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Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

The novella Of Mice and Men is one of America’s most enduring pieces of literature. In spite of its mere 107 pages, the story has attracted readers for more than seven decades.  Perhaps this is because the allure of this book is in its characters, rather than in its plot. In the book, John Steinbeck explores the relationship between a lumbering, yet loving dimwit, Lennie Small and a brooding dreamer, George Milton. The two are peripatetic, journeying seemingly aimlessly from ranch to ranch across the western United States. While Lennie and George appear to be just two of the thousands of other nomadic farmhands drudging through through every month just to blow their ‘stake’ on cheap booze and hookers and return to the ranch life, the protagonists of Of Mice and Men distinguish themselves by a few novel traits. The first is their relationship, the second their aspirations and the third the burden they bear. 

When first introduced, Lennie and George are indistinguishable. The book states “Both were dressed in denim trousers and in denim coats with brass buttons. Both wore black, shapeless hats and both carried tight blanket rolls slung over their shoulders.” As the chapter progresses, however, and they begin to converse, the author makes clear that these two are not the same in this relationship. 

Through Steinbeck’s illustration of Lennie’s behavior, we see a blissful, yet wildly unintelligent giant of a man, unable to fend for himself. He clings to George as a child to a parent, imitating George’s mannerisms and opinions. Lennie is burdened with the intelligence and personality of a small child, and a mountain of a body. His love of soft things leads him to incessantly accidentally hurt and kill the animals he is so enamored with. He wants nothing more than George’s companionship, and perhaps a few rabbits to pet. Throughout the book, this remains constant. Lennie is static.

George appears to be an average man of the 1930s. He is often abrasive, a naturally solitary creature. His burden is that of Lennie’s companionship. It is left unclear how Lennie came into George’s stewardship, but it occurred long before the events of the book. George lives his life constantly running, constantly talking Lennie out of the trouble Lennie lands them in. While George may often complain about his station in life, fending for both himself and for Lennie, he is shown as truly caring for Lennie. The two share a relationship that the other gruff and independent farmhands around them have never known. 

In these brief 107 pages, Lennie and George’s relationship brings them each immense anguish and sporadic moments of joy. It is the central plot device, and the harrowing ending would be void of emotion without it. This is what sets this book so far above the rest, and makes it accessible to people from every corner of life. This book is not about a series of events. This book is about people, and it is about the relationships that two people might forge with one another when neither one fits quite right into the mold that society has formed for them, or into society in general. Lennie is an inherent outcast, left behind because of his unintelligence, and often misunderstood. When other characters see Lennie’s hulking frame, and those hands that could crush a man’s bones, they see a fighter. They see a bitter, cruel oppressor. Lennie, however, is far from that. Lennie is an easily frightened lover, an stalwart companion and good soul. George is nothing particularly impressive physically, and others in the book treat him as such. George is much more than average though. Others accuse him of “playing” Lennie, of extorting money from him and of taking advantage of him, but the truth is that George has fought, ran and argued Lennie out of countless mishaps, simply because it is the moral thing to do. Because as Lennie puts it, “Not us, George, because I... see, I got you to look after me, but you got me to look after you.”

Of Mice and Men ends in heart wrenching tragedy. In quick succession, a series of events leave a single broken soul where once stood a friendship. These last scenes are among the most emotional that I have ever read. As the story comes to a close, you are left with a disjointed band of unhappy undesirables and misfits on an unknown ranch somewhere near Soledad, CA. These are not important people. John Steinbeck, however, through their passion and grief, joy and hope, shows us that these too are valuable people. They tell a valuable story. Even if society refuses to acknowledge them, they are just as real as the wealthy farm owners and aristocrats among us. This situation can be found in countless moments in history. This story could take place anywhere that people live on the fringes of civilization, from the untouchables in India to the slaves of America to the Jews of the Holocaust. 

This theme of not fitting society’s image of you, or into society at large made this book easily relatable for me, as well as for so many other readers. They are what allow me to recommend the book to anyone who feels ready. These themes are also what I chose to portray in the creative piece. I drew Lennie and George as they appear physically, however I used their posture to emulate their true selves. Lennie, with broad shoulders and defined muscles, crouches down, petrified in fear by some unseen attacker. He clutches a pup just a little too close to his chest. He is huge, but in reality, so small. George stands, legs wide and arms outstretched, attempting to shield Lennie. He is not especially strong or cunning, yet he stands to protect his friend from any dangers that may arise. 

Mice and Men Lennie
Mice and Men George
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Element Project

Inquiry- I had to ask a lot of questions because I didn't know much about the random element I was assigned. It was fun to find out more about something I barely knew existed.

Research- We had to research our element. We had to find out what it was used in, how to represent it in a drawing. We had to research it.

Collaboration- Our friends helped research and suggest ideas. They really helped to make our projects the best they can be. 

Presentation- Our prints are going to be posted and shown all around the school. We had to make sure they were presentable and looking good.

