to have manners and to think before you speak.

    Another example of Scout’s likeness to Thor is how she grows up to be a lady. Scout acts like a boy at the beginning of the novel. She would not wear dresses, she would not talk like a lady, and she played outside all day. Later on in the book, Aunt Alexandra has a women’s group church gathering at the Finch’s house. Scout notices how the ladies talked, dressed, and talked. When she noticed the ladies actions, she said,”The ladies were cool in fragile pastel prints: most of them were heavenly powdered but unrouged; the only lipstick in the room was Tangee Natural. Cutex Natural sparkled on their fingernails, but some of the younger ladies wore Rose. They smelled heavenly.” (Lee 233) This quote also demonstrates that Scout lost her innocence by having to change what she thought was normal, to what was appropriate. Much like Thor learning Earth’s culture, Scout learned how to be a lady and adapted.

    Both Thor and Scout experienced a loss of innocence. They learned to think before they act or speak. They also learned how to adjust to one’s culture when they haven’t experienced anything like it. Thor and Scout had to go through similar trials to get to where they were at the end of their stories.

    Works Cited

    Branagh, Kenneth, director. Thor. Paramount, 2011.

    Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York: Warner Books Inc., 1960. Print

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  10. There are many examples of modern movies, television shows, and novels that portray the theme of the loss of innocence. One of the best examples of this theme is 13 Reasons Why, a popular television series on Netflix. After reading Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, the commonality between the book and 13 Reasons Why was exceedingly apparent. This popular television show is about a young teenager, named Hannah Baker, who after a series of events, decides to take her own life. Both the book and the series presented the idea of how expectations don’t always turn out the way you want them to.

    At the very beginning of the show, Hannah is talking about her moving into her new school and how things are going to turn out great. In the first episode, the show introduces a new character named Justin Foley. Justin Foley is one of the main characters in the show that turns out to be Hannah’s first boyfriend. During the first episode, Hannah talks about her hopes of having the perfect relationship with Justin. On their first date, Justin decides to take Hannah to this nearby park. The two are all alone and they were taking pictures of themselves going down the playground slides. They ended up having the perfect first date, but unfortunately things end up taking a turn for the worst. The next day, Justin shows all of his friends the pictures that he took of Hannah on their first date and one of the pictures turned out to be an inappropriate picture that depicted her in an unbecoming position. Justin’s friends then send the inappropriate picture that was taken of Hannah to everyone that attended the school. When everyone sees the picture, they all start to think of Hannah as a completely different person and not in a good way. After the pictures were sent, Justin never says a word to her ever again and then ends up spreading rumors about her. Hannah describes her betrayal by saying, “Betrayal. It’s one of the worst feelings.” Hannah’s innocence shows that she didn’t realize that her expectations of having the perfect relationship weren’t going to turn out the way that she wanted them to. This is one of the main and most troubling events that lead her to take her own life.

    Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird presents the same idea of loss of innocence. During the trial, Jem and Scout both had their expectations set on Tom being innocent. Unfortunately, Tom is convicted guilty. After Tom was convicted guilty, Jem and Scout were very devastated and their hopes of Tom being innocent were crushed. Jem and Scout both demonstrate their loss of innocence by showing how their expectations didn’t turn out the way they wanted them to be. They both wanted Tom to be innocent, but their expectations didn’t turn out the way that they had hoped. This shows a great comparison between Jem, Scout, and Hannah because all of the characters were devastated that their expectations didn’t go well.

    Hannah, Jem, and Scout all show their loss of innocence in two different works of pop culture. Both the book and the series presented the idea of how expectations don’t always turn out the way you want them to.

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    1. At first, I did not plan to watch this series, but the more my students talked about it, I decided that I needed to have this reference. You are exactly right that it deals with loss of innocence. I also felt that Clay experienced a major loss of innocence/coming of age. Until Hannah’s suicide, he was a child. That event took away his childhood.

