Participation Blog Posts: Honors Scarlet Letter Discussion 2

One of the most interesting parts of the Scarlet Letter is the contrast between how Arthur Dimmesdale and Hester Prynne suffer and deal with their sins. For Hester, she is forced to publicly own up to what she has done, and everyone knows that she has committed a sin. In Dimmesdale’s case, he keeps his sin as a secret. No one knows what he has done, and even as he tries to speak about how he has sinned in his sermons, everyone thinks this makes him more holy. The guilt of what he has done and what he has not said physically sickens him, and he begins to lose his mind. Though what Hester has gone through was not pleasant for her, and there are plenty of social consequences she has to suffer, owning up to her sins and allowing them to be part of the past is a much healthier way of dealing with them. Dimmesdale has to relive it every second of every day, and even though deep down he wants people to know, he is terrified of anyone finding out. This is especially highlighted in chapter 5, “The Leech and his Patient,” when Chillingsworth is trying to get Dimmesdale to confess what his secret is.

Participation Blog Posts: Honors Scarlet Letter Discussion 1

 

In chapter four, “The Interview,” it was interesting how Roger Chillingsworth spoke to Hester about how he knew she never loved him and how he did not blame her for what happened. He talks about how he was unworthy of her youthful beauty, and how it was his mistake that he thought “intellectual gifts might veil physical deformity in a young girl’s fantasy,” (491). Hester, who is upset by this, says that she did not ever pretend to love him, and that she was always honest with him. Chillingsworth says that they have “wronged each other,” (492), and so he does not feel the need for revenge towards her. However, “the man lives who has wronged us both!” (492). This is the beginning of Chillingsworth’s manic, unrelenting search for the man who is Pearl’s father. Hester refuses to tell Chillingsworth who the man is, which only increases his desire to find him. It becomes an obsession, and Chillingsworth pours everything he has into finding and punishing this mystery man. This also seems to be his way for punishing Hester, because Chillingsworth knows that she is trying to protect the man by not speaking his name.

Artifact Project- World War II Ration Booklets

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This is a ration book holder from World War II. There are four sets of ration books inside of this ration book holder, the first one from May 5th 1942, and the fourth one from 1943. They belonged to my maternal grandma’s family, which included her mother Sara, father Robert, and her two younger sisters: Yvonne, who was 14 when the first one was issued, and Roberta, who was 12. Christine (my grandma) was 16. Each individual ration book is filled out with the full name, full address, age, height, weight, gender of the person whose book it is.

On the back of each one there are rules about the rations books and warnings about what happens if the rules are violated: “Persons who violate rationing regulations are subject to a $10,000 fine or imprisonment, or both.” In case the threat of imprisonment was not enough to discourage breaking the rationing rules, underneath the instructions it reads: “Rationing is a vital part of your country’s war effort. Any attempt to violate the rules is an effort to deny someone his share and will create hardship and help the enemy.”

Usually when people remember or learn about World War II, they think about the soldiers who fought for their country. These ration books remind us that the war did not only affect the people fighting overseas, but also everyone else who was still at home. The American Dream in terms of determination and hard work leading to success is represented in these booklets. They drive home the idea that the individual people who make up the country had a way of helping the war effort, and even though it meant sacrifice on their part, they were all united in fighting for the success of the nation.

Interview Project- The Fall of the Berlin Wall

https://audioboom.com/boos/3543751-the-tearing-down-of-the-berlin-wall

“One of the most important events in my lifetime happened in 1989, when the wall between East Berlin and West Berlin was torn down, uniting Germany for the first time in my lifetime.”

“All of my life up until that point there was tension between, there were really two superpowers in the world, Russia and the United States, and there was a lot of fear that there was ultimately going to be a war between the two, they both had kind of equal power, they both had a lot of nuclear weapons. And this was a big deal because it effectively showed that the US had the upper hand, that the democratic system was going to carry the day.”

I interviewed my dad about the tearing down of the Berlin Wall in 1989. He was born in 1961, when the wall was built, so he was 28 and living in New York City when it was brought down. This time period was significant because in his lifetime Germany had never been a united country. The wall had always divided East and West Berlin, and had always been representative of the tension between communism and democracy. The wall had been built to separate communist East Berlin from democratic West Berlin.

The beginning of the rise of public response that eventually led to the tearing down of the wall was the speech that President Reagan gave in 1987 in Berlin. In the speech, President Reagan addressed the Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, and said that if he wanted peace in the world he must “Tear down this wall!” Two years later, the wall was finally taken down. My dad had a friend who was living in Berlin at the time, and he was sitting on the wall as it was being torn down. For the people of Berlin, it was the most monumental thing that had ever happened.

Because of CNN, the tearing down of the wall was broadcasted globally, and this had the effect of showing that the United States had “won.” Russia and the United States were in the midst of the Cold War, and the demolition of the wall indicated that democracy worked better than communism, and from that point forward the popularity of communism began to decline. This was a big deal, because people from both countries and around the world had been fearful for so long that tensions between the two superpowers would escalate into a nuclear war.

Germany changed and grew hugely after wall was torn down. There was not animosity between the East and West Germany, but because the economy of East Berlin was so much worse than that of West Berlin there was worry that the economy of the whole of Germany would be pulled down because of this. With time, Germany became a unified and improved compared to how it was before the Berlin Wall.

 

Get Culture

The first thing that hits you (physically) when you enter the doors of the fortress that is Costco is a blast of cold air powerful enough to make you have to duck your head. It’s a little bit disorienting, and only a small glimpse of what is to come. The carts are roughly the size of a Mini Cooper, and can definitely hold more inside of them. The store is enormous from the outside, but it appears significantly larger once you get inside. Everything is supersized.

Costco is a new addition to Charlottesville, and some of the people seem to be here purely for the experience. It’s a big deal and big news. Others are in a hurry and wield their carts as weapons as they rush around people rubbernecking at the mesmerizing displays of very large and very cheap food. My sister and I head into the maze of aisles to see who can find the most unexpected, outrageous item. Immediately we see a person-sized fireproof safe that can hold up to fourteen guns! Unfortunately, it costs over three hundred dollars, so instead of attempting to wrestle it into our cart I have to settle for a photo.

We continue down towards the food aisles, where we find a jar of mayonnaise that would last a lifetime.

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This is exciting, but more exciting is farther down the aisle where a box of Ramen Noodles with 24 packs costs only $4.89! Disbelief and glee fill Lizzie’s face. Costco is the place where dreams come true. Stores where you can buy a flat screen TV, a 42 pound bag of cat litter, and a 128 ounce jar of mayonnaise is one trip are something that is uniquely American. The bigger and cheaper the better!

What Every American Should Know

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http://www.nationalreview.com/postmodern-conservative/392114/ralph-ellison-and-melting-pot-carl-eric-scott

People with different viewpoints (for example, older people versus younger people), would interpret this text very differently. The ideas posed in the text are particularly modern ways of thinking, and would be significantly altered from the ways “cultural literacy” might have been defined in the time of older American generations. The idea that cultural literacy today is being changed by the masses constantly and relies on the detailed knowledge of all different cultures, racial groups, and events (no matter how they reflect America) is a large change from the history books filled only with the stories of America’s positive impact on the world.

The Great Gatsby

“But I didn’t call to him, for he gave the sudden intimation that he was content to be alone – he stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward- and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been a dock.” (21)

What does this green light represent, in this quote and throughout the rest of the book?