Thursday, March 31, 2011

Essay on Alexander the Great Biography

Alexander the Great Essay Sample

The ancient world was full of great thinkers. They led the way in knowledge, politics, and with their strategies on the battlefield. Alexander of Macedon’s father gave his son a strong foundation for strategics. When Alexander the Great was born into the world, it was forever changed by his conquering ambitions.

Alexander had unusual parents. Alexander’s parents were Philip of Macedon and Olympias of Epirus(Stewart 16). They were passionate people. Olympias was extremely stubborn and involved in the cults of Dionysus (Popovic). She was very superstitious. Olympias had a dream that her womb was struck by lightening, while Philip had a dream that he was sealing Olympias womb with a lion seal (Popovic). They took these dreams as good omens.

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Alexander was born in Macedon. He was born in Pella in late July of 356 B.C.(Popovic). His father was away at war when he received three good messages. They had won a very important battle, one of his horses won first at the Olympics, and he had a strong, healthy son (Stewart 18). Alexander did not have an extremely joyful childhood. His father was always away at war and had numerous mistresses (Stewart 18). His parents later on in their marriage became estranged and quarrelsome. His mother implanted in Alexander a bad image of his father ( Stewart 18).

As a young child Alex strived to be better than the rest. At the age of twelve a strong, fearless Alexander tamed his lifelong companion, Bucephalus, a horse no one else dare ride (Popovic). Alexander was more ambitious that his father: he was even desperate when he heard of his father’s conquests: ”My father will get ahead of me in everything, and will leave nothing great for me to do” (Popovic). Alexander believed greatly in literature and being educated . He loved works by Homer and knew The Iliad by memory. He always slept with a copy of it under his pillow (Popovic). Alex had numerous teachers and was taught in many different areas. His first teacher was Leonidas, who taught him equality and to live simply (Popovic). He was replaced by Lysimaschus, who taught Alexander to play the lyre and have a deep appreciation for the arts (Popovic). Alexander’s most revered and inspirational teacher was, however yet to come. In 343 B.C. Aristotle starting teaching Alexander and other royal boys in arts, sciences, and in the sword. “Aristotle who conquered the world with thought, was the teacher of Alexander who conquered the world with the sword” (Popovic).

Alexander was in high military positions at extremely young ages. At the age of sixteen he was in charge of the royal seal of Macedon while his father was away at war (Popovic). Alexander encountered his first battle while in charge with rebellious Maedi, a Thrachian tribe (Popovic) Alexander drove out the tribe and created a colony and a city named Alexandropolis (Popovic). Philip was extremely proud of his son for his first success. Philip declared war on Persia. In 336 B.C. Philip sent 10,000 men into Asia Minor to conquer the coastal cities (Popovic). Philip was assassinated during his daughter’s wedding celebration at Ege by his officer, Pausanias, in July of 336. Alexander was immediately declared King of Macedon, although he was only twenty years old. There were other people in line for the throne, but since Alex had the loyalty of the army he was the strongest candidate (Popovic). Alexander was only half Macedonian. Alexander executed everyone affiliated with his father’s murder, and kill those who might be in the way of him being king including his last wife Cleopatra and newborn baby (Popovic). Some said that the assassin was bribed by the Persian King, Darius (Williams).

Alexander was inexperienced however, but he held up very well in battle and was an extraordinary leader. Unlike other armies Alexander’s army had only one uniform (Williams). He treated his officers extremely well and he had mercenaries come and help his officers drill his army in new techniques. His army was always prepared and drilled (Williams). Everyone in Alexander the Great’s army had a purpose and they fulfilled it eagerly. His army was very content and controlled. Alexander was gracious to his troops. He scheduled sporting events in which he personally provided prizes for the winners and also showed plays and concerts (Williams). Alexander was a compassionate person to people who deserved it . He personally went around hospital tents and raised injured men’s spirits’(Williams). He was hard when it came down to loyalty and respect. However, if someone in his army betrayed Alexander he was cold hearted and ruthless (Williams)!

Alexander the Great’s army was very diverse. Alexander’s army had men from every province he controlled or with who he was allied. He had men from Macedon, Thessalia, Thrace, Athens, and Greek city states (Williams). Alexander divided his army unusually. He divided them up by the weapons they used. Each unit was sent into battle to do different things. They had javelins, bows and arrows, swords, some calvary, spear, chariots, and extremely heavy armor (Williams).

Alexander made advancements in weapons as well as strategies. He had long spears that spanned from twelve to twenty feet in length. When they were held up right, they hid what was
happening behind them and when held horizontally it was easier to kill the enemy in a safe range (Williams).

He had many meetings with officers. In the Fall of 337 B.C. there was a meeting of the League of Corinth, that ratified Alexander’s crusade into Persia. Alexander marched into Thebes when he was 21. In his first battle as king he defeated a tribe of Thracians. In early spring 335 B.C. Alexander went to deal with political problems in Thrace and Illyria (Williams) .Alexander fought many battles. In 334 B.C. Alexander decided on conquering Halicarnassus because it was capital of the Persian Empire and there were a few important people stationed there. Commander Ephialtes, Memnon, the supreme commander of Darius’s”(King of Persia) ,and Orontobates, Darius’ son- in- law were in Halicarnassuss and if they were disposed of it would be good for Alexander. However not every siege is easy. Halicarnassus was well defended and prepared for an attack. There were many towers ,war engines and a enormous trench surrounding the city (Williams). In 334 B.C., Alexander subdued the hill tribes of Lycia and Pisidia . At the battle of Issus, Alexander brought down Darius army. Darius left like a coward and retreated. Alexander took good care of his wife and family . Alexander, being the ambitious person he was, still went after Darius III. Alexander had more troops than Darius at the battle of Gaugamela and Arbella, therefore, Darius’ own nobles killed him, making Alexander King of all Asia . Alexander was a very persistent person. Alexander attacked Tyre, an island, with a strong navy and walls. It had been attacked before from boats. Alexander created a peninsula where an island had been (Williams). Egypt was a land of mystery and enchantment. Alexander delivered it from Persian rule and the people welcomed him as their deliverer and patron (Worldbook 342).

Alexander was a bigger than real life kind of person. He founded Alexandria . He was pronounced son of God by the oracle of Zues-Amon . Alexander was found dead from malaria and fever (Williams). Alexander affected our world by creating a truly loyal army and following. He perfected new battle formations such as the phalanx (Williams). He gave people hope and something to believe in. He grew from a soldier to a king, to a pharaoh, to a God (Williams). He connected people of all origins, backgrounds, races, and genders. They were connected through their love for him. He plowed through nations and people loved him for it. The world has never been the same since Alexander the Great died. “

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Essay on Alienation

Essay on Alienation

In all of the pictures and stories and the movie we were exposed to in this unit alienation was the key to making them impact the way that they made you think. Especially in “Do the Right Thing” the alienation was ever present. Alienation shapes the way we live, think, and exist as human beings.

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In all of the stories we read, the main character or idea was impacted greatly by the alienation that they faced. The one that stuck with me the most was “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost. When I was reading about how his neighbor used a wall to alienate himself from the people surrounding him I couldn’t believe that he would actually like it. Especially when he said, “a good wall makes a good neighbor”. I thought about that statement for a long time trying to figure out what he was thinking about. It occurred to me that he just didn’t agree with things being blown or tossed into his yard by the people surrounding him, but ten I thought a little bit deeper into the issue. I thought about his mindset and what could posses him to create such a barrier. Then I thought that maybe in the area of the world that he was living in, solitude was part of the upside. Maybe he was living there just to get away from the outside world. He could have been a writer or an artist and not wanted anyone interrupting his thought process. It’s not like he was completely anti-social because he seemed cordial enough when he would talk to his neighbor when they would repair their wall every spring. That is the only way I could make sense of the fact that this man was alienating himself from everyone in the outside world and thus changing the way that he exists as a human being.

The pictures were a little bit more in depth. There were so many that we went through that it was hard to get a structured, single idea that they were all painting or taking pictures about. I came to the conclusion that all of the art work we looked at were about some emotional feeling that the artists had. They all seemed to be rather dark and almost manic depressive. They all contained alienation unlike “Mending Wall”. I feel that this is more of a way for the artist to express what their minds think about their own existence. Maybe they felt alienated because they were different or had something tragic happen in their lives. The somber moods of these pieces of art were a very vivid, and sometimes creepy, expression of how the artist’s minds think.

