Author Archive

English – Foundational Stories

For this assignment, we had to choose a foundational story and explain how it has been retold and revisioned today. My partner was Kamila, and she chose the foundational story ‘Daedalus and Icarus.’ 

In her presentation, she gave examples of how the Ancient Greek story had been translated into poems and art, such as ‘Fall of Icarus (1819). It has also been mentioned in multiple books, especially children’s books, such as the Percy Jackson series. The lesson that the Ancient Greek story teaches has also been recognised as a psychological disorder called Icarus Complex where one is found to be fond of fire, heights, and narcissistic.

Kamila also explains what this Greek myth means, and how people use it today. For example, the myth-inspired a well-known idiom, “don’t fly too close to the sun”. Even if you don’t use it in your everyday life, this phrase will still sound familiar. It is also explained how there are themes of pride and punishment. Pride was something that was shunned upon in Ancient Greece because it was seen as a human thinking they can act like a god. The gods didn’t appreciate people like this and often punished them by death. This is also present today because too much pride can be seen as arrogance, and those who are arrogant are quite often shunned by society, simply because arrogance and narcissism are considered unpleasant qualities (unpleasant to be around).

Grade 10 – The Words We Can’t Use

We watched a video called “Ta-Nehisi Coates on words that don’t belong to everyone”. In the video, a woman in the audience explained how her friends used the ‘n’ word regularly, but they are white.

Coates then went on to talk about how words don’t mean anything without context. He gave examples of how his wife calls him ‘honey’ because that is their relationship with each other. He said that if they were walking along the street together and a random stranger called him ‘honey’, it would be very strange. Because that is what his wife and him call each other. For a stranger to call him that would be strange.

He gave more examples of other words that people say to each other, but would not include him. His wife and her friends call each other ‘girlfriend’ because that is their relationship with each other. He said it would be strange for him to start referring to them as ‘girlfriend’ because their name for each other does not include him. He said he has no desire to call them ‘girlfriend’.

He then says how he doesn’t know why white people feel the need to say the ‘n’ word, but he believes it could be because in their country, since the day they are born they are taught that everything belongs to them. They see inequalities everywhere, whether it is in the form of something big or small, and that influences them into believing everything belongs to them. Then when a word is made that only black people are allowed to use, they don’t understand the concept and don’t know how to not use the word. He said that once they accept that they have to refrain from using it and it is not their word to use, then they will be able to see into the life of a black person, and what it’s like to have so many restrictions and so many things they aren’t allowed to do or say because of their skin colour.

I completely agree with this because the word was not made for white people to use. I don’t understand how people can’t accept that and just not use the word. It is only one word out of all of the words in the English language. And people are having trouble NOT using it. It makes no sense. I completely agree with all of his points, and why. The reason why I referred to white people as ‘them’ was because he specifically said ‘white people in this country’, which is America, so to say ‘us’ when I’m not American would imply that he was talking about every white person.

I think we need to learn more about our boundaries and that, if we separated ourselves by our skin colour in the first place, then why is it so hard not to use one word that’s not ours. I would never use the ‘n’ word because I know it’s not my place to use it, and I know it could be extremely offensive to people. I believe that we are all equal, and if we treat other people a certain way, why are we surprised and thinking that it’s not okay when other people suddenly start treating us the same way we have been treating them all along.

Personal Statement

Although I am from England, I was born and raised in Asia. Living in Asia has taught me about the importance of culture and respecting the people around me. From a young age, I have been going to UWC which has taught me how to be a well-rounded person who knows how to be a leader with strong opinions, but how to be a great listener as well. In UWC we are required to be able to bounce ideas off each other in a respective and effective way. This has helped me to grow into a person who can look at every perspective possible. This school has also allowed me to explore my interests and ambitions.

On almost a daily basis, singing is one of my main focuses. I am a singer and songwriter, and have also taken a few courses on the many ways that you can compose a song. Music is something that I hope to pursue in the future, as it is one of my biggest passions and an art that I hope to share with other people so that they might learn something valuable from what I write. Another passion of mine is writing. Although I have had practice in writing essays, my strong point is narrative writing. I tend to have a natural character in my words, enabling the possibility for me to thrive as a journalist.

