Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Study Guide: Good luck tomorrow!

Final Exam Study Guide, English 261

Terms to define and to recognize in the context of literature.

Dramatic irony
Colloquial or informal diction versus formal diction
Short-short story or flash fiction
Short story
Limited versus omniscient point-of-view
Figurative language (idioms and metaphors)
Hard-boiled crime fiction
Film noir

You will write an essay in response to one of the following three questions.  You may prepare by marking your text (you may bring and use the book) and/or making a notecard with key pages and passages marked.

1.      Do a character study of Lizbeth Salander.  Is she a hero?  Antihero?  What might explain the popularity of her character?
2.      Examine the role of personal relationships and romance/sex in Blomkvist’s character.  Why is his love life such an integral part of the novel and his character?
3.      Crime novels often have a special duo trying to solve crimes together.  What makes the relationship between Salander and Blomkvist unique or interesting?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

For Monday from Mike

Guang is right!  Just read "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner for tomorrow.

I miss you guys! But I'll be there tomorrow and we'll catch up, hear the last Presentations, and review for the final on Wednesday.

I'm sure you guys are glad to be mostly done reading here now and you can just review the novel and the stories we've read since the Mid-term.  I appreciate all the work and for being gracious to the visiting teachers as well.

On Tuesday, I'll bring my Wuhan University students and we'll have a US/China trivia set up and some conversation and an Open House with free lunch about 11:30.

This class has flown by, it seems.  Kathy, we can read that flash fiction of Hemingway's in our textbook during class tomorrow and that will go nicely as a short text to accompany your Presentation.

Good luck and see you in the morning.

Mike Lohre

Saturday, July 16, 2011

To Ashante

birng 3 copies of your essay on one of the films we saw in class. you don't have to read "the last menu girls", just read "barn burning". i hope i didn't forget anything.

To Kathy

thanks for your comment Kathy! you are truely a big reader. i can sit in the couch and watch tv all day, but hardly can stay with a book for an hour. shame on me! :( i always admire those who just enjoy reading. i guess i should take some actions and make some changes. i'll start with On China by Henry Kissinger. wish me good luck!
As most of you know, I missed class on Thursday...Is there anything I should have prepared for class beside my presentation and essay?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Big Sleep

I loved the snarky dialogue between the bad guys and Marlowe. He acts so serious when he makes funny dialogue. Some of his lines pop out like he's self aware of being a character in a crime novel. he Even jokes about being a private detective with Carmen. the funnier part that stick out to me is the scene in his office with Vivian, where Bacall seems to want to scratch her leg and Bogart says "well go ahead, scratch it" it seems to me that this was a blooper of the actors, but they left it in for humor between the two of them.

One of the more humorous lines is when he encounters bad guys and either disarms them, is caught, or gets the last laugh.

[Marlowe]Somebody's always giving me guns.

[Marlowe] My, my, my! Such a lot of guns around town and so few brains! You know, you're the second guy I've met today that seems to think a gat in the hand means the world by the tail.

[Canino] What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a gun before? What do you want me to do, count three like they do in the movies?

[Marlowe] I can do what? Where? Oh no, I wouldn't like that. Neither would my daughter.
[hangs up]
[Marlowe] I hope the sergeant never traces that call.

These are my favorite lines, I also tend to think the filmic conventions used to try to get us into Marlowes head are interesting, such as when we see him trying to keep track of Geiger in the bookstore across the street. his actions are very literal and interpretated i could see the book narrating this scene as I was watching.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Plot Structure of The BIg Sleep

There are two stories caused by two major blackmails in The Big Sleep. The first story is developed around the investigation of a blackmail General Sternwood received from Arthur Geiger. Philip Marlow, a hardboiled detective hired by Sternwood, goes directly to Geiger's rare bookstore and then follows Geiger to his house. Marlow then finds Geiger is shot dead and Carmen, Sternwood's daughter, is drunken inside the house, posing in front of a camera. So what happened in the house? Is Carmen a covergirl or something else? And where's the film roll since it's not in the camera?

Vivan, Sternwood's daughter, goes to see Marlowe with some nude pictures of a woman and these pictures offer an important clue to Marlow becuae the woman on those pictures is Carmen. Tracing the blackmailer who has Carmen's pictures, Marlow is led to Joseph Brody's apartment. Talking to Brody, Marlow finds out Brody wants to take over Geiger's porn business, but he denies killing Geiger. Ironically Brody is shot by Geiger's lover. Now Mr Sternwood's case is closed and Vivan meets Marlow in order to give him his check. Their meeting leads to the second story.