In the movie “Do the Right Thing” the alienation factor had levels. There were the people that thought they were being alienated by someone and then the people that were alienating other people and also the people that were alienating themselves. Often throughout the movie I noticed that sometimes the people that thought they were being alienated by someone else ended up alienating others themselves. The plot thickened when Bug Out wanted pictures of black people up on the wall of an Italian restaurant which was owned by Italian Americans who would rather just keep to themselves and not get involved in the racial issues of the time. When it eventually escalates into a full scale riot I realized what the title was really about. When everyone in the neighborhood was standing outside the restaurant everything could have ended by one person doing the right thing. Someone could have stood up and said that it wasn’t the owners fault that Radio had died and then it would have all been over. But no one could find it in their soul to stand up and fight the mob mentality. These people’s existence as human beings was changed and twisted by the alienation that they felt.

Overall I liked this unit and I learned a lot of things about life and how different people deal with different things. Alienation is one of the worst feelings you can have if it’s forced upon you, or maybe it’s what you desire and hope for. Either way it makes you feel alone and separated from the outside world. This feeling can change your life, thinking and overall existence as a human being.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Descriptive Essay on Wedding

Essay on Wedding Ceremony

I had the chance to attend a Catholic wedding at St. Mary’s Catholic church. I jumped on it! It was something I had never experienced before. Although it was not the same as a traditional Baptist wedding I am used to, I did not witness anything that freaked me out as did some other churches in this town.

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When I arrived at the church, I quickly found a seat midway back. The sanctuary was nothing like what I was used to. It was dark and everyone was extremely quiet. It looked just like what I saw on the Sister Act movies. However, there were no nuns running around. If it was not for the obvious wedding decorations, I would have thought I was at a funeral.

When the wedding started, a woman began playing the organ. The bride walked down the aisle to the usual “Here Comes the Bride” music. They participated in pretty much the same wedding traditions as my Baptist faith. However, they threw in quite a few more rituals that made them service last forever. At least it felt like forever. I was not quite sure what they were doing, not could I see very good. Because of this, I decided to research Catholic wedding ceremonies.

The Catholic Church identifies marriage as a sacrament, a sacred encounter between God and his People. The sacrament of marriage views the love between husband and wife as a gift from God. In turn, the love of husband and wife becomes a living sign of Christ's existence and love in the Christian Community. A couple united in the sacrament of marriage lives that sacrament by loving God and practicing their faith. They live the sacrament by the love they have for each other and the unselfish ways they permit that love to mature. They live the sacrament by being open to the gift of children. This is their reason for no birth control.

There are certain requirements that must be met before a man and woman may be united in marriage, according to the Catholic faith. Catholics impending the sacrament of marriage must believe in Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. They are expected to live out their faith through regular attendance at Sunday Eucharist. They are also expected to like a Christian life. If both man and woman are practicing Catholics, they are expected to both be registered members of his or her parish. If one of the partners of the marriage is not Catholic, they must agree to allow the Catholic partner to continue in the practice of his or her Catholic faith. A Catholic approaching the sacrament of marriage should have an excellent understanding of the teachings of the Catholic Church. A non-Catholic partner in marriage is expected to study and learn the fundamental teachings of the Church. Catholics approaching the marriage should understand the meaning of marriage as a sacrament. They must be ready to allow for the vocation of marriage and be open to accepting God's gift of children. They should also recognize that the Church asks that all children be baptized and raised in Christian faith. Each partner must also be at least 18 years of age.

Pre-marital counseling is required and must take place before the priest will perform the marriage. Each person is required to show, in writing, proof of baptism. The marriage license is to be presented to the priest during the rehearsal. The priest plays a major role in the planning of the wedding. Most priests also request that the Mass should be included as part of the marriage ceremony. This is one reason why the length of a Catholic marriage is extremely long.

I really enjoyed attending a Catholic wedding. After researching the practice of marriage in the Catholic church, I have come to the conclusion that it is good to have the priest actively involved in preparing each man and woman for marriage.

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Essay on Hell

Essay on Hell

When someone commits a sin on earth, they are punished for it in the afterlife. The amount of suffering one must take is based on the gravity of the sin. The sin and the punishment must balance out. God created hell out of the concern for justice. According to Dante's Inferno we either have eternal punishment, which is Hell, or a lesser punishment called Purgatory. The poet Dante has lost his way on the "true path" and has to pass through these places in order to free himself of the temptations to sin and reach God's city, Heaven. A great Roman poet, Virgil, offers to serve as Dante's guide.

When Dante enters the gates of Hell he hears cries of torment. Virgil tells him that these are the cries of the people who were never dedicated to good or evil. They never really made moral choices. Heaven or Hell will not except them. Instead they are in the Ante-Inferno where they must chase a blank banner, and are attacked by flies and wasps, and worms consume their blood and tears. The neutral angels, the ones that did not side with God or Satan in the war in Heaven, join them here. There is a balance between the sin and the punishment. People who did not commit to good or evil are now being denied exceptance. If they did not chose one over the other then good and evil will not chose them. Since the souls could not act one way or the other on earth the flies and wasps sting them into action. Chasing the blank banner symbolizes their meaninglessness of activity on earth.

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In the first cirle of Hell, Limbo, there are souls who were born before the start of christianity or were never babtised. These souls are here because they could not properly honor God and there punishment is to learn of the God they were so ignorant to while on Earth.This punishment does seem balanced but it shows no sympathy.

The second circle of Hell has constant rain and winds that tear through the air. The souls that reside here are the lustful. The ones that commited sins of the flesh. Their souls are helplessly swirled about in the wind. They were damned by love.They were stimulated by flesh on Earth and now the wind is continually stimulating their nerves. They also lie in the dark where most of the acts of lust were taken place. Finally because they could not restrain from the internal tempests of their emotions then the external tempests, the wind, coerce their souls.

In the third circle of Hell the Gluttonous must lie on the ground as the sewage rains on them. They had an obsession of bodily pleasure. They excessively pleasured themselves so now they must lie in an overabundace of waste, the product of their greedy consumption.

A ditch was formed around the fourth circle of Hell creating a ring. Within this ring there are two groups of souls that push weights in anger and pain. Each group will complete a semicirle until they run into the other group then they turn around and proceed in the opposite direction. These souls are the Prodigal and Avaricious, the ones that were greedy for money. The two group of souls are different so that is why they go in opposite directions but they were both imprudent with money and material goods hence the reason why they are both in the ring of the fourth circle.

The Heretics belong in the sixth circle, which is located in the lower Hell. Heretics have unconventional beliefs.There are tombs here that glow with fiercely hot flames. The souls are tortured with psychological suffering. Heretics can only see distant things. They can predict the future but are ignorant of current events. The heretics believed in the overall beliefs of Heaven and Hell, so they are allowed to know the future but they did not believe in the whole christian belief, therefore they are not allowed to know what is currently happening.

The seventh circle of Hell belongs to the violent which is divided into three smaller circles.

One is for the souls who were violent to their neighbors, the second is for the ones that were violent to themselves and finally the third is for the ones that brought violence towards God.

Here there is an awful stench. The ones who brought violence to their neighbors are boiled in a river of blood. Centaurs stand on the bank with bows and arrows and shoot at the souls who try to raise themselves out of the river to a height too pleasant for the gravity of their sin. The souls that were most violent lie deeper in the river. The blood that the souls are boiled in represents how much they lusted for it on Earth. For example the ones that only killed one man have only their legs in the boiling blood but the ones who have killed many stand with their heads covered
with the blood. The second ring of the seventh cirle have the souls that brought violence to themselves. The souls are transformed into trees and Harpies wound the tree branches to cause the same pain as dismemberment, the same pain they put on themselves.When the time comes for all the souls to retrieve their bodies, these souls will not fully reunite with them because they left their bodies willingly. Instead their bodies will be hung on their branches so the souls can forever see and feel the body that they rejected in life. Their punishment is getting their wish of escaping their body but not after they realize the error in it. The third ring,which is reserved for the ones that were violent against God, includes three zones. The rain of fire is in all three. The first zone is for the Blasphemers who disrespected God. They lie on a bank of sand and the falling flakes of fire keep the sand hot and ensures that the souls are burned at the top and bottom. The second zone is for the Somodites, the ones who brought harm to nature. These souls must walk continually under the rain of fire. The final zone is for the ones that were violent against art. They must sit underneath the rain of fire with purses around their necks that hold the respected family emblems. Within these three zones all who sin against God merits full punishment.

