HUMA318 Literature Blog #1 – The Great Gatsby

america today.jpgBlog topic two: Lit – Great Gatsby

For this blog, I’ve chosen the 3rd question from the Great Gatsby category, in which I want to look at the breathtaking mural by Thomas Hart Benton titled America Today. Painted with egg tempera (something I’m totally touching upon soon) and between 1930-31 and spanning thirty metres all lined up and standing at an average of two and a half metres tall, this mammoth of a mural depicts many facets of American life, but the one I want to particularly focus on is the depiction of construction and technology (shown via the train) which really screams out how America was striving to be the powerhouse of the world.

Within the mural, we see depictions of men working with steel, one of Americas biggest trades and Industries throughout the 20th century. This depiction of hard manual labour is something that is engrained within American culture itself. The idea that if you work hard enough, you can make it in America. Next, to the depiction of steelworkers, we are treated to a show of Americas emerging power and technology through a large depiction of a train, possibly carrying resources to help build America to even new heights. The way the train is painted, slightly skewed forwards, gives the impression of speed, and this speed is solely moving forward with no intent on stopping, Possibly symbolising Americas never-ending effort to advance as one of the world’s superpowers.

As I mentioned earlier I also wanted to touch upon the fact that this mural was painted with egg tempera, a first drying, permanent paint. While it may be coincidence on the artist’s behalf, I mean it simply could just be the medium Benton was used to painting with, I can’t help but feel the paint in a way represents America itself. Being in New York it was hard to find a slow place to relax outside of those dang comfy hotel beds or central park. The pace of life within America seems to be fast, and even more so today with services where one can order anything to their front door within hours it’s hard not to make the connection. The paint is also permanent, which to me, symbolically represents the nature that America will never change in their ways of striving to be a powerhouse of the world. That hard work and ingenuity will always be strived for within the country.
Walking through this piece was truly breathtaking. Not only in this piece huge, but the amount of detail In each panel is astonishing, and it clearly shows that Benton has a great deal of skill and pride in his work.

I give Thomas Hart Benton’s America Today eight “New York Pizza Slices” out of Ten. I deducted one point because I couldn’t see the whole thing at once due to not evolving eyes all over my head….yet… and one point for not being able to take a piece home with me…Security are such buzzkills.

HUMA318 Blog #1 – To Kill a Mockingbird

atticusBlog One: To Kill a Mockingbird
For this first blog, I’ve chosen the drama question revolving around To Kill a Mockingbird and how it’s portrayal of Atticus Finch differs, in my opinion for the better, to Gregory Peck’s portrayal of Atticus in the 1962 film adaptation.

For this Broadway adaptation Jeff Daniels took the leading role of Atticus, a far cry from his days opposite Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber, and honestly, if anyone told me that was a role he was known for I wouldn’t have believed it. Within his performance, Jeff really did a terrific job, and for the three or so hours we where there, He wholeheartedly embodied the role of Atticus Finch, Stern but loving father and lawyer. But unlike Gregory Peck’s take on Atticus, Jeff took Atticus in a different direction, whether this was his own influence of the directors, I don’t know, and quite honestly, I don’t think it really matters.

When you think of Atticus what comes to mind? slow talking? Intelligent? Methodical? Stern? always serious? Smartass…wait, Sarcastic wiseass? Surely not Sarcastic wiseass right? Well if the only version you have viewed is the Broadway production then Sarcastic smartass might just be a descriptor.

Now when I say Sarcastic smartass I don’t mean that in a bad light, In fact, I mean it in quite the opposite. While being a sarcastic smartass is often seen as an obnoxious trait to have Jeff’s portrayal of Atticus is able to pull it off so well because at the core he keeps the same characteristics of Gregory Pecks classic portrayal, while also giving the audience a bit of the smooth-talking stereotype we often see portrayed by actors who play lawyers within film and television, think a far more toned down version of Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad, but put into the early30’s, that is the kind of Atticus we see in the Broadway play.

But Adam, you may be thinking, how on earth can you portray Atticus as a wiseass? Isn’t that the opposite of Atticus? Well, Yes and no. Yes in the sense that Atticus is not a wiseass in the original portrayal, but like I said Jeff has managed to keep the features of Gregory Pecks version of Atticus. While he may be quick to make a smart comment to Jem and Scout he still keeps the same core values. He tries to do what’s right for his family, He tries to help those in need, and most importantly he keeps his strong sense of Justice and maybe equally as important his belief that deep down everyone has a shred of decency in them, Yes even ol racist Mrs Dubose.

The final comparison I’d like to make, and this one is personally my favourite, is that Jeff’s portrayal of Atticus feels more authentic. He feels like a real person who’s passionate about the law instead of a cold methodical, almost robot-like individual. This was shown through Atticus losing his cool and getting into a small scuffle with Mr Bob Ewell (played by Frederick Weller) outside his home when Bob comes to threaten Atticus and Tom Robinson.

All in all, I quite liked Jeff’s portrayal of Atticus, even more so then Gregory Peck’s. While he was definitely different, he felt more authentically human and much more engaging to watch, and out of all the productions we watched, Jeff’s portrayal of Atticus made me enjoy To Kill a Mockingbird the most, which when put up against The Book of Mormon is no easy feat!

I give To Kill a Mockingbird Ten “I Love NYC shirts” out of Ten, if you’re ever able to go watch this performance then you better hecking go… Or ill know…

ENGL210 Summarative Entry.