Marlow's professonal sense tells him that Vivan is hiding something from him. Regan, Vivan's former husband, have disappeared for a few months and it's said that he ran away with Eddie Mars's wife. Marlow starts from Mars' casino. However, Marlow is unable to get any information about Ms Mars from Mr Mars. Harry Jones, who knows where Ms Mars is located, finds Marlow and tries to sell the information to him. Canino, Eddie's boy, poisoned Harry before Marlow's able to make the deal with him. Now it seems the clue is cut off, but the girlfriend of Harry, Agnes, is able to finish the deal with Marlow. Marlow then drives to the auto shop where Ms Mars is held. In the shop Marlow is knocked out by Canino. When he wakes up he sees Ms Mars and Vivan.

After a long talk with Vivan, Marlow figures out what's bothering Vivan. Marlow and Vivan then return to Geiger's house. Fallen in the trap created by Marlow, Eddie is shot by his own boys. Marlow then reports to the police like this: Eddie killed Regan although he knows it's Carmen who really killed Regan after being spurned. The ending is romantic when Vivan challenges Marlow by saying, "Nothing you can fix."

The plot of the movie is not easy to follow because it's a complex story and have several herring (something that draws attention away from the central issues) characters. For example, Geigle appears dead on the floor and his death is still a mystery. It is hinted that Taylor killed Geigle but the motives are never shown. Carol kills Brody for his "lover" Geigle without any background introduction and hints. These characters are portrayed in a very minor way, but they offer clues to Marlow and keep the movie going. In the book all these questions are probably answered. However, due to time constraint, the movie just can't cover all of it. Frankly a complex story like The Big Sleep doesn't fit the big screen too well.

TGwtDragon tattoo

once all the characters had been accounted for and Millenium has been bought into by Vanger's company I had kept going back to Martin and why he wasn't mentioned more in reference to Harriet's disappearance, that and the connections pointing to Cecelia and Anita tends to be incredibly strong.

So I kept having a running theory that the two sets of murders were separate but related through Harriet, that Martin was involved somehow in Harriet's disappearance and had an accomplice. The reason being was that he was immediately thrown out as a suspect because he was in Upsalla.
plus Cecelia was either a witness or an accessory. I can't figure out whether Harriet is alive or dead.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ramdom thoughts

I'm trying to make sense out of the old Vangers' unhuman behaviors, but it seems I failed miserably...My husband called them demon-posseessed. Maybe so. Nazis surrended at the end of WW2. Did Larson try to tell their influence still exists today? I guess I shouldn't spend too much time on that.

Then I moved my focus to the heroine Salander the girl with the dragon tatoo (Is she really the heroin?)and tried to figure out if there's any relationship between Salander and the Vangers. The only connection I found is the sadistic guardian really belongs to the old Vangers' camp! Right now it seems Harriet is more like the heroine. Should a woman who suvived all those tortures be more interesting to the audience? Comparing Harriet's suffering with the Salander's, maybe Harriet would gian more sympathy. However, I thought the novel was about the girl with a dragon tatoo...

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Shiloh is about a guy named Leroy who is a walking workers comp lawsuit and his self educated wife. Leroy messed up his leg in a truck driving accident and his wife has been taking care of him by working the jobs she can. She suggests some jobs for him but he seems to be interested in other things, mainly building a log cabin for some dumb reason. His wife has been taking night classes and has become a well read person while Leroy was driving trucks across the country so she was learning how to cook exotic food and find some fun hobby's. Leroy doesn't seem to like this and he misses how she used to cook. We find out that in the past they had a baby. but while they were out on a date the baby had died of SIDS and this loss seems to come up every so often. The mother-in-law seems to hate Leroy and resents him getting Norma Jean pregnant and doesn't seem very sympathetic to their loss of the child. She suggests that they go to Shiloh national park for a picnic. again, Leroy seems to be preoccupied with his log cabin idea. He seems to have really bad ADD, because after Norma Jean up and leaves him. he goes on an internal thought of battlefield and soldier's who died just sitting in the middle of his picnic in Shiloh.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Comment to Nick's Casablanca post

We don't expect Rick to do the right thing, do we? He seems so selfish, and this is such an unselfish act. I think only Bogard could make Rick so appealing.