The eighth circle of Hell is known as malebolge, which means evil pouches. The circle has a wall running along the outside and has a circular pit at its center; ten evenly spaced ridges run between the wall and the pit. These ridges create ten separate pits, or pouches, in which the sinners of the various forms of fraud receive their punishments. The first pouch has the souls running from one side to the other. When the souls are in reach, Demons will use whips to scourge them making them go back to the other side. This pouch is for the panders and seducers.

The panders and seducers in life moved women from one buyer to the next. So now they run from one demon whip to another. In the second pouch the flatterers are thrown in a ditch filled with human excrement. Flatterers are "full of it" and now lie in a ditch that is full of excrement.

The third pouch punishes the simoniacs. Their heads are stuck in pits with only their feet showing. Flames burn at their feet while their souls squirm in the pits. They could not restrain from the temptation of earthly wealth, such as gold and silver, so now they are buried in the earth headfirst. The fourth pouch is for the ones who used unholy powers to look ahead in life, such as magicians. Now they trudge slowly along with their necks twisted so that their tears of pain will fall on their buttocks. Since these souls wanted to see the future by using unholy powers they are now condemned to look backwards for all time. The fifth pouch contains the barterers, the ones that accept bribes. There is a great pit filled with boiling tar. When the souls try to get a breath of air from the pit the Malabranche, meaning "evil claws," thrust the souls back down with their prongs. The hypocrites belong to the sixth pouch. They are clothed in hats, capes, and cowls.

Lead lines their garments making them very heavy. Caiphus called for Christ's crucifixion, proving him to be a hypocrite because he preached prudence but did not show it. Now he himself lies crucified and because his actions contributed to the suffering of one for the sins of many, he now wears the weight of all of the other lead wearing Hypocrites. In the seventh pouch there are naked theives who are chased by serpents and coiled snakes bind their hands and feet.Some are bitten and their souls burned and their souls rise from the ashes and return to the serpents.Some souls can become on with the serpent if the serpent wraps around tight enough. Sometimes they even reverse forms. The theives were like snakes to us on Earth so they are now being tortured by their own snakes. The eighth pouch has numerous flames flickering in a deep dark valley. Each flame contains a soul. The people here who committed fraud to help their homeland are now retained in a flame because they still retain their love for their homeland after death. The ninth pouch are for the sowers of scandal and schism and for their sins of division they themselves are split apart.Souls cirlce continuously while a Devil stand at on end of the circle with a sword splitting the sinners as they walk by. As they follow the cirlce around their wounds close up so they are whole by the time they get back around to the sword. The tenth pouch is for the falsifiers and is divided into four zones. The first zone holds the falsifiers of metal. Souls are huddled into heaps and layed out on the ground, they are covered with scabs and scratch at them incessantly.

The second zone is the falsifiers of others' persons. Here the souls tear at each other with their teeth. The third zone contains the falsifiers of coins. These souls often mingle with the souls of the second zone. The fourth zone is for the falsifiers of words or lies. The ninth circle of hell belongs to the traitors. Here they spend eternity in a lake frozen to their heads. The first ring of the ninth circle is called Caina where traitors to their kin receive their punishment. An example is two frozen twins butting their heads against each other in rage.They are bound to fight one another as they did on earth. The second ring Antenora contains the souls that betrayed their homeland or party. The third ring is called Ptolomea which houses those who betray their guests.The souls here lie on their backs in the frozen lake with only their faces poking out of the ice. They are like the welcomers. Something they should have been to their guests. The fourth ring, called Judecca, hold the traitors of their benefactors. The sinners are completely covered in ice and some in contorted positions. Also in the fourth ring Lucifer holds the three greatest sinners in human history in his mouths, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ, and Brutus and Cassius, who murdered Julius Caesar in the Roman Senate. The mouths chew the traitors to peices but never kills them.

The further Dante got in Hell the more severe the punishments were. This is an example of the perfection of God's justice. The worse you sin the worse your punishment will be. The punishment is more of a scientific formula where you have to calculate how bad the sin is to determine the punishment.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Essay on Hawaii

Essay on Hawaii

One of my most fond memories was the trip I took to Hawaii with my family. It was both my graduation and 18th birthday present. While I was there, I saw beautiful sunrises and sunsets, lovely beaches, and I got to snorkel off the coast of the Big Island and Lanai. There were also some drawbacks, one being the long plane ride. We flew from Lincoln to St. Louis and then took an eight hour non-stop flight to Hawaii. The other drawback was my height. I am 6’ 7” tall. On the way over I had an exit row seat so I had enough room to stretch my legs. On the way back I was stuck in the middle of a row and had to sit upright the entire time. Overall, the trip was very beautiful and memorable.

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When we first arrived in Hawaii we stayed at a beautiful place called the Kanaloa at Kona. It was right on the ocean so we had a beautiful view of the ocean from our balcony. We also soon discovered that we were sharing our place with some little green geckos, which were everywhere inside and outside of our condo. My brother got one to crawl on his hand. On the first day we drove to the Place of Refuge where we found a lot of sea turtles that were on the beach and swimming around in the ocean. There were also totems at the Place of Refuge which were made by the ancient Hawaiian people.

I also learned to snorkel at the Place of Refuge and snorkeling soon became my favorite thing to do in Hawaii. The ocean there was a clear blue green and the coral and underwater life was amazing to watch as you floated above it. The sensation is like you’re flying because the bottom could be thirty or forty feet down. While snorkeling, several brightly colored fish swam right up to me. I also spotted a moray eel that was hiding in the rocks and coral at the bottom. Several sea turtles also swam around us. I could see huge schools of bright yellow tangs and other really large fish but I thank God that I didn’t see any big sharks while I was swimming or snorkeling.

Hawaii has many beautiful beaches and panoramic views of the ocean. One of the most beautiful was Hapuna Beach where we did some sunbathing and swimming. We also tried bodysurfing which is fun but can be very dangerous even if you are not careful. Although the sea is very beautiful, it is also unpredictable and can be very dangerous. The waves wash into shore at different intervals and heights, so they can knock you down or drag you out if you don’t keep an eye on it. If you aren’t careful while bodysurfing, you can at the least get a suit full of sand or a sand burn on your back or at the worst you could break your neck if you get slammed against the beach. It was really fun despite the risk and how nervous it made my mom.

The islands of Hawaii were made from erupting volcanoes and some are still active. While on the Big Island we visited an active volcano. The lava fields there were created when hot lava cooled on the way to the ocean and they either dried smooth or formed into jagged black rocks. At one field near Kalapana the road ended where the lava had flowed over it and hardened. The people who lived in a village near there had to relocate after the hot lava destroyed their homes. We drove through Volcanoes State Park and hiked through the rain forest and the Thurstein Lava Tube. We tried to hike to where the red, hot lava enters the sea but the weather turned rainy and windy and we had to turn back.

Hawaii’s beaches come in many colors. The sand can be white, yellow, pink, gray, green, or black. Black beaches were made from the ocean waves pounding lava into small, smooth pebbles. One of the black beaches on the Big Island is the nesting area for the green sea turtle. Tourists stop in big tour buses to see the black beach and to take pictures of the turtles. The turtles don’t seem to mind and the locals have set up small shops to sell food, jewelry, and t-shirts.

Hawaii also has wonderful forests and spectacular waterfalls. One of these waterfalls is located at Akaka Falls State Park, which reminded me of a rain forest because of the massive amount of green ferns and lush vegetation and very tall bamboo trees. Big Kahuna Falls was something to behold after we hiked through the forest on a narrow path. It was hidden across a huge gorge. The water emerged from the forest and fell about a hundred feet straight down. With the great weather, lush vegetation, and beautiful scenery Hawaii is as close to paradise as most people get in their lifetime.

After we spent a week on the Big Island, my family and I took a quick plane ride over to Maui. Maui attracts a lot more tourists than the Big Island. Maui also has a lot of great beaches where we spent a lot of time. At one of these beaches I was buried in the sand and my brother and I did more bodysurfing. The waves were much higher which made it a lot of fun.

