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Monday, January 24, 2011

Realism Projoct: Realism

According to the definition as found on, realism is an "interest in or concern for the actual or real, as distinguished from the abstract, speculative, etc." As profoundly obvious as that is, this literal definition does not quite reflect this section of American literature because it was truly more full of finding oneself in the world by searching for the American Dream, which, at the time, was to grow wealthy in knowledge through some plan of greatness, usually ridiculously confounded and self-destructive in the end (Campbell). Realists were consistently trying to broaden their moral boundaries and highten their inner senses (Campbell). Growing deeper below the American Dream lies Realism's "hero," who was not so much one of today's heroes but was an everyday citizen, looking to increase their capabilities of learning from past experiences (Campbell). Before this period in American literature, many writers were either of the higher class or wrote about the higher class, whereas Realism writers wrote about normal people in everyday situations (Campbell). Society did, however, play a small part in much of Realism writing. Since these writers stayed away from the higher class, they were also able to to see the troubles faced by the lower class, such as living without a home and being unable to buy the necessary food and clothing for a simple family, and they felt sorrow for having seen such diversity in the lives of various citizens. Most tales in Realism writing were made to be plausible, that is that they were realistic enough to be believed and were possible to have happened (Campbell). And, much unlike many other previous writers who had used a more poetic style of writing, Realism writers wrote in the same style they spoke, called the natural vernacular. Finally, Realism was only possible because of the boredom with the drury, monotonous, and seemingly endlessly repetitive styles of the Romanticism era, which was focused on tales of love and fantasies. Scientific advancements were rising all around and eventually integrated themselves into literature, creating a realistic view on the world, called Realism.

Works Cited

Campbell, Donna M. "Realism in American Literature, 1860-1890." Literary Movements. Dept. of English, Washington State University. 21 Mar. 2010. Web. 24 Jan. 2011. .

"Realism | Define Realism at" Web. 24 Jan. 2011. .

Journal #34

Being the ACT essay grader I obviously am, there are a few things you should know about properly writing a professional grade argumentative essay for ACT. The first part of superior writing is planning out the sections of the topic that you want to write about. Always make sure to choose a side you wish to support and stick to that throughout. However, one important thing to also include is a counterargument to prove that your side is the better decision. What I like to see, being the ACT essay grader I obviously am, is no more than about three paragraphs. It makes my job much easier because I am then able to blow through all the bad essays and give out somewhat more accurate random scores. For instance, if you write three paragraphs, it is almost guaranteed you will receive a five or a six. Personally, I am not in the job to screw over all the high school students looking to get into college, but I enjoy helping out those young adults because I understand what is going on in that stage of life. It really is pretty scary, I know, but I will be here for you. Also, the next important part of the essay writing process is proofreading and revising what you have written, as long as you have enough time. That is another difficult part of the writing portion - time management. Basically, write the first version as fast as possible, and go back to revise it later if you still have time. Unbenounced to many ACT test-takers, we do not really follow the rubric. As I said earlier, I base my grading mostly on length and how easily I can read the words. If I find grammatical errors, that usually lowers the score about a point. It is few and far between that I give lower than a three, though. This is mainly because they are able to write at least a page of somewhat decent work, and I am pretty good with that because, also as I said, I am not in the business to hurt a future college student's dreams.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Journal #33

Well, seeing that I am too lazy to think of an original object or idea that came out of Springfield, Illinois, I suppose I will just write about the example given, the horseshoe. There is a place on sort of the other side of town called Darcy's Pint that serves such amazing horseshoes. I think they are said to be the birthplace of the horseshoe. Now, for those people that may not know, a horseshoe is essentially an open-faced cheeseburger with french fries. They take a piece of bread and put it on the plate - just simple white bread. Next, they add on two hamburger patties, cooked to beautiful perfection. Then, they add on handfuls of freshly cut french fries. Finally, they ladle on a whole bunch of melted cheese, like Cheese-Wiz. It is traditionally served up to the customer on a clean white plate, hot, steaming, and ready for the sharing. It is pretty much a combination of cheese fries and a hamburger, all in one dish. There are many other restaurants around here that offer numerous variations of the classic hamburger horseshoe, such as chicken strip, pork tenderloin, turkey, ham, and even vegetarian, along with many others. The horseshoe has also spread to various states. I know some people in Missouri, Oklahoma, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Tennessee, and even California who have at least heard of the classic hamburger horseshoe. By the way, I am not sure if I have said this, but the chicken strip horseshoe is the best. A small-town bar & grill in Pleasant Plains serves an awesome version of this one. You can really get fairly creative with the horseshoe. I have seen bacon bits on top, the french fries replaced with pretzel sticks, and even a high-end and high cost horseshoe with lobster and something else on top. Basically, horseshoes are just so creative and delicious. They are so simple and full of warm goodness that I can barely type this without thinking about it and getting hungry. Mmmm...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Journal #32