Reflection- I had an interesting experience doing this project. It was fun learning about a new element and doing something I had never done before. Many band aids were used during the cutting process :3
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Journal #17

"The 'ideal' spectator is always assumed to be male and the image of the woman is designed to flatter him."
I completely agree with this. If you look at advertisements, like American Apparel ads (which are notorious for being sexually provocative), the woman is rarely portrayed as a whole person but instead fragments of a body. A leg, an ass, a stomach, a breast. In ads, women are depicted as objects to be desired and not as people. This is extremely prevalent in our culture. 
Woman are objectified in nearly all aspects of the media, including music. Rarely do we hear a man sing about a woman's quick wit or expertise in matematics, her body is whats used to quantify her worth. This is evident in the "song" "Birthday Song" by 2 Chainz. In this song, 2 Chainz (A.K.A. "Titty Boi") says "All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe". When he says that he wants a woman as a gift for his birthday, he is objectifying her. When he does not give the woman an identity other than her large butt, he is reducing her to her body. When he acts as though a woman is something to be obtained, he is dehumanizing her. 
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Humanities Final Portfolio 2013

“I’m an individual, yeah But I’m part of a movement. My movement told me be a consumer and I consumed it. They told me to just do it I listened to what that swoosh said, Look at what that swoosh did See it consumed my thoughts. This is a song from Macklemore called wings.” (#Journal #35 English ) When I listen to this song the first thing that came to my mind was English and History class. It showed that we can use poetry and fact to make a point. Poetry is the best way to tell people how you feel like my High School poem.  “Being the smoothest guy that you know if you want that girl all you have to do is give her that look and say I want to be with you I think I love you. Knowing that after saying these words she will do anything for you, she like a salve and you’re her master.” (High School) I had to share this show to my class. The people are alway being told what to do and I want people to see that they a plan already for you . But they don’t even know it something. People are always told what to do. We work on an op-ed and mine was about LGBT right. In my op-ed It was about how we are being told what to do and how to be in life. “Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and/or deprived of the right to leave. Look at us now, we worked to get our rights but we still are treating people like slaves. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are still being treated like slaves because others are against their marriage.” (Op-ed).

This year I feel that I learn the most about the about how life can be view. How people don’t get to do what they want. We read a book call  Thing fall apart. The main character was a person person who made the rules I wrote the last chapter which say “They came and talk to us about making are place better but it not doing nothing . We should stay with the things we know. Just like my 2nd wife son Nwoye when with them. He not my son. No son of mine is going with the missionary. After that I sent for my 5 sons and they came and sat in my obi. I told them "You have all seen the great abomination of your brother I will only have a son who is a man, who will hold his head up among my people. If any one of you prefers to be a women, let him follow Nwoye now while I am alive so that I can curse him. If you turn against me when I am dead I will visit you and break your neck." (Chapter 26) People feel that they need to stay with the thing the know. If the don’t the feel like they are doing something wrong. That not true all the time. We also read a story call Lord of the flies. These story show that even as kids they alway have someone tell them what to do. Just like when “ People find out that bad thing will happen if they don’t let piggy be the leader, and instead, they pick Jack.” (LOTF). We set up the world like this anything we do. There was a people who told us to do it. Their the one who are making us follower. I one of my journal was about a quote “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons” (#journal #42 English) This show that everything that we do or who we are as people can tell if people will like us or hate us. I want you to think about this do I do what others do ? Am I an individual? Do I judge people by how they look, date , or doing ?
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Humanities Final Portfolio 2013

English and History have always been the weaker links for me as a student. I’ve felt more confident in math and in science ever since I was a little kid in kindergarten. Although they still may not be my strongest subjects I feel as though I have grown so much as a writer this year through the way I learned.

Writing is a bit tedious to me, although I love expressing my feelings through words I always seem to get writers block, I hit that wall and am not able to finish a piece of writing as well as I’d hoped. I still have room to improve on my writing, no doubt about it, but with the variety of work I was able to produce this year it has helped me build some confidence in the writing area. I can’t take the credit though because it was the curriculum that helped me so much. We learned each thing in such a new and different way that I never got bored with the work.

When things got challenging I feel as though I learned the most. One of the general understandings from the year was “When challenging yourself, you are bettering yourself” and I can say that my work is pure evidence of this. One example was our playwriting unit, where we were asked to write an entire one act play on our own, each about a totally different topic. Never in my life would I have expected to write a play. I didn’t know where to start or even what I would write about, but by the end of the process I produced a piece I was very proud of. A second example the general understanding for the year was our choice reading project. I chose to make a prezi, which I had never done before. It took me days to figure out how to use the website and then another few days to decide how I was going to display all my thoughts on to this incredibly new website. Both of these examples were quite challenging but they are the building blocks of creating a strong writer.

“Identity is everything” is another general understanding from the year that I feel showed up various times in our learning. When you know yourself, you can conquer almost anything. The first connection I make to identity is my culture and I was able to portray this in my language autobiography. Along with the writing we were also told to create a digital story which explains briefly the three parts of me and how they shape who I am. I was able to show how the different languages I speak connect to my daily life. Something I wrote during our language unit that stuck with me is “Language is personal because it joins people together”, I have found this true in many circumstances.

My OpEd directly relates to identity and the fact that you have to know yourself in order to love and understand yourself. It clearly states the problem of self harm in young teenage girls because of society’s definition of beauty. I say “The meaning of beauty in our society today is twisted and ridiculous.” and “It has been implanted in our brains that we must look that certain way and if we don’t we are considered ugly to society.” The way you look is part of your identity and you should not be ashamed of yourself no matter what.

