Author Archives: mcr82488

Krapp’s Last Tape

As I was reading “Krapp’s Last Tape” I was reminded of something I use to do when I was younger. From the age of seven until I was ten or eleven I would write a letter to myself every year on my birthday and hide in a book. Before writing myself a letter I would read the previous years’ letter.

In the letter to myself I wrote about things that had happened to me during the past year such as lessons I learned, events with my family, friends I made, music and movies I liked etc. When I got into sixth grade at the age of twelve I started to keep a journal. I wrote in a diary every day from the age of twelve until after high school (eighteen or nineteen). I still have all of my journals in a box and I have not read any of them unlike the letters.

It is interesting that Krapp listened to old tapes and basically relived the memory or the event that was occurring during the time in which the tape was recorded. That in a way is like my diaries. When I am older it will be fun to look back and read what I went through and how I dealt with certain situations. It may also be a good teaching tool and a great way to understand my children as they are growing up and experiencing similar situations I went through as well.

 

 

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E-readers

All of the discussion and blog posts about e-literature and whether it will cause print to become obsolete has got me thinking about books and e-readers. A lot of people have turned to e-readers as a means to read their literature. I am one of those people. I like how convenient it is to download a book I want and it is just a few clicks away instead of going to a store, looking for the book and paying for it if they have it in stock. A  lot of the books I download are less expensive than if I bought them at Barnes and Nobel and sometimes even free. The most important thing to me however is space. It saves A LOT of it when you use an e-reader. Instead of having books sit on a bookshelf that I paid twenty plus dollars for I no longer need a bookshelf and I do not have books lying around for years.

I think as e-readers become more and more popular and less expensive schools and textbook companies may want to think about using them. If all books in classrooms including textbooks are available on e-readers this would save students a lot of time because they would not have to shop for their school books or switch out the books when going to their next class. It would also save them space which is important in college since students often live in a tiny apartment or in an even smaller dorm room. Since they are not paying for a bound book students would also save money on their school books. Finally, it would help with the back pain every student has endured sometime during their college experience. Since they do not have to carry heavy textbooks in their backpack this lessens the chance of a student having back problems.

It would save the companies that make the textbooks from having to print and distribute the books. Since textbooks are often edited or changed every few years having textbooks on e-readers will help the company. This would save them money as well as time. Not to mention it would help the environment because there would be less trash from the unwanted and or outdated textbooks and less trees would be cut down. Schools in many ways are already headed towards going paperless with all the teaching tools and websites teachers often make so this is just another way they can cut down their use of materials.

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E-Lit VS Print

A question during class was raised whether e-literature will every become mainstream and will print cease to exist?

As discussed in class I think e-literature will have its uses. For example, it can be used to  teach any language not just a second one for a person of any age. It can also be used for history. It may also be used to teach elementary children in the classroom. E-literature might become really popular for these uses but I do not think it will become so mainstream that print will cease to exist. Not only is e-literature something that does not give the viewer total creative control but it does not let one control their pace with it. I was a little frustrated with the videos and wanted them to have a quicker pace.

People like to loose themselves in books and see the characters and places how they want to imagine them. Only a successful book would make someone want to dedicated an entire interactive website to the book so the viewer can read the text, look at the characters and places they live. However, this idea is already moot considering that now a days any popular book gets made into a video game and or movie. This would limit the number of people interested in a website or video that you have to read and watch. If you wanted to read you can read the book and if you wanted to experience the book you can play the video game or sit back and enjoy the movie. There are even theme parks dedicated to some franchises  such as Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando (two photos shown below). Fans of the franchise can interact with the world of Harry Potter as conveyed in the books and movies.

There are many reasons why e-literature will never become more popular than print. The simplest is that reading from a book is convenient and relaxing and e-literature is not.

*Photo on the left shows a few of the cast members from Harry Potter standing in Hogsmeade village created by Universal. The photo on the right shows Honeydukes.

