Friday, May 23, 2008

Reflection Paper


I have always had an appreciation for English. I loved reading and finding deeper meaning behind the words, but I have not had a better experience in any of my English classes throughout my four years of high school. I have found even more of an appreciation for literature while in your class. Camus’ The Stranger is what sucked me in. I read every word in that book and loved discussing it in class. I don’t get nervous talking in front of people but when talking about literature was a tad nerve racking. As the year progressed, it felt more and more comfortable talking in front of the class. I loved the connections between The Stranger and Greek myths as well as other parallels that you pointed out. I also loved The Stranger, because the main character talked to people in a way I did at times. So I picked existentialism as my strand to follow throughout the year.
I didn’t care for the vocabulary of the day. But I guess it had to done. As my writing techniques grew we started our independent reading and I analyzed the hell out of the novel. It ended up having to do with my existentialism strand even though I just picked that book because it was in my house and I didn’t feel like paying for another story. I think one of my better paper’s was the one I wrote on Plum Plum Pickers because I really got into that little story even though we didn’t spend much time on it.
This year I got a new appreciation for poetry. I have never liked poetry, I only did it because a teacher said to or to remember it for a performance. But with your teaching poetry has become a big part of my life. I like to write music and with poetry it helps me write lyrics with deeper meaning and with prettier words. I really feel in love with poetry when we watched the movie about Charles Olsen. His poems connected with me because he was discussing a place in which I have been to very often. So choosing him to do my project was the best thing I could have done because I got to spend hours searching through his poems and finding little quotations from them that I wanted to throw into my play to make it have more to do with Olsen. And even if the quotation wasn’t about what I was talking about in Charles Olsen’s life I made the quotation connect to fit into my play. Doing this project also got me more into writing plays, because any English teacher will tell you that I wrote short plays as projects in their class but nothing they went for cheap laughs and weren’t that great. Writing that play got me going on a lot more plays that are currently in the works. One which I am almost done is titled Treading Water and is about the daily life as a worker as a YMCA lifeguard. I figured my first big play would be about something that I knew the most about.
James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was a really rough novel to get through. James Joyce is so intelligent and it seemed like everyone in the class knew what he was referring to in his stories but me. I tried so hard in that story to connect what I was reading with other myths or aspects of religion but most of the symbols and connections I learned about were from you in class or others doing their discussions. I do like a good coming of age tale which is why I stuck with the story and was still interested in what the story was, it was just hard for me to analyze it. My ending paper for that novel was unorganized and lacked depth.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet was my favorite piece of literature that we read all year. I loved acting out the scenes and discussing Hamlet’s character. Hamlet in my opinion the most challenging roles an actor can take and one day I would to love to tackle the role. Hamlet’s motivation for everything he did was the most interesting to me. Writing my piece on his soliloquy was really my favorite thing to do for Hamlet because I got to analyze and critique the motives of the actor.
All in all, this year was incredible. You taught us information that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. And your inspiration will keep me writing and improving my poetry and plays.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

1000 words on Small Woods

This is a photograph Jerry Uelsmann created in 1967. The photograph shows three women standing in different positions in a small thicket of trees. The first is behind a thin tree standing at a 45 degree angle from the viewer. The girl appears to be only wearing a skirt but there is not enough light on her body to be sure. She is placed all the way to the left of the picture. The woman has her head slightly tilted and her shoulders slouched in an eerie pose giving the sense that she has done something wrong, She is also standing closer to the camera that the other girls. At first glance the three women appear to be different people but a closer look shows that they are all the same.
The same woman is placed on the far right as well but she is standing in a face forward position. Unlike the girl on the left she is not being blocked by any trees. There is one tree to the left of her and one to the right but there is nothing blocking her from the view of the camera. Her head is up and her shoulders are as well in a way that shows that she is not afraid of anything. She is not the closest to the camera but she is also not the farthest away.
Again, the woman is printed in the woods. This time she is near the middle of the photograph. She is not quit dead center but a hair to the right of the camera. She is crouching down and hiding behind a thin tree. She is the farthest away from the camera so therefore is the hardest to see. It seems that she is in mid step so she could possibly be running away from something.
There is a fog in the background. The fog is interesting because it is a line that rises and falls. The way it rises and falls connects the three girls. The middle girl’s shoulders is higher in the photo then the last one due to the girls standing at different distances the fog will rise and connect with the shoulders and then fall to connect with the last girl‘s shoulders. Because they are all the same person in different stances or times of their lives the fog is what connects the girls and makes sure that the viewer can see the ties between the women.
In the middle of the picture Uelsmann uses amazing multiple printing talents to add another photo. Right beneath the photograph is the same exact one only printing in negative. At first glance the picture seemed to be the three girls standing in the woods next to a lake which was reflecting them but Uelsmann added another picture into the artwork. The connector is the shrubbery that the girls are standing on. The girls on the two ends of the photograph have their negative reflections right under them but the girl standing in the middle is missing her negative reflection. The middle girl is not only missing her reflection, but she is also missing the tree that she is hiding behind. This is very strange because the other girls’ images are right under them. This raises the question of why doesn’t this one part of the girl get a negative reflection of herself?
Lighting is extremely important in this piece of artwork. As dark as the photograph is it has one big light source. This is coming from the top left-hand corner of the picture because all of the girls heads are being light up on the left side. The left hand girl’s back is being light so he full front is in shadow including her face adding to the sense that she had just done something wrong. The girl in the middle is facing the light source so her full front is being laminated but is standing sideways with her face to the camera so her face does not get the light, only the side of her head and her body. The last girl is the farthest away from the light source so therefore does not get much of it. The only part of her body that is light is the left shoulder, arm, and side of the head. The light is extremely bright when shining on the girls which make the shadows even more evident.
There is a small bundle of trees in between the girl on the far left and the one in the middle. The shrubbery around this bundle of trees does not get any of the light shinning on the girls so it seems like the trees are growing out of shadows. The same thing occurs over by the girl on the far right. The only thing different is that the she is standing in the middle of the shrubbery shadows. The light is also beautifully illuminating the tree branched at the top of the picture. The trees are not very tall because the only grow about a quarter more above the girls’ bodies. The light in the negative picture gives an eerie effect because some things are missing from the original shot. The fog connecting the girls’ bodies is not longer in the picture. Also, the two remaining girls’ bodies are brightly shining because in the original they were in shadow. The trees no longer have shadows in the shrubbery because when Uelsmann connected the two he did not take the entire first picture. The negative shot cuts off more so it seems like the girl of the far left’s arms are attaching themselves into her legs.