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  11. Last spring after reading the novel, I watched the movie Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. In this movie, Harry Potter, the main character, experiences many losses of innocence. The first loss of innocence is shown in the very beginning of the movie when he receives a letter telling him that he has been invited to Hogwarts, a school of magic. Harry, having his parents die at a very young age, does not know that he has magical abilities. He loses innocence here after discovering that his parents did not die in a car accident, he is part of another world he did not even know exists, and that he had survived an attack from the most powerful villain, Voldemort, in this separate world.
    Another example of Harry’s loss of innocence is later in the movie, when he faces Voldemort again as part of one of his professors. Since Voldemort had not enough power left in him to live alone, he took over one of his followers’ bodies until he could live again as his own character. Harry’s first loss of innocence in this fight is when his professor, Quirinus Quirrell, uncovers his dark secret of helping Voldemort back to power. Harry loses innocence, much like Scout Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird, when he discovers that even when you think you know them, adults can commit despicable crimes and uncover their true identity. Scout learns this in To Kill A Mockingbird when she and her brother, Jem, are attacked by Bob Ewell one night. They loss innocence in this, even when knowing that Bob was an evil character, finding out that an adult would do something so cruel as to purposely hurt a child. This relates to Harry’s situation because Harry finds out that people can perform acts to show their true self, the same as Scout and Jem do the night of the attack.
    Harry also discovers the theme of duality throughout his journey at Hogwarts. Harry, throughout the movie, believes that Snape, another one of his professors, is out to get him. From Harry and his friends’ point of view, it seemed as though Snape was the one trying to hurt Harry, even though it was Professor Quirrell and Voldemort the whole time. After Harry and his friends realize that Snape was trying to help all along, they discovered the theme of duality by separating good from evil. Harry again sees the effects of duality when in the end of the movie, he defeats Voldemort in the final battle between the two. When Harry defeats Voldemort, he realizes that good can overpower evil, but without Harry’s wrongdoings of meddling in other people’s business, he would have never had the chance to win the battle between him and Voldemort. Voldemort was defeated form lack of balance of nature, whereas Harry won because of his balance of good and evil. This relates to the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the theme of duality because Mr. Utterson, one of the main characters, explores duality when he finds out that Dr. Jekyll was overpowered with evil, resulting in his suicide. Also when Dr. Lanyon died from having too much good in his nature to understand the evil side of things.
    Overall, there are many themes explored in the movie Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone that relate to many great works of literature. Loss of innocence, as well as duality, are emphasised throughout the movie in the journey of the main character and protagonist, Harry Potter. From beginning to end, the movie explores the themes, also relating them to other stories in some way.

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  12. One of my favorite novels/movies is Divergent, by Veronica Roth. I love the romantic, adventurous, and the family aspects of this novel. I truly feel like I am living in Tris’s world when I am reading. In my opinion when an author can make their reader believe that they are in the story, that is when your book goes from average to award winning.

    Divergent is a novel in which there are five factions. When a male or female becomes sixteen years old they have to pick from the following: Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). For Beatrice, like most of the other teenagers, she had to decide if she wanted to stay with her parents in Abnegation or be happy where she wanted to be in Dauntless. After debating her decision Beatrice decides to be Dauntless. “A new place, a new name. I can be remade here. ‘Tris,’ I say firmly.”(Chapter 6 Page 50) In this moment, not only does Tris adopt her new name, but she adopts a new self. By rejecting her plain Abnegation name, Tris shows her desire to move on and fully immerse herself in the new world she has chosen. Tris is no longer living in fear of what her family wants her to conform to be, but she is still conforming to what society has always been like by hiding in fear of being a Divergent.

    Divergent, in the aspects of conformity, is very much like Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. For example, in chapter 2 when Scout attends school for the first time, her teacher, Miss Caroline becomes mad at her because she already knows how to read. Scout being able to read disturbs the order in which the class usually is. Miss Caroline instructs Scout to go tell her father to stop teaching her because “it would interfere with her reading.” (Chapter 2) What she really means is that Scout’s skills do not conform with a normal first grade level, and the only way Miss Caroline knows how to teach is by conforming to what it has always been. This is just like Tris being a divergent. They are not normal so they are not welcomed into society. They have to hide their truth from the world, and pretend to be something that they are not.

    Tris and Scout both have to overcome conformity in their society. Scout looks upon her dad and Calpurnia, and Tris looks upon Four to help them through their struggles to overcome the fear of being different. Both of these stories are a great example of conformity.

    Work Cited

    Roth, Veronica. Divergent. HarperCollins Publishers, 2016. A new place, a new name. I can be remade here. ‘Tris,’ I say firmly

    Douthat, Ross. To kill a mockingbird: Harper Lee. Spark Pub., 2002. it would interfere with her reading

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  13. During Thanksgiving break, I watched the movie Justice League. In this movie, aspects of good versus evil exist. We have already seen the aspects of good versus evil in the novels of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Frankenstein, and To Kill a Mockingbird. In Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, good versus evil concepts persist throughout the novel. Frankenstein notes the concept of good versus evil when Frankenstein says, “My heart was fashioned to be susceptible of love and sympathy, and when wrenched by misery to vice and hatred, it did not endure the violence of the change without torture such as you cannot even imagine.” (Shelly, P. 115) In To Kill a Mockingbird, the aspect of good versus evil takes place when Atticus says, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird” (Lee 57). In the movie Justice League, Bruce Wayne, also known as Batman, works to recruit a group of beings to help defend the Earth against an extraterrestrial demon-beast, Steppenwolf, trying to destroy the human race and the Earth. Steppenwolf says, “No protectors here. No Lanterns. No Kryptonian. This world will fall, like all the others” (Justice League). Batman seeks assistance from a group of beings that have special powers to help defend the Earth. Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, and Superman are each sought after by Batman for the good that they do and the special powers they possess to help defend the Earth against Steppenwolf, leader of the Parademons.