While on Maui we drove the infamous “Road to Hana”. All the shops sell t-shirts that say “I survived the Road to Hana”. I can see why, the curves were enough to make most people carsick. That two lane road had over 100 turns or switchbacks as it followed the ocean through a rain forest around half the island. Locals from Hana actually drive this road each day to go to work in bigger towns. The scenery was gorgeous. There were dozens of waterfalls along the way and lots of pullouts so that the tourists could take pictures. At a couple of the stops we saw people jumping off waterfalls into the ponds below. Most people only drive to Hana, turn around, and repeat the trip in reverse. The road does go all the way around the island, but the rental car agencies don’t recommend you take it. We did and found only one really narrow rough spot. We got to see the dry side of the island. It looked more like the range land of eastern Colorado than Hawaii.

Maui has a lot of narrow, winding roads. On another day we drove to the top of the inactive volcano, Haeleakala. Most tourists leave their hotels during the night to make the trip up to watch the sunrise. My parents have been to Hawaii two other times and knew that my brother and I would not be impressed with a sunrise. The drive takes you from sea level to the top of a mountain. You drive through several different climate zones and the plants and animals change in each one. We even drove through the clouds and once above them could see the ocean again. It was cold at the top and unfortunately it was foggy inside the crater of the dormant volcano. We saw hundreds of brave tourists who paid to ride up the mountain in a van and ride down the mountain on a bicycle. We did not choose that adventure.

While on Maui, we took a catamaran trip on the Trilogy to Lanai. Lanai was formerly known as the “pineapple island”. Dole moved their pineapple business to Thailand where labor is cheaper about ten years ago. The island is now sparsely inhabited by native Hawaiians and has one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever seen. Bill Gates got married there. Sailing on a catamaran took a few hours so there was plenty of time to absorb the wonderful scenery in the mean time. When we arrived, we were taken on the tour of the island and allowed to play and snorkel on a very secluded beach. On the way back the ocean was a lot rougher than when we left. I was on a bench in the front of the catamaran over one of the two keels when a huge wave hit the side of the boat causing me to get soaking wet. Everyone cheered and my parents took a picture.

One evening we went to a luau at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. It was a great experience. The staff demonstrated how to open a coconut the traditional way and how to blow a conch shell. We ate a roast pig that had been cooked under hot coals and palm leaves in the sand all day. They put on a great show that night which included fire dancers and hula dancers. They also explained what the music and the movements meant in the Hawaiian culture. It was very interesting.

There were many other things that were different from Nebraska. The Hawaiian alphabet has only 13 letters. That’s why so many words sound and look alike. Don’t call the mainland “the United States” when someone asks where you are from. Hawaii is the 50th state. “Aloha” means hello and goodbye. An obscene looking gesture with your thumb and pinky finger hanging down means “hang loose” and is used freely as a greeting. People honor their dead by leaving food and flowers along the highways instead of a white cross. They believe their dead need food for their journey. There is no graffiti on walls or bridges, people use white stones to spell out words and place them on the black lava. There are hieroglyphic drawings in caves and in the old lava fields that look a lot like the drawings left by Native Americans in Arizona.

As I look back at this vacation it stands out as being my favorite. My favorite things were swimming with the fish and turtles, bodysurfing on the many beautiful beaches, and of course the wonderful luau we had on Maui. The only drawback to this trip for me was the long, nonstop flight over and back with limited leg room. Next time I will go first class. And my parents reminded me that next time I will have to pay my own way. And I will be glad to do that, because Hawaii has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth!

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Essay on Walt Whitman Poems

Essay on Walt Whitman

While reading, "I Sing the Body Electric," Whitman's profound love of the body is extremely apparent. I found that I now have a better understanding of how he feels towards men, women and their bodies. He describes the human body in such detail, and he explains that many people have doubts about their bodies. He does not dwell on these doubts; he continues to describe how perfect the body is, and he even states that nothing is more satisfying than to admire the bodies of man and woman. Whitman has an understanding for the body that many will never have. He loves every inch of the body, and he makes this very apparent in the text.

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Whitman describes the bodies of women and the bodies of men in an erotic sense. He describes women as exceedingly sexual beings, and he does the same thing when describing men. When Whitman states in section 6 of "I Sing the Body Electric" that "The man's body is sacred and the women's body is sacred", he allows the reader to really think about his or her body. The body is sacred as a whole. It does not matter if you are "the meanest one in the laborer's gang" or one of the well off. All bodies have a place in this world. The body is a part of the Earth, and we never go away. We are always a part of the earth and everything is sacred. It is sacred when you look at all of the body individual parts. Each part has its own function and each of these parts connect in a certain manner. The body is made up of "exquisite senses" and there are more wonders within that we cannot see with the naked eye.

After reading "I Sing the Body Electric" and "A Women Waits for Me," I really felt an understanding for the type of women that Whitman admires. He admires good-looking women and bold women. He sees women as his equal. He states that "they are not one jot less than I am". He has a tendency to focus on the women who are athletic and the women that openly admit their sexuality. He admires strong women and the way they present themselves to the world. "Their flesh has the old divine suppleness and strength, they know how to swim, row, ride, wrestle". Whitman holds the women at such a high level for this time period. Not only does he love the human body, he loves women and what they stand for. It seems to me that any woman who would stand up for herself would be a woman he would really enjoy being around. He does not look down upon women, and he speaks rather highly of them.

The way he perceives women compared to the way he perceives men is extremely equal. He admires a strong man and the strong structure of the male body as well as of the woman. In section 8 of "I Sing the Body Electric," Whitman asks if you have ever loved the body of a man or woman. He then states, "these are exactly the same to all in all nations and times all over the earth". He believes so powerfully that the body is sacred and that it does not matter to him which body we are discussing- male or female. "Man's, woman's, child's, ankle, instep, foot-ball, toes" these all represent the body and not just the parts of the body but of the soul .

Whitman has an extreme view of the body and he allows his readers to feel what he is saying. He describes each part of the body with such appetite. It is interesting to read his thoughts about the body in his time period. It seems that women and men still have the same outlook on their overall appearance. We always doubt ourselves, and our self-image never seems good enough. Many of us have this misrepresented self-image. We perceive ourselves differently then others perceive us. A human being has to be extremely self-confident to believe that every part of the body is sheer perfection. Whitman really expresses these sheer perfections of the body and of all its parts. He states that he shall "demand perfect men and women" and he believes that a perfect man and woman make a perfect pair. He allows the reader to take pride in the body, and to realize that every little thing is perfect just the way it is.

It is interesting to see how a person's self-image today is not much different from a person's self-image in Whitman's time period. Whitman, however, describes the body in such a positive manner that it is hard to not love the material body. If everyone were to view his or her body as though it were perfect, our world, as we know it, would be entirely different. Whitman holds the knowledge and understanding of the human body in his text. He has an appreciation for every aspect of the body, and he makes that clear throughout his work.

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Essay on Koalas

Essay on Koalas

The Koala Bear lives in Australia commonly known as the outback. The sloth and Koala are close relatives that are constantly being mistaken for each other. Koala's sleep curled on limbs grasping them with their feet, which they may remain in for days at a time. Both females and male koalas are so sedentary they won't run off even when approached. They are also both most active after sunset.

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Wild koalas are in stable breeding groups, each Koala have it's own home range. Though the koala's true name is the Koala Bear they give birth to undeveloped young, which complete development in the pouch. Koalas are extremely territorial. The Koalas undeveloped young are only two centimeters long and weigh less than one gram. During the time of baby Koalas birth the mother is extremely lethargic. After the birth, which takes thirty-three to thirty-five days, the baby koala transfers into the marsupial pouch. Then, the joeys spend about six months in the pouch or until he or she gets to big to fit into the pouch. After the baby ventures out of the pouch it remains on mothers back until half grown, which is one to one and a half feet long.

They live almost exclusively on the eucalyptus tree leaves, which are made up of 50 percent water. The koala lives in eucalypt forests of Eastern Australia. Most koalas are currently living in captivity. The koala Bear has a maximum life span of twenty years in the wild and twenty-five years if raised in captivities.

