Thursday, April 3, 2008

Reflective Essay

At the beginning of my senior year in high school I was sort of nervous, but excited at the same time. I was going into an honors English class, and I knew that it was going to be a very challenging course for me. I started off the year comparing some of my work with my classmates’ work, and I realized that if I wanted to improve my writing I was going to work harder.

We started reading books and writing essays and analyzing the text, and I felt like I was not going to do as well in the class just because it was hard for me. But nothing is impossible, and the year went by, my writing has notably improved. I can truly say this course and Mr. G. have helped me improve, not only my writing, but also my self- confidence.

By reading different types of books throughout the year, and by having all those class discussion, I have learned not only from my teacher, but also from my classmates. Now I am more opened minded, and I have different points of view toward different subjects in literature. I remember reading Memoirs of a geisha, and not agreeing to some of the parts of the book, and that was when I realized that there are not wrong answer when giving out you point of view about things. I really liked that book, and I was amazed by how quickly I read it. When it was time to give the book back, I had already finished it days before.

I also improved my reading skills. I now read, and actually think about what I am reading. I feel like I like to read more, and I am not afraid of taking a book and thinking that the book is to hard for me to read, because now I feel that I have skills that I did not have before, like know how to analyze the text a little bit better, which before I was very bad at.

I can honestly say that now looking back at one of the first essays that I wrote at the beginning of the year, and comparing it to one of the last ones I wrote, I get really amazed by how much my writing has improved. I would have never thought that I could write an eight page paper about a book, which even though for some people eight pages might not mean too much, for me was a challenge. I remember staying up until late reading over and over my James Joyce paper about Stephen’s guilty conscience, and even though is not an A+ paper, I felt proud of myself. I dedicated time to the essay, and I tried my best to try to analyze it the best I could, and I even realized that I had points of view about different subjects and things that I never thought of before.

I am very glad that I took this course, and even though it was challenging for me, I realize how much it helped me and how better my writing is now. I really thank Mr. G. for being a great teacher, and I know that he knows that this course, even though challenging, improved my writing a lot.

A prayer for Owen Meany test.

In the chapter “The Finger,” Irving bases the chapter with events that happen after Johnny cuts his finger. In the beginning of the book, when Owen brings back the armadillo to Johnny, after he has killed Johnny’s mom, the armadillo is missing a part of his body. Irving writes, “But my greatest indignation was to follow: missing from the armadillo were the little animal’s front claws…” (85). Johnny gets very mad when he sees that the armadillo does not look the same without his claws. Johnny does not understand why Owen has done this, but Dan tells him, “Don’t you see, Johnny? If he could, he would cut off his hands for you- that’s how it makes him feel, to have touched that baseball bat… It’s how we all feel… We’ve lost a part of ourselves” (86). Owen would do anything for Johnny and Johnny knows that. Owen trusted him a lot, and Johnny says that Owen has given him more that Owen has taken away from him (considering that he took him mom’s life).

Owen demonstrates how much he loves Johnny and how he thinks that he has been sent from God to the Earth to save Johnny and make him a son of God too. “‘I LOVE YOU,’ Owen told me. ‘NOTHING BAD IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU- TRUST ME’” (509). Owen here expresses himself as a father caring for his son. When Johnny is bleeding from his finger, Owen is there to take care of him, like he has always done. I think that the meaning of the title is that, even though many things have happen between Owen and Johnny, at last Johnny has gained much more than he has lost. It did not matter if it was his finger or his hand, it didn’t matter what he could lose anymore because Owen had given him the faith and had brought him to the light.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Red Shift (fill in the blank) Poem.

Here I am at an unknown place, trapped in this frame
The air is burning inside my lungs,
On the way to fly to streetscape
I drink some red and thick liquid which pours
And runs down to have to go on and to get
In. The streets look for you or me. My heart
Can't take it anymore. It's
It, no more than that. Don't count on me. I go through it.
Them. As
The ground itself sipped on the rain now
And millions of years almost ago. And the man looking
In amazement and wonder, sharing. & telling.
Who would have thought that I'd be her. Nothing
To laugh at and. Everything
To mourn for. What have you done? Where
Has he disappear into?
Up in the blue sky I see it, see you. now
More than ever before?
Not that I miss him. not in those coat
Eyes penetrating with such intensity
& what in them. Not that kid. Fourteen. Who was
Going to have to go. Careening into the darkness so.
To look. & to discover things he would had never imagine
So to go. Not that man who from the very first meeting
I would never and never could had got
Into the treasure it was & so demanded
To discover & who will never leave me. Not for love. Nor for fear
Nor even for the greatest prize which is
Only our human lot & means everything. No. Not me.
There's a song 'When you're gone'. But no. I won't do that
I am 13. when will I die? I will never die. I will live
To be 112. & I will never go away, & you will never escape from me
Who am always & only a cry. Despite this lonely. Spirit
Who lives only to remember.
I'm only flesh. & I am alive. & I didn't do it
Someone else did.
I came into you life to help you come out from there
But you didn't take it
So now & forever. That's your fate. Nevertheless
I will always remember that day
The world's eyes are on you, and only you can take them away.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 2.