I felt great empathy with Norma Jean. She and her husband grew apart as he was always on the road. While he was gone, she cultivated other interests and had her own life. Now that he was home, he wanted her to focus on him and his interests (the log cabin). But she just couldn't (and didn't want to) go back to that suffocating role. I feel her pain, as I am going through major changes in my own life. After spending 25 years being a wife and mother, and doing the "right thing" (sacrificing my own happiness for that of my husband and children), I want "me" time. I want to grow as a person, be stimulated intellectually (thus the return to school), and have fun! Unfortunately, just like Norma Jean, my marriage has not survived. I could no longer continue to be that person and remain psychologically healthy.


Shiloh is the story of a recently out of work trucker named Leroy and his tentative wife Norma. For much of their marriage Leroy was on the road but since being injured he has been at home with Norma smoking pot and planning a log cabin. With Leroy now home all the time neither one of the couple know how to act around the other and their distance and tension is felt throughout the story. This is compounded by their long, sordid history; (thier baby dying at four months old), and Norma's mother, Mabel who is constantly bagering them to visit Shiloh, TN. Shiloh is a civil war battle site that Mabel visited years ago with her husband. Ultimatly the couple decide to go and it is here that the conflict between Leroy and Norma is brought to a head with Norma saying she wants to leave him. I thought this story was alright; it was a good example of foreshadowing, we knew they were probably going to divorce but we didn't know how. My only discrepency was the how; Norma just says, "I want to leave you", and they have a brief conversation and that's the end.


Leroy is a former truck driver who was hurt in an accident and has been stuck at home for the last three months. He spends his time doing crafts, like building models, which sparks an idea to build a log house for him and his wife, Norma. Over the story we come to find Norma is frustrated with seeing Leroy all the time, even with her plethora of activities (working out, job, school). So with his mother-in-law's advice he takes Norma to Shiloh in hopes of reconnecting and to get a break from their lives a home. This however backfires and while having a picnic Norma tells Leroy he wants to get a devorce, and walks away.


This was the first time seeing this movie. I liked the fact that Rick is entirely self interested at first, he runs a speak easy in neutral Casablanca and seems to care for few except when it effects his business. He seems like a real scum at first, then you see the caring relationship he had with Iisla in the flashbacks. I wanted rick to get her in the end but the husband was more important to the overall plot and theme of duty and loyalty to ones county and women in the story.

I had fully expected that Rick would give himself up, be shot, or sent back to the concentration camp as the plane took off. I was shocked when Rick shot the Nazi officer and became business partners with Louie Renault ("Louie, i think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."). this seems to go back to Ricks' shady line of business and the fact that he's good at dealing.
Louie seems to have regained his pride as a Frenchman and seems to want to keep fighting for the french rather than peace with germany (as indicated when he threw the bottle, of Vichy champagne in the garbage.)

I don't think that this movie should be remade, but if there was a movie that was with similar themes, made into today's world. it would have to focus on national pride, loss, and the idea that even a criminal can have national pride and fight for his country.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Casablanca is a movie I had not seen before, but with the dynamic acting combined with the deeply expressed dialog between characters, I can see why this is a classic. With no prior knowledge of what the movie was about, it was very clear what the message was and how certain phrases have been taken from this movie and put into others ever since it's release in the 1940s. I can recall lines such as "...Someday you will regret this. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow..but someday" (Casablanca). These are jewels of the family of America cinema that continue to be passed down.
The character that meant the most to me was Captain Louis Renault because front he very beginning he was always honest about his intentions and even shared that he was a romantic with the audience and the characters in the story. He also tried his best to stay neutral as far as picking sides which to me showed just how much war had affected him that he would go so far as to say that he took only "the winning side". When it came to close encounters with some of the more hostile members of the Nazi party like Major Heinrich Strasser, his impression was not completely loyalty, nor was it completely disloyal.

At Shiloh

Leroy, a truck driver from rural Kentucky, refused to go back to his truck again after his leg was injured in a highway accident. Instead of looking for other jobs, he started doing craft kits and his goal of life was to build her wife Norma a log cabin in the subdivisions in 1980s.