I would say that I am very much an arts person as I am interested in every art form. It is easy to say that art is my passion simply because it has no rules. Although every school will try to put rules on music and rules on fine art, to me the real meaning of art is expression. And since when did our expressions have rules to them?

I first started to discover my interest and love for people in Grade 9, Global Perspectives (GPERS). At the beginning of the year, we would look at issues and then discuss our perspectives. While looking at those issues, we just sat in class and had discussions about what we believed was right and wrong. This allowed me to discover how many things I have to say, but usually am too shy to speak up about. It was easy for me to get comfortable in the class because everyone respected each other’s opinion. In GPERS we are also required to look at certain people’s stories. That is when I realised that I like people. When looking at numbers and statistics, it doesn’t mean much to me, but when we focus on how something affected just one person, it inspires a great passion for wanting to know more about the issue and knowing about the many different people that exist in our world.

 

My end goal is to study in Australia where I can study psychology, the arts, and possibly other sciences. I hope that this will get me to a future where I work in the field of arts.

English – Macbeth 3

What kind of people are willing to undertake such dreadful business as murdering innocent women and children?

I think maybe people who are not so confident in themselves and think that they are doomed to a terrible future and maybe when they had their education they didn’t do so well so they just decided that they weren’t good enough to be anything but the lowest job – which would be killing other people for a living. I also think that very extreme people who want to be in the good books with powerful people, who are sometimes bad people, would want to do it. People who have a lot of power usually are more power hungry and so I think they would want to tell people to do their dirty work and people who want a lot of money and want to be in the good books with the power hungry people would want to do the dirty work.

What kind of society produces such callous killers?

Ones where maybe there isn’t as good education and maybe places where parents put a lot of pressure on their children to make a lot of money, so the children grow up thinking that they have to find the quickest and easiest way to make a lot of money.

English – Macbeth Pt2

Analyse the ways in which Shakespeare evokes contradictory feelings (in you) towards his characters:

In Scene 3, Macbeth showed a lot more of the brave and loyal side of his character than in Scene 2, when he spoke of how he felt that he had heard voices in his head and that he has lost not only himself, but his religion. All throughout Scene 3, Macbeth shows only strength in front of other characters, for example, when he slays the guards and explains why to everyone else on stage. He says, “Who can be wise, amazed, temp’rate, and furious, Loyal and neutral, in a moment? No man. Th’expedition of my violent love Outran the pauser, reason” (2.3.101-103). In these lines, Macbeth shows the other characters on stage that he is upset about Duncan’s death, and had to do something to avenge him, like kill the guards who hadn’t been able to protect him. This greatly contradicts Scene 2, where he showed little of anything but weakness. Macbeth spoke to his wife about how he could hear voices in his head telling him that he was a murderer and how he couldn’t go back into the room where Duncan lay dead because he was too guilt-ridden. His wife did not understand how he could feel such guilt and accused him of being cowardly, especially because Macbeth couldn’t fathom what he had done. He says, “I’ll go on no more. I am afraid to think what I have done; look on’t again, I dare not.” (2.2.54-56). The shift in what he shows of his character in the two scenes is big, but written so that it seemed like shifting between traits easily is just another one of the many things that Macbeth can do.

Comment on the significance of dialogue and ensemble scenes in affecting mood and positioning the audience.

In Scene 3 of Act 2, many characters come together to discuss the death of their former king, Duncan. Even though they are the hosts, Macbeth and his wife are not questioned as to how Duncan died and whether or not they had anything to do with it. It could be because no one wanted to question Macbeth, who was quite powerful and who the former king trusted. The audience knows that Macbeth is guilty, yet he manages to hide it and acts as though he was hurt and as though he wishes that he had never seen Duncan dead. He says, “Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time,” (2.3.84-85). I think it’s clever how Shakespeare has allowed the audience to see a different side of Macbeth’s words than the characters in the play. While we see this line as Macbeth wishing that he had never killed Duncan, the characters in the play see this line as Macbeth wishing that he had never seen Duncan dead, and ultimately only adding to the respect that the other characters have for him.