Act 1, Scene 2: Lines 71-80 + 87-92.

Queen: … Seek for thy noble father in the dust.
Thou know’st ‘tis common, all that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
Hamlet: Ay, madam, it is common.
Queen: If it be, Why seems it so particular with thee?
Hamlet: Seems, madam? Nay, it is, I know not “seems.”
‘Tis not alone my inky cloak, [good] mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forc’d breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
King: ‘Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father.
But you must know your father lost a father,
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow. But to persever.

The queen talks like she does not even care about her husband’s death. She is telling him that it is normal and that it happens. Hamlet does not have another option but to say that it is all right. Then the queen asks why if he thinks that it is normal then why is he acting like that; why is he so sad?
Claudius instead tells him that it is so sweet. Sort of calling him a girl for crying over his dad’s death and for having feelings. And that everyone at some point losses a father and that’s normal. Claudius sounds like he has no feelings.

The Plum Plum Pickers.

In “The Plum Plum Pickers,” Raymond Barrio uses symbols and imagery to develop his story. Living in a foreign country is hard, but working in a foreign country under the orders of someone who even though shares someone else’s background and still treats his own people like they are servants, steals their food and only care about his own well-being is not worthy of deserving the title of human being. In this story of human suffering, Manuel Gutierrez stands up and fights to defend his rights as a human being and worker, not mattering that he had to pay for his undisciplined behavior after, because what he had done left a sense of pride that would give him strength to take what was coming next.

Repeating the same words and creating sentences that are one word long create a sense of tiredness and discomfort while it shows how the time at this point is passing by very slowly. On the setting of the story, Barrio starts describing a man who “stopped and walked to the farthest end of the first row for some water, raised the dented dipper from the brute tank, drank the holy water in great brute gulps so he wouldn’t have to savor its tastelessness, letting it spill down his torn shirt to cool his exhausted body…” (1). This description of Manuel makes him look like he is a prisoner, a type of machine that is already programmed to do what it is asked to without being able to show what its necessaries are. Barrio uses imagery to describe Manuel as an animal or machine who is used to follow orders and feels less valuable than others. Manuel shows this while saying, “Please to meetcha” (1).

After having lunch and regaining strength, the day should go on smoothly, but for Manuel there was not an advantage. Roberto Morales, the one in charge of the worker, “a real robber,” as his name suggests it, does not care about his own people even though “he grew up with them,” and “he’d suffered all the sordid deprivations with them.” Roberto does not only steal the workers’ money everyday after work, but he also steals the workers’ pride because they cannot complain or speak up and Manuel has “to force himself not to answer” every time he listens to Roberto saying how “there was a miscalculation” with his “smiling” face and “palms up.”

Even for the most patient person, there comes the time when nothing more can be hold back. Manuel felt that he had to do something to defend himself against Roberto. He felt he had to defend his honor and pride, so he exploded and heard himself say, “you promised to take nothing!” By using imagery, Barrio describes the two men “reaching for each other jugular,” like they were two animals fighting to defend their territory. Even though Manuel knew Roberto had the advantage because Roberto was more “powerful,” he did not let this intimidate him, and in a last effort to defend his pride as a human being, “Manuel lifted his foot and clumsily tipped over his own last bucket of cots. They rolled away in all directions around everyone’s feet” (2). Manuel did not want to continue being treated like an animal, instead he opted for defending his honor by showing Roberto that at last Manuel did have a voice and that he wanted to be heard. “He would have to pay for this, for his defiance, somehow, again, later. But he had shown defiance… and he had earned respect for his fellow slaves” (2). That was exactly how Manuel felt, like a slave, but for once in his life he had been able to defend his honor.

