Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Event Analysis-Nik Lelifanovski

My assignment this week was to consider the theme of “State of the University,” by Father Linnane, in relation to several other works.  Fr. Linnane contends that people ought to strive to improve themselves while also giving to the community.  His speech inspired me to relate his message to the common thematic elements of “Directions for Resisting the SAT,” by Richard Hague, “First Practice,” by Gary Gildner, “Serving up Hope,” by Stephanie Shapiro, and “A Father,” by Bharati Mukherjee.  Each of these readings explores a common theme: love and compassion bring meaning to the life of the individual.

In “Directions for resisting the SAT,” by Richard Hague, the speaker ironically suggests that the experience of preparing and sitting for the SAT might well inspire the reader to do great things with his life. The last line of the poem is a challenge to readers to “make your marks on everything.”  This reminded me of the portion of Father Linnanes’ speech when he said to strive to be successful.  (Although what is success really?)  The speaker and the poet each effectively convey a similar message to young people but by using a specific subject to which they can relate as an example of an opportunity for self-improvement.

The coach in “First Practice” by Gary Gildner craves that his team be the best on the field.  Similarly, Father Linnane discusses how Loyola strives to be the best Catholic University.  While the coach tells his team that he expects them to win with no exceptions, Father Linnane might rebut by saying that the coach is too strict, as it is important not to become overly invested in a particular outcome – such as triumphing over another. 

In his speech, Father Linnane discusses contributing to the health of the community.  This notion relates to “Serving up Hope” by Stephanie Shapiro, because the main characters help two drug addicts to turn their lives around.  The protagonists offer the former addicts jobs, thereby helping to keep them out of trouble and to inculcate in them necessary life skills.  The couple provides opportunities for the former drug addicts that they would have never had without their help.  Their selflessness is indicative of Father Linnanes’ theme of helping others and doing good works for those around you.

 “A Father,” by Bharati Mukherjee, recounts the difficulties of a father’s distant relationship with his daughter, Balbi.  The father struggles to accept his daughter, who is not the perfect child he imagined.  Although he prays to God each day for wisdom and guidance, he is actually so focused on himself that when he finds out about his daughter’s pregnancy outside of marriage, he beats her instead of supporting her.  According to Father Linnane, the father in the story would actually improve himself and become more contented by expressing, as difficult as it might be under the circumstance, compassion toward his daughter and concern for her feelings, rather than dwelling principally on what he prefers.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Event Analysis

             For our last event/service analysis, I went to Loyola’s auction held to raise money for Project Mexico. This week we were also asked to finish William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. After going to the auction, I sat down and tried to think about a theme that I could write about. For a while I could not think of anything. Then, I finally thought of one that happened to relate perfectly to the Twelfth Night. Just like in Twelfth Night how Viola serves Olivia, this auction was created to indirectly help serve those that are less fortunate.
            Another thing that I thought about after a while was how Antonio rescuing Sebastian also relates to the Project Mexico Auction. This relates to the Project Mexico Auction because in the play, Antonio is reaching out and helping someone that needs to be helped. That is what this auction is all about. Project Mexico is a program based on reaching out to people in Mexico who really need it. In the play, Sebastian would not have lived had it not been for Antonio. While the situation in Mexico might not be quite that intense, the students participating in this program are definitely changing lives.
            A third theme that could definitely relate to both Twelfth Night and the auction is Love. In the play, many different characters say they are in love with someone else. Duke Orsino loves Olivia for a while, Olivia loves Viola, and Viola loves Duke Orsino. When attending the auction, I couldn’t help but to just think about love. This whole auction was put together so Loyola can raise money for a program that helps people in need out of love. There is no other word that can be used to describe this but love. The students serving don’t know the people in Mexico on any sort of personal level, but they are doing as the bible says and loving their neighbor. Even though this type of love is different from the love expressed in the play, it is love nonetheless.
            This class has taught me many things that I definitely did not expect to be taught. The first thing I learned is how different things can seem when you really look into them. An example of this could be the Museum/Transportation Analysis. Back in high school I used to take public transportation every day. For this project, however, we were asked to analyze the little details and really pay attention to our own interactions with the city. This was so strange to me because it made something that I used to do all the time and something that felt really normal to me feel like a completely new experience. I was able to almost learn things about myself. This happened for all of our projects this year.
            Another thing that I learned in this class is to not be afraid to open up and talk about how you feel, even if it may seem embarrassing. We have had many discussions throughout the semester where I felt a little embarrassed sharing my opinion or story. As each discussion went on, however, more and more people shared their stories, which allowed me to feel more comfortable sharing mine. Lastly, I learned both through each class discussion and through each event analysis how to take something, whether it is an event, poem, or novel, and really see the theme/themes. I enjoyed this class very much and I learned many things that I never thought could relate to English. 