Journal writing was something I really enjoyed this year and I feel they were the training wheels to the rest of my writing. Each entry was completely different from the one before, one day we were analyzing a quote, the next we were writing short poems, and the day after we are writing fully opinionated statements about world matters. Although sharing my opinions and debating with the class was always very fun, the creative writing pieces were probably my favorite because each persons was different and unique. We wear the mask was one of my favorite poems of the year and then we wrote our own. “We wear the mask to hide our face” was my first line. This goes hand and hand with the theme of identity that we worked on throughout the year, people hide their true colors because they are afraid their true selves are not good enough for the world. Never shall I forget was another journal entry that let me express a moment in the beauty of poetry. I wrote “Never shall I forget... that last race, spring season of my novice year.” Each line was a different part of the experience, explaining to the readers each special moment.

I could name a hundred different general understandings from the history and English course of my sophomore year but to me the ones that stood out the most were “Identity is everything” and “When challenging yourself, you are bettering yourself”. I felt directly connected to these statements both through my writing and my morals. I grew not only as a writer this year but a person who knows herself, her identity and her limits of challenge.

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Journal #24

Professional male sports are a big deal because of masculinity and what in means to be a man in our society. Maleness is often portrayed as being strong and tough, and to be successful in sports, you need to be strong and tough.
Women's sports get little to no recognition. The WNBA is often mocked by male NBA fans, and the WNBA has been on the brink of bankruptcy for years now due to a lack of spectators. Women isports are often mocked for a perceived lack of femininity. This is because the woman are not playing sports for the male view, so they are seen as useless. The only professional women's sports league that has spectators is the lingerie football league. What does this say about us as a society?
Feminists often claim that feminism is about liberation for everyone, and that anyone can be a feminist. This is not something I agree with. Feminism should be about the woman as a whole, completely removed from the male. Feminism is for women, and women only. Men can be allies, but men cannot be feminists. It's time for men to move over, they've dominated the world long enough. 
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English Journal #6

Why do humans treat each other badly?

Humans treat each other badly because they some people do not have the courage to stand up for what is right, so they take the easy way out. Some because people they were treated badly of the when they were young and others simply because it is there make-up
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English Journal Entry #44


Anyone has the chance to be a hero, heros are not just the famous but they are everyday people who choose to do the right thing, despite what they get out of the situation.

Most heros are everyday people.

heros go against the conformity of the group

Anyone has the potential to be a hero

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Description of an artwork

This is a picture of two gods, a male and female, their names are Radha and Krishna.  In the background there are many peacock feathers that form the symbol Om. The background is the color orangish, brownish and gold, all three colors blend in together. The two gods are standing in the center of the symbol, with their feet touching the ground.

The male, Krishna, has a crown on his head with 3 peacock feathers on top and one away from the rest, on the left side. On his face he has a long U with a line in the middle and a dot on the bottom. He has hair that fall to his shoulders and is wearing earring, necklaces, bracelets. He is wearing a cloth from his waist to his feet's and he is holding part of the cloth on his arm. Around his waist there are waist jewelry. And his hand are holding a fault that is slightly under face. At the end of the flute there are three strings of beads hanging on it.

The female, Radha, also has a crown on her head but with no feathers. Radha's left hand is resting on Krishna's right shoulder and her head is resting on her left hand as well. She has a flower behind her ear, with her out behind her back. On her forehead she has a Indian jewelry called the Tikly. She is wearing a sari, earrings, 3 necklaces, bracelets, waist jewelry that has a long piece in the center. On her left hand she is holding, 2 pink water lilies.

On the left side of the ground there are 2 pink open water lilies and on the right there are 2 closed ones.

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Humanities Final Portfolio 2013

​I have learned many interesting and life assisting things throughout this years English class, but one of the things that will stick out to me the most is the language that I have learned coming into this year and leaving this year. Like I have my language has grown with me, and it has shown through my work and not just in English class, but also in other assignments that require me to write or express myself. With the help of Mr. Block and his English class, my growth has shown in my work. Here are some examples in which my writing has shown growth from now compared to the beginning of the year and my previous years as a student.

         Language evolves within a person. As a class we were just heading into our poetry unit and I wrote a poem about my stuttering. A line from my poem that stuck out to me or really shows how I've grown is like a butterfly I fell as if I'm encased in steel. I feel like that was my language in the beginning of the year, trapped. Now that I have grown, my language has as well and it has broken out of its steel shell that it was encased in becoming this very elegant language that it has become which I am proud of. This is just one of the ways my language has evolve over the years.

         Another example where my language has evolved along with me is in my Language Autobiography. I expressed my difficulty dealing with language itself. Since I am a person that stutters language is not really said to be my friend. In the autobiography I compared my stuttering and everyone else's speech to mine. I said "I’ll try to keep at my own speed by switching lanes and letting everybody go past, but it’s hard. My brain is a sweatshop. All of the work it has to put up with and the only reward is knowing that you’re living to do it all again the next day." This describes how I feel everyday. My confidence has risen since that moment. Which shows the growth and the evolution of my language and myself as one.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

These 2 examples will always be the main part to my evolution with my language. This is what started it all. From me coming out of my shell to actually using the new language that I have achieved. Not overcoming my speech problem, but just knowing how to use it now it one of the abilities that I have acquired in my evolution of language. I am thankful that all of my hard work that I have done this year and all of the assistance that I have received from Mr. Block and Ryan as well. Without them and the projects that we were given, language would not have evolved the way it has inside me.