Barrio uses imagery and allusion to develop the purpose of the story. He does not let Manuel die without defending his honor and show how a human being should be treated, with respect. It could also be seen as Barrio giving life to Manuel because if men do not experience what pride is, “they were dead before they died.”

Stephen's Guilty Conscience in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

In A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce creates meaning through Stephen’s guilty conscience, which influenced by the diverse mother figures throughout the novel, make him feel guilty and unable to maintain a healthy and independent relationship with any woman. Stephen’s mother brings him to the world and protects him. With all this protection Stephen gets used to being treated in a sensible and understandable way. Dante, a feverous catholic believer, influences Stephen’s beliefs about the church, which will after convert into the reason of Stephen’s guilt. And the Catholic Virgin Mary which Stephen looks up at and sees his mom reflected on, she is also the one he goes back to after he has sinned.

After Stephen turns to a certain age, his mother starts to let go of him, and starts teaching him morals. At the beginning of the book after Stephen does something wrong “his mother said: ‘O, Stephen will apologise’” (Joyce 21). Stephen sees this as a maternal threat, perhaps the first one, and wonders how the same person that had been “a powerful and beneficent source of physical pleasure” (Henke 318), could now be the one “responsible for introducing him to a hostile external world” (Henke 318), where Stephen will have to learn how to face the consequences of his acts.

At this starting point of the novel where Stephen is just a little kid, he starts to develop, “established by Oedipus,… the idea of castration” (Brivic 281). This idea refers to the loss of eyes in Stephen, which represent the image the kid had of his mother before she forces him to apologize, and also the image that Stephen has of his mother after she becomes the source of embarrassment.

Stephen feels protected by his mother and feels that nobody can break the force of protection that surrounds him and that has been placed there by his mom, but certainly his own mother is the one that makes Stephen lose his old eyes, the eyes that viewed the mother as a loving and sensible person, and it is the same mother who makes him feel ashamed when he has to apologize in front of everyone at the house.

Stephen’s “‘Eagle epiphany’” (Brivic 281) makes him realized that the time for him to let go of his mother’s lap has come. It is now time for Stephen to go out for college and live there with the other boys, who even though are Stephen’s same age, seem to experience freedom away from their parents. While the other boys enjoy their stay at the college away from home, Stephen continues to mourn and misses his mother. In order to consulate himself Stephen creates an imaginary mom who he starts kissing every night before going to bed as he used to do when he was back at home.

Wells is now the source of embarrassment and guilt of Stephen who in front of the other kids asks him “Dedalus, do you kiss your mother every night before you go to bed?” (Joyce 26). “Reminded of his guilt, Stephen is reduced to importance and ‘does not dare to raise his eyes’ (Joyce 27)…” (Brivic 282-283). Stephen is now alone in the college and does not know how to protect himself, and this is the main reason for his creating an imaginary mother who he can kiss and feel close to him. Stephen feels a paternal threat when Wells laughs at him and Stephen feels less man than Wells and that is why he “does not dare to raise his eyes” (Joyce 27) to look at the boys’ faces.

While being at the college by himself, Stephen looks for the maternal warmth that he misses. He does not know where to find it, and he starts looking for it in prostitutes. The first time Stephen sleeps with a prostitute he starts:
… feeling the warm calm rise and fall of her breast, [and bursts] into hysterical weeping. Tears of joy and of relief shone in his delighted eyes and his lips parted though they would not speak. ‘Give me a kiss, she said.’ His lips would not bend to kiss her. He wanted to be held firmly in her arms, to be caressed slowly, slowly, slowly. In her arms he felt that he had suddenly become strong and fearless and sure of himself. But his lips would not bend to kiss her. (Joyce 99)

Stephen is inexperience and tries to find the warmth and comfort of his mother’s lap in a prostitute. He lets himself fall into the arms of this woman and that is when his torment starts. After this, Stephen starts condemning himself, and this is when everything he had heard Dante said and everything he believes and hears at church start making him feel shameful and as a sinner. The fact that he has transgressed his purity and the laws of the church start building up this feeling of guilt in his conscience for he has sinned and God did not like sinners.

At this point in the novel is when Stephen starts identifying himself and, “dreams of himself as Edmond Dantes, he identifies himself with a man betrayed by his friends and his mistress, unjustly exiled and imprisoned” (Henke 322). After Stephen sleeps with the prostitute, he feels guilty and does not dare to pray to God or to go back to church. In some way he feels betrayed by everyone for not understanding him. If he said a word to anyone, they would laugh at him again, like Wells and the other kids did when he was at the college. They would not let understand his necessities, either would they face him, instead they would all give their backs to him and take him to exile in the society.