Event 11/29 -Sean McGrory

I attended for my first time the Zen Meditation on Tuesday night. I found it to be a real life changing experience. It really made me take time for myself and just be able to focus on how I was feeling. It helped me take a break from my hectic schedule. I learned many great techniques to relax and really focus on my train of thought.

             There was one certain question that i focused on for the longest time. The question was to remember a love story from a friend or oneself. I found this at first to be quite funny. I thought of all the different love story that involved my friends over the years. There was so many that keep popping up in my head but to this day I still never forgot one of my first ones that involved me. Though I don’t know if I would call it a love story but more of a crush.
             This one story I don’t really remember much since I was only about four years old but has been told to me many times by my mom. I was down the shore for a week of vacation like we always do but something unexpected happened. We would always go to this ice cream shop at night. On one of these trips to get ice cream I meet a little girl who out of nowhere just gave me a kiss on my lips and then ran back to her parents. Being as young as I was I was embarrassed and didn’t not fully realize what was going on it. It is now that I understand and laugh about what I know really happened.
            I think my story really relates to the Twelfth Night play by Shakespeare. This play makes you really see the distinction between what it means to just have a crush on someone. For example, that you are only physical attracted to someone there is nothing much deeper that makes you want to be with that person. You truly don’t really know who they are as and individual. It usually doesn’t always last long either. Though being in love with someone is a totally different meaning. You truly want to be with that person on such a deeper level than just the physical stuff. You actually like the person for who they are and don’t want to change anything about them. This type of love is most certainly eternal. It is the purest of all as well. Throughout the play you see great examples of this with all the main characters and makes it come alive to you. Viola is one big example for what it means to be in love. She truly loves the Duke on a much deeper level, which you can see, by her actions. She demonstrates her love by following all the tasks the Duke wants her to fulfill knowing that it could mean making some other girl fall in love with him. You can see she truly loves him by how she is putting his needs and desires above and beyond hers.  I really could see my different friends in each of the characters of this play.      
            I would have to say that I have learned many great things in this class over the past couple of months. Though the one most surprising thing I have learned would have to be when I attended the events that had to do with Native American culture. I learned such a shocking and horrific things. Though there is one thing I will never forget from it was learning about the holocaust of such a tremendous amount of Indian deaths. I have never before known that it was of such magnitude. Throughout all my years of studying history in school I have never found it to be in any of my texts books in great detail about this horrific event that took place on in my own country. It made me really shocked and appalled that this event even took place. I cannot image how much these people must of suffered. It truly is one of the world’s most social injustices. 

