Last weekend, we competed in SEASAC in KL at the Alice Smith School and ended up winning first place. It was the first time that a team sport had won a girls SEASAC at east so it was extremely exciting.
We drew the first game which was quite disappointing and not an ideal start to the tournament. This encouraged me to lead a team discussion to reflect on what we were doing wrong and how we had to change our behaviour in order to be successful. As a leader, I took it upon myself, collating my experience throughout the year, to lead by example and demonstrate what we were asking of the team. This was a moment where I felt more developed and comfortable leading than the beginning of the season which was a key moment that showed my development of new skills (LO2), having reflected on my areas for growth (LO1).
This discussion ended up successful, ultimately bringing us to the final. Here, we started off in a similar shaky manner, going down 1-0 and achieving 2-2 by half time. During this small break, we had a similar team discussion to highlight what was working and what needed to be improved, as well as encouraging each other to really feel like a team. We ended up winning the final 4-2 and in my opinion, the stark difference between the two teams was to do with our teamwork and collaboration which we developed throughout the season, peaking in the final competition.
Reflecting back now, through my discussions with coaches and the rest of my team, I am really able to notice a difference in my attitude and perception of the team as well as my style of play which has now changed to be much more team focused. I feel as though I have become a much better and more successful leader because of it and I think that the skills I have developed will be of use to me both in other sports but also other aspects of my life.
Carol Ann Duffy uses the poem Medusa to represent a relationship where the two partners grow apart over time. Duffy introduces the problem as a “suspicion, a doubt, jealousy”, the use of the three words to describe the same emotion can represent the uncertainty she felt about how she was feeling. These thoughts “turned the hairs on” her “head to filthy snakes”, demonstrating how the thoughts were pestering and frightening in her mind. Duffy uses the description of the snakes as “filthy” to represent how initially, the thoughts were dirty and dismissed by her and provides a contrast of what is to come in the poem. Duffy described the bride’s breath as “soured” to represent how on a monumental day such as the wedding day, she did not believe the words she was saying. The word “soured” also has the connotation of being spoiled or out of date which could be a symbol of how their relationship was expiring. As the stanza continues, she is described as a “foul-mouthed”, “foul tongued” and “yellow fanged creature” with, in context to the title of the poem, is in line with the transformation into the villain Medusa. Duffy may use this as an analogy to show the monster-like person she felt she was becoming with her partner, foreshadowing their ultimate separation. In the fourth stanza, the depiction of Medusa’s happiness continues as Duffy contrasts descriptions of positive connations with negative ones, to demonstrate how she was unable to see the beauty in the world around her in this relationship. Duffy uses the alliteration of “buzzing bee” to draw attention to the line when she contrasts with “a dull grey pebble”. Duffys’ use contrast could represent how she was unable to see the simple pleasures in life such as a “buzzing bee” or a “singing bird” as she was being weighed down by this relationship. The turning point of the poem is represented by Duffy’s use of enjambment using the description “love gone bad”. The use of enjambment disrupts the flow of the poem which could be used to represent how her realisation her relationship disrupted and removed the structure from her life. In starring “in the mirror”, Medusa comes to the realisation that she has turned into a gorgon with “fire spew[ing]” from the mouth of the mountain”. The figurative sense of “fire” is the hate and pain she felt from this realisation and “spewing” provides the image that it erupted all at once.
Pedro Camacho’s character development is used to represent the tension between reality and imagination in the book. At the beginning of the book, Pedro Camacho is presented as a character resting in his imagination but forced to live through reality which then develops into a character at the end forced into reality, completely stripped of his imagination. In a way, Mario the Author uses Pedro Camacho to show his own development as a person throughout the book. In the beginning, Mario is rather unrealistic, juggling his relationship with his Aunt, his job and his university seeing an imaginative future where that all occurred simultaneously. We see Mario move from an immature 18-year-old who is in love with literature and pursuing a perhaps idealistic life, and as the book progresses, namely toward the end, we see a realistic Mario, married to a woman his age with a different career. In some ways, this is a less exaggerated mimic of Pedro’s character development as a contrast to Mario’s character. Llosa (the author) uses Pedro to portray Mario’s inner imagination and feelings with the sentiment of being trapped and lost in reality whereas Mario represents the ‘reality’ of what happened, a typical ‘boy growing into a man’ scenario.
