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Romanticism

Romanticism is a movement that changed the Western culture’s relation to other things in our world.  It didn’t only include love, but also created a new age of culture. The movement occurred mainly in England and Germany and lasted for about 100 years, from 1770 to 1870. Some famous Romantic writers include; Wordsworth, Coleridge, Novalis, Sir Walter Scott, and Goethe. Some famous Romantic texts include; Lyrical Ballads, Hymns to the Night, and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The Romantic movement, like other literary and artistic movements, has many special qualities.

The qualities of Romanticism include imagination, nature, and symbolism. Firstly, the Romantics believed that imagination was the primary way to create art. Their idea of imagination included two concepts. First, the imagination enables us to read nature as a system of symbols. Second, it helped the Romantics develop a new way of writing about the world around them. Secondly, in Romanticism nature is a source that heals people. During that time, because of the Industrial Revolution more and more people moved to cities to work in factories. This work was depressing. The Romantics, on the other hand, fled to nature and the countryside to escape from the stressed city environment. They felt that all elements in nature were part of a single unit, and this unit has its own meaning outside of the civilization. Finally, in the Romantics view, a symbol is a language that helps people learn the relationship between things better. They were variable, and suggested many things. By using symbols, Romantic writers were able to express something inexpressible.

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Contrasts of Ancient History Accounts

 

World History Book

(From the US)

 

 

Chinese History

(My knowledge)

 

Geography

-Huang He River Flood: says it was very dangerous for people and influenced nearby villages

 

– Huang He River: stable, only the Yangtze river can pose a threat

-Only about 10% of China’s land is suitable for farming

-Most parts of China are suitable for farming in ancient times

 

Civilization (Shang Civilization)

-Yu (king of Xia Dynasty) was the person who protected the citizens who lived near the Huang He

-Yu is only a legend, only what people imagined because there is no evidence to prove he existed

 

-Shang people needed walled cities because they were “constantly waging war”

-There wasn’t so much war in the Shang dynasty, but there was a lot in the next dynasty (the Zhou dynasty)

 

Development of Chinese Culture

-Ancient Chinese people thought group living was more important that individual

-Same

-The family was the center of Chinese society, the youth should always respect their elders

-Same

-Social classes divided the country into government, army, traders, citizens

-Same

The Final Parts of The Odyssey

#1 Brief summary

1: Odysseus reached the land of Phaeacians where Nausicaa met and asked him to meet her father, the king of Phaeacians.

2: Odysseus met the king, and told him about his adventure. The king decided to help him. The king asked a ship to send Odysseus back; however this angered Poseidon, and he punished the sailors and turned the ship into stone.

3: Odysseus arrived in Ithaca, Athene turned into a boy and told him to pretend to be a beggar. He did so and met Eumaeus. Odysseus told him about his adventure and got some information about his wife and son.

4: Odysseus went to his house dressed as a beggar. He met Penelope and told her that her husband didn’t die and would be back soon.

5: Many suitors tried to win the bow and arrow competition, but no one could. But Odysseus, still dressed as an old man beggar, suceeded. He killed all the suitors, hugged Penelope again, and the story ended.

#2: Why was the last chapter’s naming ‘A husband for Penelope’?

As we can see, Odysseus really loved his wife, Penelope. She is the person who Odysseus missed most. According to the past chapters, Odysseus always thought about his wife and wanted to get back and see her face. All he thought about was Penelope. This shows his great love to his wife, and also shows ancient Greeks really respected this kind of love. They made this kind of epic, to show a hero with a brave and clever brain, and they also tried to express his deep love and loyalty to his wife. The hero was not only good at fighting, but also a ‘gentleman’.

#3: What’s next?

As we can see, the last part of the story told us that Odysseus would have another journey to finally bring peace to his life. What will happen? We don’t know, but I guess Poseidon won’t stop punishing Odysseus. What’s more, during this long journey, Odysseus had become a mid-aged person. Can he hold the next journey? I am wondering whether he will survive the next journey.

