Thursday, April 8, 2010

Smoke Signals

The biggest difference between the movie and written version would have to be the absence of the fire in the written version. The fire was really the basis of the movie . It was the cause of the tragedies in the characters lives. Especially for Victor and Arnold, they suffered the most from the fire. It caused of the guilt and shame Arnold carried because he couldnt save his friends from the fire. That guilt led him to become an alcoholic who eventually left his young son and wife to try to leave all those memories behind. It was also the cause for Victor to have an absent father, a boy left with awful memories of a drunken man who beat his mother and him self, unable to understand why his father left. And there was Thomas who also lost a father and a mother to that fire, left for his grandmother to raise him.

The absence of that fire in the written story changed the story dramatically. You don’t feel that sense of tragedy and heartbreak like you did in the movie. It also changed the relationship between Victor and Thomas. They didn’t have that connection with each other through that awful fire that changed both of their lives. In the written version, they were just mere acquaintances, and kids that grew up together on the reservation. At one point in the reading Victor asked Thomas if he remembered his father Arnold, which seemed strange after seeing the movie because Thomas thought Arnold was a hero and talked about him all the time.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Chapter #8 Active Verbs

We all know that verbs convey an action, but weather you use a passive verb or an active verb can really make a difference in how the action is perceived by the reader. Active verbs are more descriptive and exciting, while a passive verb lacks excitement and conveys no action. When telling a story we all have a voice, and that voice may be that of a passive or active nature. The active voice is one that is more affective and to the point making the character more affective than using a passive voice. The character tends to get lost in a passive voice because it focuses on the actual doing, not the character doing.
Be verbs are passive verbs in the form of: is, was, were, being, be, am and so on. They work well connecting a subject to a noun, or a subject that describes it. Be verbs are fine when describing an on going action or when you want to minimize a characters importance but if the be verbs are dull and wordy you may want to replace it with an active verb.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Smoke Signals

After watching Smoke Signals I was left thinking about the Last scene in the movie, where we see Victor standing on the bridge looking over as the Columbia River roars below him. We watch as victor releases his fathers’ ashes into the river, he lets out a holler that comes from deep within him and you can feel all the pain and hurt he has kept inside since his father left him all those years ago. When he let go of those ashes he let go of the anger that he held for this father. Then we hear Thomas say “Do we forgive our fathers in our age or in theirs? Or in their deaths saying it to them or not saying it. If we forgive our fathers what is left?”

I think Victor was afraid to forgive his father, like Thomas said “If we forgive our fathers what is left?” In a way all those bad memories was all Victor had left of his father. When Arnold died Victor set out to retrieve his ashes in Arizona where his father lived before he died. There he met Suzy Song, one of Arnolds only friends, who gave Victor insight on who his father really was and why he left the reservation, Victor was finally able to let go of all the anger he carried for years.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chapter 17

In everything you write you should choose an appropriate language. What are you writing about? Is it a report, an essay, a business letter or an e-mail to a friend? Either way you must write your piece in a way that relates to your subject and your reader. Most people do not want to read jargon, which is difficult to read and fills sentences with large, complicated words that are unnecessary. Jargon is usually used by government, the military, and Large businesses. Pretentious language, euphemisms, and “double speak” are other forms of writing that don’t give you the whole truth and they are things written in a nice way to cover up something not so nice. For instance a euphemism would be someone saying they talked about “the birds and the bees” with their child, which really means they talked about sex with their child. “double speak” is using deceptive language and a euphemism at the same time.
Do not use invented words, that one kind of explains itself. Also avoid slang, it is only attractive to a certain group and may be offensive to another. Standard English is the language used in all businesses, schools and professional fields. Nonstandard English is spoken by in different regional heritages, and should also be avoided when writing in formal or non formal way. You will also need to choose a level of formality. Do you need to be formal or informal? Think of the relationship you have with those you are writing for, will it be appropriate? Never come across sexist, it is not a likable trait. And be careful not to use language that offends a certain group by calling them rednecks or dumb hicks. It’s just offensive.
It was a coincidence that this chapter described the meaning of Standard English since it was described in our readings about Lovely and her nonstandard English. I will use this chapter to reflect on how I come across in my writings, does it come across too informal or offensive. Do I use too much jargon?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Response to Mr. Harvey

In “The Obituary” we meet Lovely and her best friend Jerry. They are in the same fifth grade class with their “worst teacher” Mr. Harvey. Mr. Harvey is a very hard character to like in this story. He is a very negative teacher, who tends to find the worst in his students, constantly putting them down and making them feel worthless. For Lovely in particular this kind of attitude is hard to deal with, she’s a sensitive child who is just starting to realize who she is and where she comes from. She is secretly ashamed of her family, the way they talk, what they eat, and where they live. To have someone in a role model position in life who tells you you’re not good enough and you will not be accepted by others can be quite damaging to a child. It makes me wonder why Mr. Harvey is such an unhappy man. As I think about It, I think he is frustrated teaching children who are not “perfect little American”? If they spoke perfect Standard English would he still treat them the same way?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chapter 48 Summary

In chapter 48 we look at how to evaluate arguments in our readings and our own writing. While reading we should try to recognize any logical fallacies, most often referred to as hasty generalizations and false analogies. These analogies and generalizations are often dishonest arguments that are based on insufficient evidence. A stereotype is a type of hasty generalization about a group, for example, it’s like saying all pit bulls are viscous animals. Once someone forms their own opinion about something they are more likely to seek out what they already believe and throw out any other opinion on that topic. While drawing analogies we look at two different situations and analyze their similarities. While doing this we must trace causes and effects which is where most writers believe that in an event, the first event is the cause of the second. This fallacy is known as the post hoc fallacy. Then we have the either….or fallacy, where a writer only gives two choices for a conclusion when there are obviously more ways to a solution. Writers can also go wrong by making assumptions. They may claim something to be true without having any proof that their claim is true. When deducing a conclusion the writer is claiming that their conclusion is absolute. The writer will give us a general claim, followed by a specific claim, then a conclusion. The conclusion is true or false depending on the premises. We as readers also need to realize when we are being coaxed into an opinion when a writer uses the emotional or sympathy card to get us on board with their own opinions. This is where you can really see what kind of character the writer has. Look closely at how they writer deals with opposing views, and the views of others. Some will do anything to make their point of view correct.
I will use this chapter to analyze what I am reading in a different way. Just because an article is published in a well known magazine or newspaper does not mean that what is written is correct. You must learn to read between the lines. In my own writing I will give more descriptive and give more evidence on they claims that I believe are true. I will try not to be bias and listen to others opinions.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

What impact did Chang-Raes' family have on his identity?

Our families teach us more than most of us can ever realize. The impact they have on our lives starts when we are just children and lives on into our adulthood. Each of us has that one special person in our lives who has had the greatest impact on us. In “Coming Home Again” it was Chang-Raes’ mother who had the greatest impact on his character and his identity.

One of the greatest lesson Chengs mother taught him was how to cook. He describes being a child in his mothers’ kitchen and watching her precise movements, cutting, and dicing, mincing and slicing. Whatever it was that she was doing in that kitchen her son was there keeping a close eye on her. He loved to be in that kitchen with his mother, even though time and time again she tried to shoo him out telling him the kitchen wasn’t his place, and that learning her work would only weaken him. Still he would sneak in quietly and observe. He describes those moments as his greatest pleasures when he was a child.