Please go on this link to see my infographic about a comparison between the effectiveness of film vs. text in creating good characters.
Before I start, I would like to clarify that I am looking and writing with a modern perspective. At the time in Italy, things may have been different, and so one may arrive at a conclusion different from my own.
It has become a subject of debate whether Romeo and Juliet’s love in William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is shallow puppy love carried out by teenage children. I have been reading the play in English and in my understanding, the two’s love is a bit more than short passion, but not much more. It cannot be denied that both Romeo and Juliet love from a physical point. That can be seen in Romeo’s change from his description of Rosaline that “beauty starved with her severity cuts beauty off from all posterity. She is too fair…” to his exclamation that “I have forgot [Rosaline]… my heart’s dear love is set on the fair daughter of rich Capulet” (25, 103). Romeo solely focuses his love, or desires, on appearance, so when someone fairer than the one he loves shows herself, Romeo ditches his old love immediately. We can see from here that Romeo have a rather immature view on love, and he “love by rote, that could not spell” (105). Juliet, on the other hand, is much less impulsive and naive, but in modern standards, she loves too fast and without deeper thought. This can be seen in how she is shaken when the news of Romeo killing Tybalt comes, wondering how can “[a] book containing such vile matter [ever be] so fairly bound” (163). The fact that Juliet just comes to realize what kind of person her husband is after the wedding is quite alarming, likely leading to an unhappy marriage after the physical attractions fade away with age. The reason I don’t classify this affair as simple puppy love is because the two aren’t just loving for fun, like so many teenage kids; they are prepared to live their entire lives together, united in marriage. The intense passion made them oblivious to the other’s shortcomings, classifying the relationship as one that is not well thought out, but the extent of their love goes a long ways beyond physical lust and attraction.
When considering whether Romeo and Juliet are children or not regarding the conventions then, we can assume that they are viewed as adults. Romeo and Juliet was written between 1591 and 1595, originating from The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet written in 1562. The story likely took place during or slightly before that period. In medieval England, children at the age of twelve will often find themselves given the responsibilities of adults with adult-like consequences (academia.edu). Jobs like rock scarers (restaurant dishwashers) or shepherds in Montaillo, France are given to young boys at the age of twelve. The fact that both Romeo and Juliet are in noble households mean that they don’t have to work, but they are both of age to marry as to the customs. It is not often that children under the age of fourteen are married in medieval England, but around 8 % of the children documented are married at that age. The conditions should be similar in Verona, Italy, so the two lovers are both adults in their society. I wasn’t able to find whether “for most of the history of mankind, at 14 years of age human beings were considered to be adults” as claimed by Kulich in her article, but her central idea that Romeo and Juliet are adults is right.
I have quite a big list of struggles during ZIP, even though I am not good at assembling lists. Here are a few:
In the past weeks, I have found that it is very hard for me to brainstorm a big list of items. I was trying to do a prereading list of the benefits of text vs. visual presentation in terms their ability to present characters. I got to around 5 for each, but can’t get any further no matter how hard I tried. Later on, in a similar exercise, I could concentrate for the first 10 minutes or so, but I lost my focus soon after. Even then, since it is on my mind, during the day I will sometimes get an idea that I will forget before I can write it down. A few cycle of that drives me crazy. So I began carrying a notepad at home, which helped a lot.
I also found that it is very hard to analyze too many works, so I will just focus on one piece. I have watched the movie and read the book both twice, and I will create an infographic later.
That said, I realized that infographics are very hard to create on a slow computer. My usual browser, Opera, is incompatible with canva, the design website I am using, and on top of that, using Firebox often crashes my computer for whatever reason. Even with Chrome, I have to slowly carry out any operation or else the browser freezes and doesn’t respond. So I will still try to create as many as I need, but I may replace some of them with mind maps or other things.
I am going to talk about our in-class focus block for the past week. On Monday, I spent that entire block watching and finishing the Ender’s Game movie. I didn’t take notes because I will probably watch it again, and also because I just want to get an overall impression without missing anything while taking notes. On my second work block on Friday, I brainstormed what the second piece of literature I am going to analyze is, as well as made some notes on the movie. I used just my memory of the movie to write down the “big idea” of the movie; the key differences between the movie and the book. This is focused on the movie, so I won’t present much in terms of solid compare and contrast. I also did a bit of organizing for my binder, since the rings opened in my backpack and the pages all fell out. It was another productive block…
Here is an interesting quote that I found while researching:
“I cried when I saw [the movie]. I said, ‘Oh, God, what have they done?'”
– P.L.Travers (Mary Poppins)
At this point in my project, I have realized that my initial plan is way too ambitious. I could still complete it, but it would require a lot of effort during the break, which I prefer to spend relaxing. I made a new calendar, attached in image below.
Changes: I am going to scratch the compare and contrast essay for a couple of mind maps/infographics. There should be one pre-reading guess, two after reading comparisons, and one master comparison. I could do compare and contrast notes still, but no specific notes for each one. I am also going to change the second novel vs. film comparison to maybe a short story vs. short film comparison (I still need to find it, recommendations accepted).
The biographical novel sets out to document this truth, for character is plot, character development is action, and character fulfillment is resolution.