More photos can be found at http://www.themeparkinsider.com/wizarding-world-of-harry-potter/

 

 

 

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Frankenstein Exhibit and Science

  One of the most interesting parts of the traveling Frankenstein exhibit was on the last partition. That side was all about modern advances in medicine and genetics. Today, genetics, cloning, artificial organs, genetically enhancing organisms and stem cell research not only can be connected to the story of Frankenstein but have raised great concern for the scientific community as well as the general public and it got me thinking…

These issues raise a lot of questions such as, what it means to be human? What is morally and ethically right or wrong with these issues? What limits  should be placed on scientific discovery in general? What restrictions, if any, should be placed on these new advancements? And who gets to answer these questions and make the choices?

These advancements have even  drawn the attention of Hollywood. Movies are being made to make people aware of these issues as well as the problems that may stem from them and the questions they raise. A few such movies are, Gattaca (genetics), The Island (cloning) and Repo-Men (artificial organs).

These movie plots and the problems they raise may seem a bit extreme but wasn’t Frankenstein’s plot a bit extreme for the time period in which it was written? That is part of what made it such a great scary story. However, with all our bio-medical advancements the idea of the monster it not too far off. We are able to save lives with modern medicine and technology including organ donations, surgery and jump starting a heart with electricity by using a defibrillator.

If history and such movies as stated above have taught us anything, it is to be cautious when it comes to advancements. People like to take advantage of situations and technologies if no restrictions are in place. Whether it is to clone loved ones in case an organ fails, genetically enhance certain abilities,  create artificial organs to defy death or the create a companion from dead matter because of loneliness there need to be restrictions so things do not get out of control.

 

 

 

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Fantasy VS Reality

“Fantasy love is much better than reality love…the most exciting attractions are between two opposite that never meet.” -Andy Warhol

I do not agree with the quote above and I think Warhol is wrong. If he were to say that fantasy love is much easier and less messy than reality love I would have to agree with that. Reality love is not simple nor is it perfect. There will be challenges and you have to work at it everyday. I think people often mistake the above quote/idea to be true which is what gets them into trouble with their significant other.

Fantasy love cannot challenge you, make you a better person, be there for you through the thick and thin nor can it go on adventures with you. Fantasy is perfect, too perfect and perfection is boring. No one would really want to be in a relationship with someone who is flawless not only would it make it less exciting but you would feel insecure all the time since you are not perfect as well.

Fantasy love is not real love. The telegraph girl in “In the Cage” will hopefully figure with out before the fantasy ruins her relationships with her real friends and her fiance. Telegraph girl is fantasizing about the rich people who come into the post especially Captain Everard. She is currently engaged to Mr. Mudge and these fantasies will more than likely have a negative affect on her relationship with him and even possibly her co workers.

 

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In the Cage Quote

“Mean-while for a month he was very consistent  Cissy, Mary, never re-appeared with him; he was always either alone or accompanied only by some gentleman who was lost in the blaze of glory. There was another sense, however-and indeed there was more than one-in which she mostly found herself counting in the slendid creature with whom she had originally connected him. He addressed this correspondent neither as Mary nor Cissy.” These lines indicate that Everard is making sure he is never seen with Cissy/Mary while he enters the post office. It also shows that the telegraph girl is not only watching him but making connections between him and Cissy/Mary. She seems very interesting in what is going on between the two of them.

From this point on the telegraph girl assumes the correspondence is between Everard and Mary. She notices the telegrams they send back and forth to each other and that he never addresses her as Mary or Cissy in the telegrams. This marks the beginning of telegraph girl’s obsessions with these two people so it is pretty important to the entire story.

In the telegrams to each other Mary and Everard never revealed too much. They are pretty vague and there are never too many details. All while this is going on in the few short chapters that we read the telegraph girl is keeping tabs and noting everything that is happening. She feels that this is what makes her job as a telegraphist interesting.

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Loveless Marriage

This short story was very interesting especially when you take in consideration when it was written. To be a woman and to write a story such as this and have it published for the public to see is amazing during this time period. In 1894 women were still expected to get married and bare children. They were also expected to cook, clean and bring up the children. Working women were rare as well as women who did not marry.