Both Leroy and Norma met severe troubles in adjusting to their lives after Leroy's accident. Suggested by his mother-in-law, Leroy decided to take Norma to Shiloh, Tennesse. At Shiloh Norma eventually told Leroy, "I want to leave you." Walking around the battlefields, Leroy gained inspiration and courage form both the Confederate army and Virgil Mathis, a policeman Leroy used to shoot pool with. Therefore he decided to quit building the log house and start over. Norma's attitude toward Leroy was ambiguous at the end of the story. She "waves her arms" toward Leroy, but "she seems to be doing an exercise for her chest muscles." Howerver, at least she was waving, not just turning away.

Comments for Guang's post re Casablanca

I agree with you about Victor - we want to hate him because he is in the way between Rick and Ilsa, but he's such a great guy we can't! I think the writers did this on purpose, so that we would be conflicted over the character. In war, too much is black and white(the good guys vs the bad guys). In Casablanca, we are torn. Rick is an anti-hero (a flawed character at best), while the antagonist Victor is brave, loyal, and unafraid to stand up for what he believes in, even in the face of the threat of death. Yet we want Rick and Ilsa to be together - storytelling at its finest!

Comments for Danny's post re Casablanca

Good insight Danny. I liked the character of Capt. Renault too, except for one thing: I got the impression that he used his power to have sexual relationships with the women desperate to leave Casablanca. I think he traded the exit visas for sex.

Comment for James' post on Casablanca

I am glad you can appreciate this movie, even without today's action and/or sex :) I think you are right about our shared feelings about WWII, and the men and women of that era. In so many ways it was a much simpler time: men were men, and women were women, and our roles were defined and appreciated.


I feel Casablanca is a timeless story for a couple of reasons. The first is the clever dialogue in this movie. The fact that several phrases from this movie have become part of our language clearly shows the power of the dialogue; for example "Here's lookin' at you kid." Rick gives this toast several times during the movie. Ask most people (of a certain age) and they will know that this phrase was said by Humphrey Bogart (at least) and many would know its origination.

One of my favorite lines is in a conversation between Rick and Ilsa. They were reminiscing about the day they met. Ilsa asks Rick if he remembers the day. Rick responds "Not an easy day to forget; I remember every detail. The Germans wore gray. You wore blue."

There are so many examples of clever dialogue, but I won't go over every one. However, another favorite of mine would be the following. When asked "What is your nationality?", Rick responds "Drunkard."

The screenplay for Casablanca was not adapted from a book, and several writers are credited (and uncredited) with creating the screenplay. I think this makes the achievement even more surprising.

Ironically, the most well-known "quote" from the movie is in fact a misquote. "Play it again, Sam" is not in the movie.

The second reason this movie is a classic is the characters and the choice of actors to portray those characters. Nobody else could have played Rick. No other actress in the world could have played Ilsa. This is one of those magical moments where the right actors combined with the perfect screenplay created an unforgettable movie.

And we must give kudos to the supporting cast as well. Peter Lorre as Ugarte, Claude Rains as Captain Renault... the list goes on and on.

If I have to choose one character it would be Rick Blaine. Bogart's portrayal of Rick gave the character an emotional depth found in few fictional characters. Bogart's eyes broadcast a thousand emotions, yet his face remains inscrutable.

Casablanca will always remain on my list of classic movies.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I missed the mid-term study guide handed out on Thursday. Can somebody please scan or copy for me? Thanks. My email is blakeslee.18 and my cell is 614-307-6779


Friday, July 1, 2011


Casablanca is a classic because it contains numerous elements that make a movie appealing to me and others. It is a love story, almost everyone has fallen in love, so we can relate to the feelings Rick and Lisa have for each other. The story line takes place during World War II, war times are hard times full of emotion and conflict that anyone can relate to. Whether our grandfathers hold stories and emotions from World War II or our parents have experiences from Vetenam or Afganastan presently. Finally Casablanca adds humor to it's quality. Who doesn't enjoy a laugh while watching a drama or suspense.

Rick Blaine's character meant the most to me. Rick is a smart and bold man who appears to only look out for himself. Then you see he has a softer side of Rick when Ilsa comes back into his life. He sacrifices his desires and need by giving up going to America because he loves Ilsa. That is true love to give up your freedom and let the women you love leave to live the rest to her life with another man. How can you not like a man for making such an ultimate sacrifice.