    The plot begins with the Steppenwolf and his demons attempting to conquer the Earth thousand of years ago. However, a group of Olympian gods, Amazons, Athlantians, humans, and Green Lanterns banded together to spoil the attempt of Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf wanted to combine the energies of three mother boxes to gain an ultimate power that would destroy the Earth and human life. The group of Olympian gods, Amazons, Athlantians, humans, and Green Lanterns were able to defeat the armies of Steppenwolf and separate the three mother boxes. The group decided that it would be best to keep the three mother boxes apart and hidden where Steppenwolf would not be able to reunite the mother boxes and control the energy from the cubes. The Amazons, Athlantians, and humans were each in charge of protecting one of the boxes and keeping it hidden from all evil groups.

    In the present time of the movie, Steppenwolf returns to Earth to reunite the three mother boxes. He first attacks the Amazons and recovers one of the boxes. Next, Steppenwolf attacks the Atlanteans and secures the second box. It is during this time that Bruce Wayne, a human, begins to recruit help from groups of the original defenders of the three mother boxes. He first speaks with Wonder Woman, one of the Amazons, convincing her to help him in his quest to stop Steppenwolf and his demons from collecting all three of the mother boxes. He next targets Aquaman, an Athlantian, to join the team. Batman’s original attempt to recruit Aquaman fails. He then attempts to recruit Flash, a human that gain superhuman speed through a failed experiment. Batman says, “I’m putting together a team of people with special abilities. See, I believe enemies are coming” (Justice League). Wonder Woman convinces Cyborg to join the team. After Steppenwolf steals one of the mother boxes from the Athlantians, Aquaman agrees to join the team. The team of Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman begin battling Steppenwolf and his demons. They are not successful in retrieving the two mother boxes that Steppenwolf stole. Batman’s next focus is to try and bring Superman back to life. He believes that the only way they can defeat Steppenwolf and his demons is with the help of Superman. With the help of Cyborg’s superhuman knowledge and the energy from the final mother box, the team brings Superman back to life. However, Superman is not himself. He starts out fighting the good versus the evil thoughts that run through him similar to the way Dr. Jekyll did in the novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Superman questions things about himself just like Dr. Jekyll did in the novel. Dr. Jykell states, “Both sides of me were in dead earnest; I was no more myself when I laid aside restraint and plunged in shame, than when I laboured, in the eye of day, at the furtherance of knowledge or the relief of sorrow and suffering” (Stevenson, p. 74). Aquaman, referring to Superman after his return to life, states “He’s not alright,” (Justice League). This show how Superman was fight the good versus evil thought that were running through his mind. After this, Steppenwolf is able to gain the third mother box while the team tries to help Superman return to focusing only on doing good. Batman, with the help of Lois Lane, restores Superman to his original self, one concerned with the good of all. The team then sets out to help save the Earth and defeat Steppenwolf. They, as a united team for good, are able to defeat the forces of evil and save the Earth from being destroyed by Steppenwolf and his demons. As a result, the Justice League begins with a mission of protecting the good from the evil.

    Frankenstein, Or, The Modern Prometheus : the 1818 Text. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. Print.

    Justice League Quotes. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0974015/quotes

    Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. New York: Scribner, 1886; Bartleby.com, 2000.

    Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. New York :Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2006. Print.

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  14. Riverdale is current television series adapted from the classic Archie Comics. The show features a group of teens working together to solve the murder of a Riverdale resident, Jason Blossom. One of the main characters, Betty Cooper, grapples with her identity throughout the show. She is primarily known as “the girl next door.” She is portrayed as a sweet, studious, and eager-to-please. However, later in the series, she struggles to contain her darker side. Viewers are introduced to this new side of Betty, nicknamed “Dark Betty.” Dark Betty is revealed when she was confronting a guy who was slut shaming girls on social media. She dresses in black clothing and a black wig, taking on a new personality to get revenge on the slut-shamer. She even tells him that “Betty couldn’t make it, so she sent me instead.” In the midst of her plan to get revenge, she took it a step too far, and her darker instincts began to take over. Her sinister desires mirror that of Jekyll’s in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Like Betty, Jekyll fights to contain his darker impulses. Jekyll’s other personality, Mr. Hyde, had urges to commit horrible atrocities, such as the Carew murder. He later loses the ability to control these urges, similar to what the viewers saw happen to Betty. “My devil has been caged, and came out roaring”, stated by Jekyll, can be used to describe Betty’s situation. She has struggled to maintain her good girl reputation throughout her life, and now the pressure to be perfect is taking its toll on her. Despite being icons in vastly different time periods, the core of the characters’ struggles are the same. This demonstrates that the inner struggle of good versus evil is universal and timeless.