Over our last winter break, my family took a weeklong vacation onboard the Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Dawn. Having never encountered such strange vacationing as always having an option of something to do at all hours of the day, we as a family decided it would be something new and exciting to take part of. On Christmas morning, we had all our bags packed and were ready to leave for the 9:30 flight out of the local airport. We were all tired from having to wake up before the crack of noon, so my first thoughts of the trip were of being forced to spend time with my brother, who had just returned from Australia only two days prior. I had always observed him to be an ass, especially when we are on vacation. On board, he and I fought over who gets the bed that was not right up against the wall, who should decide which place to eat, who gets to decide what activities we should do on each day, but, thankfully, we were all pretty much allowed to choose our little events to our own liking. For instance, I could go see the magic show with my mom, while my dad was in the casino, and my brother could also be swimming in the pool. So, in this case, we would have been separated by six decks or about six stories, or roughly 60 vertical feet. But, during the time we spent together as a family in ports of call or at dinner, I think I did a fair job of putting aside my secretive deep hatred for my brother and was able to get along with him fine. He was only joking when he said most of the mean things he did, I soon realized. When I looked at most of them from the side, not being in a position within the joke, they were funny, to a stretched end and if I maintained an open mind. He did not come off as his usual self, but he acted fine, much like I would expect him to, which was really okay. It seems as if I do not have to dislike him at all, but I was building up all the mean things he said into one large wall of loathing. I suppose I would like to take another vacation as a family, one that we all can enjoy.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"

The "reality" of this story is not within the story itself, but it is psychologically placed in the events of the story only to lengthen the story and give more suspense and build to the protagonist's, Peyton Fahrquhar, ultimate demise. Most of the story is utilized as a common body similar to that of many stories, but it does have a unique element to it, which is a creative blend of the seeming passing of time to show the reason behind Fahrquhar's hanging, what he wants the future to hold, and what the future truly holds. Just as he begins his plummet down to the meeting of his gravity and a rope wrapped tightly around his neck, Fahrquhar imagines a very happy ending to his unfortunate situation, one in which he is able to fall down to the river below, swim away from the guards, swim onto shore, run through the forest, and eventually make it safely back home to his waiting children and loving wife, the entire time also with an increasingly sharp pain in his neck (Bierce). The reality of this sequence of events is that he truly does fall from the bridge, only to be caught by the thick rope, breaking his neck and, needless to say, ending his life. Realism is focused mainly on facts and depicting them as they happen, so this story, to say, is not strong on the realist terms because all of the main plot is held within the imagination and is not actually happening. However, if the imaginary events were to have been real, the story would be extremely realist. Every detail of his miraculous escape is covered to the T in that Bierce recounts even minute details, such as, "then all at once, with terrible suddenness, the light about him shot upward with the noise of a loud splash; a frightful roaring was in his ears, and all was cold and dark" (Bierce). Fahrquhar's plunge into the river below is described in this small excerpt using visual effects, sound, and emotions of fear and uncertainty as his descent begins. But, the ultimate reality shown in Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is given in the last line of the story. He uses so much suspense and gives the reader a sense of satisfaction in that Fahrquhar "got away," only to take it all away by saying, "Peyton Fahrquhar was dead; his body, with a broken neck, swung gently from side to side beneath the timbers of the Owl Creek bridge" (Bierce). In this case, Fahrquhar realizes that death is something he can try to hide from, but he must also embrace it when it eventually finds him. His death is not celebrated nor ignored; it is not happy or sad. To the guards on duty, being his only witnesses, it is work. And, eventually, those men will face the same fate as Fahrquhar is facing because it is impossible to avoid. " the inevitable reality common to us all" (Werlock).