“Shiloh”- Norma Jean

Norma Jean is the wife of Leroy in this story. She fills her time with hobbies like working out, and schoolwork from the local community college. She comes across as dissatisfied, depressed and dull. She faces the conflict of a mediocre life that is heading nowhere because of her lack of ambition. Her husband is out of work and has little to do beside smoke joints and make wishful plans. When I reflect on my thoughts of this character I feel angry, it is growingly irritating to not only see characters, but the people in my life as well be dissatisfied with their life, but have no determination to change it. You will only receive what you work for in life, and it is the people that become depressed and commit suicide that want what they aren’t willing to work for.

Casablanca Film Response

There are several reasons that attribute to why this film is such a classic, it has the perfect balance of romance, comedy, tragedy and even includes historically accurate information. Also, this film takes place during a war that was going on all around the world, so it was a very popular subject, even when it came to an end. The thing that immediately caught my attention once the movie was over was how many twists there were at the end, the least expected occurred and I had not seen it coming. Perhaps this is why this is such a great film, because it sends the message that there are bigger and more important things than our own self-interests and ourselves.

The character I was most interested in was Captain Louis Renault; he added comic relief to this tragic story. He also did not abuse his power as the others did in the film. He allows nature to take its course and places his chips with the highest bitter, when he finds himself in difficult situations. The way this character won me over for good was when he let Rick go, after shooting Strasser directly in front of him and holding him at gunpoint for the previous hour. This is a clear American classic, and once viewed it is easy to see why!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Love in Casablanca

When Rick met Ilsa at Casablanca, although Ilsa was still as beautiful as she was in Paris, she was not free any more. There's a guy standing beside her all the time, which is her husband, Victor. Rick couldn't move his eyes from Ilsa, but his mind was filled with anger and confusions. Later he found out that Ilsa didn't show up in the train station because her husband was found out alive and sick. Rick finally forgave Ilsa when he realized that she's still madly in love with him. At the end of the movie Rick could just put his name on the visa letter and fly to America with Ilsa, but he didn't. Instead he transfered the opportunity to Victor under the danger of sacrificing himself, only because he thought that was the best for Ilsa.

The presence of Victor to some extent generates dislikes since Rick and Ilsa looked so happy in Paris. However, Under the background of war, Victor was thrown into the Concentration camp and disappeared for a year. It was during his absence when his wife fell in love with Rick. Nobody can blame him if he chose to be bitter, but he didn't. He chose to believe Ilsa and didn't ask her any questions about Rick. This is his way to love Ilsa.

Most war movies are so tragic, however Casablanca is definitely not one of them. People are so small facing a war, but they still can manage their lives by making the right choices as what Rick and Victor did.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Memory as Story

A horn blares, tires screech, children scream and onlookers gasp. This is how I spent one fateful lunch period of my elementary school years. Attending St. Peters elementary growing up had its positives and negatives just like any other school. Positives being good teachers and lots of friends; negatives being uniforms and having to walk three downtown city blocks to the cafeteria located not a hundred yards away. We were more excited than usual for lunch that afternoon, being that it was Friday; pizza day. The last bastion of hope for a disillusioned third grader. As we jostled each other to make it to the front of the line behind our teacher, Ms. Millie, she abruptly stopped us at the curb and waited on the light to change so that we might cross the street to the cafeteria. Being extra hungry that day I had managed to make it to the front of the line with my friend Seth. Both of us waiting in agonizing anticipation for the signal to go; like two thoroughbreds’s anticipating the gunshot that would set them free. Jumping the gun Seth darted out a split second before the light changed and was rudely introduced to the front fender of an old cutlass. A screech and a thud and it was all over, and me with a front row seat; and to think, pizza day was supposed to be the best day of the week.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Running Scared

For the first time in his life, Danny was in a state of fear. He had been startled, frightened and scared, but never before had he felt like this. It was a week before the most important basketball game of his high school career, and he was bout to throw it all away. Grant, a fellow classmate who lived across the neighborhood was having a party, and as all high school parties do, it was busted. Knowing the consequence would involve being suspended from the game he loved, he took off through the back door.

Three strides out the door he heard two cops yelling for him to stop, however do to the lack of light behind the house, he knew if he were to escape it would be unlikely he was identified. As he ran through the neighborhood his adrenaline increased greatly, he could hear the footsteps of the cops chasing him down. He then turned on his final gear and separated himself from the officers, as the sound of the footsteps faded, Danny knew, he had gotten away.

