Archive for October, 2007

The Sea Inside post #3

October 29, 2007

The Sea Inside used a lot of great visual methods to help the meaning of certain shots in the movie.  For instance, in one of the earlier shots in the movie, the camera is trucking from left to right to show all the books on the wall and the items in the bookcases, which acts as a sort of long title shot.  This shot has big significance because it helps introduce the actors. The meaning of the shot is to keep the viewer in suspense about what’s special about Ramon, and the director does this by not showing Ramon in this shot and only showing the books.  In another shot, the whole family, besides Ramon is at the diner table eating.  The shot is a medium that allows all of the people in viewing range.  This shot is pretty significant because it shows all the character’s emotions at once.  The meaning of the shot was to help the viewer see everyone at once.  In another part of the movie, there is a sequence of about 2 second silent medium shots to music showing the deferent love lives of the characters.  This scene was significant because it helped the viewer understand why some of them act the way they do, especially towards Ramon.  The meaning of the sequence was to show how all the characters handle love and relationships.  This is how The Sea inside used viewing techniques to further meanings in the movie.    

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The Sea Inside post #2

October 29, 2007

I found that The Sea Inside and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly were both pretty similar and at the same time, very different.  They both dealt with the topics of death and paraplegics.  Also, they were both great examples of how one man’s story of immobility can change the way we think about death and, maybe more importantly, life.  Also, both were pretty entertaining in a sense that they both made you think about more than just what was being shown on the screen or written on the pages of the book.  A big difference between the book and the movie was the conflict.  In The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The main conflict is that Bauby cannot move and is forced to reflect on his life while he awaits his inevitable death, and in The Sea Inside, the main conflict is that Ramon cannot move, and wants to kill himself because of it.  Also, the fact that the book was a memoir is a great difference because it could not be scripted in a way that would be more likeable, like you could with the movie.  The Sea inside was also dealing with a much more controversial topic, euthanasia, where The Diving Bell and the Butterfly wasn’t.  I thought The Sea Inside was probably more powerful than The Diving Bell and the Butterfly because with the movie, the directors could make certain things more suspenseful or powerful using different viewing techniques that you couldn’t do with a book, not to mention the book is a memoir, so it’s probably not as exciting as a scripted work of fiction.            

the sea inside post #1

October 29, 2007

I had a pretty positive general reaction to the The Sea Inside.  I thought the movie was very thoughtful and entertaining.  I thought Ramon’s request for assisted suicide was well deserved, because his life is his choice, especially if he is in that much pain.  I thought the court could have been more lenient about the request, and could have possibly let Ramon speak at the courthouse, but at the same time, you have to respect court procedures.  I thought his eventual actions, though illegal, were inevitable in a good way because this was obviously something he had thought about ever since his accident.  I think his friends who helped him where very courageous and brave because after Ramon dies, he wouldn’t have to worry about being arrested, but anyone who helped him with his death and was caught would be put in jail.      

week 6, summary post

October 27, 2007

When the final part of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls begins, Jeannette has just moved to New York, where Lori now has a job as a waitress at a German restaurant.  Jeannette also but finds work at a hamburger stand, but then leaves that job for a job as a writer for a low budget newspaper called The Phoenix.  During this time, Lori and Jeannette realize that Brian and Maureen cannot stay in Welch and must come to New York to live with them.  Jeannette is then talked into going to college, so she decides to go to Barnard, the sister school of Columbia, which at the time, was only a school for boys.  At this point in the book, Rose Mary and Rex Walls decide to move to New York as well.  Even though it was very easy to find work in New York for the other children, Rose Mary apparently doesn’t want a job and Rex cannot get one because he still continues to drink.  After the Walls parents live with each of their kids at one point, they are eventually told they must find work and get an apartment of their own and are thrown out.  But instead of find jobs like they were suppose to, the Walls parents decide it would be easier to become homeless.  Jeannette has an obvious problem with this because she was at the time going to college and living in an apartment with a man who would later become her first husband.  After a couple of years, Walls parents due manage to get a $1 a night apartment.  During this time, Maureen lives with them.  After an argument, Maureen stabs her mother and is sent to juvenile hall and once she has done her time there, she immediately buys a bus ticket to California and leaves.  After a couple years,   Rex Walls gets a heart attack and dies.  The book ends with Jeannette, Brian, Lori, and Rose Mary Walls having Thanksgiving at the house of Jeannette’s second husband’s family.  They recall their crazy lives and it acts as a good ending to the book. 

week 5, post #1

October 19, 2007

Mr. Hatten,

Becuse my blog website is different than the rest of the class’, I wasn’t able to comment directly on my classmates blog pages, so I instead will post these comments on my page. 