A personal essay is the use of someone’s various personal experiences to allude and argue a bigger picture and idea. The use one theme and pick experiences throughout their life to show something. This is different from a memoir as the latter focuses on a specific and detailed memory to describe a moment to someone else. A personal essay on the hand is an essay because it uses evidence to form an argument much like a real essay. That is not to say that a memoir is not arguing something, but they have the scope to go much more in-depth into a theme or idea whereas personal essays don’t necessarily use the same level of analysis but have the aim to change the reader’s point of view.
1) Mario Vargas Llosa tells the story is obviously older than the “Marito” who is living it . . . how would you describe the tone? what is the attitude of the narrator to the young man he was?
2) if every other chapter, basically, represents one of Pedro Camacho’s serials —if they didn’t happen, in other words, what is the point of spending so much time on these characters/events/conflicts?
Given the title, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, the two main characters in the book, Aunt Julia and Pedro Camacho, are expressed individually in the book. In the parts where Mario narrates, we see Aunt Julia’s side of the story but Mario’s relationship with Pedro Camacho is very limited given his closed-off personality. In using half of the chapters for the serials, Mario is allowing Pedro Camacho to be expressed as an important character and the audience begins to understand him through the recurring ideas in his serials. For example, the repetition of the “man with an aquiline nose in the prime of his life” as the centre of the story may portray how Pedro sees himself. As the description is repeated continuously, it indicates that in some ways he is trying to convince himself of this description, ignoring that he is ‘missing out’ on reality. Additionally, as the man in his fifties is the main character in all of the serials, it could portray how Pedro feels he is at the centre of people’s lives and the world revolves around him.
3) If a story is basically, “one time, in one place, something happened” then it’s not really literature —it’s journalism or history or maybe even just gossip. Literature is usually thought to express something timeless —something true in a bigger sense. What might this novel be saying about life?
In Mario Llosa’s book, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, the author uses the characters and the layout of the book to represent the theme and idea that in this book reality and imagination are in conflict. Mario’s aunt claims the radio serials are “mere claptrap” but live “with their ears glued to the radio” establishing a basic premise of reality and imagination being in conflict. In this case, their imagination, that they were cultured and much-preferred books to serials conflicts reality, which is that they are very invested in the serials. As they believe that serials are “mere claptrap” the author is displaying how the aunts are in a state of denial about their own reality, establishing a conflict between reality and imagination. In contrast, Mario uses Pedro’s character who lives on the line of separation between reality and imagination and rather prefers his imagination. Pedro believes that dressing up as his characters allows the “day’s work to become more tolerable” and the author is thus demonstrating that Pedro uses his imagination to make reality more bearable. This is another portrayal of the conflict between imagination and reality as although Pedro has accepted the two but must suffer through reality to enjoy his imagination. Lastly, another aspect of this theme is the difference between the author of the book and the character Mario. This two-sided expression of Mario represents another time where reality and imagination are in conflict as Mario uses his reality, as an author, to write and portray his imagination through his book to represent his life.