English – Macbeth

Differentiate between the direct and indirect characterisation Shakespeare uses in order to construct his characters

In Act 1, Scene 2 of “Macbeth,” the Captain speaks with the king, Duncan, and talks about all of Macbeth’s victories during battle and how, “he deserves that name” (1.2.16). Macbeth means brave and because the Captain mentions this before we are even introduced to Macbeth, we already know that he is respected, powerful, and courageous. When Shakespeare introduces us to Macbeth in Scene 3, he is called a king by the Third Witch. At first, Macbeth doesn’t want to think of being king because he is very faithful and loyal to the current king. But shortly after, he has thoughts about whether he would suit king or not and that he would like to be king. This shows that Macbeth is insecure and easily influenced by others around him.

English – Art is Important:) Op-Ed Article

Here is my Op-Ed article which I wrote about the importance of art – inspired by Danny Raven Tan’s story.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mmAqbMmGB5I2LzPaTMmPKDZyiS1It_8aBBOLSmuwEXs/edit?usp=sharing

We have all doodled something on paper, sang along to a song that made us happy, and danced to something that made us smile. Art is a big part of everyone’s lives, whether it is noticed, nurtured and appreciated, or not. Art means many things to different people. The stroke of a brush, or the creativity of a person and how they use it. There are also many forms of artists. Singer, songwriter, painter, photographer, filmmaker, dancer, and many more. All of them can be considered artists. Why are they labelled that way? According to Quora.com(Nguyen, Celine. “What Does It Mean to Be an Artist?” Quora, 12 Mar. 2011, http://www.quora.com/What-does-it-mean-to-be-an-artist.), an artist is someone who takes any sort of experiences, any part of life as an inspiration and has the need to reinterpret and communicate it with an audience. Expressing it in some physical way. Whether it is painting on a canvas or choreographing lyrical contemporary dance, it is considered art. Someone who uses dreams, conversations, photographs, and anything that sparks inspiration to create is considered an artist. Quora.com states that being an artist isn’t permanent, but an ongoing process.

There are many reasons why people create art. It could be seen as an escape from reality. Creating things that they can’t see when they look at what is around them. It is an escape because you can create your own world with colours and words. I know that I draw when I am bored, frustrated and confused. I would call it a way of de-stressing when I cannot seem to make sense of things or when I need something to do. I song write when I am upset or when I think of a topic that I think needs to be heard. Most of all, I sing because it makes me happy. An amazing thing about art is that everyone sees it differently. While I may look at a piece of writing and think about how the author is losing a part of themselves, another person may look at it and think that the author is trying to convey that they are growing as a person.

Focusing in on music, a quote that I found on the internet one day showed exactly why I think music is magical. Dave Grohl (“Dave Grohl.” Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Grohl\.)  is an American musician who sang, wrote songs, produced music, was a guitarist for the band Nirvana, the founder of Foo Fighters, and even directed a few films and did many more incredible things. To say he is a big part of the music business is an understatement. He said, “That’s one of the great things about music. You can sing a song to 85,000 people and they’ll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons.” This perfectly sums up everyone’s love for music. Whether you make music or you listen to it, music makes you feel emotions and makes you relive good moments and bad moments. Even when reminded of the bad moments, the lyrics comfort you because it lets you know that the things you feel and go through do not just happen to you. People like to know that they are not alone and music is the perfect medium to do that.