These animals were once killed for soft thick fur sold in the United States as wombat fur. When this was happening they became endangered and since programs have helped raise these numbers.

Koalas have no obvious tails because the tail is very small but there still is one it is considered a vestigial tail. Though they have small tails they remain to have excellent balance.

They have thick wooly fur to protect then from high and low temperatures and dangle on limbs to keep cool.

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Critical Essay on Kubla Khan

"Kubla Khan" Critical Essay

In 1816, Coleridge began “Kubla Khan” with an introduction that explained why others should not destroy the poem in their criticism, but enjoy it for itself. He begins his preface by claiming that another title might be “A Vision in a Dream. A Fragment,” but that the poem itself seems complete. This is akin to a young artist claiming that his art is not yet perfected, and then parting the proverbial curtain to reveal a painting of such skill that the ancient masters might have envied. This may be done to defend the poem, which has relatively of what typifies Romantic poetry, against the attacks of critics in Coleridge’s own day, as it does not seem to be true about the poem itself.

By attributing the images of “Kubla Khan” to a dream (identified later as a drug-induced reverie), Coleridge allows people to dream a bit themselves as they read the poem, something forgotten in the Neo-Classical period, but seeing something of a rebirth with the Romantics. Imagination is the key to “Kubla Khan,” and is the source from which it stems. The work Purchas his Pilgrimage is in part to blame (or praise) for Coleridge’s dream, according to the introduction, because the plot of the poem resides within it, and was his last thought before falling into sleep.

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As Benjamin Franklin once claimed to do, Coleridge goes on to quote himself with much gravity. His carefully cited poem tells how, though his concentration was broken, the great dream he had known would come to light again. He makes excuse as to why his poem has not yet reflected the true image of his dream, and lets readers make do with what fragments he can attach to the fleeting reminders that remain.

“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure-dome decree,” the poem begins. The cadence of the words is unmistakable, and the words seem to have a power of their own. Where is this place, this Xanadu, readers ask themselves, and what of Kubla Khan? Astute readers might recognize Kubla from Chinese history, the warlord who began the Mongol dynasty. Those who do not look too deeply, see instead the wonder of fantastic times and places, enjoying more and thinking somewhat less. A stately pleasure-dome, these readers postulate, is not such a bad idea at all, perhaps I shall make one for myself.

The power of Kubla Khan (as indeed of “Kubla Khan”) is implied rather than stated. Coleridge does not describe a stately throne or golden crown, but simply that Kubla has the power to create by will alone. This is much like Coleridge’s own power in the creation of “Kubla Khan” and of all poets to their works. A pleasure-dome is made because Kubla wishes it to be so. Through his mind’s eye and his vast imagination, Kubla has envisioned a great dome girdling miles of beautiful nature. By will and imagination, Kubla subdues nature and makes it an object of his own. This wouldn’t have won Kubla any points with Coleridge’s friend Wordsworth, and perhaps it is that very voice of Coleridge’s Romantic ancestor that later prophesies war.

There are two blemishes on Kubla’s power, outside forces that run deep and confound even the great builder. The first mystical blight on Kubla’s world is a chasm running through the hills and forests. It is a magical place that seems to breathe, and erupts into violent spasms, coughing up vast chunks of earth. This chasm disturbs the river upon which Kubla has constructed his great walls and towers, and thus disturbs Kubla himself. It seems as though this chasm might be the result of an earthquake, a primal natural force, that changes forever the Alpheus’ course. The river runs a similar course, through wood and dale to deep dank caverns, but its tumult, which was once within Kubla’s realm, is now heard from far. The shadow of Kubla’s dome, which once girdled the whole of a beautiful stretch of nature, fed by the river, now falls midway upon the waves it once encircled.

If the chasm did alter the course of the river (it is rather difficult to say for certain from the poem itself), then this could symbolize the power of nature to overcome the ingenuity of man. Like the theme of Jurassic Park, this implies that man’s imagination might be better spent on more innocent pursuits, and that perhaps nature has a wisdom of her own that humanity ought to let lie. The chasm, whether or not it affects directly the river, does have a negative effect on Kubla, for it is during the eruption of the chasm that he hears of an impending war.

The second dark force in Kubla’s life is the prophecy of doom. Sounded by ancestral voices crying out to Kubla, war is prophesied, but is not seen in the poem. Instead, the poem changes to the first person, praising the idea of the pleasure-dome and wishing to build the dome in air. This seems to be Coleridge lamenting the loss of his vision, and claiming that if it were to be had again that he could do great things with it. This opium-induced dream never does return, or if it does it was never put to paper, for as Coleridge says more than fifteen years after the work’s composition, “the to-morrow in yet to come.”

If imagination is the basis for the poem, power is the theme. Kubla, for all his might and majesty, faces the fact that he is not a god. Coleridge, on realizing that his dream has faded with time, and that he may never reach the truest form of it by description and poetry, realizes that he too is not a god. Like in the “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” Coleridge creates a situation and a world that are entirely his own. The power of creation, “Kubla Khan” warns, is the danger of overextending one’s boundaries. Kubla became mad with power, and nature struck him down, while Coleridge felt the ultimate muse brush past him, leaving him with fragments of what might have been.

This life we have, this beauty that we have around us, Coleridge seems to say, is enough. It needs not to be captured, nor does it need to be fully explored to understand its nature. It is by overreaching the power that God grants to men that each will find his downfall. The poem “Kubla Khan” is about poetry, and art in general. It is about power and rulership. It is about living to fulfillment, and not being dissatisfied when we come near our mark but fall just short. Enjoying the near perfection that we are allowed, this call to art rather than to arms, is the only way for each person to drink deeply of the milk of Paradise.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Essay on Maya Angelou

Essay on Maya Angelou

My poem which I choose and bring today is “Alone” by Maya Angelou. I got this poem from the web site “ through the black board.

Maya Angelou is a female and African American poet that was amazing at making her work seem come alive to her readers. She had a very eventful life and through her life she went through a lot of things that most people do not go through. With experiences that she has learned she wrote many poems to express her feelings. Her poems actually related to people in a modern day. That is why many people these days still love reading her poems.

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This poem, “Alone” is carefully measured verses describe the general alienation of people in the twentieth century. “Alone” is not directed at any particular sector of society but rather is focused on human condition in general. The poet cautions that no one can live in this world alone. Angelou begins by looking within herself and discovering that her soul is without a home. Moving from an inward glimpse to an outward sweep, she recognizes that even millionaires suffer from this modern malaise and live lonely lives whit “heart of stone”. Finally she warns her readers to listen carefully and change the direction of their lives. Moreover she says human race must break down barriers and rescue one another from loneliness. The only cure, Angelou says, is to acknowledge common interests and work toward common goals.

When I found and read this poem, I just thought about title “Alone”, because this word made me remember my first year in the United States. At that time, I just worked for money because I wanted to keep my study. So I didn’t have enough time to meet friends for sharing my loneliness at all. Indeed, my English skill was so poor. I though that Americans would laugh at me, if I spoke with funny pronounce. That made me lonelier. Every night, after work, I could not sleep so I went out and walked on the street for 2hours. Now I am thinking that I was alone in the world.

Almost the end of my first year in the United States, I met a friend who became my best friend. He understood my loneliness and he talked to me so many times. Moreover, he introduced me to his family. His parents treated me as their sons. After that I could overcome my loneliness. Sometimes, I meet people who have loneliness as I had. I tell them my story and I try to be a friends.

This poem connects to intrapersonal and interpersonal communication. Loneliness is the result from intrapersonal communication. As we learned, to communicate with others, we must first understand how we communicate with ourselves. However, excessive intrapersonal communication can make person isolated and lonely. In this case, we can help them by interpersonal communication. When a person who feels lonely, talks with others, he or she will not feel lonely any more, because they share something they need. At the end, audiences look around you and if somebody who suffers from loneliness, you should share your love with them. Nobody can live alone.

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Essay on Fight Club Movie

I have chosen to do my formal essay on the movie Fight Club. Fight Club was directed by David Fincher and was released in 1999. This movie has countless dimensions to it, and it has been very interesting to have a chance to research these in more detail through out this class. American values, and attitudes are a huge part of this movie, or should I say the destruction of American values, and attitudes. I intend to discuss these values and attitudes and how the director, David Fincher, used interesting techniques to display them.