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Humanities Final Portfolio 2013

During this year in my English and World History courses, I found myself at many times integrating my choice career of psychology and various other aspects of behaviorism and psychoanalysis into whatever it was that I was writing. I found that as the class and myself began to cover more and more material, there became more and more opportunities for my work to be influenced by my love for the brain and the way people tend to think and act. Again, as the year progressed, I began to think on setting the topic of any work I did in History or English as almost exclusively related to the mind. Now, in retrospect, someone reading this who had never read previously read anything I’d written would more than likely begin to think that my work was very one-minded and repetitive. However, this dedication to relating our coursework to psychology also inspired me to incorporate many contrasting ideas into my coursework. 

Now with that being said, let’s take a look at some of the work that I churned out throughout this year that I thought best reflected the my reasoning in the above paragraph.

The first piece of work that I would like to delve into is both the start of my psychoanalytic-based essays and the most profound out of all other material in my opinion. Here’s a snippet of some analysis from my Lord of the Flies Essay: “His views on young boys and their insatiable desire to extirpate the restraints that their fathers place upon them, and the sinister being that all humans keep masked within the darkest reaches of their minds are both conspicuously exhibited in Lord of the Flies. In society, the insidious and immoral thoughts that our mind keeps repressed further envelops Freud’s rationales that our brain censors our dreams, so that we may not fully see what we really are at heart. A blood-thirsty creature with a sadistic and ominous nature that lives in all of us.” I feel that this quote, as well as the 4 others listed in this reflection, represents the way people change drastically in different environments based on mindsets and reactions to what they are surrounded by in said environment.

            Next up is one of the many journal entries we wrote during the school year.

This one was English Journal #26. The prompt was “Define privilege. What are some of the ways that privileges exist in the United States?” To which I replied, “Privileges are something you are granted, not something you are entitled to. They can be taken away.” I think that this also relates to my behaviorist and ethologist connections I make throughout my work. The different places you are, you are influenced to think differently, or in this case, take for granted what privileges you have.

            Now we can transition back to quotes form projects/essays. This is from my “Memory Poem” from our Poetry Unit.

Scoffing at curse words

Evolved into using them in conversations every day.

Learning about parables in Religion textbooks,

Being taught how to behave as young women.

Loving to be good,

Turned into loving drugs and debauchery.

"What did you get on your last English test?"

Turned in to "Which guy did you hook up with last?"

Yeah, those kind of girls.”

            This quote is a perfect example of ethology. The girls I used to associate with started to act certain ways to certain things. Like for example, chuckling at curse words when they were younger, to acting certain ways around boys they had crushes on. It all changes through maturity.

           Let’s now backtrack towards the poetry unit again. This time this quote is from my “Original Poem.” “A smile fills my features, increasingly more than fear envelopes my optics.” Now this is a very personal quote, and I am not the person to just open up about something personal, so I’ll do my best to have this make sense. When a person is in one environment for so long, a transition to an opposite environment can take a long time for the brain to react and start to adhere to the changed lifestyle. The visual representations of this are as said. I smile a lot more now than I have ever had before. Wouldn’t trade it for the world.

            My last quote, but certainly not least, is a quote from World History Journal #40. The topic was Ghandi and the dispute of whether violence is more powerful than non-violence and vice-versa. We had to write a response paragraph to a passage we read about Ghandi’s views on non-violence. “Ghandi is saying in this passage that humans, just as an innate way of thinking, turn to violence.” What led me to make that conclusion was the way Ghandi spoke of how humans’ first instinct is turn to violence rather than non-violence. This also reinforces what Sigmund Freud that about us as humans. “The feeling of happiness derived from the satisfaction of a wild instinctual impulse untamed by the ego is comparably more intense than that derived from sating an instinct that has been tamed. The irresistibility of perverse instincts, and perhaps the attraction in general of forbidden things, find an economic explanation here.”

            Not to say it has become a compulsion, but I generally do take a great deal of interest in incorporating psychology into whatever it is in literature that I analyze. This is what I feel is the best reflection of my work throughout the year in both classes.




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Wolf Brother Cole Hinton Independent Reading Project