He could not trust anyone, either could he go back to church because he was guilty and God would accuse him of sin. If Dante knew about his sin, she would make him feel like the worst of the men for letting sin get into his life, for Dante was a woman who could not tolerate sin or anything that would go against the church.

Stephen feels imprisoned because of his sin. The sin has put him against God, and only confession can take him back into the right path. But as he achieves contact with the mother through prostitution in the third chapter, the paternal threat arises, and soon Stephen feels himself pierced by the phallic force of the words of Father Arnall: ‘The preacher’s knife had probed deeply into his diseased conscience…’ (P 110); ‘The thought slid like a cold shining rapier into his tender flesh: confession’ (P199). As he wandered then in search of a prostitute, Stephen now wanders in search of a confessional, and he seeks the sheltering arms of the Virgin whose name is that of his mother. (Brivic 288).

After thinking about Father’s Arnall words, Stephen feels the need of running to the church and confesses to the priest all he has done wrong. As he used to do when he was a little kid, Stephen runs to the arms of the mother. Now that he cannot go to the arms of his own mother, Stephen looks for the warmth on the Virgin’s Mary arms. He repents and “he beat his breast with his fist humbly, secretly under cover of the wooden armrest” (Joyce 132) while he waited for his turn to confess his sin to the priest. Stephen finds forgiveness at the church that day, but this is just the beginning of his life and experience with women.

Joyce used this imagery of the priest’s words as being a sword that seems to cut right through his conscience and at the very moment when he thinks about being with the prostitute, the words of the priest and everything that the church had taught him come to play and make Stephen feel corrupted. At this very moment is when Stephen realizes in what darkness he is and that the only way to get out of it is confessing.

Stephen has his first experience with this prostitute, and this is when he starts discovering how his life and relationships with women is going to be. He meets other women and he meets Emma. Stephen’s sexual desires take him to make Emma the “object of masturbatory fantasy” (Henke 317).
Henke describes Stephen’s thoughts and says:

As the ‘jeweleyed harlots’ of transgression dance before the boy’s fevered imagination, he feels horrified by the realization that he has besmirched the icon of his beloved Emma by making her the object of masturbatory fantasy: ‘The image of Emma appeared before him and, under her eyes, the flood of shame rushed forth anew from his heart. If she knew to what his mind had subjected her or how his brute like lust had torn and trampled upon her innocence! (Henke 326).

At this exact moment Stephen feels ashamed for what he had done to Emma. He feels ashamed for his bad thoughts and for putting Emma’s image into such an impure situation. Stephen is not just using Emma without her knowing it, but he is making her his slave; the slave of his sexual desires and of his misleading fantasies.

Even though Stephen starts using Emma as the “object of his masturbatory fantasy,” in his conscience the image of Emma is telling him that what he is doing is wrong. In some way she is controlling the situation because Stephen feels guilty about it. This does not convince Stephen. In other for him to feel satisfied, he needs to first feel that he is in charge of the situation and of the circumstance. This is when Stephen realizes that what he needs is a woman without any feelings or thoughts of self-consciousness.

Stephen has a very low self confidence. Since he was a little boy his mom gave him everything. At the realization of the need for the “perfect woman” Stephen creates this imaginary bird-girl who Henke says:
…is represented as a fantasized paradigm of psychic cohesion, the Other whose realistic fragmentation would threaten the poet’s idealized aesthetic project. Because this female icon remains as mute, fetishized, and perpetually mediated object of desire, her difference assures psychological stability to the speaking/seeing subject, the authorial I/eye who frames and appropriates her figure. (Henke 330).

Henke describes this bird-girl as being “mute”. The image of a woman being mute shows Stephen’s need of control. By obtaining this control Stephen feels that his world is not controlled by women, like it used to be when he was a boy. In other for Stephen to be free and become an artist as he wants, he needs to be at liberty from the maternal control that reigns over him. The only way of doing this is having control over the relationships that he has with any woman.
Henke also uses the words “perpetually mediated object of desire” to define the image of this bird-girl. Any sexual characteristics that Stephen dreams a woman having are display by this imaginary woman. Stephen lives in a world where he needs to fantasize in order to make any sense out of things and in order for him to feel comfortable and satisfied. This is why “her [the bird-girl’s] difference assures psychological stability to the speaking/seeing subject [Stephen]” (Henke 330).