So a semester has come and gone, and it’s time to reflect on this unit and my own progress through it.

To start things off, I really enjoyed this unit. I’ve enjoyed Shakespeare’s work the moment my year 10 English Teacher put on Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet. The beauty of the language, the harshness of the insults and the creativity of the two intertwining captivated me.

I think the unit was delivered extremely well by Michael, who I would like to say a big thank you too! The amount of effort you put into teaching your subjects doesn’t go unnoticed and I look forward to being in more units with you.

I enjoyed the three plays we looked at, but I think The Tempest may be my favourite due to the comedy aspect of the play. I look forward to reading more of Shakespeares works as prior to this unit had only ever really read/watched Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth.

Where I struggled, however, was the blog posts themselves. I really fell behind this time around and found myself playing catch up constantly. This was mainly due to personal issues so I won’t go into that but I think next time around I’ll definitely have to take more initiative and do them the day we get the topics.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this subject, the lectures were full of great knowledge and the tutorials were small enough to hear a vast arrange of views on the topics which allowed for great discussion.

Thank you again to Michael for putting the time and effort into us!

Shakespeare Peer Review #8

For peer review #8 I reviewed Lily’s first impressions of The Tempest.

“Hey, Lily.

I can tell straight away from your blog that you’re really passionate about Shakespeare which is awesome. I enjoyed how knowledgeable your first impression was as you have clearly spent your time with the text to give us your opinion and in turn, has made me want to invest myself more into The Tempest so thank you for the motivation!



Shakespeare Peer Review #7

For this peer review, I decided to review Erin’s three things that for her would fall into the category of Beauty.

“Hey, Erin.

I gotta say that this was an absolute pleasure to read and you definitely have a way with words.
I could vividly imagine each of these scenes as I read them and I think you did a wonderful job.

Thank’s this has completely brightened up my day.


Shakespeare Peer Review #6

For peer review #6 I have chosen to review Josh’s blog post in which he posted a summary of Theseus’ Anti-Imagination Speech.

“Hey, Josh!

Fantastic blog entry, you can really tell that you enjoy studying Shakespeare through your passion displayed in this blog entry. I completely agree with you and Hippolyta that imagination is truly a “strange and admirable” thing to have and think life would just get a tad boring without it.

Keep up the great blogs!




Shakespeare Peer Review #5

For peer review #5 I chose to review Victoria’s synopsis of what Bottom is trying to express at the end of Act 4 Scene 1.

“Hi Victoria,

Great blog entry, I think you did a fantastic job of breaking down what Bottom was trying to express in this section of the play. I particularly liked you going into depth about the language used deconstructing why that particular language was used and what effect it had.

Great work, Keep it up.


Shakespeare Peer Review #4

For this peer review, I decided to review Alina’s letter, written from Hermia’s viewpoint to her father.

“Hey, Alina.
Awesome blog entry, I think you embodied Hermia perfectly. Showing not only her hatred for her father but her love for Lysander while critiquing the ways of that time period really made it seem authentic.
Also, the first crossed outline almost made me spit my drink out laughing so I appreciated that haha.

Awesome blogs!

Shakespeare Blog Entry #8

For the final Shakespeare blog entry I have decided to answer the second blog topic presented:

“Blog Topic 2: In Act 1 scene 2 what image do you get of Caliban? Is he being mistreated by Prospero”

After both watching the globe theatres rendition of The Tempest and reading along with a script the image I get of Caliban is that of a man who has been broken down over time by a cruel ruler, however, from Prospero’s perspective I can understand why he would have such a disdain for Caliban as he did try to rape Miranda. From his own description of event sit sounds as if Caliban, while uninhibited by the English language was a much more peaceful living man. He was one with the island and nature itself which in a way I think was a clever way for Shakespeare to make the audience question the role that language has on society and whether it truly makes us more civilised.

I can see both sides of the argument about his treatment from Prospero. On one hand, it would be very valid to argue that Prospero is a complete tyrant. Causing immense pain and suffering to be brought upon Caliban as well as essentially stealing the island from him.
On the other hand, I can also see the argument that Caliban brought this pain and suffering upon him when he tried to rape Miranda and that Prospero is doing what he is doing out of a mix of anger, resentment and to some extent fear, fear that his daughter was almost harmed by someone he helped become the man he is today. And despite knowing what extent I would be punished by the law if I were to commit violence against someone who attempted rape on my hypothetical daughter, It would be very hard to not do so.
Which at that point I ask my own question in response to anyone viewing this. Is Prospero’s mistreatment of Caliban warranted?scene-from-shakespeare-s-the-tempest-william-hogarth-a9433965.jpg

Shakespeare Blog Entry #7

For this blog entry I have chosen the topic:

“1/ What are your first impressions of the The Tempest.”

First off, I have never read or watched a play or movie adaption of the Tempest, so when I heard it was a comedy I was a bit thrown back. When I think of Shakespeare comedy is not often something that comes to mind. Usually, the first thing that pops into my head is a tragedy. However, after reading and getting to see a bit of the play I am really interested in watching and reading more. I think the premise of the story is quite interesting and look forward to delving into it in more depth. I also really liked the use of music within the segments we have already watched, from the heavy drum beats being used to represent a storm, to the hauntingly beautiful siren song that Ariel is able to use to draw different characters to specific points on the island.

I really look forward to seeing more and reading more of the Tempest, as I think it’s already becoming one of my favourite Shakespeare plays.