Kristyn Hartwyk-Event Analysis

Acts of Loyal and Determination

        Before going on Thanksgiving break, I went to the see the viewing of the movie Julie and Julia during what Loyola calls French week.  I don’t actually take french, but this a movie that I’ve heard great reviews on.  Plus, I knew the movie was on the act of cooking, so I knew I would enjoy and connect with it well.  After reading Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, I found a similarity between the characters Viola and of Julia from Julie and Julia.  Both characters became passionate about something and set their mind and heart to it.  For Viola, this passion was Duke Orsino.  For Julie, her passion was cooking.  Both gave up the special things in their lives to be loyal to their passions even if that means giving up things they love the most.  In my both stories, Julie and Viola develop passions that they feel obligated and bound to honor. 
        The movie Julie and Julia is about a young woman named Julie who sets up a blog and challenges herself to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s first, famous cook book in less than a year.  Julie tries to cook at least one recipe a day in order for her to meet her deadline.  Along the way, her obsession with her blog distracts herself from her husband who she newly wed.  Her determination to complete her project took over her life and affected the relationships with her friends and family.  Her passion for cooking and achieving the goals she set for herself encouraged her to put her values ahead of her love for the people in her life.
        In Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, Viola disguises herself so she can work for Duke Orsino  Eventually, her affection for Duke grows and consequently, so does her love.  When Duke asks Viola to speak well and highly of him to encourage Olivia to fall in love with him, she does.  Even though her love for Duke is passionate and real, her loyalty and devotion to him is even stronger.  She puts Duke over herself to ensure his happiness knowing that she is giving up her chance of happiness with Duke.
        Throughout this semester of Understanding Literature, I have learned more about myself than I could have expected.  Through going to events and blogging about it encouraged me to write about my experiences and to reflect and connect them to my reality and the things I observe everyday in my life.  One of the biggest things I’ve learned about myself is that I have a really big heart.  Living in Baltimore, I have been exposed to more poverty and crime than ever in my life.  Being exposed to this makes me feel emotional and upset towards those who are living like this.  I feel the motivation to change and fix everything.  I’ve realized that I’m not invincible and I can’t fix the world’s problem with the touch of my finger.  But I can make a difference.  Whether I become involved with service programs or other volunteer opportunities, I can leave my mark by doing good and helping others who are not as blessed and fortunate as myself.  

Event Analysis-Nik Lelifanovski

Love is Confusing
This Tuesday I decided to go to the Zen Meditation class, especially since it was raining outside and I needed to calm down in my “happy place”. In my “happy place”, I can take my mind off reality and think about anything that I want to believe in. During meditation, I took my mind off reality and brought my mind to the topic of love. I thought about this because during my English class my professor brought up a good point: “How do you know if you love someone or have a crush?” This confusion relates to the confusion of the love triangle in William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night deals with a love triangle and confusion between character identities. The main character in the play, Viola, changes her identity to a male character, Cesario. Later on in the play, Viola, still disguised as Cesario, falls “in love” with Orsino, a nobleman. Orsino is in love with Olivia, but the problem is that Olivia is not interested in Orsino. Olivia is in love with Cesario, which is really Viola. Viola loves Orsino and would do anything for him. However, Orsino does not know that Viola exists. Viola decides to stay in character as Cesario and bring the message of his love to Olivia so that she would still be able to talk to him. Although the point of the message was for Olivia to fall in love with Orsino, she begins to fall in love with “Cesario’s” personality instead, not knowing that she is really talking to Viola. This crazy love triangle is affecting everyone’s feelings for each other. Each of these characters sees the others’ inner beauty, which is the common definition or aspect of “love.” Malvolio, on the other hand, only wants to marry Olivia because of how beautiful, powerful and wealthy she is. He only cares about what is on the surface, which is not what true love is about. What truly matters is the inner beauty of a person, which Olivia understands because she has fallen in love with Cesario, who is really a girl.
Love is a very confusing topic to try to understand and can really make your mind travel in all different directions. The problem is, there is no correct answer to the question of what love is. During my meditation, I was in my “happy place.” I was thinking about love because it crossed my mind a hundred times. Meditation taught me that you cannot buy or look for love. Love is very challenging and no one can understand it; it is very hard to explain. Love is a feeling that two people have for each other that makes them feel like the other person is their missing half that they need to survive. When you are in love, adrenaline is supposed to rush through your veins, your heart is supposed to pound a hundred times per minute, and you are supposed to smile and be happy all the time. You are supposed to feel that you would do anything for this person because you love everything about them. Love is not supposed to be materialistic, and that is where people get confused. Materialistic relationships or feelings are not love, they are just a crush.
This semester as I walked into English, I was very nervous and I believe that I was going to have a heart attack because we had to speak during class. I was so nervous at first, until my professor spoke to me with such wise words that I will never forget, “we've all been given a voice for a reason; use it.” Ever since that day I felt very confident and enjoyed speaking and discussing the novels we read for class. The two most interesting moments that I will always remember about this class are the museum Museum Trip and Office Hours. The Museum Trip was an experience I will never forget, especially taking the bus, exploring the Inner Harbor, and admiring the amazing masterpieces in the museum. Another moment is the Office Hour I spent with Dr. Ellis. I walked in very nervous in her office feeling like I was burdening her by asking for her help. However, when she saw me, she seemed happy to see me and welcomed me into her office. She took her time with each of my essays and told me how to improve each paragraph to enhance my writing skills. Since taking English with Dr. Ellis, I have looked at the subject differently than I used to. I used to see English class as just reading novels and being tested on what I read. Because of Dr. Ellis, I have gained a totally different perspective; she helps her students understand the meaning of all the stories, poems, and novels we read in class by having us relate them our own personal lives. After this class, I started to enjoy reading and writing my own poems more than I ever have before.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Event Analysis