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    1. I like the “Dark Betty” premise. It certainly has its roots in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. You mentioned that you wanted to go more in depth with some concepts. Feel free to respond to this comment to do that now.

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      1. In season 2, a new character known as “the Black Hood” was introduced. His identity is unknown to the town of Riverdale, but they know he has plans to wreck havoc among the townspeople. Betty has been investigating the case of the Black Hood, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to find out who he is. There is a scene where he tells Betty to go to a secret location, promising that she will find her answer there. When she arrives at the secret location, he calls her cell phone, giving her step by step instructions on what to do. She goes into an abandoned house, and he directs her to a box in the middle of the room. She opens it and finds his signature black mask. He tells her to put it on and turn around to look in the mirror. He then says “We are the same.” This scene is significant to the topic of duality because it makes Betty question herself. She wonders if the darkness inside of her is slowly corrupting her goodness, similar to how Jekyll was slowly taken over by Hyde, the evil exsisting inside of him.

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  15. 1984 and Animal Farm are more than totalitarianism; George Orwell makes the readers live through totalitarianism. Power is the main objective of the party and the pigs. They diligently monitor the demeanor and behavior of the “citizens” and the Pigs use the dogs to do this to the animals. In the morning, group drills are necessary. In Animal Farm they are required to get up to work early if they wanted food. The Party exacts all loyalty created is loyalty to the Party. The party brainwashes its citizens with various methods including doublethink. The heartfelt family concept is abolished; the only concept of family is the collective family under rule by the Party. All animals live to support Napoleon similar to Big Brother. The Party controls everything – the past, the present, and the future – by controlling historical records, language, and thought. The Party tortured and “vaporizes” those who harbor rebellious thoughts. The state suffers through constant warfare. Additionally, the characters, share many characteristics together.
    The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. The pigs in Animal Farm similar to the party in 1984 obtained power for power. The party will not repeat previously made mistakes. Rather than seeking power as a means to get or achieve something; the party’s desire for power is for power’s own sake which is proven by this quote: “Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution.” “The party obtains and maintains power through the use of telescreens, control of the past, Big Brother, and the most potent method of maintain power is control of the past. Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” In 1984, The Party uses various forms of propaganda to control the thoughts and actions of its subjects, the telescreen is one of the most prominent. It keeps the will of the citizens under check, however, there are a few that it does not work on such as Winston and Julia. The telescreen, if it was a character, is Squealer and the dogs. Squealer manipulates all the animals while the dogs keep close surveillance on them. “All the other male pigs on the farm were porkers. The best known among them was a small fat pig named Squealer, with very round cheeks, twinkling eyes, nimble movements, and a shrill voice. He was a brilliant talker, and when he was arguing some difficult point he had a way of skipping from side to side and whisking his tail which was somehow very persuasive. The others said that Squealer that he could turn black into white.” The right to think is the one ultimately hard for Winston to lose, but through their evident bombardment and of power. Throughout the book, he keeps a diary where he freely can write down his thoughts about the Party and Big Brother. Winston also meets with Julia frequently to discuss their hate for the party. In Animal Farm, Winston is Snowball. They are both done away for different reasons, but both killed. Winston harbors rebellious thoughts, and Snowball tries to think of ways to improve the community. They both are the main protagonists.
    Both Boxer, from Animal Farm, and the Parsons, from 1984, showed extreme submission to their master and can be called “model citizens”; both betrayed. Napoleon, from Animal Farm and Big Brother, from 1984, were despotic rulers who abused their power. The two continually worked to jeopardize and undermine their rivals. They both held elaborate ceremonies and parades to distract citizens and prisoners, and Napoleon and Big Brother had methods of torture for ‘criminals.’

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    1. Well, I can’t let you sweat out a 12:01 submission for nothing, can I? 1984 is classic literature, not pop culture. You did did a great job discussing it, though, so here’s the deal: Find a television show, mover, or new novel that further builds on these themes and add to this discussion. The concept of Big Brother has been used over and over in pop culture, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find. I will give you until December 11 to complete this discussion by adding an actual piece of pop culture.