Comment 1 Alex’s blog;  Alex, your insight about your memior seems to be pretty detailed.  It is obvious that you had a good understanding about what was going on in the book while you were reading it.  Your blog, in general, seems to be a good summerization of what happened in the book.  I think a good way to improve your blog would be to would be to write how the characters feel during different parts of the book.  The events in the book are obviously quite emotional, and i think it would be helpful to add how the characters feel after these events unfold.  I feel that by doing this, you could greatly help your blog. 

comment #2 Tom’s blog; Tom, it was easy to see by reading your blog that you are currently injoying your memior and also have a vast insight about it.  I say this because in your blog you talk about a funny story in the memior that made you laugh, which proves that your doing more than just reading the book.  Your blog in general seems to be pretty well written, but seems to be a little short.  I feel a good way to improve upon you blog would be to write a more detailed summary about what’s happening in the book.  This will not only help us know more about what’s going on in the book, but also make your blog longer. 

week 5, post #2

October 19, 2007

part five of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls begins with a man from the child welfare service coming to the house while Jeannette is home alone. Because no one else is home, Jeannette says she cannot et him in and the man says he’ll come back some other time, but he never does. Because of this event, Jeannette urges her mother to get a teaching job, which she does. Around this time, Jeannette starts high school, where she begins working at the Maroon Wave, the school’s newspaper. When the summer rolled around, Rose Mary had left to take college courses to renew her teaching certificate, and Lori was at an art camp, so Jeannette was put in charge of the house. She soon realizes the difficulties her mother faces when her father begins asking for beer money. Jeannette then gets a job at a Jewelry store in town in order to help with the families financial troubles. Around this time, Jeannette and Lori begin plans to leave Weltch and go to New York city. They begin to save up their money and put it in a piggy bank. After about a year of saving, Jeannette comes homes to put more money in the piggy bank but instead finds it smashed on the floor. She immediately knows that her father had smashed it open and taken the money. When Lori and Jeannette confront their father on the matter, he acts as if he has no idea about what has happened. After Lori graduates and is leaving in New York, Jeannette, who is now seventeen, devices her own plan to get to New York. Her parents both seem frustrated with this, but by the end of part five, her father drives her to the bus station and Jeannette then leaves for New York.

Personal Reaction

Part five of The Glass Castle only furthers the obvious irresponsibility that Walls parents both possess. Rex Walls continues to use up the little money that the family has in order to buy alcohol while Rose Mary Walls continues to give her husband this money, spend some of this money on pointless nonessentials instead of buying food, and focus on her dead end art career instead of furthering her teaching. I found it hard to understand why Rose Mary and Rex Walls would continue their filthy habits when it should be more than apparent that they are hurting their children by doing this. Rex Walls should understand that by taking money from his family in order to buy beer, he is not only hurting his family by getting drunk, but also by taking the family’s food money and Rose Mary Walls should know that she is being almost as inconsiderate as Rex Walls for giving him the money. I was also very stunned by the amount of courage the Walls children have. Their parents irresponsibility is all to apparent to them, and yet they are able to work around this obstacle and the other ones they face. During part five, I felt like the Walls children were much more hard working than their parents.