Jacqui Vetrano
Love, and Our Journey Through Life
          The most prominent theme that stood out to me in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night or What you Will, was the theme of love throughout our lives and the effects it takes on us, whether it be real true love, or false love based off of infatuation.  I found that this theme of love in the play connected to my experience with meditation because meditation taught me to focus on what I love and what is important to me in life.  I realized that the scenarios that happen in the play happen all the time in real life, maybe not the exact same ones, or to that extent, but similar experiences for sure.  Many experience love in different forms, whether it be wanting what you can’t have, wanting someone to want you, or getting caught up in the ideas of love and what it has to offer.  All of these experiences lead to one discovering their inner self, what is important to them, and what they truly love in life.  Just like these experiences throughout everyday life and the experiences between the characters of the Twelfth Night, meditation also leads to discovering these things.
                In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, there are many different love connections between the characters.  These connections and experiences of true love and infatuation that the characters endure effects them very much, guiding where they end up and with who they end up with at the end.  If it were not for Viola falling in love with the duke, perhaps she would have never tried so hard to win Olivia over for him, which would have led to Olivia never falling in love “Cesario” and marrying Sebastian.  The love triangles and connections in the play emphasize how much one event leads to another, causing all of the pieces of life fall into place.  The theme of love is so strong in the play that it guides the lives of almost all of the characters.  These experiences that the characters face lead them to what they are truly looking for in their life, real and true love.
                In relation to my mediation class and experience, the sessions have also helped to guide me to what is important in my life and what I am truly looking for.  Meditation is always a part of the day that I can clear my mind, and afterwards clearly think.  When thinking of the play, I reflect on how every encounter in my life, even with love, has brought me to where I am today, and who I am today, which continues to guide me through life and discover what it is I am truly looking for.  Perhaps if I had not had the experiences I did in the past, I would not have come to Loyola, taken this English class, and experience meditation classes.  Just like in the Twelfth Night, every event has led me to this moment right now, and where I am today.
                Looking back on this semester and our English class, what I find most surprising and interesting is how much I have truly gotten out of the class, our discussions, and assignments.  I’ve always thought of myself as someone who is constantly analyzing situations and the day.  But this class gave me a whole new perspective and outlook on analyzing not just literature, but life, and the things around me that sometimes I take for granted.  I feel that it made me a more observant person, and a better critical thinker.  I find that now when I’m reading things I’m always thinking of what they really mean, and trying to interpret the true message behind it.  Experiencing meditation classes was very fun as well; it was a completely different experience than I have ever had.  At first I was nervous about the sessions and really wasn’t very excited, but looking back now I’m so happy that I did it and got involved in meditation.  Overall I truly enjoyed this class; I felt that it has offered me a lot and that I will be walking away with a lot.  It has been a great class and I’m proud of the new knowledge and experiences I will be walking away with.