Wolf Brother

       Cole Hinton

The book, “Wolf Brother” by Michelle Paver is a thrilling book to read. The book is about a boy named Torak who lives in a clan called the Wolf clan. Though he does not live in his clan anymore due to things that happened while in the clan, him and his father now live alone in the forest. Torak lives in a world where people are separated by their spirit animals such as wolf and ravens. There are other tribes that don’t have spirit animals but have special abilities that they possess. One night, Torak and his father were attacked by a bear. But,  this bear wasn’t normal, the bear was possessed with a demon from the other world. It was so strong it could not be stopped. Soon after, Torak’s father was killed by the bear but his father told him to run. In the the book, it says that this is the first time that he was alone. I think this would be a good chance to show people that he can show them that he is strong and can take care of himself. But, he still feels scared being alone. Having an evil possessed bear chasing you and losing your father and only person who was with you all your life might be scary actually to me. As Torak walked through the forest heading north, he found a wolf cub laying next to his family who were all killed during a big flood. The cub was confused why his brothers and sisters wouldn't play with him. But, while the cub was howling, Torak could hear everything he was saying. Later on in the book, you find out why he could understand the wolf. When Torak was little, he lived around wolves which gave him the ability to understand them. Torak’s father told him that he would have a guide to help him fight this evil demon and all the other evil in the land but Torak is unsure about this little cub because he looks like he is not even old enough to do such a thing. Later, Torak and the wolf are captured by a group of people claiming that Torak killed a deer on their territory. The people who captured him were a girl named Renn, a boy named Hord, and named Oslak. When he is brought to the leader of the clan, his capturers tell the leader what he was doing and is immediately to death. But, there is something that changes death into a fight for your life. Torak goes up against Hord and succeeds but is too bloodthirsty and tries to kill him. The clan have a meeting to figure out what to do with Torak and all of a sudden, a shadow comes out of nowhere and attacks the clan. The shadow was human made by another tribe and a little help from Hord. They figured out that Torak would go on a journey to find items to bring to the mountain spirit to destroy the evil in the land. He is also accompanied with Renn and Hord. As they find all items, the possessed bear has now caught their scents and they are in trouble but they get out of it easily. They have now made it to the the mountain but the bear is still not killed so, Torak and Hord fight the bear while the wolf and Renn go up to the top of the mountain to gask the spirit to hear them and it works and the spirit sends an avalanche that kills both the bear and Hord but the wolf is missing. Torak then finds him and he is howling with other wolves. The wolf has now became a adult and stronger now. Torak now understands the bond between them and walks away. I think this book is a good thing to read because it tells a story of a friendship that grew along the way as one person understood why they needed that other person by their side. I also like how it shows bravery in a boy who was scared of being alone and just losing his father and still being able to go on with his journey.
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For my creative piece, I brought in a dog. The dog represents the wolf that Torak finds in the book who later on guides him the the Mountain Spirit who later helps him defeats the evil with him. This wolf is a big part in the book because he also helps Torak become a better person.
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Element Project: Carbon

Inquiry: When thinking about ideas for my element, Carbon, I had several questions. "What is everything to know about Carbon? ​What is it best known for? What are some things most people don't about the element? How can I best portray this element?" 
Research: Since I had so many unanswered questions about my element I had to do a lot of research. I needed to look up the atomic mass, atomic number, facts, and designs that can represent my element.
Collaboration: When creating my actual design I collaborated a lot! Many of my classmates and I worked together to help make decisions on what designs should be used and which came out looking the nicest. We also worked together throughout the whole crafting process. 
Presentation: After completing my final products I had a few to choose from to hand in to my teacher. I presented them all to my classmates to help make a decision. This blogpost itself is a great example of presenting my project.
Reflection: This blogpost has actually helped me do the most reelection. After actually looking back to write about my process, I realized how much I learned and how much this project process actually taught me. 
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Element Project

I asked questions like What is nickel? How can it be used as art and where was it made before? Who created it?

Research: I did a fair amount of research to teach myself on nickel and how was it made.

Collaboration: My classmates and my teacher basically critiqued my drawings and helped me choose which one was the best out of all of them.

To present my drawing I had to softly cut the drawing so it looked more professional  and people could tell what I have done in my drawing.

Reflection: I reflected and sometimes I think of what would it look like if I did the same drawing again but a lot much better and nicer.

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Negative Space

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Negative space in art is the are around the object in the picture. It is what is around the object in the picture that forms an image in itself. Finding negative space in my still life drawings was easy. I found the easiest way to do it is to make a slight outline of the major object of the picture and then add details by shading around it forming the negative space for the still life. Finding negative space for my cut out was way more difficult. It became very confusing at points to recognize the negative space from the actual object but once you seen it a certain way then you just caught on and then it was pretty simple. I think finding negative space helps an artist because it creates another image and shows something more that you can't see when looking from a positive space perspective. This also enhances drawings because it gives detail or a totally separate image to the original. 

Example: Positive space (in black) you see a vase, but negative space (in white) you can see the profile of two faces. 
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English Journal #1: I Know Something About...

I know something about feeling so low you can't feel anything at all. I sort of kinda talked about it in my "English B" piece, but I didn't really explain it. Imagine that everyday you wake up and all day you have comments and insults and just real ignorant things thrown at you from various people. The numbness starts in your stomach and spreads, to your arms, chest, hands, face. Your eyes start to sting and it takes everything you have not to cry. All day, every day, this. You go home and it doesn't get any better. So you go to your room and have a complete break down. No food, no homework, no anything. You fall asleep and wake up and do it all over again. Your parents start to notice things, but then maybe they don't, and them finding out is the scariest thing ever. 
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Element Project

For "Research" I had to use the internet in order to look up information on my element. I used it to decide on drawing an airplane as titanium is used to make them.                                                    For "Collaboration" I had to work with my friends because I did not understand a lot of aspects. I also really needed the teacher for guidance.                                                                                       For "Presentation" I had to make my art project look nice which is the whole point of art. I also had to present my ideas to my teacher in order to get feedback.                                                               For "Reflection" I had to make a blogpost for the drawing and reflect on it such as I am doing now. Also I had to think about how this project incorporated the core values like right now.                       For "Inquiry" I had to think about a question I could ask myself. That question would be used to help my drawing.
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Humanities Final Portfolio 2013

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When I first enter Mr. Block’s class, I struggled with language, identity, mask, boundaries, and relationship. Throughout the year, I develop a deeper understanding. I used to view language as one specific language such as slang, or dialect. I used to follow what everybody else thinks, but now I realized that I have changed a lot compare to the beginning of the year. I have my own point of views. I have my own identity and my own voice this year. English class and History class had brought me out of my shell. Reading book after book, and building connection with the book. It helps me create a better understanding on why the author wrote this book. After going on trial as the Aztec and the corporation, my point of view has shifted many times. It’s also wonderful to start the class with a journal entry because I am getting a chance to hear other people responded to the questions, especially challenging ones. 