Writing Assignment One

One of the advantages of a having a sister is that I always had a playmate around. We played many games together, and acted out many scenarios. One of our favorite “make-believe” games was playing restaurant. Our mother would allow us to use real crackers and water in our play dishes.

On one particular day, Susie was the waitress and my friend Sheri and I were the customers. We were out of crackers, so Mom let us use potato chips instead. In those days, potato chips came in a big can, very similar to the gourmet popcorn cans you see at Christmas. The can was big enough that a child could sit comfortably on the can.

That cold and sunny winter afternoon, we set up our restaurant in the living room. Sheri and I were sitting at our table, enjoying our meal of potato chips and water. Our waitress (Susie) pulled the can of chips over near our table to sit down. She must have forgotten that the lid was off, and her bottom slid into the can and made a funny sound. We laughed and yelled “You farted in the chips!” Susie denied it vehemently and blamed the sound on the can flexing as she fell in. Sheri and I were laughing so hard it was difficult to say a word. When I managed to catch my breath, I jokingly told Susie she was not a waitress but a “fartress”.

To this day, 40 years later, we still share the joke of the worst waitress in the world. We laugh just as hard as we did that day, and I cherish every moment with my sister, the Fartress.

A destined meeting

The evening was approaching, and all I could think about was getting to that a houses. At that house was a stoop and a backyard stoop of the apartments in which we spent our after school hours. I had just finished what felt like hours of homework, when a light of hope rose like the sun. "Son, you can go over Derrick's and play for a little bit". Those magnificent words turned wheels in my head and turned off the obedient school boy who constantly got in my way. The sun was setting, but not for me. My red huffy bicycle could not move fast enough for me to catch up to were my mind already was. A big tin bowl in between my hand and the handle bar and a backpack with instruments of our awaiting enjoyment.
I roll past the school yard, headed straight for Derrick’s house. A boy my age stops shooting basket ball and calls my attention. He looked immediately familiar and in seconds I realized he was one of my past class mates, who had changed schools last year. “Hey, what is that for?” he asks, pointing at my tin bowl right after we exchange greetings. “This is for Beyblading” I reply assuming that every kid on the block had to be familiar with the battling spinning tops imported from Japan. It even had an amazing cartoon to go along with it.
His face lit up in a way that only someone with a similar understanding of boyish and nerdy expression could understand. He either new exactly what I was talking about and played with Beyblades, or had yet to do get one himself. Suddenly, Derrick’s house had become miles away, as my past classmate Tevin said “I have one too! You should come over my house, so we can play!” From that moment on, the friendship of two mighty Beyblades had slowly began to form. Derrick was to later join us in an unstoppable force. This pivotal moment in my childhood was a fertile ground that bred the greater aspirations of what I am today. A gladiator.

My Big Blue Couch

The time has come to move into my own place. I loaded up the truck with everything frome clothes to bed, TVs to refrigerator. But most importantly my big blue couch, I love my big blue couch, it served many perposes. A place where all of my friends could sit, no matter how many there were. Or as simple as a bed for when I feel asleep watching TV on the weekends.
I had finally made it to my new home. I unloaded all of my belongings and it seemed as though everything was in place. Now I only had one more thing, my big blue couch. It was meant for a room upstairs and would make my house perfect. However, the darn thing wouldn't fit. So I had to come up with some way of getting it upstairs. I tried pushing and pulling, I even tried the window, but it just wouldn't fit. So I decided to unstaple the cloth, and take it a part. It finally made it upstairs. The only thing now was it wasn't as couch it was a pile of wood with a big blue piece of cloth.

The Meatball

It was the Lunar New Year again. Mom and Dad invited auntie Wang and her families over for dinner. Auntie Wang has a daughter and a son. Ying, the son, was five years old. Although I was six years older than him, I was never able to tame him.