One huge theme throughout this movie is an anti-society theme. Fight Club is a film based on a novel written by a recent University of Oregon graduate, Chuck Palanhuik (IMDB). The main character is a young man who is tired of his dead end, white collar, corporate job and the empty consumer culture that his generation has been doomed to inherit (IMDB). He, and his newly invented alter ego Tyler Durden, create a new club where young men come to relieve their frustrations by beating each other up. The ultimate purpose of the "Fight Club" is to try and destroy the importance that society places on working and material possessions.

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There are many scenes in this movie that discuss the problems with the attitude of the current society. One of my favorites, however, is a scene entitled "The Middle Children of History", where Tyler Durden is holding a meeting in the basement of a local tavern. I have never taken the time to notice how similar the points Tyler makes about society are to society as we know it. That is why I think this scene tries to shape the viewer's understanding of particular American values and attitudes. One of the first statements Tyler makes is, "Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate, so we can buy shit we don't need." This is very apparent in this movie as well as modern society. Advertising is a huge industry in America. There are so many commercials on television that stress the importance of having material possessions. A majority of these possessions are not necessities, they are items that people feel they need in order to fit in to certain groups of people or social circles. At one point, early in the movie, Edward Norton's character asks himself, "Е.what kind of dining set defines me as a person?" Norton does not ask what dining set would reflect who he is, but asks what dining set would make him who he is. In society today, it seems that people do feel defined by what they own. If a person works a high paid job, has a nice house in a nice area, and drives a fancy car they are probably more likely to socialize with people of the same nature. Tyler Durden and Edward Norton's characters invent Fight Club to help free people of these material possessions. They believe that it is only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything (Fight Club, Fincher).

In the beginning of the movie, Edward Norton's character is very into his material possessions. He has worked very hard to furnish his apartment with all the luxuries he can afford, and is very proud of them. The director, David Fincher, shows this in a scene entitled "Nesting Instinct". At the beginning of the scene you see Edward Norton on the phone ordering dust ruffles for his couch while using the restroom. Later in the scene the camera pans around his apartment and beside each piece of furniture is a written description and price of the furniture as it was in the catalog he ordered it from. I thought this was a very effective technique. I think Fincher was trying to make the audience think of their own homes and picture each piece of furniture they own themselves, and how much it cost.

During the scene entitled "The Middle Children of History", Tyler Durden brings up another complaint about the society he lives in that is also apparent in our society. He states, "We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won't." Obviously television in Tyler's society has a big influence on it's viewers as does television in our society. Not only does it advertise the need for various material possessions, but it also stresses the importance of fame and great wealth. Shows like Joe Millionaire, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, and American Idol are good examples. Joe Millionaire is a reality show that has twenty or more women competing over a man and his affection purely because they believe him to be very wealthy, and partly because of the notoriety they could receive for being on the show. I think shows like this send a bad message out to viewers. The message I get from shows like these is that it doesn't matter how well you know someone or how much affection you really have for someone, as long as they have money happiness will come automatically, and many people in our society do believe this.

One of my favorite aspects of this film is the disease that the main character, played by Edward Norton, is suffering from, and the ways in which the director communicates this disease. Edward Norton's character is suffering from a disease called Dissociative Identity Disorder. Dissociative Identity Disorder, often called multiple personality disorder, is defined as a mental illness in which a person has two or more distinct identities or personality states which recurrently take control of the persons consciousness and behavior (Spiegel 2002). It is not until the end of the movie that the viewer realizes that Norton's character has Dissociative Identity Disorder. After watching the movie for a second time, I noticed several techniques that the director used to signal that the main character might have an alter ego without giving it away completely. One example of this is during the latter part of the "Middle Children of History" scene. Tyler and the owner of the basement they are using for their meeting get into a fight. Tyler is letting the owner beat him up and everyone including Norton's character is watching. At one point Norton's character attempts to go to his friend's aid and Tyler simply raises his hand up to him and looks at him as if to say stay back. I thought this was an interesting way for the director to show that Tyler is holding his hand up to keep his other personality from jumping in and changing the whole outcome of the fight.

One of the funniest scenes of this movie to me is after the first time Marla and Tyler have sex. Even though it is actually Norton's character having sex with Marla, he believes Tyler is a real person and that he himself had nothing to do with her physically. She comes down the next morning and Norton's character asks her what she is doing there and tells her that she needs to leave. Of course Marla is humiliated, and leaves immediately, probably totally confused. This series of events is very misleading the first time a viewer watches the movie and the director does this intentionally. While Tyler and Marla are having sex, Edward Norton's character is outside of their door listening in disbelief to the sounds coming from inside. The door is opened by Tyler and there stands Tyler, as well as Norton's character, and you can see Marla in the background. The viewer would never think by this scene that the two actors were the same person.

Fight Club is probably one of the most interesting movies I have ever seen. It is considered a drama, but has a great sense of humor. It really goes into depth about a young man who is struggling with a disease that he is completely unaware he has, and a young man who is crying out against a society he wishes he could control and change. The best message this movie sends out to it's viewers is don't ever let the things you own, own you or determine your position in society.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Essay on Matrix

Essay on Matrix

The film The Matrix using extraordinary film and narrative techniques presented many themes and ideas to the audience, however the foremost of these was that human created technology, if advanced too far, could interfere with what we comprehend as real and in some ways could remove features that make us human. The reason this theme was foremost is because the rapid advancing of technology today makes advanced machinery such as AI plausible. The themes in the film were accompanied by various biblical as well as eastern cultural references. Many themes and ideas put forward to the audience were presented through the use of various film techniques such as camera and audio. The combined narrative techniques along with the film techniques used in the film accentuate the themes that the producer intended to convey to the audience. The filming techniques that were used were based on very advanced technology and therefore invoked different responses from the audience.

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The film The Matrix put forward themes that were intricately linked with one another, and the proximity of the situations the scenes that conveyed the themes were to our lives today forces the audience to think deeply about what was presented on the screen. The foremost idea that was presented questioned the meaning of reality, and how technology tampers with our definition of what is real and what isn’t. This idea comes very close to us today; as Morpheus questions reality “What is real? If you define real to be what can be seen or touched or heard, then real is simply electric messages interpreted by our brains,” it forces the audience themselves to then answer the question, of what real is, and whether what we actually see or hear is real. With reference to the matrix, Morpheus makes it apparent that this is what the matrix is doing; sending artificial messages to our brains making our minds think, even if it is not true. Scenes similar to this one displayed the intended messages and ideas, which caused the audience to have to think intensely about what has been presented to them on the screen. The foremost theme that was presented throughout the film was the idea that was most rapidly demonstrated and could be closely related to the audience.

The narrative technique of characterization was very important in promoting the theme in The Matrix. Especially significant was the characterization of Neo, being also Mr. Anderson, before he was introduced to the matrix; he was an ordinary businessman, working for a “respectable software company”. The audience is able to readily relate to this character. This encourages the theme as it reveals that anyone can be taught the truth of the matrix. However, Neo was also living a routine based life without room for change; when Neo is asked to unplug and go to the party he is ready to say no, to continue his robotic style of life, making him more machine than human. This implies that everyone who does not wish to know the truth of the matrix is bound to the matrix, almost enslaved to it. The other freedom fighters were also at one stage living a routine life, supporting the point that anyone can be taught the truth. The characterization technique in The Matrix was used to support the theme, and does so appropriately so that the audience can easily relate to the main character.

In The Matrix, the camera was perhaps the most important and symbolic film code that was used for many reasons. Symbolically, a variety of camera shots were used to produce different messages to the audience. The lower angle camera shot was used often when an agent was on the scene, giving the impression of superiority over anybody else in the scene. When action takes place the camera used pan movements to follow the action, giving a wider view of the background, and this helped illustrate the point of the scene. Near the opening of the film, the character Trinity was running from pursuing agents over a rooftop hundreds of metres high.

Panning right as she moved right, the audience can see that she is covering a very large distance, and as she reaches the edge of a roof, the camera view changes to a high camera angle looking down onto the road. This combination exemplified the setting of this scene, as well as giving the image that Trinity and the agents are superior from ordinary people, as the camera also panned slower when focusing on the policemen. From the wide range of camera shots that were used in The Matrix, the audience sees many symbolic scenes that can be interpreted to receive the ideas, which were intended to be conveyed.