Last Friday was a ZIP work block and a not so productive one at that. I knew my inquiry question, and I was starting to read my first book. However, I couldn’t concentrate amid all the noises that crept up during the block. After 20 or so minutes and only finishing the prologue, I gave up and started to do some research. It might be bad luck, it might be just research skills, but I couldn’t find a website that has comprehensive information about PEE (PQS) or character building (list of key points to a successful character). Having no extensive knowledge, I spent the rest of the block, a short chunk of time, brainstorming what makes a good character.
The moral of this story is that we shouldn’t expect to find everything online. Something that is easy enough to do on our own should really be done on pen and paper. This way, we also have a more thorough understanding of the information.
For my next ZIP focus block, I will try to use different strategies such as going to a quieter corner/ library, listening to music (immerse myself in my own world), or doing things that don’t require as much focus (taking notes or brainstorming some more, perhaps). One goal to set might be to finish the first third of the book, or in case that is not working, finalize a list of character traits and create an outline where I can fill out book and movie analysis.
The area that I want to focus on for this ZIP project is character development and characterization in different medias. Characters are at the heart of any story (without them nothing will be happening!), and they have the power to move readers through connections. The effective characterization of characters is something that may indicate a good story, whether conveyed through books or other mediums. It raises the question, then, of:
What are the criterias for a successful character in stories, and how does different media (film, book) differ in their ability to develop successful characters?
I hope to get out of this project a thorough understanding of the elements in creating an intriguing story through vivid characters, as well as the knowledge of how written and visual works differ in their ability affect the audience and convey meaning. I will also have acquired more analytical skill in literature. I plan on reading at least 2-3 titles.
I cannot say that I am a seasoned reader and movie critic, but I love reading and know how to use various strategies to aid in my reading. I also have access to a lot of movies, since we have many subscriptions to various services, so it will be easier for me to find movie adaptations. I may need the librarian to recommend to me good books, focusing on character, with film adaptations.
I am not exactly sure right now, but I think I will demonstrate my learning by doing a presentation (more likely), or by writing a compare and contrast essay. I probably have to write something during the course of the project, but I don’t want to make that my final, simply because I will probably have to do another ZIP on essay writing.
Below is a rough draft of my plan: (subject to change)
- Dec 8-13: background research, select the first book and finish reading. Write character notes, analysis
- Dec 13-15: watch film/others and collect notes (compare/contrast)
- Dec 16-18: select second book and finish reading
- Dec 19: watch film, notes
- Dec 20-22: presentation/final project
- Do a lot of things early on in life like joining conferences and clubs to explore your interests. Identify why you loved the the things that you love, and find jobs that you believe would need those skill sets.
- Communication skills is one of the most important things that you could have for almost any job. It is also a transferable to any career, so you will never miss your shot even if you changed fields.
- Try and find a mentor when you are new to the job. A good mentor will help you through the challenges and teach you the basics until you can go off and mentor others. You can gain a edge over others this way, and also adapt into your position better.
The film “2081” was a better medium for the story of Harrison Bergeron. This is mostly due to the fact that it is much more realistic and occur in settings that we can relate to. When reading the short story, “Harrison Bergeron”, we are not inclined to take the story and understand or apply it in our world because of the fantasy-like descriptions of Harrison. Instances like him carrying three hundred pounds, flying and “[abandoning] the law of gravity and the laws of motion,” decreased the effectiveness of the satire by stripping away connections to the real world. As readers, we create meaning both though the text and our previous experiences, so if we can’t make any obvious connections when reading, we take away less from the story. Besides that, the film conveys messages to us through imagery and sound. Harrison is seen with long hair, in a white suit carrying his handicaps on his shoulders. It is a familiar allusion to Jesus, who died for the redemption of his people, hinting that Harrison may be the only savior of his world. On the same level, sound was also used to the story’s advantage. We know that Hazel unconsciously hums the song that played during Harrison’s confrontation with the HG men. It makes us wonder whether she really remember Harrison’s tragic death. These kinds of references are never found in the short story, and they invite us to probe deeper into the tale. The film helps us know more of Harrison, George and even Hazel’s wants and fears, making it a superior medium for the short satire.
Sorry, I thought I posted it, but actually not. I found out when showing it to others at lunch on Tuesday.
The these in David Suzuki ‘s “Racism”, told through scientific discoveries as well as personal anecdotes, is that we should always stand up to bigotry. He states that we are otherwise tacitly supporting it, and soon, it will be our turn too if the practice of racism is not stopped. As a geneticist, Suzuki uncovered the ugly misconception behind racial discrimination, that for example, it was thought that all Japanese people hide treachery because of an action taken by a nation that Nisei and Sansei have never seen. Suzuki himself “[has] always been keen to inform people and raise the alarm about misapplication of the rules of hereditary”, and it may have changed someone as profoundly as the acts of kindness that he received from the Chinese cook or the RCMP (20). Bigotry is still in our lives today, even in this ideal world. In the news, we hear of stories of people being harassed for their ethnicity, and in schools, stereotypes restrict our potentials. Even as youths who doesn’t seem to hold a lot of say, Suzuki urges his grandsons and the readers to speak up about bigotry, because the cycle just might stop in our generation. It is when bigotry is the norm that it prevails. By stopping the “[people with] closed minds, ignorance, and fear of difference,” as Suzuki summed up, we can bring awareness to those who rejects or are oblivious of the past, to make them understand the damage it deals, and the fallacy of its origins (30).