Mom spent the whole morning in the kitchen preparing for food for the guests. My mouth was filled with saliva when Mom set the jumbo pork meatballs in front me. After Dad give a simple New Year’s toast, everybody started grabbing food by chopsticks except Ying. Instead he was looking at his mom and waiting for the food. My eyes were locked by a juicy meatball. I reached out my chopsticks and tried to pick it up. Unluckily it slipped from my chopsticks since it was huge. The second time I stuck my chopsticks into the meatball. Right before I pulled it up, Ying started yelling at me, “It’s mine. It’s mine.” My hand froze in the air for a second, then I heard Mom’s voice, “Guang, you’re the big sister. Give that meatball to your cousin.” “Ma,” I insisted, “There’re so many in the plate. Why does he just want mine?” Mom stood up, walked over to me. She snatched the chopsticks from my hands and dropped the meatball in Ying’s bowl. Ying smiled at me with his little slanted eyes. Although auntie Wang then picked the biggest meatball for me, my appetite was totally gone.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Grapes of Wrath

So this movie was interesting to me, not only does it deal sociologically with the effect of displaced families during the depression, but the exploitation of those individuals. I'm not sure whether Steinbeck intended this, but the emotions evoked were enough for me to be shocked when i saw a policeman in the movie shoot an old woman. this is especially a shocking scene for me as the movie was censored a lot as it was yet the violence was still throughout. I liked Tom Joad, he's a man set on correcting his past wrongs but is always tempted toward evil. He never takes an inherently evil path. He even leaves his family so that they won't be pulled down with him is he does get dragged down. The kind of self sacrifice he shows is one that many probably had to show in the Great Depression.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Favorite books and movies

The books i have enjoyed have been Neuromancer and Count Zero by William Gibson, the Vampire chronicles (Interview with a vampire, The vampire Lestat, Queen of the damned) by Anne Rice, Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, the Hong Kong murder mystery books by David Rotenberg, The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling, The Dark Tower series by Stephen King (I've only read up to book three at the moment) 1984 by Orwell, thats pretty much it for novels. for short stories; Sound of Thunder, Harrison Bergeron, Anda's game. I'm a bit of a sucker for fanfiction if it's well done (most aren't) for Graphic Novels, Sandman by Neil Gaiman, 300, I'm a fan of the Japanese graphic novels known as Manga. for those I've read Black Lagoon, Bleach, and Black God, Ghost in the shell, and Akira.

For movies, my all time Favorite is Fight Club(have yet to read the book) then the rest are the good ones i've seen in the last 5 years. Donnie Darko, Weird Science, anything Quentin Terrantino, Inception, Forbidden Kingdom, Clive Barkers: Nightbreed, Let me in, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence, Akira.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

The book that I mentioned on the first day of class was Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. A nine year old boy named Oskar loses his father in the 9/11 terrorist attack and is completely devistated in a way that he can not accept it. Upon going through his father's things, he finds a key in asmall envelope in a vase on an unreachable shelf labled "Black". Without his mother's permission, he decides to seek out everyone in New York with the last name "Black" in hopes of finding what this key was for and why his father had it.

Meanwhile, his grandmother that lives across the street from him is emotionally drawn to him as she has lost not only her son(Oskar's father) but her husband has been gone for a long. Even with her desperation to confine her love into Oskar, her husband has been sending letters trying to make up for his inability to be with her because he does not know how to love.

Favorite Book

The book I choice was King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild. I had to read this for History class. The book is about King Leopold II of Belgium and the crimes he comitted in the Congo, like slavery and human rights violations. This book was interesting to me because its something that really no one knew about back then, and still many people haven't hear of what happened. The writer uses sources like diaries and newspaper articles to give the reader good facts about the time. It also surprised me to learn that even today people in Belgium still praise Leopold as a great man. This is a interesting book and my not be for everyone, but if you have some free time you might try cracking it open and get into it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Grapes of Wrath

The film started with Tom Joad on his way back to his family's farm in Oklahoma. The truck driver first rejected to give him a ride by showing a "No Riders" sign. But Tom told him to be a "good guy", then the trucker changed his mind.

After Tom got off the truck, he met Jim Casy who used to be a preacher in his neighbour. Jim told Tom that he had to stop preaching because he couldn't control his "sexual appetite" towards young women. Also he believes that human spirit is the holy spirit.

Accompnied by Jim, Tom got to his parents' house and met an old neighbour, Muley Graves. From Muley's mouth, Tom found out that people were driven off the land because they were unable to generate enough profit to satisfy the land owners and bankers. Also his parents moved to Uncle John's.

At Uncle John's Tom finally met his parents and other families. They decided to go to California to start a new life by picking fruits. Grandpa refused to go with them. He sat in the front door grabbing a handful of soil.