Another form of camera use was visual techniques that provided stunning elements in some scenes, all of which seemed unreal and out-of-this-world. The use of these techniques promoted the question of realism in today’s world, when we see unexpected occurrences in some of the scenes. The slowing and even stopping of time was used in several instances, which begged the question of whether time actually exists, however it also presented the idea that the characters within affected scenes were too fast to be seen in normal time. When the attack helicopter smashes into the glass building, this is done in slow motion, and before the actual breaking of the glass a shockwave reverberates across the building. In real life, a helicopter smashing into a wall of glass would not produce a visible shockwave and so this scene looks unreal, that this would not happen in real life. Because of this the scene also asks the audience the question of what can be taken as real or false. The use of visual techniques created with the aid of modern computer graphic technology not only looked awesome, it also interrogates the audience into what they observe as real.

Typically not used often in films, the written film code is used quite symbolically throughout the film but mostly at the beginning. Eerie green characters, not only from English but also from eastern languages, were used when displaying the matrix, in a font that looks systematic, giving the impression that the matrix is just a code language. Although this code does not seem like it would mean much, even the Warner Brother’s symbol is coloured the same way, in a way expresses that everything is under the influence of the matrix.

Usually a large part of conveying the theme in films, the audio codes in The Matrix not only set the atmosphere of scenes, but they also emphasise what is happening in regard to the storyline. In this film however, music was undermined by the use of awe-inspiring visual techniques, though they were still present. The music that was used was often eerie or sounded very mechanical; as if it were computer generated. This is important as the matrix was said to be computer generated. Background sounds such as people talking on the street sets the scene and also makes it more realistic. Thunder was used whilst Morpheus was explaining to Neo the matrix, emphasizing the importance of this scene in conveying the story. Audio codes in The Matrix helped promote the storyline and set the scene but rarely supported or presented the themes to the audience.

The Matrix used some of the most advanced filming techniques seen to the date of release. These techniques supported the many themes presented throughout the film, especially the primary theme, which was that human created technology, if advanced too far, could interfere with what we comprehend as real and in some ways could remove features that make us human. Using new technology to generate awesome scenes and unreal visuals, the audience would respond to this film differently, as they would never have seen these types of scenes before. Undoubtedly, the camera use in the film was the most prominent, and these supported the theme the most, as the audience would be drawn mostly to the visuals in the movie. However, the narrative technique of characterization was very significant in conveying the theme in the audience, to do so would require the characters to be easily recognized and the audience would be able to effortlessly relate towards them. A variety of camera shots and techniques allowed the viewer to receive the messages from each scene. Overall, the linked combination between the film codes of audio, visual and camera along with the key narrative technique of characterization provided a firm, unblemished expression of the theme to the audience throughout the duration of the film.

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Essay on FIFA World Cup 2010

Essay on FIFA World Cup 2010

An African nation will host the 2010 World Cup. But though the prospect excites the fans in the countries competing to host the competition, they also know that money and infrastructure will probably count more than football culture and previous success on the field in putting forward the winning bid. For the next world cup ,several African countries had deposited their candidature .Many countries are competing seriously for hosting this manifestation. MOROCCO is one of the favourite for wining.

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The most important argument that will be considered by the FIFA committee first is the security. First of all, MOROCCO will develop it’s security system for the manifestation because a secure country is definitely more appealing than SOUTH AFRICA where some racial problems and segregation still persist. Presenting a Security platform is the most powerful argument for MOROCCO.

In addition to the security fact, FIFA have to pay a lot of attention to the infrastructure offered. Even if other countries had hosted many major manifestations, MOROCCO had hosted the African cup in 1976 which means that Morocco has an important infrastructure from 1976.

The fact of being near Europe gives Morocco an additional support because the time difference is not so bad as in South Africa.

MOROCCO presents an important previous success in the field . MOROCCO had reached the world cup for the first time in 1976 as the first African and Arabic country. Soccer in MOROCCO is considered as a culture where as in South Africa it’s still developing.

Finally, the president of the CAF (Confederation African Football) will lend weights to one country. Actually ISSA AYATO is the president of CAF and he is trying to become the president of the FIFA in the next elections. MOROCCO had always supported ISSA AYTO from the beginning of his career while South Africa is supporting STEPP BLATER the current president of FIFA. The African candidature will be defended by AYATO and he will of course recommend a country that supports him.

In conclusion , and after taking everything into consideration ,I think that FIFA will make the right decision .Since security and soccer culture are important arguments , MOROCCO will be the country selected to host the 2010 world cup.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Essay on Dedication

Essay on Dedication

Frederick Douglass gives an overview of his struggle for literacy in his narrative, “Learning to Read and Write.” He lived with Master Hugh Auld’s family for approximately seven years. During that time Mistress Auld taught him the fundamentals of reading and writing. However, the instruction Douglass received eventually came to an end. She became cold-hearted, as slavery had corrupted her. At a young age Douglass began receiving reading lessons from poor Caucasian children, in which he would bribe them with bread. As he grew older he would take the letters recognized from the shipyard and compete with Caucasian men, in which he would also receive valuable reading lessons. “The Colombian Orator” was the first book he was able to read, that was about a slave and his master. The slave was portrayed as intelligent, which later gained him his freedom. This was no doubt an inspiration to Douglass. Sheriden (the author) discussed the denunciation of slavery and promotion of human rights. Once able to read, Douglass expressed a negative outcome rather than positive. He envied fellow slaves for their simple-mindedness and grew to despise slave-holders as he educated himself.

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Douglass copied the italics in Webster’s Spelling Book until he memorized them. When Mistress Auld would leave to a class meeting he would finish Master Thomas’ copy book, studying it. Eventually, Douglass could write similar to him. As a few years past, he found himself able to write. With perseverance and dedication, anything is possible.

Public schools are an opportunity for students to obtain a free education. A significant amount of students who attend are less fortunate, whereas the remainder feel it is unnecessary to pay for a privilege that is so abundant. Formal education is the foundation of a student’s career. Clearly, this was not available to a 19th century slave, such as Douglass. He struggled and fought for his education, realizing its true worth. Do students in today’s society underestimate its value? School to many consider it a burden rather than an opportunity. Douglass was blessed to have the chance to attain literacy. If education were to become scarce, would the attitudes of individuals change? To many, of course. Students rely on their parents to motivate them to get up and get ready to go to school. It’s not a choice for many, but an obligation. However, this does not apply to individuals similar to Douglass. They comprehend education is not a simple task, but an ongoing effort. Frederick Douglass is the product of hard work and dedication.

The United States of America is the land of opportunity. Citizens are promised that if they work hard, they can achieve anything. The American dream has been instilled in its citizens from an early age. America’s times have changed, however, its desire for success has not. All social classes wish to be accomplished. Douglass is no different from those who struggle in today’s society. He was quite insignificant in regard to status.

Douglass changed that when he became educated. According to human nature, people want they can’t have. It is simply a matter of making dreams a reality. People can make a prosperous life for themselves if they work hard enough for it.

Perseverance and dedication are key essentials of achievement. Regardless of gender, ethnicity, social class or religious preference, everyone is entitled to become a prominent human being. Education, however, is essential in today’s culture. Without it, one may not have the opportunities that he or she could have had with it. It is up to the individual to make that dream become a reality. Frederick Douglass is a prime example of one who struggled for years without giving up, to achieve his dream. No matter what the risks were, he was determined to become literate. He is no doubt a role-model to follow for all.

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Essay on Egyptian Pyramids

Essay on Egyptian Pyramids

Hypothesis: The elaborate construction and unique purpose of the pyramids was linked to the Ancient Egyptians desire to preserve and honor the dead.

The Ancient Egyptians strong beliefs towards death inspired them to build elaborate pyramid structures. The purpose of the pyramids being constructed in such detail was in order to try and preserve and honor the dead of the highest social status. The construction of the pyramids was an important way of life to the Ancient Egyptians for it helped them to express their strong beliefs.