In difference to, for example, Emma, this bird-girl gives confidence and control to Stephen over the situation. The bird-girl does not talk, does not feel or see anything that Stephen is putting her under. This refers not to Stephen himself, but to his conscience. By having the bird-girl Stephen’s conscience does not feel guilty because he is supposedly not doing anything wrong for the girl does not feel or see.

Stephen did not know how to act or what to do in occasions when his mom was not with him or when he was with a woman. This is why he can never have a stable relationship with any woman. He feels less man and he feels that everyone could be better than him. He creates this imaginary woman who is always ready to do what he wants, who is there to ask no questions either to see or speak, and to whom he can do whatever he wants. This is the only way Stephen can feel that he has the control over something.

All the feelings that Stephen has at this moment and the guilt he feels throughout the novel are caused by the religious education that he was given by his mom, by Dante, and by the church.
Both the Psychoanalytical criticism essay and the Feminist criticism essay prove the guilt and embarrassment that Stephen experiences throughout the novel. With the use of imagery, Joyce creates a character that is influenced religiously by several female figures (his mother, the church, Dante, and the Virgin Mary), and who throughout the novel needs to learn how to take control over situations in order for him to success. Stephen’s lack of confidence take him to do many things that he repents of doing, but at last his purpose for all he had done was to become an artist, and his acts and experiences become essential part of his writing.

Assigment- VIII, The Wedding Dance in the Open Air.

Dancing Happily in the Woods.

In the poem, “The Wedding Dance in the Open Air” by William Carlos Williams, the author describes a scene where a group of peasants dance outside in the woods and everyone seems to be happy. Neither the bride nor the groom are described specifically, but instead a whole group of people is shown as having fun and being merry while dancing. The author’s choice of words and description transmit a view of happiness while relating in the poem how a group of peasants, who even though are away from civilization, feel joyous and excited while they celebrate a wedding by dancing together as a single group around the tress, while treating each other equally. The author explains through the description of the scene in the poem that people can be happy and have a good time without having to spend great amounts of money. The peasants were enjoying their time “in holyday gear” (line 4), and “a riotously gay rabble of peasants” (line 5) were dancing around. Even though they were in a place away form society, these peasants didn’t need a lot of money or knowledge in order to have a good time. Everyone seemed to know each other and the author describes them as “gear,” which means a “complete assembly,” and as “gay rabble,” which means happy tumultuous crowd” to describe them as a group dancing all together. By describing the peasants as being all together and not singling out the bride or the groom in the poem, the author makes clear that there are not differences between this group of people, not even when they are having fun. The peasants “prance or go openly toward the wood’s” not caring about anything else by dance. By saying that they “go openly toward the woods” describes them as being away from civilization or society, and that is the reason why there are not differences between them. Instead of creating this barrier that society creates between humans, the peasants just enjoy themselves and treat each other as if they are all the same; there is not even discrimination for who is or who is not the ones who should be enjoying the dance. In conclusion the author’s purpose in the poem is to let the reader know how everyone can have fun together as this group of peasants is doing. Society does not play any role in this dance, and everyone has fun together. The place does not matter either, so the author tries to say that there is not excused for treating each other differently or not having fun.

Class Discussion- The Myth of Sisyphus.

The Myth of Sisyphus.

In “The Myth of Sisyphus” by Albert Camus, the author expresses his believes using a vocabulary that makes the imagination create different point of view about Sisyphus. The author explains how life itself is meaningless and absurd because men do the same things everyday, not realizing it. Men’s work does not take them anywhere because they do not have any purpose. To express this, Camus uses Sisyphus as an example. Sisyphus goes up rolling the rock, not thinking anything about the work he is doing, he does not realize neither he finds a meaning for the effort he is putting into pushing up the rock. When he is almost on the summit, he sees the rock fall down again, and at that point is when he realizes that his work does not have any purpose. It is at this point that Camus focuses on Sisyphus punishment. Only when a man realizes the efforts he is putting into something that is not taking him anywhere is when he becomes aware that his life does not have any meaning, “but it is tragic only at the rare moments when it becomes conscious” (3). Sisyphus seemed to not have any clue of what was going to happen when he got to the summit. He did not realize how much effort he had putting into rolling the rock until he saw it come back down again without even reaching the top. Through this imagery of Sisyphus rolling his rock up toward the summit without any purpose just to see come back down again, Camus explains how meaningless any work is because at last it will not take the person anywhere.

Personal-College Essay

The right person at the right time.