Event Analysis 11/29

Last year I volunteered at the Kids in Crisis Agency. Throughout the year, we became acquainted with many local kids in the area. The agency aimed to find fun; enriching activities to engage young kids with troubled family situations. Each month, the group would plan an event for the children. My experience working with the children in the agency relates to William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.
In the play, there is an evident love triangle between the main characters. Duke Orsino is constantly trying to garner love from Olivia.  However, Olivia is simultaneously in love with Cesario/Viola. Both of these characters experience a sense of unattainable love, as they are unable to be with the ones they desire. The Duke declares that he is craving “excess” love in the first act. The audience can see that the amount of love he desires will ultimately make him sick. This situation reminded me of a few of the kids in the agency during one of the events. During our Valentine’s Day party, one of the young boys, Matthew, proclaimed he had a crush on one of the girls. Over the past few months, Matthew started to open up to me about his crush. He informed me of his plan to give her a Valentine prior to the event and was genuinely excited for his big moment. He gave her one of the store-bought cartoon Valentines with a Hershey kiss attached with scotch tape. After he gave her his token of his love, she told him she liked one of the other boys. Heartbroken, Matthew was forced to accept this feeling of unattainable love. Luckily, in response, all of the high school girl volunteers offered to be Matthew’s valentine. This situation allowed us to observe a sense of unattainable love similar to the situations in Twelfth Night.
I really enjoyed this class. I found the class discussions to be consistently interesting and intriguing. This class definitely opened my eyes to Loyola’s Jesuit values through the many different events offered each week. I feel that my trip to the Art Museum was a great learning experience. I think it’s important to go out of your comfort zone and see the real world through a new, mature lens. This class has definitely prepared me for my courses in the future. 

Event Analysis 11/29 Jessica LaTona

            This week I attended my first meditation session in Fava Chapel, and it truly changed my outlook on how to deal with my mental health and stress of being a first year student.  I found a sense of inner peace while sitting on the mats in the chapel and being completely silent for the duration of the session.  Peace is a part of Jesuit education because while trying to live for and with others, you are trying to bring peace, happiness, and faith into the lives of others and yourself.  From attending this meditation group I have a better understanding of how to bring those elements into the lives of others and my life.  During my introduction to how to properly sit, fold your hands, and relax my thinking, I did not think it would be too difficult to stay focused on the meditation.  I was very wrong because it was extremely difficult to sit through the entire session not trying to think of anything and sitting in a particular way that is not very comfortable.  However, trying to stay focused presented a sense of discipline, but I could not help but think of how this meditation experience connected to the play Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.
            Throughout the play there are several love triangles that are difficult to keep track of.  Similarly with the meditation it is hard to keep focus and not think or keep track of the time.  During the play Orsino is madly in love with Olivia, but due to the death of her brother she vows to keep hidden away for seven years to pay her respects.  In the second half of the play, she falls in love with Orsino’s servant Cesario and continuously asks him back to her palace to convince him to love her.  However, she does not know until the end of the play that Cesario is actually a woman, Viola, disguised as her twin brother Sebastian.  Once the truth is finally revealed Viola winds up marrying the man she was after, Orisino, and Olivia marries Sebastian on accident thinking he is Cesario, but then there marriage is accepted due to the circumstances.  The similarity between meditation and the Twelfth Night is the difficulty of acceptance.  It was difficult for me to accept a new way of sitting and trying relentlessly to have deep thoughts, while in the play it was difficult for Olivia to accept that Cesario could not love her as Olivia could not love Orsino.
            This class definitely had some interesting and surprising aspects throughout the semester.  I would not have experienced so many events presented at Loyola if it weren’t for this course and I am truly happy I did.  These events helped broaden my horizons on different topics over the semester because each event was not like the last.  I thought it was interesting how the students ran the class mostly with discussion and presentations of the various literary materials we covered.  Overall I was truly pleased with this course and I have slightly become more well-rounded specifically because of these analysis assignments.

Event Analysis

     For my event, I attended a showing of the film, Julie and Julia, which was preceded by a talk about chef Julia Child's life. In the movie, a young woman attempts to complete every recipe in Julia Child's cookbook in a single year, maintaining a blog about each recipe she cooks. She encounters many difficulties in completing this self-assigned task, but eventually accomplishes it. This reminds me of the persistence each of the characters in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night possess. Persistence is a common theme in Twelfth Night, as the characters perservere endlessly until gaining the love they seek. I observed while reading the play that while perseverance is typically a positive thing, it can it can sometimes have adverse effects on people when practiced in excess. For example, in the movie, Julie becomes very distressed and often emotional in pursuit of achieving her goal, just as Olivia and Antonio experience moments of distress and instability in their pursuits of Cesario and Sebastian, respectively. I also couldn't help but be reminded of our weekly blog entries during the film, as the character Julie's maintaining a blog was a major plot line.
     The most interesting thing about this class was our class discussions. I loved the dynamic of the professor asking thought provoking questions, and then our contributing incredibly interesting thoughts and responses. I learned a lot about my classmates, and I appreciated that the questions and discussions were not simply related to the text but also were concerned with our Jesuit education and other valuable life concepts and lessons. I liked how comfortable the class became as the semester progressed, and definitely feel as though I learned alot from this class.