Works Cited

Bierce, Ambrose. "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." Page by Page Books. 2004. Web. 16 Jan. 2011. .

Werlock, Abby H. P. "'Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge'." The Facts On File Companion to the American Short Story, Second Edition. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2009. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. CASS629&SingleRecord=True (accessed January 17, 2011).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Journal #31

Personally, I do not think I actually "daydream" in a sense because I never totally just space out and allow anything to enter my mind. For the most part, I have sort of trained it to avoid that as much as possible, but I certainly do still distract myself from boring things like classes and work. But, if I were to really daydream, I think it might go something like this. There I was, sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun to rise over the horizon. There was also a friendly octopus there, who told me I was trespassing on his Octopus' Garden. And I looked around, and I noticed there wasn't a chair, but there were countless baby octopi growing from the ground. I screamed "Help!" but no one came to my rescue. The large octopus stared at me and asked, "What do you see when you turn out the lights?" I had no idea what to say at first, but I eventually responded from the back of my throat, "I can't tell you, but I know it's mine." "Oh, how I long for yesterday," groaned the octopus, "I have strawberry fields forever, and I love her, but that blackbird flies over her face so frequently. I guess I will just carry that weight." "Hey, Jude," I replied again uncertainly, "come together with the lord, and she will find her good day, sunshine. What is her name, anyway?" "Michelle," replied the octopus, sadly, "I've got a feeling this misery will bring no reply." "Something in the long and winding road of life will bring you both one magical mystery tour," I encouraged. The octopus was just so glum. "I'm down. I'm a loser. I lost my little girl. I'll cry instead." let out the poor creature. I stood up and looked at the heartbroken octopus and finally exclaimed, "I'm looking through you, and you do not really feel like she is lost at all. I saw her standing there, under the tall oak tree. It's getting better. You cannot just let it be! Don't let me down, Jude! Go on! Act naturally; all you need is love." "You're right," said the octopus, "all things must pass. Oh, look, here comes the sun. But trust me, it won't be long until the fool on the hill brings the end with his creative rain dances. When I'm sixty-four, you won't see me, but always think of me within you and without you. She and I will buy a yellow submarine, and we will twist and shout all over the ocean. Thank you, nowhere man, from me to you. I'll be on my way."

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Journal #30

School uniforms is a difficult topic because there are so many people who grew up in schools with uniforms because that was just so normal for the time. Those people are now the modern day parents, and they are trying to keep the same philosophy going in their children's schools because that is how they were brought up as children. Nowadays, however, schools have become much more open to varying cultures and ethnicities in schools. So, this also allows the children to express individuality in the things they wear, and I think we at our school use this privilege well. There are rules over how clothing can be worn and how short a skirt is or how low a shirt is cut. These rules already give enough of a guideline to students, so there are not really any problems with dressing improperly. A uniform at our school will not solve anything, but it will cause more problems in the student body because no one really wants to have school uniforms, and that would mainly create problems for the principal and superintendent because they would have to listen to students complaining all the time. As it is right now, students complain enough about random things that they think should be improved or changed about school, one huge contributor to this is having snow days or not. In no fashion is it the job of the student to call a snow day, so, in a perfect world, I would say it is wrong for a student to complain about not having a snow day, but, since children are children, they always complain about it. In this case, I think it would not fall in the hands of the students to decide if they should have to wear uniforms, but we, being the rotten children we are, will always complain about something that goes even slightly against how we feel or think. Plus, ideas like these always spread like wildfire in their reactions to them. If one "popular" student says he does not like it, then most of the student body will conform to that person's feelings because that is just how the mind of a teenager works, knowing this because I myself am a teenager. It is very difficult to get the entire school, including students and faculty, to agree on a decision.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Journal #29