Week 4, post 2

October 15, 2007

Part 4 of The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls began with Rose Mary And Rex Walls driving to Phoenix, Arizona to retrieve some items they left behind.  Unfortunately, the Wall’s house was looted and, while in phoenix, their car broke down and they were forced to take the bus.  Back in Welch, a fight broke out between Lori and her Grandma Erma (who dies a couple weeks after this) after Jeannette caught Erma grabbing Brian’s crotch.  When Mr. Walls got home, he was furious that Lori had struck her grandma.  The Wall’s, partly due to this event, then bought a shabby, grey house on a hill without indoor plumbing, running water, or, most of the time, electricity, located at 93 Little Hobart Street.  Because the Walls couldn’t afford to pay the neighborhood garbage bill, they were forced to put their garbage in a hole in their yard, which Ernie Goad (a neighborhood bully) and his friends use to taunt the Wall’s Children.  There is then a scuffle involving rock throwing until after a while Ernie and his friends leave.  The Wall’s do have a coal stove in their house, but because they rarely have coal to burn, the house is normally freezing.  Also, because Rex is constantly drinking and is unable to get a job, and Rose Mary refuses to both leaving Rex and or getting a job as a teacher, there is still a big food problem at the Walls household.  Part four ended with Jeannette going to the pool with Dinitia because she goes in the morning when there are normally only black people there.  The pool is free in the mornings and after a while, Jeannette fits right in with the other women.     

week 4, post 1

October 15, 2007

Quote #1 “I had to believe they’d come back, I told myself.  If I didn’t believe, then they might not return.  They might leave forever.” (Jeannette Walls, pg 146, The Glass Castle)  This quote is said by the author when her parents are driving alone to their old home in Phoenix, Arizona in order to retrieve some of their possessions.  This quote is very important to the book because shows that Jeannette Walls is beginning to lose faith in her parents.  She even goes as far as to say that if she doesn’t believe they’ll come back, her parents will abandon her and her siblings.  This strikes me as important because Jeannette is usually the child who has the most faith in her parents. 

 Quote #2 “Mom, you have to leave Dad.” (Jeannette Walls, pg 188, The Glass Castle) This quote is said by the author to her mom while she is exercising.  This quote is important because it describes how desperate the Wall’s current situation is because Jeannette is willing kick her father out of the family in order to obtain welfare checks and food stamps (the Wall’s are unable to get either of these items because they have an able bodied father, but because he’s constantly drinking, he isn’t getting any jobs).  This struck me as important because Mrs. Walls, after refusing to kick out her husband, refuses to get a job as a teacher, which would greatly help their family.     

Diving Bell blog #1

October 9, 2007

There are few times when I come across a memoir that I enjoyed reading.  Usually these books are filled with achievement gloating and arrogant statements about the author.  But The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby proved to be quite the opposite of my general interpretation and turned out to be a thoughtful and poetic book.  The Book is filled with thoughts on philosophy and the life around this man as he goes through this painful journey.  Because of his inability to communicate with anything but his left eye, the stories of the book are told exactly as how they appear in the mind of the author, without any interrupting dialogue.  The many dream sequences in the book, which seemed to be a common complaint and a reason for most students to not like the book, were merely just the mind of the author being put down on paper.  The author also did a great job of recalling certain important points in the book, sometimes in great detail, which allows the reader to visualize that he or she is with the author at that particular time.  Another great thing about this book was how easy it was to understand where the author was coming from in certain parts of the book.  Instead of pretending that he once was very loving to the feeble and crippled.  Instead, he talks about how he walked right past these strangers, knowing that it may be sad, but he had a life of his own, and because of these experiences, he realizes that he the body that he once took for granite was now unmovable.  Though the book was lot loved by all of my peers, I still believe that the book was one of the best written books I’ve ever read.  The book reminded me  not take my life for granite and to stick in there when times are tough.              

blog 3, part 2

October 8, 2007

So Far, I greatly enjoy The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.  The book has some great strengths.  For instance, all the memories are told with great detail down to the dialogue.  Writing what she was thinking during important events in the book has also kept the book strong.  It’s hard to pick a weakness for this book, but I would say that the lack of historical event allusions in the book somewhat weaken the book because the reader doesn’t know what’s going on during the time of the book.  The issue of poverty has been hard for me to comprehend.  Due to my structured, pretty much taken care of life, I cannot imagine wondering if I was going to eat today.  Also, the issue of crazy relatives keeps coming up.  This is one that I can relate to because I too have crazy relatives, but maybe not that crazy.  So this relates to my life.  I predict that the Walls will continue to have financial troubles and will have to stay in Welch for a long time.  I feel the book is a magnificent piece of writing and I can’t wait to read the next section.