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  16. I KNOW it says 12:01, but I swear I turned in that sucker at 11:58 I had timers set. No. No. No. No. Bad wifi or it sent late because technically it was a long comment. I SWEAR on my life on Allah or God [which is the same thing (uneducated sw-n-)

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  17. https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjujf3z4OnXAhVK4IMKHVCdCTMQjRwIBw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.netflix.com%2Ftitle%2F80050008&psig=AOvVaw1C8-sZujBechC0yAdmJnxj&ust=1512250135140386

    Sometime last year, my dad was driving me home from school and we were listening to National Public Radio. It was on the segment which streams reviews about books and movies, the part I usually ignore. This time, however, I was acutely interested in the topic. The critic was reviewing what sounded like a Netflix show based off A Series of Unfortunate Events, one of my favorite series of books by the enigmatic and talented Lemony Snicket. I do not usually watch Netflix as a habit–or, in fact, at all–but this review profoundly intrigued me. As soon as the show came out, I spasmodically watched the entire first season. I was stunned. The plot was close to the books and yet differed in the best possible ways, the acting was superb, the music and presentation was captivating, and the mysteries left unsolved for Season Two still imbue me with a sense of urgent anticipation. As well as being one of my favorite shows on Netflix, A Series of Unfortunate Events contains many themes; several of these correspond to the themes in the literature that we have been reading in Mrs. Rains’s class, most prominently the theme of obsession.

    A Series of Unfortunate Events is largely the life story of three very unfortunate orphans, Klaus, Sunny, and Violet Baudelaire (respectively Louis Hynes, Presley Smith, and Malina Weissman). The Baudelaires are rich, sheltered, and happy until a catastrophe befalls them: their family mansion is burned to the ground by a mysterious arsonist, and their parents perish in the inferno. The Baudelaires are relocated to their “closest” living relative: Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris), a despicable villain and terrible actor. Olaf is not related to the Baudelaires and is only concerned with stealing the enormous fortune that their parents left them to inherit when Violet, the oldest, comes of age. Olaf contrives a dastardly plan to pilfer the fortune, but the children foil him in a combined effort. For the rest of Season 1, the Baudelaires are bounced from relative to relative, with Olaf obsessively following them and hatching new plots to enrich himself and inflict misery upon the orphans.

    The simple fact that Olaf follows the innocent orphans everywhere, trying incessantly to steal their fortune, shows that he is an obsessive, malevolent force in their lives. In each episode, Olaf gloats about a new scheme to get the fortune, daydreams about his life with the fortune, and rages about his inability to procure the fortune. He is totally intent with insuring the orphan’s misery and poverty: after the Baudelaires prove his guilt and force him to escape at the end of “The Bad Beginning: Part Two”, Olaf snarls in Violet’s ear “I’ll get my hands on your fortune, if it’s the last thing I do. And when I have it, I will tear you and your siblings from limb to limb”. It is manifest throughout the show that Olaf is not only obsessed with the Baudelaires’ fortune, but with their deaths as well. After tracking the children down for the third time in “The Miserable Mill: Part 1”, he attempts to recruit his evil ex, Dr. Orwell (Catherine O’Hara), in his latest scheme to gain the fortune and ruin their lives even further. Dr. Orwell at first refuses, saying that Olaf left her to drown under a bridge, but when Olaf says, “What if I told you we had another chance to destroy the Baudelaires? . . . Fate has brought us together, my pet; fate, and fortune!”. This chance to harm the Baudelaires, in addition to obtaining their fortune, sways Orwell to help Olaf. It is clear that Orwell, as well as Olaf, is obsessed with making the orphans as miserable as possible.

    The villainous obsession that Olaf and Orwell show in repeatedly attempting to harm and steal from the Baudelaires is similar to the level of obsession shown in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet both profess to love each other passionately many times, but, in reality, their “love” is more of an obsession. Romeo is, and has always been, obsessed with the prettiest girls, a habit revealed when he complains to Benvolio that his latest interest, Rosaline, has sworn to be a nun. Benvolio suggests that Romeo forgets Rosaline by “giving liberty to thine eyes./ Examine other beauties” (I i 235-236). This statement by Benvolio, one of Romeo’s closest friends, shows that this is only too often what Romeo does to spark fresh “love”. Romeo is also very fickle in his devotion to his true loves: if he sees a prettier girl, he will inevitably become completely obsessed with her. This is exactly what happens with Rosaline; Romeo ardently exclaims “One fairer than my love? The all-seeing sun/ Ne’er saw her match since first the world begun.” (I iii 99-100). As soon as he sees Juliet, he forgets Rosaline completely: “Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight,/ For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.” (I v 59-60). He is never in love with any of the girls, he is only obsessed with their good looks. Juliet, as well, shows signs of obsession towards Romeo. She proclaims her love for Romeo after seeing him for the first time, and suggests that they get married the very same night. She often remarks on his good looks, agreeing when the Nurse says, “Though his face be better than any man’s, yet his leg/ excels all men’s, and for a hand and a foot and a/ body, though they be not to be talked on, yet they/ are past compare.” (II v 42-45). Both lovers are bound together, not by a true love of one’s traits and company, but by a naive obsession of good looks that equals the evil obsession shown by the villains in A Series of Unfortunate Events.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=imgres&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj2tLLi4OnXAhWBy4MKHWUMCVUQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fgoogle.com%2Fsearch%3Ftbm%3Disch%26q%3DLemony%2520Snicket%2527s%2520A%2520Series%2520of%2520Unfortunate%2520Events&psig=AOvVaw3UnkHGjW5HSYL_X9N8lHLE&ust=1512250101232291

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    1. I, too, enjoyed both the books and the Netflix series. You’re so right about how it highlights obsession!