Mrs. Mallard is described as “young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression”. This statement makes it seem like she is in a marriage that was not her choice and to an older man. She goes on to say that had loved him but only sometimes. She seems to feel for him but she does not feel like she is living her life. Most women during this time period did not choose who they married. Their family and society expected them to marry certain men.

“A kind intention or cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination”. This statement reveals that Mrs. Mallard had never thought about how men were considered dominate over women and how she was expected to marry. I wonder how many women in the 1800-1900’s actually felt this way or even thought about it. It was the norm for women to marry even when they were not in love.

In today’s society marriage is not expected. Some people live together their entire lives without marrying while others marry more than once. Marriage is about love in today’s society and marrying someone of your choice. It is interesting how much society’s views on marriage had changed and still are changing. It will be interesting to see what happens in the near future.

 

 

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Human?

On Thursday there were two discussions that I thought about even after the class ended. The fist one was about if the monster was human or not. The second was about if Victor was right or wrong in creating the monster.

I found the discussion we had in class about whether Frankenstein’s monster was human or not very interesting. The monster was created out of human parts and he did not come into this world normally. He was created not born. Although he did not have to grow up physically he did have to learn stuff the way all humans have to starting with sensations then to speech and communication. His brain was a blank slate.

I think he is human despite the way he was brought into the world. He has the same human emotions (anger, spitefulness, loneliness  pity, joy, guilt, and sadness)  learning capabilities (was a blank slate and needed to learn sensations, words and their meanings, how to communicate etc.) and needs (companionship, to be accepted by his creator, food, water etc.)  If we were to successfully clone a human being would that make them any less human than a non clone? I think not. Therefore, the matter in which he came into this world does not make him any less human than you and I.

As for whether it was right or wrong for Victor to create the monster I think it depends on what you focus on. Is it wrong because he is playing God? Is it wrong because he mutilated bodies of other human beings? Is it okay since it was in the name of science? I honestly do not have an answer. Each of these questions make me answer differently. What I can say for certain is I think it was very wrong of Victor to abandon his creation.

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To destroy or not to destroy?

Victor agrees to create a mate for the monster. He works hard on her but eventually ends up destroying it. He was worried that she would not want to live in solitude and they would reproduce. These fears are rational however, I believe he destroyed her out of selfish reasons not noble ones. I think he was worried about feeling more guilty and sorry for himself than he already does which is why he destroyed her.

Were his actions justified? Understandable yes, justifiable maybe not. He not only made the monster angry but he endangered everyone close to him by choosing to destroy the monster’s would be mate. It is obvious that Victor can not control the monster and  when the monster is denied something good it resorts to violence. As the creator I think he has an obligation to make the monster happy to an extent. He did not befriend his creation in the beginning, instead  he abandoned it. The least he could do is give it a little happiness since he was the once who created it.

I can not help but feel sorry for the monster and think negatively about Victor. The monster never asked to be created but it was. Victor played god by creating it but chose not to take responsibility. Instead, he ran away and as a result his loved ones keep getting hurt at the hand of the monster he created. I feel that the very least he could do was create a mate for it since he is in this deep.

 

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Creation

The creation of the monster brings up obvious moral and ethical issue which apply to science right now. In today’s society generic engineering and cloning are not a thing of the future but of the present. Crops are genetically enhanced all the time and we have successfully cloned animals. The scientific community has been talking about the ethics and restrictions that should be placed on cloning and genetic engineering for years. What are the limits? Is the method okay if the end justifies the means? Is it right to clone a human? An organ? Food? An animal? Should we genetically enhance an unborn fetus? How far is too far? What are the possible problems?

These questions make me think of two different movies Gattaca and The Island. In Gattaca genetic engineering becomes a norm and people who are not genetically enhanced did not receive the same benefits and great jobs as the genically enhanced did. How far would our society go if gentic engineering were allowed. Would we be able to put restrictions on it so our society does not end up like the one in Gattaca? In The Island the rich and famous were able to clone themselves. The clones lived in a huge building and lead to believe that they were survivors of a natural disaster. When the person who paid for the clone needed an organ the clones would be taking into surgery and killed for it. These are two extreme examples but is it possible that our society could end up this way?

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