In the beginning of the year in English class, Mr. Block started with something small by practicing how to write a descriptive essay. He built us up from scratch and helps us work our way up. When I first started, I had many negative comments about how my scenes are not filled with enough details or how it doesn’t make senses. I will stare at the image, trying to find the right words or phrase to describe it. After having a class discuss on what to look for when writing a descriptive scene such as: the smell, the texture, the color, and the touch. Though enough practice, my skills improve. (Descriptive Essay)

  On journal #3 when I had to describe a trip by being descriptive. I always have trouble thinking about my surrounding, but after many practices, it had become my strength. I started of describe every little details and how it feel. One example that I used was, “ I can feel the cold breeze shivering down my neck to my leg.”

Throughout the year, the language essay opened me up the most. I was able to express myself through words. I also learned so much by describing my experience on being Asian American. I discuss a lot about how I adopt to my second language, English. Also my experience as being Asian American while English is my second language. It was hard for me at first because I don’t usually express my hardship. So for me, it was a little personal, but it felt good when I express everything in words. “The struggles of language bring out the negative image by doing negative things to fit in(Language Autobiography.) I used to think that in order to fit in, you must hide your identity and put on another mask. This quarter help me reflective on how much I change throughout times, but the end of this assignment, I realize that I had accept my identity.

  When Kate, from the Philadelphia young playwright came to SLA to help us with our play, I was having trouble thinking about a topic, however, on the next day, I flash back into my language essay and I was so motivated on writing my play basic on language. Through this play, I put in some of my personal experience into it. When some scenes were perform, I was so proud of myself and I love how the audience loved my play. I was being really creative with my play by adding character that speak three different type of language, Mandarin, Cantonese and Foochow. I was so fascinated with the effort I put in, and how creative it was. The actors that I choose was having many problems trying to pronounce the words right. But it is amazing to get them to speak my language with a short amount of time.  I decided to give my play the title called, “Manipulation,” because people can get manipulated base on what people tell them.

  The most fun part was that it never gets old for me to write about language or do something creative that involved language. On journal #25, we had to find different types of boundaries. One boundary that pops to my head automatically was Language, once again. As a class, when we listed all the boundaries, we had to be creative by creating a podcast about one of the boundaries. Of course, I chose language. I had so many people in mind to interview, but when Mr. Block came up to me and said you can interview your mom. I hesitated a little because my mother spoke broken English, but at the end of day, I chose to interview my mom and my aunt. I tried my best to get my mom to speak in English, but it wasn’t working at all. So I told my mom, just speak in Foochow and I will translate it. It was super hard for me to find a creative way to translate it, because I don’t want to make it boring or confusing. When I interviewed her, I did a small voice over her interview when she spoke each story. It was incredible difficult, but I manage to pulled it off. (Crossing Boundary: Language)




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Humanities Final Portfolio 2013

It was actually pretty cool having the same teacher for English and History. We were able to relate the subjects to one another in a way i’ve never done in school before. And this wasn’t just learning about the history of events, and the timeline- we went so in depth and dove so deep at least once a week english or history gave me a headache. not a bad headache, a headache that hurts because the cogs and wheels are spinning inside your brain with new information and philosophies and things i’ve never even dreamed of comprehending.

Art, by far, is the most fascinating and curious general understanding to me. Art  is something that's always been there, but i've never really thought about the depth and the meaning behind it. Art is everything, Art is nothing. Art is the absence of something, and the presence of something. it is everywhere, and it is no where. i have always loved art. the creation of something, or even the destruction. 'art' was just this overhanging thing in the world, and i never really thought about it more than when i doodled, or painted, or saw a picture. for a while i thought art was just physical creation of colors and patterns. It is so much more than that.

During the poetry unit this year, We talked about what a 'poem' is. We argued that anything can be a poem. A scream, a random scribble. I thought about it for a long time, and decided that poetry, is a group of words that fit together to portray a deeper meaning. poetry uses language, it strings words together to create rhythmic, sometimes musical, phrases and lines. What's the different between a poem, and a song? A song is always set to music, where a poem can be, or it may not be. So what is art? One of the most memorable things i learned in the poetry unit is the ‘found poems’. It’s wonderful how just writing things you hear people say can be turned into poetry. I mainly wrote funny things i heard throughout my days in my  Found Poem by Emily Jenson.

Poetic and artistic freedom mean a lot to me. Being able to view anything as art and have that be okay is comforting. Freedom, Love, Art, Life, these all melt together in my mind sometimes. In my English Journal #36 is a lot about freedom, you should check it out.  I learned a lot about myself this unit. A few months ago one of my therapists told me i need help in identifying and acknowledging my feelings and thoughts. I would be so emotional, and have no idea why. or even what emotion i was feeling. The English Journal #10 reminded me of an exercise i did in therapy, where we went back and forth saying “ I am...” and “I am not...” it really helped me get a better insight on my thought process.