Service Analysis 11/29

            Last Monday, I had the privilege to continue my service learning at Northeast Middle with such enthusiastic, joyful children.  I was able to assist the young girls and boys do some arts and crafts that taught them the valuable lessons of dealing with conflicts by trying to find good resolutions to solve them.  After arts and crafts, it was time for the students to start their homework, and I thoroughly enjoyed helping them with their history homework because that is my intended major for college.  I appreciate how cooperative and kind these children are, and I always make it my priority to treat them with respect and kindness, so that they know that they can ask me for assistance in anything with which they have difficulty.  This whole experience has been completely rewarding for me, and it further exemplifies how I strongly desire to become a teacher and make an impact on so many people.          
            The play Twelfth Night by Shakespeare coincides with my service learning with respect to the fact that I should never pretend to be someone or something else that I am not.  For me honesty must always be the best policy because I should always be truthful towards the students with whom I interact.  In contrast, two characters in this Shakespearean play chose to live their lives with constant lying and deceit.  Viola and Malvolio chose to go down precarious paths that caused complete chaos and confusion when they disguised themselves from their true, distinct identities.  Viola had just survived a shipwreck when she finally arrived at Illyria.  She doesn’t know what to do with her life, so she finally decides to disguise herself and her social status in order to serve the noblewoman Olivia, but after learning that Olivia isn’t seeing any visitors, she decides to work for Duke Orsino as his servant by disguising herself as a male.  Immediately, Viola who now is referred to as Cesario, her male counterpart, earns a trusted position in the Duke’s heart, and has to try to persuade Olivia to finally accept the Duke’s endless pursuits.  She proves her loyalty and genuine love because Viola is actually in love with the Duke herself, yet she is still willing to do this favor for him.  After meeting with Olivia, Viola recognizes that Olivia is in love with her much to her chagrin. 
To contribute to the chaos, Viola’s twin brother Sebastian, who was also shipwrecked on the same ship as Viola, arrives at Illyria and finds himself at Olivia’s house where he is mistaken for Cesario.  Olivia proposes to him, and Sebastian obliges because her beauty enraptures him.  When Viola comes to Olivia’s with the Duke, Sebastian shows up and every character is astonished by their similarities.  Viola confesses her identity, and the Duke proposes to her.  Even though Viola ended up fine from her lies and deceit, the trouble she caused was unfair for the other characters in the play.  Malvolio also used a disguise, but with a cruel, unkind agenda.  He is an uptight steward from Olivia’s house, and through scolding Maria, Olivia’s maid, about not keeping Olivia’s drunk uncle in check, he is deceived with a letter forged by Maria that he thinks is written by Olivia.  This letter tells him that he must wear a crazy outfit, be rude to everyone, and smile constantly, which are all things that Olivia detests, all this in order to gain her adoration.  The motivation for Malvolio is completely for greed and the power attained by marrying Olivia.  He is willing to distort himself to pursue his own desires, while not caring about how he presents himself to others. 
            After reading Twelfth Night, I have seen how putting on a disguise and straying away from your own identity can cause conflicts to arise.  It is imperative that I stay true to myself regardless of any circumstances or opinions from others.  By becoming a teacher, I will have to show that I consistently maintain my identity despite influences in today’s society.  My students must learn to be honest with themselves and those they interact with because deceiving others for personal gains can lead to negative outcomes and issues in the future.  The most surprising and interesting thing I learned in connection with this class was how the movie She’s the Man was loosely based on this play.  I was enabled to make the characters come to life from watching the movie.