Recently, I have stumbled upon this song by a very weird girl surnamed Lady Gaga. This particular song is called "Bad Romance." The beat is catchy, and she has a beautiful voice. Her lyrics are written by her own thoughts, and she is an amazing artist in general because of her thoughts in how to incorporate classy music into a modern form. Her real name is not Lady Gaga, but she has adopted that name as hers because it sounds weird, and that is her goal. She certainly accomplishes this, also, but this strategy has obviously captivated many people because her official music video on YouTube has over 330,000,000 views. Like Madonna, Lady Gaga has learned how to use the strangeness of her persona to her advantage because that is what people nowadays want and like to see. We like to see crazy people because it is very different than what we should be seeing in someone who is so well musically trained, like Lady Gaga is. The story in "Bad Romance" itself is about this woman, Lady Gaga, who wants a form of freakiness from the person she is talking to, who is not directly named but is a man in the music video. Also in the video, she is the subject of an auction in a strange, futuristic bath house. All of the main portions of music are there, like a good chorus, an interesting and very different break, and verses that go along the same rhythm and tone but are all equally different because of the phrases they hold. Also, the story of the song is rather sad. She is in love with a man, obviously, but the relationship is not "healthy" because they fight and make up so frequently, which is something that many couples can relate to. Being able to relate to the song or movie is another intriguing factor because it makes it seem much more personal and easier to comprehend.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Journal #28

Well, convincing people to do things can be sort of difficult. Honestly, when I really need someone to do a task for me, I sort of just force them to do it, I do not usually try to give them evidence to show them why they need to do it because that would take way too long for all intents and purposes. So, going along the same track, I cannot really remember a time where I convinced someone to do something, unless being forceful about it counts as convincing. So, instead, I think I will provide a story. So, once upon a time, there was a small boy named Jack. In Jack's backyard was an enormous plant growing from his mother's small vegetable garden. But, this was no ordinary plant. It grew so high, it touched the sky. His mother, after a long day of running errands in town, told Jack to go out into the garden and pick some beans from this immense plant. Being the good boy Jack is, he trotted out the door and began looking for some beans on the stalk. He could not find any at eye level, so he climbed up the stalk, almost to the very top, still in search of some beans. When he rached the very top, he looked back down at the ground and saw how very high up he was. He thought to himself about how he may never get to be up here ever again, so he stepped off the plant and onto the clouds. Suddenly, a nasty old troll came running toward the poor boy, screaming. The troll had huge, green hair, a creepy little half smile, and glassy eyes, staring deep down into the frightened little boy. The troll said, "Who do you think you are, coming into my land like this?" Jack, somewhat startled and confused responded quickly, "I am very sorry, sir! I had no idea anyone would be living so high above me!" The troll continued yelling at Jack, "Well, does your mother know you are up here, this late in the day?" "No," said Jack, wide-eyed, "she sent me into the garden to fetch some beans, and I was only curious." "Well, scram!" snapped the troll. Instantly, Jack jumped back onto the beanstalk and hurriedly climbed back down to be safe at home. When he stepped in the door, his mother asked if he had gotten the beans, like a good boy, and Jack was forced to reply with a no. He tried explaining it to his mother, but she simply had no idea what plant he was talking about. All of her bean sprouts were under a foot tall, and none of them could possibly carry a troll! Jack tried to show his mother, but she remained unconvinced, seeing that the enormous plant was, indeed, no longer present. The End. The troll convinced Jack to leave, and Jack attempted to convince his mother of why he took so long. But, after all of that, they still had no beans for supper that night.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Journal #27

Persistence can both be good and bad because of the ways one is persistent. Sometimes, I am too persistent, and it eventually is just annoying to the other person I am trying to get to do something. But, honestly, I kind of think that the annoyance was brought upon themself because if he or she had just done what I wanted in the first place, then I would not have had to be so persistently annoying. Does that not make sense? Just do what I want of you, so I will be able to stop wasting my time and yours. If people thought the same as do, I think life would be a lot easier for everyone because (most) of what I say and do is quite sensible. Also, if everyone did the same kinds of things, there would be no face to face problems among families, countries, and people in general. But, still, persistence is definitely necessary if something is at all important. If I need something done, of course I am going to keep telling you to do it because I need it done. That should not be too hard. But, however, there is the other person's side of the situation in which they might also be doing something important at that moment, something that might not be able to just be put aside for even a moment. Just like everything else in this world, there are two sides to this problem of mine that I, for some reason, share with so many people. I just do not understand why. Also, I do not like it when people are nagging at me. There is a difference between nagging and being persistence. Naggy people are usually just sort of whining about it, and they are certainly much more annnoying. They do not get the point across that they want you to do something. On the other hand, persistent people just say directly that the issue needs to be acted upon.