      Oh, and the pictures did not come through. I tried using the URL code, but it said it was invalid. If you email me the pictures, I will insert them.

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  18. The themes of loss of innocence, good versus evil, duality, and humankind’s tendency to abuse power are common themes used in books to grab the reader’s opinion. These are some themes in The Maze Runner. Thomas, who is a teenager, arrives at the glade with no memory of his past. The glade is in the center of a giant maze. There he discovers that he is not the only one that has no memory. The only thing that any one of them remembers in their name. He quickly adjusts to life in the glade and surprises everyone with his curiosity and bravery, which causes some suspicion from a glader named Gally. Because of that, he is rewarded being a runner. Thomas wanted to be a runner from the start because runners get to go into the maze and he was curious about what lies inside it. Everything seemed relatively normal, but then another person arrived at the glade. This time it is a girl named Teresa. This is strange because everyone that ever came to the glade was a boy, and they only get new people once a month. After Teresa came to the glade everything seemed to be a bit more chaotic. The maze doors would not shut, allowing the vicious grievers (horrifying creatures that kill people at night) to come into the glade. This of course pushed the gladers to find a way out of the maze. Thomas, Theresa, and the other gladers work together to try to find a way to get out of the maze. When they get through the maze and past the grievers they are pretty much being told that they will be saved from whoever put them there. Gally, the glader that did not trust Thomas, confronts the surviving gladers about leaving. He went to throw a spear at Thomas while he was confronting him, only to get another spear thrown at him. The spear that Gally threw ended up in the youngest glader Chuck.

    This book is only the first one out of four, but it still expressed multiple themes. The theme most commonly used throughout the series is humankind’s tendency to abuse power. The people who put all those kids in the maze were doing it to find a cure for an awful disease that spread worldwide. It started with flares from the sun scorching the earth, then the disease spread. This disease was called the flare. With most everyone dead and others dying, it was thought impossible to save humankind. But then an age of immunes showed up. A group of scientists came together determined to find a cure. They called themselves World In Catastrophe Killzone Experiment Department (W.I.C.K.E.D. for short). They wanted to make a testing facility with a stressful environment. That was how the maze was created. They gathered as many immunes they could find, taking them from their families. These trials killed so many young immunes, who could have lived otherwise.Some even went insane from the torture that went on in the maze. One character in the book says “if you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.” He has a point because if Thomas showed up to the glade acting like everything was normal, people would be suspicious. They overpowered them and they did not care about the lives of the children they were experimenting on. This could be compared to Romeo and Juliet because of Lady and Lord Capulet’s selfishness They did not care about their daughter Juliet as W.I.C.K.E.D did not care about their test subjects.

    Good versus evil also ties in with that theme. W.I.C.K.E.D. is portrayed as evil throughout the series and put the gladers through horrible experiments. “They’d wiped his memory and put him inside a gigantic maze.” Their ways of testing were appalling and unethical. The gladers would be portrayed as good because they are trying to save everyone they can from W.I.C.K.E.D while trying to get away from them. The theme of loss of innocence is not really a concept that works with this story because all of the characters already lost their innocence before they had their memory swiped. Some characters lost their innocence in ways they otherwise would not have due to their situation, such as killing people. Another theme is Duality, which plays a significant part in the antagonist Gally. Everyone sees Gally as a rude person who is often mean to people. He even tried to kill Thomas. But through all of that he was not trying to be the bad person. It was W.I.C.K.E.D.s fault that he acted that way. They manipulated his brain to make him do things he did not want to do. He acted one way, but was really another. This is kind of similar to The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde. Hyde offered Jekyll the opportunity to act a different way. The Maze Runner has a lot of different themes. These are just a few that are more common and are addressed more in the book The Maze Runner. Overall, humankind’s tendency to abuse power are the dominant themes.

    Works Cited

    Dashner, James. The Maze Runner. “Chapter 2.” Delacorte Press, 2009.

    Dashner, James. The Maze Runner. “Chapter 4.” Delacorte press, 2009.

    Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet :The entire play

    Stevenson, Robert Louis. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dover, 1991.

