Sophia Henninger - Humanities Portfolio 2011

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Sophia Henninger

English - History


June 10, 2011

Over the course of the year in english and history we’ve analyzed, discussed, and read about many themes. We learned many truths about the government, economy,   and even people in general. One theme that repeated itself in many of our units is revolutions are never painless. This was shown in many units but also within many assignments. Personally, it was shown in my monologue project, poetry wiki, both trials (Cortes and sweatshop trials), and the revolution written response. All of these assignments demonstrate this concept whether is it very concretely or more abstract. 

The monologue project was one of the longest, yet most interesting projects we completed this year. We could truly turn it into anything we wanted. In my monologue project, a college student goes to Pakistan to research Nike’s labor conditions for his final project. In the end he locates a factory and convinces the workers the revolt against management, resulting in his death. This is a very concrete example of the concept that revolutions are never painless. In the end of the project, the boy causes an uprising in an attempt to restore basic human rights in the situation. Even though he and several others lost their lives, they brought light to the issue, allowing it to be address in court. He lost his life so the revolution could be successful. 

The following example is much less concrete but still illustrates the main concept.   The poetry unit allowed us to be creative and truly express ourselves in anyway we wanted. Some of my poems had some subtle themes of revolution though they were more centered on personal revolutions within one’s self. The poems centered on how I, or the reader, would like to change themselves. The one particular poem, When Did I Become a Ghost? speaks of how drugs trap people’s minds. Though it does not actually speak of overcoming the trap, it speaks of the difficulty that would involve and how that would actually make it impossible to overcome it. Even though no concrete revolution takes place within the poems, the difficulty it would take to change the situations in them would be a personal revolution. 

This year in our history class we had several trials, both demonstrating, quite blatantly, how painful and destructive revolutions can be but even though they’re not bloodless, they can still be successful. We had two trials, one was debating who had the most guilt in the slaughter of the Aztec people and this was called the Cortes trial. We had another trial called the sweatshop trial. This trial debated who held the most blame for the mistreatment of workers in the third world. Evidence of both of these wrong-doings involved blood. In both cases many people were murdered needlessly. This is a good example of how just because a revolution does have pain, does not mean it will be successful and this is shown by the Aztecs. The sweatshop workers are still in the midst of the this revolution. This shows that though revolutions are never painless, sadly, they are not always effective. 

In the revolution written response, we had to answer the question, “What separates revolutions from social change?” I argued that they’re not separate but social change is only the effect of revolution. Within it I used the examples of the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the recent Egyptian conflict. All of these examples were bloody but all of them were successful. Millions of people died in these wars and, though this is sad, without those deaths they may not have achieved what each of them wanted. All of these revolutions whether concrete or abstract, personal or social, ineffective or triumphant, all had pain and for some of them, that fact is what allowed them to be victorious.