 

 

 

Reader’s Journal: Stranded on Calypso’s Island

1. Summary for Odysseus: Odysseus was saved by Calypso. She helped him become healthy again. The goddess decided to stop punishing Odysseus. Zeus asked Hermes to give a message to Calypso to let her help Odysseus go back to Ithaca. Calypso gave Odysseus materials to make a raft. After four days Odysseus took the raft and started to the journey back to Ithaca. Poseidon found out that he was going back and got angry. So he made a great surge of water and wind, which ruined Odysseus’s raft. Ino helped Odysseus. She asked Odysseus to take her veil and some wind to be safe. After a few days Odysseus finally arrived on an island. 

2. Summary of events in Ithaca: More and more people wanted to marry Penelope, but she kept rejecting them. She made an excuse that she couldn’t marry until she finished weaving a shroud fit to wrap Odysseus’s father in when he dies. Athena transformed into an old woman and told Telemachus to travel and try to get information about his father. Telemachus follows her orders. Many people wanted to kill Telemachus since he left Ithaca, this way no one can stop them from marrying Penelope. 

3. In this chapter I learned more about other characters, not just Odysseus. Firstly, Telemachus is brave and he wasn’t afraid of danger. He simply followed Athena’s orders and tried to find his father. Penelope was a great and persistent woman. Although there was no more news about Odysseus she was still hoping that he would come back soon. She had devoted and deep love for Odysseus, which was great. I already knew a little about Athena before reading this chapter, however she showed sympathy and great love to human beings. She also instructed Telemachus to get information about his father. She is a goddess with a sense of justice and love. 

4. What will happen next? I think there might be several people who will follow Telemachus and try to kill him. But I think Athena will protect him. This is his first “test” and adventure in his life. He will be trained to become a man like his father. 

 

Background: Ancient Greek History

Greece was one of the most powerful, oldest countries in this world. In about 2000 B.C., Greece had appeared and started to make laws and rules. It was a collection of separate lands where Greek-speaking people lived. This country was the first group that created a government system. They made laws and policies to control the country.

There are 4 forms of government in ancient Greece:

  1. Monarchy, state ruled by a king, the king can control everything. Practiced in about 2000 B.C.
  2. Aristocracy, state ruled by nobility, the kingdom family control the law. Practiced in Athens prior to 594 B.C.
  3. Oligarchy, state ruled by small group of citizens, practiced in Sparta by 500 B.C.
  4. Direct Democracy: state ruled by its citizens and the rule is based on citizenship, practiced in Athens by about 500 B.C.

I want to discuss democracy further: Why? There are still many countries using democracy today.

However, although Greece was the first country that used democracy, there are several special things in their form of democracy:

  1. The Greek citizens needed to be above 18 year’s old and they should be men.
  2. All the citizens took part in the voting.
  3. Juries varied in size.

I made these three main points, because these three are the differences between ancient Greece’s democracy and modern democracy. Even though these things seem different from now, it is amazing that Greece was able to make such a great social system so long ago. They were one of the first groups that started thinking about human rights.

As you know, I am reading an epic called The Odyssey, and there were some parts of the story that confused me. I was wondering why there were some soldiers who disobeyed Odysseus’ orders. As the story recorded, Odysseus was the king of Ithaca and that means they were in a period that had king, which should be Monarchy. How can simple citizens disobey the king?

As history recorded, many wealthy families also can control the government. I was wondering whether Ithaca was controlled by such rich families. Did Odysseus really have power? We don’t know, but we can still see the importance of the king. He knew that he was the leader, so he did all the things with his brave and strong heart.

The Trojan War happened during 1200 B.C. and that was the time that Odysseus’ story took place. In the recording of the history, Odysseus was the person who first thought about the idea: a wooden horse to trick them. This helped the Greek army capture Troy. There are several pieces of evidence that can prove this. People found the lost Troy city in the 20th century. This showed the truth of the Trojan war, also made the story The Odyssey more real.