In the series of ads labelled, “the Kobe System” Nike uses Kobe Bryant, among other famous people, to establish a premium brand of Nike. On a surface level, the ads do not appear to make sense as they are short in length and are edited in a way so that they appear incomplete and cut off. The first point to make about the ads is that they promote the audience to think and research the shoe after watching the ad as the actual information about the shoe is limited. Nike’s production of the ad means that is intriguing and encourages customers to research more and its unusual style encourages people to research it more. Additionally, given the ad, was theoretically advertising the shoe, but gave no information about it, which may imply that the shoe is about more than just playing basketball, but about the customer reaching “success” at a level similar to that of Kobe Bryant. This ad achieves the level of superiority and success in associating the Nike brand with famous people. In using celebrities of both genders and people from a variety of countries, Nike attempt to paint themselves as the elite sports brand all over the world. Even if the audience decides that the shoes are too expensive, Nike has created a superior brand for themselves which is associated with famous people, often those that the audience loves and admires, meaning regardless of whether or not the viewer purchases the shoe, they buy into the brand. Moreover, the setting of the ad takes place in a setting where Kobe acts as the motivational speaker, further contributing to the dominant and superior brand of Nike.
In the first couple of games, I felt that I struggled as captain of the team and felt responsible for our shortcomings. Despite having good players, the first couple games showed us that this was not sufficient to be successful. In order to address learning outcome 1, I led team discussions and spoke with coaches about our strengths as a team, to use that to our advantage. Similarly, our areas which needed development we focused on in training and did not rely on as heavily in games. I also thought about my own individual play and reflected on how I could improve the team my changing certain tactics. Upon discussion with the coach, I started playing striker where my skill set could help the team more effectively than another position. An example of one of the weaknesses highlighted in the team discussion was how we start our games and our attitude towards our opponent. Often in football, a good mindset at the beginning of the game enables the team to work together and play their own style of football throughout the game. In the past, we were too fixed on the score which prevented us from playing the game to the best of our ability. As captain, I felt it was my responsibility it is my responsibility to ensure that we start well and this was something I have been working on in the past couple games. I have noticed that if I am able to start well and encourage others by setting a good precedent, other teammates find it easier to follow suit. This was definitely a challenge I undertook and adapted and improved in order to make it an advantage thus, addressing learning outcome 2.
As Coates explains in his essay, Why do so few Blacks Study the Civil War, the Civil War was “a story for white people—acted out by white people, on white people’s terms”. The idea that black people merely featured as “stock characters and props” in their own war for liberation allows us to understand the question better. How can a black man succeed equally to a white man when a black man’s fight for freedom was not his own? With so few black people in positions of power, it is difficult to argue against the lack of equal opportunity for blacks and whites. With this basis for an economy, although the intent may not be to continue a legacy of colonialism, does intent really matter if the behaviour exhibited in our society demonstrates minimal regard for equal opportunity in life?
That being said, I also feel that it is important to recognise behaviour with good intention when it is being displayed. For example, I felt that Coates’ critique of the Obama years of the presidency was quite unfairly cynical. He argued that Obama wasn’t truly a “black man’s” president, however, it is important to understand what it meant to be president. Obama was elected to be president by a majority of the population, not all of whom were black. As president, he must appeal to the entire population, not isolate black people in an attempt to benefit them. Even if he did want to do change laws and policies to benefit the black population, the presidency does not give absolute rule over a country, meaning unless there was a majority vote from both black and white senators, he would be unable to do so.
When comparing the Stockett and Coates passages, it is important to take into account their audience and the similarities that can be drawn from the two texts. In Stockett’s book, The Help, the maids are almost enslaved to the words they shared as even though they allowed to tell their stories, it was still under the rule of a white person. A comparison can be drawn to Coates’ essay, Why do so few Blacks Study the Civil War, as during the civil war black people could “never to truly join the narrative” but to “speak as the slave would” indicating a similar idea of white rule despite their intentions. In ‘The Help” the intention of the Skeeter (the white protagonist) was to tell their stories and in the civil war, it was to free the slaves. Despite the best of intentions, in both these scenarios, the white people ultimately gained the most. In the book, even though Minny got revenge on Ms Hilly, the readers never truly had the sense that it was enough. Additionaly, Skeeter, a white character, gained the most from the book. Similarly, in the civil war even though it was slavery was outlawed, the segregation following the war was so prominent that its racist effects are still seen today.