Everything seemed so awkward to me. The new school system I had just entered did not make any sense. The way other kids behaved, and the freedom that they seemed to posses was amazing to me. Everyone just had something to do or some place to go; nobody had a moment to explain to me where I was supposed to go.
Being a fourteen year-old girl in a place where you know the traditions, the people around you, and most important a place where everyone speaks the same language is hard enough for many kids; but trying this in a different country is even harder. I started my freshman high school year not understanding what my classmates were talking about or what my history textbook had written on it.
On my first day of school, just as I was about to enter my history class, I saw this older man standing at the door greeting his students as they went inside the classroom. He looked so joyful and happy that my eyes stared at him in amusement. I looked at the sign on his door, his name was Dr. Cabral. Even though he was not a very healthy person, (I later learned he had been in the war some years before and that had caused him severe health problems), he had such lightness on his face that he just made me feel welcome.
I was very unsure about whether or not I was going to be able to come out victorious from this new journey that I had just started. My lack of being able to speak or write English and my not being able to understand this new culture made my first two years of high very hard. I would have never been able to go through those freshman and sophomore years if I had not had the help of my history teacher, who spoke Spanish to me.
He helped me understand a new way of life. He was there in his classroom every time I did not understand what my homework was, or when I needed someone to listen to me when I had problems and did not know how to face them.
When I lived in Venezuela, my native country, everything was so much easier. My classmates at school and everyone I knew over there spoke the same language and we were all part of the same culture.
Three years later, I can still remember that first day of school when everything seemed so out of place for me. I can still remember the face of that man who taught me so much, and who smiled at life even when life was not being kind to him.
He vanished from my life in the same way he came into it, in a silent and unnoticeable way. He left the school because of his health problems, but he still remains in my heart and mind. Now I put in practice everything he taught me. I try to smile at life even when things do not come out the way I expected. He might not be here anymore, but the memories of that man who taught me English and History, and how to feel grateful for the simple reason of being alive remain in my heart and soul. I will always be grateful to life for having put an angel in my life when I most needed him.

Group Discussion- Reading Lolita in Tehran.

I was kind of confused at the beggining because the narrator of the book starts talking and describing some other books and then she goes talking about Lolita. Anyways I think that the book is special because these women were just trying to be what they are, women who just want to express themselves. What Nafisi does for the girls is nice, not only is she teaching them about literature, but she is also letting them express her feelings and dress the way they want at her house and I think that this really means a lot to the girls. At the same time the girls at helping Nafisi a lot. I mean she is not working at the university anymore and I assume that for a teacher it most be hard not doing what they love, not being able to express their passion which is teaching, and the girls coming in to her house every Thursday morning most had been a happy visit for Nafisi, and also she was doing what she knew how to do, teaching. Another thing that called my attention was when Yassi was describing the lecture the teacher had given at the university about muslim girls and christian girls. And then one of the girls in the class said "No wonder more and more Muslims are converting to Christianity." I think the mayority (if not all) of the girls at the university felt humiliated. They were not even allowed to get in the university by the main entrance, instead they had to be search before they could get in to the school. I think it was really unfair for them...

Refering back at what they were saying ( in the book) about girls coverting to other religions where they could feel free and without so much pressure or where they could simply feel "women" and not something that cannot be seen or heard, I think that it was also very hard for them. I mean how could they just covert to another religion society was so not understandable with women. I think that if a women converted or something she could be seen as a punishment from god or something. Anyways my point is that if a girl coverted, then she wouldn't be seen with any respect by society, well it's not like by being muslim it was any different, but I think that people wouldn't even talk to girls who converted because then they would be seen as part of their society... Well that was just a thought...Talking more about how Nafisi describes Lolita, she says, "Take Lolita. This was the story of a twelve-year-old girl who had nowhere to go. Humbert had tried to turn her into his fantasy, into his dead love, and he had destroyed her. The desperate truth of Lolita's story is not the rape of a twelve-year-old by a dirty old mand but the confication of one individul's life by another...Yet the novel, the finished work, is hopeful, beautiful even, a defense not just of beauty but of lige, ordinary everyday life, all the normal pleasures that Lolita, like Yassi, was deprived of" (33). I really like the way she describes Lolita's story in this passage. I compared this passage of Lolita's story with the teacher and the girls story as well as the story of a everyday women in Tehran. Women were deprived any pleasure, they could not even get in to the university through the main door but instead they had to go through the side and be checked before they could even get in. Under that regimen I think that women felt like Lotita and that's why Nafisi compares Yassi to Lolita, to give an example of many examples of how women felt in that society...