Language and Art fall under the same umbrella too. Language itself is an artform. Its scary and crazy to think what it was like to be a human before languages were formed. I thought a lot about that question while writing my Language Autobiography  i think in my head in english. what are thoughts like if there is no language? are they thoughts at all? or just instincts, like an animal?

Art is the umbrella. poetry, paintings, music, sculpture, all fall under the umbrella. Art has no boundaries, no rules. Something that is art to me may not be art to you, but that doesn't make it not art at all. Art is perception, art is everything. This is why i love art. This is why i feel art flowing through my veins and seeping out through my pores. Art is the car horns and the mourning doves. art is the formation of geese and the silence in the subway after a train has passed.

I like art because no one can tell you what is art and what is not. David, one of the members of Leah Stein's Dance Company once told us 'Art is the most powerful when it takes you by surprise.' I agree completely. Sometimes art is about being in the right place at the right time. A spiderweb covered in dew with the sunlight reflecting off the water droplets is stunning. Sunsets, broken glass, graffiti. Another man's trash is another man's treasure.

Sometimes words or phrases stand out to me. When i was a freshman, i woke up one morning with the word ‘Marzipan’ in my head, and it took residence there for weeks. Sometimes i’ll hear a fragment of a segment and i'll get an idea for a poem. One time at a family therapy session, my mother told the therapist my father has a drinking problem. The therapist asked my dad if this was true, in which to he replied ‘well yes, i self medicate’. One of the most powerful poems i think i’ve ever written has that line repeated in it. You can find that here : Choice Poem .

I love art more than I can put into words, because it’s not something i fully understand. I wish someone could tell me the answers to every question i’ve seeked. The meaning of life, what IS art, anyway? But you know, over the year i’ve been starting to think that there are no answers to any of the questions. everyones answers are different, and they are all correct. That’s comforting to me.
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Element Project Reflection

​Inquiry- I first had to ask questions about our element and what they did. Once I had a few questions I wanted to answer I began to start my research. 

Research- My goal was to find out basic facts about my element, things like its structure and what it was used for. I then dug deeper to find out things like the elements origin and founders. 

Collaboration- I often went to fellow students for a second opinion on a design or an idea that I had. I also collaborated with my biochem teacher to find out more about my element. 

Presentation- I made 4 different prints to make sure I had made 3 that I liked. I also tried to vary the use of my colors in each of the prints.

Reflection- I enjoyed doing this project and learned many new skills because it. I am proud of the prints that I have created. 
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Humanities Final Portfolio


 ​​What happens to power when control fades to nothing? Do not mistake one kindness for weakness or is happiness for ignorance. The true evil in the world is done under the cloak of good. Freedom is a state of mind. We are molded by the past, shaped by the present, to be admired in the future. Language is very powerful, it's the way we communicate in all aspects of life which means that language doesn't always have to do with speaking. Language is something much bigger, much stronger, much deeper than that.

"Language is people..." as said in my language video. It’s our badge of honor, it’s what sets us apart from everyone else. Also as said in the video, language is a living thing, "it changes, it adapts, it moves it grows, it our identity in the world." I realized that one's language is like his identical twin, it’s born, develops, and matures as you do. You can express language through writing. Monologues are a perfect example because it takes the writer true emotions and feelings and put them on paper. "You are but a vampire, sucking the life from society and those who rest upon." That's from a monologue I wrote. My goal was to use powerful words and comparisons that would give vivid detail along with deeper meanings. I put myself in the place of the character whose point of view I was writing from, which gave it that much stronger meaning.

Action is a way to express ourselves which also expresses our language. We have been learning that we are unique as a people therefore no language can be identical as no language can be identical. We recently did an assignment that required us to use a space to create a scene by using interpretive dancing. The required creativity and originality, both aspects of language. What me and my group did in our scene is perform under a bridge and use train spikes as a prop. We based the scene around the train spikes and made it about two individuals brought together by music. This was an example of our ideals coming together to form a large showing of language. Like language, the preparation was dynamic, the scene required constant adjusting and practice. In the end though, our collective language conveyed the message in the scene and it was successful.

  During the course of year, we've also come to understand that discussion gives you the chance to see peoples insight and point of view. Everyones opinion is varied in some way, so when we are faced with a subject most responses will differ in meaning or understanding. Throughout the year we have been making journal entries about a given subject. We were then asked to voice our opinion based on what we wrote. In one of my entries we were given a list of non- violent strategies to revolt and make change. We had to write which strategies did we think were most effective. I didn't really think any of them were effective in a revolution because "these methods could be used to start a revolution, but a dictator will not be quick to give up his power..." Another discussion we had was about sports in America. We were asked why are sports such a big deal in our country. My thought was "sports are such a big deal in this country is because it's one of the main things that brings us together." Another entry we had was when we were discussing how the past and how it changes us in the present. We were asked to write about a point in time that changed who we are or defined us in a strong way. What I wrote was "when my dad started talking to me about the truth about the world." Before this assignment I used to think that the past doesn’t matter, what happening here and now is what is most important. After this discussion I came to realize that what happens in the past defines and creates what happens now. That was my defining moment in my life.

That is some of the things I have learned and experienced in my English and History class over this year. These lessons I will take with me for the rest of my life and has defined me as a person.    