When reading through different articles about the influence of art, I came across an article that listed 10 reasons why art is important. Theodysseyonline.com’s article (Swami, Swara. “10 Reasons Why The Arts Are Important In Our Lives.” The Odyssey Online, 28 Aug. 2017, http://www.theodysseyonline.com/10-reasons-why-arts-are-important-in-our-lives.) was written by a lady named Swara Swami in 2016 and she wrote from personal experience. Here are a few of the things she mentioned:

  • “Art gives you joy.” She stated that whenever she sang her favourite song, she smiled. She said all forms of art would give you happiness.
  • “Art relieves stress.” Swami brings up the point that we seem to lose all focus and all sense of the world around us when we are in the process of creating art; like singing to your favourite song or trying to learn a dance that you saw online. Something I deeply agreed with was when she said that taking a break and doing art in between studies will help you clear your mind of stress, and focus more on your academic task, helping you do better in your academic studies.
  • “Art helps you to express your emotions.” When frustrated, one might draw jagged lines and use black or red pens which showcase their emotions. Art is a form of communication and it can “say things that even words cannot say,” according to Swami. Although everyone uses different languages, something that we can all understand is a simple drawing and the possible meaning behind it. A smiley face indicates joy and feeling pleasant emotions. A heart indicates loving something or someone.

Overall, I have only just skimmed the very top of the importance art has in our lives. The truth is that art is so visual and intimate and emotional that it would be impossible to perfectly capture the meaning of art by only using words. If I were to write down what art means to me it would just be a list of emotions, and that’s what it really is. Emotions compiled together to create messages within a visual or audible story, colouring within words, filling in the gaps that people have in them, and making life not so black and white.

English – Danny Raven Tan

My second Writer’s Fortnight session was extremely different from the first one. Danny Raven Tan is a Singaporean artist. I found myself identifying with him quite a lot in the beginning. He talked about how he believes in passion and expression, which I completely agreed with. When he moved on, he talked about his own story. He dealt with pancreatic cancer, his mother has dementia and his father passed away. His story was very moving and he said that he had once hated the reminders of his struggles in the past, like the scar on his body. But someone brought to his attention that scars are just your survival stories and that, “every scar tells a story.” This really influenced his art work, not in the sense that he painted about cancer and things he struggled with, he realised what it meant to live and what it meant to feel like you were dying and he portrayed that in his paintings. I thought this was quite an interesting way of expressing what you have been through. I love art, I love to draw and I doodle all the time and although I’m not so serious about painting and doing it for a living, it is a really big part of me and it is a way I express myself and my thoughts when I’m forced into silence. I thought that I could even use what he said and his way of expressing in my songs.

English – Marc Nair

At first I was a bit confused because I didn’t really know what to expect. To be honest I was wondering whether I would be a bit bored, despite the fact that I love writing. I ended up really enjoying listening to Marc Nair’s experiences and his poems and how he tries to be different from other writers. I thought it was cool how he started off saying what other writers did and how he was going to do it differently and I liked that because it was something different and his poems were just as unique. I thought that his writing style was unique in the sense that he was so incredibly descriptive and although he was so descriptive, sometimes it would seem as if he outlined what he was talking about instead of going right through the middle. But that didn’t take away from the message and the effect of his poems. I also found myself comparing his poems to my own, and the songs that I write. With my poems and songs, it’s often really hard for people to understand what I’m writing about and what the actual message is because my descriptions are so vague that you really have to think about every word and how they each have a different meaning. I liked how I thought that he seemed to outline a subject slightly, because I know that I do the same, except on a much higher level. I enjoyed listening to how he used the descriptive words to paint a picture, something that I don’t do very often when writing poems because I feel like when I hear poems that means that I have to have minimal writing. But listening to him recite his poems and proving my instinctive thoughts was refreshing and I was inspired to create something similar where I really do push the boundaries. When writing poems, I also find it very difficult to break out of rhyming everything. I think this is because of how I’ve grown so used to writing songs, which is why it was interesting to see how Marc Nair created a piece of writing that was so obviously a poem, but didn’t have the same structure that I was used to writing myself.

People often lean towards their habits and what they are comfortable with, and you can especially fall into that habit when creating art. But art is about expression, no matter what form and he was able to identify those habits and try and break away from them.

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