I wanted to discuss about how women were so discriminated, Nafisi says that, "...once Nassrin had been sent to the disciplinary committee to have her eyelashes checked. Her lashes were long, and she was suspected of using mascara. That's nothing, said Manna, next to what happened to my sister's friends at the Amir Kabir Polytechnic University. During lunch three of the girls were in the yard eating apples. They were reprimanded by the guards: they were biting their apples too seductively!"(59). Can you guys believe this?... I mean it seems so funny to me, and when they are discussing this in their group they are all laughing and it really is funny how could they be biting their apples "too seductively"? It seems so unfair to me, and I think that Nafisi tells this so the reader realizes how hard it really was for a woman in that society. I mean they could do almost nothing...not even bit an apple in public...

Nafisi married very young and she also passed for hard moments. Even though now she was independent and pretty much did want she wanted there, before she hard to live with a man who didn't care about her or her interests. "When my father was jailed, I went back home and was allowed to stay for a year. Later, I was insecure enough to marry on the spur of a moment, before my eighteenth birthday. I married a man whose most important credential was that he wasn't like us...and he was so sure of himself. He didn't value books...he was insanely jealous... The day I said yes, I knew I was going to divorce him. There were no limits to my selfdestructive urges and the risk I was prepared to take with my own life"(83). Poor Nafisi. Her life was not as easy as it seemed. I mean if you read the begining of the book where she talks about her class and how she was waiting for the girls to arrive and seeing the girls having to get to her house in big large robes and then changing you think that the girls were suffering in a certain way, but if you look closer to Nafisi she has really come a long way since she got married so young. I think that now that she had the class she was feeling in a certain way realized. And this husband that she had was so mean, he felt better than everyone else. I think that fe affected her life a lot, and when she could finally leave him she even had to give him the carpet, the car and the money they had in their bank account... what a guy...

"At the time, students and faculty were differentiated mainly by their political affiliations. Gradually I matched names to faces, and learned to read them, to know who was with whom against whom and who belonged to what group. It is almost frightening how these images appear out of the void, like the faces of the dead come back to life to execute some unfulfilled task" (94). I think this quote is really interesting because I think that Nafisi points this out to let the reader know how politics affected the country in every sense. Not only were the student politically active but that was how they were actually recognized. At the university that was how teachers used to know the kids and how they were able to identify them. You get the feeling that even at school it was a constant war and that there was no peace. So problems were not only at home or with their own families but they had to face problems with many people that perhaps they didn't even know. It seems really sad for me, and I don't know but I think this could be a reason for women to feel kind of insecure or not protected at all. For them was even harder and they could do nothing to change that. They couldn't even get out from their country. Nafisi tells how she wanted to come back to America but she couldn't because they wouldn't let her get out. Another thing that I think relates to this is this guy that was killed and his charges were the following: "Being Westernized, brought up in a Westernized family; staying too long in Europe for his studies; smoking Winston cigarettes; displaying leftist tendencies"(96). So people could not get out of the country, and this guy was raised in a foreing country and when he came back from his studies he was sentenced to death penalty and he was also accused for doing what humans do? It was a very tough time in Iran in those days and the fact that Nafisi was being able to have her class at home and that the girls were strong enough and had the courage to do it was pretty amazing and I think that's the reasong for Nafisi talking about this.

I think that Bijan is the same guy she married, if you look in the first part of chapter 2 of part 2 of the book she starts describing this guy she married when her father was put in jail, and she describes him as being "...he offered a way of life which, in contrast to ours, seemed pragmatic and uncomplicated' and he was so sure of himself..."(83). Later in that chapter she starts kind of describing why his dad was put in jail and at the end of that same chapter she talks again about that guy she married, she says his name in that moment which she didn't say before. "The fall of 1977 was memorable for two events: my marriage in September and the Shah's last official and most dramatic visit to the United States in November..."(86). This is when she moves to the USA with her husband who was Bijan. Then she goes on and says something about him that she already said in the first part of the chapter. She says, "...I fell in love with him for all the wrong reasons: not because of his revolutionary rhetoric but because he possessed a sense of confidence in himself and his beliefs that went beyond the hysterics of the movement..."(86). So here she also describes him as being sure of himself and having that strong confidence in himself.