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  19. In 2017, Marvel came out with its most successful Spider-Man move, “Spider-Man Homecoming”. Differing from past Spider-Man movies, the new Peter Parker (Tom Holland) has recently come back from an ‘internship trip’ in Russia with Iron Man himself, or Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). At least that’s what he tells his Aunt May. Earlier that year, Tony Stark offered Peter a “Stark Internship” which was a pretext for a chance to help out the Avengers. When Peter returns home, still no one knows of Spider-Man’s true identity, with the exception of Tony Stark. This represents personal responsibilities versus societal expectations because everyone expects Peter, an extremely intelligent sophomore in a school that specializes in science (Midtown School of Science & Technology), to be an amazingly talented vigilante. All they expect is straight A’s and opportunities such as the internship. This, however, doesn’t stop Peter from going home everyday to get in his tight red suit to stop the crime around one of the biggest cities in the world.
         From the start, viewers are introduced to Peter Parker and his more well-known side, Spider-Man. Peter was bitten by a spider that gave him powers such as extreme athleticism which he chose to use to fight crime. This is an example of duality, closely resembling “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”, with the exception that Dr. Jekyll and Peter used their “other halves” in almost complete opposite ways. However, no one knows that Peter is Spider-Man and no one knew Jekyll was Hyde; except for a few trusted people.
        Towards the middle of the movie, Peter’s Decathalon team discovered they have made it to Nationals in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. Even though Peter excels at this kind of competition, he decides against going because of the “Stark Internship” and he says to his disbelieving teammates and coach, “I can’t go because if Mr. Stark needs me, I have to be here.” Later on, Peter discovers that a villain he has been trying to catch (against the wishes of Tony Stark) is working primarily in Maryland. He quickly makes the connection of the proximity of Maryland to Washington, D.C.; where the Decathalon nationals are being held. He packs his things and meets the bus right as it’s about to leave for the competition. Of course, he told Aunt May, his team, and Mr. Stark that he was heading there to compete. However, the night prior to the competition, Peter packs his suit and heads over to Maryland to further investigate the villain. This represents duality because of why he said he came to D.C. and why he really came.
          The villain Peter was coming to investigate was, ironically, Peter’s crush’s father, Adrian Toomes. Mr. Toomes reveals to Peter that there is nothing he wouldn’t do to keep his family of him, his wife, and daughter safe. By “safe” he means he puts himself in risky situations to steal alien technology from advanced corporations, such as the Avengers and Mr. Stark. Once stolen he uses the technology to create highly futuristic and deadly weapons and sells them for top dollar. Judging by his car, clothes, and house, he already has more than enough money to support his family of 3 for a while. However he demonstrates his obsession for the thrill of the job and the large amount of income. He also abuses his power over his employees by treating them badly, not paying them near as much as what he personally gets, and, in an extreme case, killing them. He killed an employee shortly after firing him because he realized the danger of having him out there seeing as though the employee could tell anyone of the illegal things Toomes was doing. Toomes wasn’t willing to take the employee back so he just used an alien vaporizer and basically disintegrated him to ashes.
          Though it is not a classic literature piece, “Spider-Man Homecoming” exemplifies duality, obsession, and abuse of power, which are them we can find in actual classic literature pieces such as “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”.

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    1. This is a great choice. I think you can hit the duality issue much harder, though, with any superhero movie since they have dual identities. You did a great job with the obsession. Whom do you feel Toomes mirrors in his obsessive behavior? I see a clear parallel.

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  20. (WARNING: Spoilers ahead if you have not seen, “The 4400.” If you would like to watch it, it’s on Netflix. If you do want to read, don’t worry, the only season spoiled in this discussion is the 1st.)

    Of the myriad of TV shows on Netflix, there is one sci-fi gem called the 4400. While the acting in the series can usually be counted on for laughs, the setting and world is the most intriguing part of the show. The shows main location is the department of homeland security in Seattle, Washington. It follows agents Tom Baldwin and Diana Skouris as they unravel the mysteries concerning a group of people, taken out of time, and placed back at the same point and place in time with new profound, otherworldly abilities. The overall story structure changes from season to season, but most notably are the exploration of these, ‘4400’ and the abilities they possess. However, the show goes much deeper than sci-fi adventures.

    The show has no general topic, but many underlying tones are discussed, and sometimes displayed via the powers of the returnees. Some explored are, duality, true evil, meaning of life, and the importance of maintaining the earth. This show, however, loves mangling its’ themes used. In the first season, for example, the shows implies that, at least in this universe, that characters can gain back innocence that was ignorantly lost. In the pilot of the show, Tom, our main character, has been forced to confront a sad revelation when his nephew, Shawn Ferrell comes back with the other returnees. The night of his disappearance, Shawn and his cousin; also known as Tom’s son, Kyle, were camping. When Kyle was being abducted, Shawn jumped in the beams path, causing Shawn’s vanishing and Kyle to go into a coma. The show clearly implies the loss of innocence for Tom from the opening minutes, but it is cleared up to Tom when Shawncomes back with the other people taken out of time. Unlike you would expect however, Tom completely accepts what has happened in the same episode it’s revealed. Furthermore, the entire problem itself is absolved when Kyle is healed by Shawn’s supernatural abilities. This is a reciprocal of a dialogue in Romeo & Juliet , in which Romeo finds Juliet’s ‘dead’ body. He describes her full of life, which is dramatic irony as the audience knows she’s alive, saying, “Why art thou yet so fair? Shall I believe that unsubstantial death is amorous, and that the lean abhorrèd monster keeps thee here in dark to be his paramour?” (Shakesphere, v, 11-114). The show uses the same kind of dramatic irony, but for drama instead of comedy. Similarly, there is a physical connection between the both characters being in a death-like trance, but it is also tinged by the modern concept as Kyle wakes up, but is unfamiliar with all of his surroundings, similar to Juliet. Juliet kills herself after she sees the horror of her lover dad by her side, but Kyle becomes aware of the problem, and is then shot, not ending his life, but returning him to normal. The shows’ first season shows great examples of literary themes being inversed to give similar effects with different intensions.