Reader’s Journal: Ghosts and Monsters

#1 Brief summary of the chapter

1. Odysseus and his solders went to the island of death.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(My personal island of death: A math teacher conference)

Odysseus met Tiresias and learned the way they needed to go. Also, Odysseus learned his and his army’s fortune.

Odysseus went back to Circe and got more information about their journey.

Odysseus passed by the Siren’s voice by letting his army tie him so tight  that he couldn’t move when we wanted to go and hear the Siren’s song.

Odysseusand-thesirensbywaterhouse

Odysseus passed through the dark sea, however, some of the solders died. But some had to die for the others to live.

Odysseus and his army arrived on the sun god’s cattle. His army ate one of the cows and angered the gods.

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Zeus punished the army. Only Odysseus got to live.

#2 Some other interesting points:

1: From this chapter, I discovered two more  of Odysseus’ important virtues. First, he is firm and persistent. When he and his army were trying to pass Siren’s voice, he even let his army tie him tightly and pull heavily on the ropes to keep him down. He didn’t care about pain and craziness; he just wanted to save his army and himself. Also, he showed arbitrariness when they were trying to cross the dark sea. Though he really wanted to let all people live, he still need to make a decision, so he let some of the soldiers die, but only because then more would survive. He was really great.

2: I keep wondering about the power that Odysseus really had. As I wrote about in the last chapter, the soldiers had already disobeyed Odysseus’s order one time, and how can they do that again? I think this is really doubtful. I guess the king at that time might not have had so much power. They may be like the king in England now. The king may be the top of the country, but they don’t really own much power. In ancient China, the king was the highest and the most powerful person in the country. No one could disobey his order, or else they would die. So the story in this chapter seemed confusing to me again. I hope I can know more about the policy in ancient Greece.

Analysis of Lois Lowry’s The Giver

101116thegiverThe Giver depicts a world without any color or personal emotion. Jonas, a twelve-year old boy who is chosen to become something special, is the only person who can see colors and feel people’s emotions. He is chosen to work with The Giver, who is an old man who carries the memory of the world how it used to be. Jonas feels something different from the world he is living in. In the last part of the story, he and The Giver left the community. The meaning of this ending was really unclear. Where would they go? We don’t know. However, we definitely know that Jonas’ heart is totally affected by The Giver; he surely wants a world with freedom and love. Same as us.

In fact, I think we should not sacrifice a so orderly community. Like Jonas’ world, without color and freedom, everyone’s just does their jobs day by day, working and sleeping, without love or freedom, until their death. It seems like they have a very safe and peaceful society. However, Jonas doesn’t really love this, or can’t accept this. He is the only one who can see the colors in their community. When The Giver first taught him about the names and the meaning of the colors, Jonas showed great interest and excitement. ‘Color’ in this book should refer to something.

In my opinion, the ‘colors’ in this book may refer to the different elements and components that comprise our world. All of them are different. However, in Jonas’ world, there is no color, which means their lives are all similar and regular. They can’t see the beautiful colors, and they can’t see the magical elements. In our world these are the things that normal humans all enjoy. In such an orderly society, we can’t get happiness or pleasure; they live life without souls. Although this kind of society seems impossible in reality, we still need to think about how we can draw the line between public safety and personal freedom.

Jonas’ world is ruled and safe. Everyone does the things that they need to do. They never do criminal things or disobey the law. This world sounds fantastic, but due to their orderly living, their lives seemed constrained and not free. We need to balance the two sides.

In my opinion, the law should control some of people’s movement, but it can’t control all of them. The law should have several rules that can keep people’s bodies and rights safe. Except for these, the law should not control humans so much. The government should allow people to have their personal freedom, which is necessary for everyone. The line between safety and freedom should be drawn in the middle, which can keep people safe and also let people have freedom. Safety is important, but freedom can’t be taken.

We all want to be safe and free, but this is hard to balance. Even though it is hard to keep our world safe and free, we cannot allow our world to become like Jonas’. If we do, there will more and more people who try to leave, or escape, like Jonas.