I wanted to discuss about the war and how people were thinking about others during that period. "The war in Irak began that September... The polarization created by the regime confused every aspect of life. Not only were the forces of God fighting an emissary of Satan, Iraq's Saddam Hussein, but they were also fighting agents of Satan inside the country. At all time, from the very beginning of the revolution and all through the war and after, the Islamic regime never forgot its holy battle against its internal enemies..."(158). So now was not only Hussein consider the enemy, but everyone inside the country who had opinions or beliefs that were different from those of the regime. Nafisi goes on saying that "All forms of criticism were now considered Iraqi-inspired and dangerous to national security. Those groups and individuals without a sense of loyalty to the regime's brand of Islam were excluded from the war effort. They could be killed or sent to the front, but they could not voice their social or political preferences (158-159). So nobody could talk or express their feelings. If someone said anything about the regime that went against it, then the regime was going to make sure that the person paid for it by either being killed by the regime or in the front fighting. For the regime, people who were against them instead of with them should be punished because "There were only two forces in the world, the army of God and that of Satan" (159), so anyone who didn't agree with them had to stay quite. I think Nafisi wants to show the reader how far this "revolution" kind of thing was going. I mean how could they be fighting a war in the name of a god? If the same god at last created them all, why then would god want them to be fighting. They thought they were right and that they had the protection of god, and that's why many of them even gave their lives for the cause and they just thought that Satan was the one sending the people other people from the same country just because they didn't think the same way...

(Here I'm answering to the other student who said that people would not give up the Islamic religion even though the religion sent them to war, and asking if Naffisi's husband was different from others in a good or bad way). People were just like blind and I wanted to talk about that because in my beliefs about religion (which ever one it is) people should feel like the person next to you is your brother or you sister. This people were living in the same country and yet they couldn't trust one another, and the regime was even thinking about killing those who they thought were against them. Why would they fight a war in name of religion if religion is suppose to teach peace...???Well about the guy she married, I believe the reason she married him was so his dad could get out from the jail, that's why as soon as her dad got out from jail she divorced him. While I was reading that part, I felt that her tone was more like he is different in a bad way. I don't think she married him because he was different and she liked that about him. He was mean and he thought he was better than everyone else... Hope I answer your questions, maybe Shugy could give you her point of view...

So the guy Nafisi married was powerful or at least he had money so I guess she married him so he used his influences and the take her dad out of jail......... I found a quote about how women felt about the veil and why many of them didn't want to use it. Nafisi went to talk to Mr. Bahri and she respected him a lot, but he friend had already resigned and now it was Nafisi's turn to choose whether she was going to stay in the school and wear the scarf around her hear or just quit her. She was saying that "What did he imagine our students would think of us if they saw us wearing the veil we had sworn never to do so?..." (165). This was something serious and Nafisi was not going to wear the veil, first because she would be letting down her students and their cause and second because she explained that "it was not the piece of cloth that I rejected, it was the transformation being imposed upon me that mede me look in the mirror and hate the strange I had become" (165). So imagine how Nafisi felt about having to choose between keeping her job or failing her students and herself....

While I was reading through chapter 3, I was deeply touch by the way Nafisi expressed her feelings. She explains how she feels now that she cannot wear what she wants or now that she she has no rights, now that she is just like a ghost walking down the streets, now that she has to wear that veil and all she can wear is a long robe. The way she tells things, and her tone make me feel as if she feels like the most miserable person. She says, "I had not realized how far the routines of one's life create the alusion of stability. Now that I could not wear what I would normally wear... This new feeling of unreality led me to invent new games, survival games I would now call them..." (167). Nafisi feels like she is not herself anymore, now all she does is what the law tells her she is "allowed" to do, like wearing the veil. Inside she does not feel human, she feels like a robot that is receiving order from the government and has to do what they tell her to. She then goes on to describe the part when this idea of creating the "game of survival" came from. "The beginning of this game I can trace back quite specifically to the day I went to the Ministry of Higher Education with a friend who wanted to have her fiploma validated... The female guard told me to hold my hands up, up, and up, she said, as she started to search me meticulously, going over every part of my body... My face was burning and I felt dirty..." (168). For me this really sound terrible. Nafisi is being "sexually molested", and not only her but I guess this happened to every other woman. This people didn't care and her rights as a human being were being violated... Nafisi's tone in this part makes you think about it really serious. How could she stand this? I think that she expresses this in this way because she wants to let the reader know how hard it was for women in those days, and also to let the women readers feel very thankful for being able to live free and have rights.