The overloaded truck with people and little possessions left Oklahoma for Califonia. The Grandpa passed away on the road and was buried nowhere. They couldn't afford a funeral for him. Tom left a note in a glass bottle saying the death was caused by a stroke. The truck got back on the road again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Favorite Book

The best book I've read recently is Steig Larson's The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. Give it a chance - it's a great book.

Once the action starts, this book is a roller coaster ride. There are several intense relationships that are explored and resolved. This book not only kept my interest, I had trouble putting it down in order to get anything else done :)

Mikael Blomvquist is a flawed man and that makes the character interesting. He has his own moral belief system, which seems quite different from the "typical" (is there such a thing?) American Judeo-Christian morality. I think it's because he is European, as is the author. Whatever the reason, I find him fascinating. I want to read more about him - in fact, I have already purchased books 2 & 3.

My Movie

The movie Donnie Darko, was the selection I chose from the movie's I have seen in the last 6 months in which interested me most. The reason I chose this movie is because it required full attention to really understand the movie. I even recall having to rewind it a few times to make sure I was understanding the plot correctly. The reason why this movie is so mind boggling is because it has many different things going on at once, and in order to understand what is happening you must pay full attention. Some of the themes introduced in this movie include time travel, betrayal, and sacrifice. The main character, Donnie Darko, faces many tuff decisions throughout the film, and what he decides changes the lives of everyone and makes a great ending.

My hometown

I'm from Hebei, China. Ok, where's that? It's in the north of China. From Beijing, the capital, it takes about 45 minutes to get there by car. I'm really lucky that the weather at Columbus is quite similar to Hebei, despite too much snow for last winter and too much rain for this spring. Wuhan is in the center of China. It's much hotter and wetter than Columbus. It takes over two hours to fly to Wuhan from Hebei. I have never been to Wuhan, but my dad was once positioned in Wuhan when he was in the national air force. It's too sad that Wuhan is experiencing a flood right now. However, the students from Wuhan University has been positively dealing with it. The picture on the right shows a little bit of it.

Big fan of movie's

I first saw Eat Pray Love last summer. A couple of month later I bought the book, by Elizabeth Gilbert, with the same title at Amazon. I'm always a big fan of movie's. If I had never seen the movie of Eat Pray Love, I probably would never pay attention to the book. I like different kinds of movies, excluding horror movies, science fictions, and some comedies. I love animated movies. It doesn't matter if it is Chinese, American, or Japanes. One of my favorite comedies is Meet the Fockers. I saw Midnight in Paris, directed and written by Woody Allen, last weekend. Anybody who loves movie and literature should go and see it.

Kite Runner

I read this book too. We don't appreciate how blessed we are in this country.

~ Kathy

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Welcome to our Blog!

Hello students, and if you've made it this far, you've found our blog.  Good job!

As a way to develop and expand the introductions we did in class Monday, I'll say a few words here. 

I'm originally from a farm in southwest Minnesota and was the first in my family to go to college.  Before I became a teacher, I was on a road crew and built grain bins in Nebraska, worked as a Schwan's Man (meaning I sold food prouducts door-to-door in Oklahoma), a warehouse manager in Texas, a journalist in Minnesota, and a graduate student at The Ohio State University.  At 33, I attained my Master's of Fine Arts in both fiction and poetry, and have been teaching at OSU ever since.  I have published a few stories and poems in my days as a writer, and hope to publish a book of stories and a novel in the future.

I really look forward to teaching this class and hope you will enjoy it!

The last good book I read was the novel The Kite Runner.  It has also been made into a movie, but I did not see it yet.  The book is a coming of age story and involves two main characters who start as young boys in Afghanistan.  It is a very good story of the differences in class and race and how this affects them.  At its heart it is about a character who has to face some bad choices he has made and the way that these choices hurt others close to him.  It has many tragic elements to the story, but the strongest part of the book is the characterizations and the inner lives of the true main characters, plus the relationship between the boy and his father.  I'd give the book at 7 on a scale of 1 to 10.  The villian in the book was a bit over the top and hard to believe at times.

All best,


P.S.  HOW TO USE BLOG:  To do a post, sign in first.  Then you should see your e-mail address in the upper right hand corner of the blog.  Also, you will see a link to click called New Post.  This is how you write an entry.  You will also see the Comment feature, and the Edit feature.  Play around with using these and you will see the blog has many features we can use, including adding pictures, links, and even video.