    Peters, Scott; Echivarria, René, creators. The 4400.Viacom Productions; Paramount Television; CBS Paramount Television. 2004-2007. Netflix
    Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet: Entire Play, shakespeare.mit. edu/romeo_juliet/full.html.

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    1. OK, I definitely have to watch this! I love science fiction, and the fact that you indicated that it has a comedic element as well has me completely sold! Add to that the use of literary techniques, and why have I not already watched this?!

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  21. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is a book about children, but the kids in the book don’t act anywhere near their age. I was introduced to this book in eighth grade and immediately loved it. It is a 1985 military science fiction set far in the future. The book is about the preparation for a third invasion of the “buggers”, an insect-like alien. The need for fighters is greater now than ever and children are chosen to be the ones going into battle. Children are carefully selected and the chosen ones are sent off to battle school. In doing so, many things are taken from the special few, such as loss of innocence and the ability to be a carefree child in general. Ender’s Game explores themes of loss of innocence just as To Kill a Mockingbird did.

    Ender’s Game portraying themes of loss of innocence is shown when readers see the children’s ages. Childhood innocence is a carefree fragile mind that has not experienced the cruelty of the world. The children in Card’s book are manipulators and killers. At a young age, a monitor is implanted at the nape of children’s necks and the government watches the child grow and decides if they will be good for battle school and possibly be the only hope for humanity. The monitor is usually taken out before age five, but Ender keeps his until he is six. At age six Ender is highly intelligent and is the last in his family and grade level to get his monitor taken out. He is bullied for keeping it for so long and when he finally gets it out, he loses the protection it gave. The government is no longer hearing and seeing what he sees, so a group kids gang up on him after school. He fights and ends up hospitalizing one kid, Stilson.

    A government official, Graff, shows up at the Wiggin’s front door and tells Ender’s parents that he has been chosen to come to battle school. After much internal debate, Ender decides to go to battle school and leave home. He knows he won’t see his family until he is at least 12 but most likely he will have to wait until he is 16. When Ender is inside the ship on the way to battle school, the adults start their manipulation game. Graff calls out Ender as the only one who will save mankind, making the other kids hate Ender and become envious. Ender already lost the chance at having a normal childhood when he was born a third, but he was also considered to be the chosen one to save mankind from the very beginning. The manipulation of Ender is shown through the book and the children at the school either take part in his abuse or ignore the adults who cause it. Through this abusive training tactic, Ender becomes the skilled fighter and leader the government wants. Ender gets moved through the program fast. He gets to the command school at age 9, a school no one can go to until they are sixteen. The adults tell him he will be doing simulations to practice the attacks on the buggers, but after the last simulation he finds out he killed the entire bugger species. The novel shows Ender to be morally innocent throughout his story, but he takes on the guilt of Xenocide of the buggers. He is shocked at what he did, even when he didn’t know what he’s doing. Ender loses his innocence at this moment. He knew he was being manipulated by the adults throughout his career at the battle schools, but he had no idea he was being manipulated into exterminating a whole race. When he realizes what he did, he goes into another depression slump and does not come out of his room for days. He doesn’t understand why he was manipulated into what he did.

    Ender’s game relates To Kill a Mockingbird because they both demonstrate the theme of loss of innocence. They both show character coming to the illumination that the world is not all good. Much like Jem and Scout finding out that even though Tom is innocent, and the jurors know it, he is still ruled at guilty, Ender realizes the adults are not all good and have manipulated him into killing an entire race. He sees the evil in the world just as Jem and Scout do. While both Ender’s Game and To Kill a Mockingbird have completely different plots, they both accurately convey the theme of loss of innocence.

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    1. I enjoyed the novel so much. I still remember the first time I read it; when I got to the ending, my mind was blown. i did not see the movie because I just couldn’t think about how having older children in the roles would work, and obviously, they couldn’t cast real six-year-olds.

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