The Lucky One

  (Sitting in a chair twidling his thumb.) You are scum. You (Pause) are scum. A sick, vile virus among the population of humanity. You think your riches or your big fancy house makes you special, makes you unique? You are nothing more than a mosquito, sucking the blood out of society and those who depend on what it gives. You and everyone similar to you are meer insects to people who’ve had to crawl and struggle their entire lives to get by. People without chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, or fancy butlers serving them five star meals. Those are people with real riches. I can sit in this chair all day and lecture you on this. The sad part about it is people don’t care as much for human riches as much as they care for small green slips of paper with dead white leaders on them. And for those who do have it use it to hide from the real world like cowards while they watch us struggle through life from their high placed pedestals.

  Why did I try to steal from you? What would you care or understand? I’m going to prison regardless. Hmmp well if you must know I’m no criminal. A thief, but not a criminal. No, they are not the same thing! A criminal is someone who purposely breaks the law because they are too lazy to get a job and make something of themselves. Now there are two types of thieves. People who steal because they want to or people who steal because the have to. I steal because I have to. The funny thing is it wasn’t always that way.

  It was about a year after that pipeline was made. I lived in a rural area not too far from the pipeline and my family business was around that area to. I worked as a tourguide, take people through the forest, let them experience nature, stuff like that. It was called Natures buddies. Of course you’ve never heard of it, probably not good enough. You’d be that one person who had no one to come with. (Pause) Oh yeah, you married? (Pause) You have any kids? Yeah (mumbling) I bet even your parents be too ashamed to come with you. Anyway! I made a good salary, settled down, got married. Hmmp, I remember when I first met her. She came in for a tour one time with her friends, we talked for a little bit after the tour and we just connected ever since. I knew she was the one from that first hour we talked, but I guess you wouldn’t know about that would you. Soon after she gave me something to live for... two kids. They were my pride and joy and I really felt that it was just gonna get better from there. Thats when... it happened. (Pause) The pipeline burst. You probably heard about it. (Pause) Yeah but the only thing was they were sugar coating it. The the pipeline spewed thousands of gallons of oil a minute and ravaged the wilderness and everything else around it for miles, including our business.

I was out of work. Soon after I lost my home. In the blink of an eye I had no job, no home, and my emergency money was running dry. I felt like a boy in a book I read called House of the Scorpion when he was locked in that room because they found out he was a clone. I tried for months to get a job but no everyday job wants to hire someone who tread through the woods talking about trees and animals. Hmmp, you’d think people be more grateful for the tour’s we gave. I tried everything, I learned that those fundraising things they have on commercials are all bullshit. Just a bunch of people who steal from the public and barley give any of the money they raise toward people who need it. They’d much rather take almost all of that money for their own self purposes. Another thing I realized was that those who had plenty of money to give to a corner full of the homeless are the one’s who most likely would give us the finger and drive off.

My money was running dangerously short. My families ribs slowly began showing more definition everyday. I knew I had to do something. Then it hit me, Robin Hood stole from the rich to help the needy. As bad as it was I had two option, either steal food until I can find a real job, or watch my family wither away. That’s why I’m here now. This isn’t what I wanted, this is the life I was forced into. I know you have to call the cops, just please whatever you do keep my family out of it. They deserve better than me anyway. (Pause) What?! Your giving me this? But... but... this is ten thousand dollars, your just giving me this? (Crying) Thank you, from the bottom of my heart thank you. Ever since that incident I’ve thought I of myself as unlucky, but now I see I have a loving family and now I can support them. Thank you.     

​History Journal 26

I really don't think any of these non- violent methods will be successful in completing a revolution. These methods could be used to start a revolution, but a dictator will not be quick to give up his power and where reasoning failed he will resort to violence. In other words, any revolution with a possibility for change will result in violence. The most effective in starting a revolution is boycotting. 
English Journal 28

The reason sports are such a big deal in this country is because it's one of the main things that brings us together. Pro sports is a way for anyone from anywhere to broadcast their talents and show their ability. It is the ultimate and a global form of competition and has now evolved into something that's a part in growing up in everyday life.
English Journal 29

A time when I learned something that changed me forever is when my dad started talking to me about the truth about the world. My dad would discuss historical and present things that society has concealed. He taught me that true evil is done under the cloak of good and that you need to know these things so your not oblivious and so you can see people real motives.
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Journal Entry #9

1) What is orientalism?

the belief of rumors, unintentional racism, ignorance western mentality of anyone who doesn’t follow the western ways are alien.

2) how do we avoid prentalist?

you can be open-minded, question yourself and educate yourself about these things. Think positive and try to look at the different unique side of things.
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Element Project - Huzaifah Malik

​Inquiry: We had to inquire about our element's properties. Also we had to cut out the finer details of our drawing so it will look professional.

Research: We had to research online about our elements that were assigned by the teacher. We also had to search about their structure, uses, and etc.

Collaboration: We collaborated by helping each other, cleaning the table after printing and also by getting help from other fellows.  

Presentation: We carved out our linoleum tile and we used the ink to print the linoleum by different colors to make our final product look nicer.

Reflection: I learned a lot through this project. t about my element that was assigned and this project required us to reflect on our core values.
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Negative Space Project

Explain how you found negative space in 

1. your cut out?, 2. in your still life drawing?

I used the colors and shapes

Why does it help an artist to see in negative space?

It allows you to see two sides of the artwork 

Does seeing in negative space enhance drawings, why or why not?

Not all the time because I find it hard to wrap my mind around
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