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The purpose of the pyramids to the Ancient Egyptians was mainly to commemorate the dead Pharaohs. It was originally thought that the pyramids were laid out in a relatively unstructured manner (Bauval, R. 1995). Although, more recent work suggests that the relative sizes and detailed positioning of the pyramids is almost a mirror image of the ‘belt’ in the constellation of Orion. The supposed ‘air shafts’ in the pyramids actually pointed directly towards Orion. This is supposedly aimed at projecting the soul of the deceased Pharaoh out towards the constellation. The pyramids housed the mummified body of the deceased Pharaoh and helped guide him into the promised after life.

The pyramids were constructed from 2700 to 2500 BC. Although many theories have arose about the construction of the pyramids, it is thought that it took approximately 20 000 men about 20 to 40 years to build the Great Pyramid. One theory suggests that crews dragged or pushed limestone blocks, weighing anything from 2 to 70 tonnes, along mud-slicked ramps. The shape of the pyramids is a very symbolic part of their construction. The largest pyramid, of Khufu , used an estimated 2.3 million blocks to build and it stands at a height of 450 feet and covers 13 acres. At the entrance of all pyramids warnings are printed on the doors stating that “death shall come with swift wings to those who dare touch the tomb of the Pharaoh” Lehner. M (1990). This was known as the curse of the Pharaoh, and it was intended to prevent tomb robbers from entering the tomb.

Ancient Egyptians preserved and honored their dead Pharaohs. In doing so, they expressed very important religious acts which they believed would help the Pharaoh pass into the after life. The Ancient Egyptians would perform a ritual to the dead Pharaoh in the following order, firstly they would soak the body in a salt solution until the moisture was taken from the body, then they would remove the vital organs and place them in jars. The next step would be to liquify the brain and remove it through the nasal cavity. Although most of the vital organs would be removed the Ancient Egyptians would leave the heart in the body as they believed it was the center of knowledge. The main purpose of the pyramids would be to help preserve the mummified body as well as help the soul into the after life. The pyramid’s shape is believed to have a very important religious statement, this being that the sloping sides were intended to help the soul of the Pharaoh climb to the sky and join the gods. The pyramids would be filled with everything the Pharaoh desired to take with him to the after life.

In Ancient Egypt only people with the highest social status, such as Pharaohs, were preserved with such passion. The Ancient Egyptians believed the Pharaoh was their living god therefore, they treated him as such by building huge pyramid structures to help preserve him. In building the pyramid for the Pharaoh they believed that the whole of Egyptian society would benefit, since the gods reign over their dynasties. The life of a Pharaoh was much more relaxed than that of a slave. He had a less strenuous lifestyle with the absence of manual labor. But to the Ancient Egyptians this was just the way of life.

The Ancient Egyptians did indeed preserve and honor the dead. Without the protection of the pyramids the preservation of the mummified bodies may not have been possible. The pyramids were a very important part of Egypt’s history and without them this Ancient civilization may have been forgotten in time.

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Essay on Ballet

Essay on Ballet

Petrouchka is a ballet choreographed by Mikhail Fokine and set to the music of Igor Stravinsky. First performed in 1911, it is said to be one of the most revolutionary ballets of all time. After watching the video, I was able to fully appreciate its imagination and originality.

Traditionally, the art form of ballet is known for its gracefulness and beauty. Swan Lake is probably one of the most renowned examples of the romantic ballets in which a beautiful princess possessed by an evil force was transformed into a swan and finally rescued by a handsome prince. The most memorable scenes are perhaps those in which a corps of ballerinas dressed in flowing white tutus dance in unison. To me, the unity is mesmerizing. However, after watching just a few minutes of this video, I realized that Petrouchka was going to be decidedly different from the more traditional ballets.

The first thing that I noticed to be unconventional was the costume worn by the dancers on stage. Rather than wearing the more typical costumes such as tutus, the dancers wear costumes that are distinctly Russian, and most of the female dancers do not wear pointe shoes. Though modified for stage purposes, the costumes could very well be something that one would find at a busy Russian carnival during the 19th century. Just purely based on seeing the costumes, I already felt that Petrouchka was going to have a more down-to-earth feel to it.

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The thing that further solidified this feeling was the dancers’ movement. In the world of ballet, there is a very strict set of established movements. The movements are so standardized that each one has a name associated with it such as tendu, fondu, etc. Petrouchka is revolutionary in the sense that the choreographer was able to not only modify but introduce new movements in the dance. In the video, the one movement that immediately jumped out at me was one that was characteristic of Russian folk dancing. It is a movement in which a male dancer with his arms folded across his chests jumps from one leg to another in a squatting position. In my opinion, by incorporating folk dancing elements into ballet, Fokine was able to make ballet a more popular art form. He reinvented ballet from an exclusive art form for the aristocracy or the upper class to an art form for the general public.

In Petrouchka, Fokine judiciously used the style of movements to portray and define his characters. There are three main characters in the ballet, Petrouchka, the Ballerina, and the Moor. Petrouchka is a timid puppet who is in love with the Ballerina. To portray his shyness, Petrouchka’s movements are very slow and saggy. The dancer often falls to the ground or bends over to show the character’s spineless nature. I noticed that the dancer’s feet are almost always in a turned in position giving him a stiff, doll-like quality. To contrast Petrouchka’s somber and often pathetic appearance, the Ballerina is vivacious and often flirtatious, and to portray that, her movements are generally fast paced. Fokine used a lot of sharp movements such as pique and frappe in her dance to exhibit her energetic nature. The Moor is the self-absorbed one of the trio. He is portrayed as a physically strong, yet mentally impaired puppet. His movements are very large and exaggerated. In a rather comical scene, the Moor simply sits on the floor and devotes his full attention to playing with a coconut. Upon shaking it, he realizes that there is something inside it and attempts to open it, to no avail. In the Moor’s mind, because the coconut cannot be opened, it must have greater power than he; therefore, he places it on the floor and worships it as if it were a god.

The stage setting also helps to establish the different personalities of the characters. Petrouchka’s room is barren and dark. The set designer used cold tones such as blue and black to show the character’s lack of self-confidence. One prominent feature on the stage is a picture of the old wizard, which illustrates the level of control that the wizard has over Petrouchka. The painting is there to remind Petrouchka that he is merely a puppet and will never escape the wizard’s power. The Moor’s room is the exact opposite of Petrouchka’s. The Moor has a couch to lounge on, and the room also appears more spacious. The bright color scheme gives off a happy and luxurious atmosphere. The contrast between the Moor’s room and Petrouchka’s room is there to put emphasis on the dreariness of Petrouchka’s life.

Needless to say, the music is also an integral part of the dance. There exists an intimate bond between the music and the choreography. Music is audio, whereas dance is visual. A good piece of choreography is also a good interpretation and visual representation of the music. The score composed by Igor Stravinsky is, in my opinion, revolutionary in its own rite. Unlike the harmonious sounds of the compositions of his predecessors, in Petrouchka, there are many harsh and dissonant chords as well as sweet and jovial melodies. To me, the most memorable and haunting sounds are the blaring sounds played by the trumpets. Stravinsky also borrowed elements from Russian folk dance music to complete his score for the ballet.

Admittedly, the music is very difficult to understand, and I believe that it is also quite difficult to represent visually through choreography. For example, Petrouchka's character has two sides to him: the human and the puppet. Both of these sides fight with each other throughout the ballet. Petrouchka wants to be free of the old wizard and love the Ballerina, but the fact that he is merely a puppet keeps him from accomplishing anything. The inharmonious chords are there to reflect Petrouchka’s inner struggle. Such profound imagery is captured in the ballet through its choreography.

Another piece of great choreography that I was fortunate enough to see was an excerpt from the ballet, Carmen, choreographed by Roland Petit to the music of Bizet. The excerpt is performed by arguably the world’s best male ballet dancer of all time, Mikhail Baryshnikov. I have always been a fan of Mikhail Baryshnikov. His super-human pirouettes always astound me, and I was not disappointed by any means after watching this clip. I was not only in awe of Baryshnikov’s tremendous physical prowess from beginning to end, I was also captivated by his portrayal of the character, Don Jose, a man in love who is consumed by jealousy, lust, and passion.

I feel that the video day was a rewarding experience. Because I am very much used to seeing the more traditional form of ballet, it was very enjoyable to see something different and see how ballet evolved into something new. Masters created these pieces of art decades ahead of their time. As an ever-changing art form, ballet will never stop reinventing itself in order to capture the hearts of the audience of generations to come.

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