Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Post Apocalyptic World Viewed Through a Film Scene

In the novel, the gray, new world is described as being empty and filled with ash.  If I were to construct a movie scene to show how the new world is after the apocalypse I would use a setting of an empty highway.  Highways are usually filled with people in cars so I would take all that away to show how empty the world has become.  I would also sprinkle gray ashes over everything like it describes in the novel.  My setting would also have burned down trees and houses on the side of the road to show how everything in human civilization is gone.  The lighting of this scene would be dark and smokey, but in the distance there would be some light shining down the road to show that the road is going to make several appearances in the movie.  The sky would be a dark gray and the light shining down the road would be very dim due to the sun being hidden behind by the gray sky.  The costumes that I would chose the father and son to wear would be blue jeans and pastel colored T-shirts.  I would do this because it is a plain outfit that fits well into the scene.  It reminds the viewer that there is very little color in the new world after the apocalypse.  The book also repetitively brings up the father and sons parkas so I would have them wearing parkas unzipped over their shirts.  For this scenes make-up I would rub gray ash on their faces and arms.  I would then add a few small scars to both the father and son to show that they have been through a lot.  The father and sons hair would be shaggy and long because they do not have a knife to cut it.  The father would also have a messy beard.  The long hair and unshaved beard would show how long they have been stuck living in the horrible new world.  It would also teach the reader that there is very little resources still left on earth.  Finally the characters would be slowly walking down the side of the road.  The father would be carrying the son on his back to show how tired the son was.  They would also be pushing a shopping cart filled with blankets,toys and food.  I would add some diagenic noise to the scene by adding a rickety sound of the shopping cart because it is the only thing they can hear for miles.  All these elements together play a part in describing what is going on in the film to the viewer.  The new world is empty and filled with ash.  The scene has to show that by adding no civilization besides the father and his son.              

McCarthy's Apocalyptic World

In this novel, McCarthy creates a world after the apocalypse by using many fragments and similes to describe the dark world the father and son live in.  On page one it says "Nights dark beyond darkness and the days more gray each one than what had gone before.  Like the onset of some cold glaucoma dimming away the world."  This is a very interesting way to open up the story because it goes right into talking about how dark and gray the world after the apocalypse is.  The next line compares the world to glaucoma dimming away the world.  This is a very interesting way of explaining how the world they used to know is slowly losing everything.  On page two it says "With the first gray light he rose and left the boy sleeping and walked out to the road and squatted and studied the country to the south.  Barren, silent, godless."  Throughout the novel McCarthy uses many fragments to describe the literal world that the two people are living in.  This quotes fragment emphasizes how empty the world after the apocalypse is  by using words like godless and barren.  McCarthy does a really good job giving the reader a clear image of how horrible the new world is by using fragments to describe the literal world he is creating.  When creating the book McCarthy had to consider descriptions that would emphasize how hard it is to survive.  Instead of using sentences that made that obvious he chose to make the story more interesting.  He used fragments and a reoccurring image of an empty road.  The road that is brought up on almost every page helps the reader understand how it is the only thing that the father and son have left from civilization.  The road is described as being empty and gray.  This gives the reader an image of loneliness.  Overall, McCarthy describes the literal world by using fragments and similes.  He repetitively describes the world he has created as being gray and empty which reminds the reader how awful the new world must be.  The repetitive use of the description gray and black remind the reader of how dark the world is.  McCarthy is an author that is not afraid to repeat things he has already written.  Therefore, we keep getting reminded of how barren the world he has created is by the use of his fragments.

People Remember so That They can Forget

    "There is no past.  What would you like?  But he stopped making things up because those things were not true either and the telling made him feel bad."  (54)  In our world people are able to revisit the past through objects and other peoples stories.  In the book the apocalypse turned the world into a dark, ashy place with barely anything left to spark memories of their old lives.  When the father says that there is no past he means that the world they are living in is so different that past memories are now just fantasies of things he will never experience again.  Throughout the story his son has asked him to tell stories.  People tell stories to forget the bad reality.  In the book The Road I believe that the father and his son need memories to keep them alive.  The child is too young to have a lot of memories of the past world and therefore needs stories to "relive" these happy times.  The memories of the old world keep stability for the father.  The reason he still believes in God is because of the good memories from the past.  On page 26 the father revisited his old house and remembered things like where the Christmas stockings used to be and where his bedroom was.  This is one example of how the story uses places to trigger old memories for the father.  After a while you would think that the father and his son would forget everything from the past world after living so long in the lonely world they live in now.  Memory is used frequently throughout the book because if they loose their ability to remember old times it takes away the hope of them being able to live like that again.  In the book the memories give them hope and help the two survive.    

Pages 53-72

 "Eyes collard in cups of grime and deeply sunk.  Like an animal inside a skull looking out the eyeholes." (63)
       "The boy was so frail and thin through his coat, shivering like a dog." (67)

This is a parallel because it describes people like they are animals.  This is interesting because in the new world after the apocalypse a lot of human behaviors were forgotten.  People were dehumanized and had a survival of the fittest mentality.  The stranger they run into is described as looking like an animal inside a skull looking out the eyeholes.  Personally I think this describes him as being in a predator v.s. prey situation.  In the other passage the young boy is described as shivering like a dog.  This parallels to the other simile because the boy is also being described like he is an animal.  In many ways the new world they are forced to live in does dehumanize them and they are forced to live off the land just like animals do.

 " For the love of God, woman." (58)
" mother:  We used to talk about death, she said.  We don't anymore.  Why is that?
father: I don't know
mother:  It's because it's here.  There's nothing left to talk about.
father:  I wouldn't leave you.
mother:  I don't care.  It's meaningless.  You can think of me as a faithless slut if you like.  I've taken a new lover.  He can give me what you cannot." (56-57)

This compares the opinion of the husband and the wife.  The wife does not believe in a God anymore and wants to die, but the husband thinks this is not the right way.  He thinks there is still a God out there and that is why he says "  For the love of God woman."  The woman says that she found a new lover which is death, but the husband does not agree with this.  The wife personifies death in this section.  She does not think the world makes sense anymore and therefore takes her own life.  The two sections are a contrast because is compares the difference of beliefs between the husband and the wife.  If there was an apocalypse and the world was filled with chaos and destruction it would be hard to still believe in God.  The husband shows that it is still possible, but sadly the wife loses all hope.    

Do you think the wife killed herself to help her husband and son stay alive?
Why didn't the son keep the mom alive like it did for the dad?

Pages 31-53

 " He unsnapped the throat of his parka and lowered the hood and stood listening.  The wind in the dead black stands of hemlock.  The empty parking lot at the overlook.  The boy stood beside him.  Where he'd stood once with his own father in a winter long ago.  What is it, Papa? the boy said.  Its the gap.  This is it." (33)
        " Wow, the boy said.  He couldn't take his eyes off it.  He squatted and scooped up a handful of stones and smelled them and let them fall clattering.  Polished round and smooth as marbles or lozenges of stone veined and striped.  Black disclets and bits of polished quartz all bright from the mist off the river.  The boy walked out and squatted and laved up the dark water..." (38)

This parallel shows the father and his son making two discoveries in the new world they are stuck in.  The Cumberland Gap was part of American history and was discovered by some of the first colonies in America.  This is ironic because the father and his son are forced to rediscover America after the apocalypse.  When the first American colonies came they traveled through woods and rivers to find new land.  When the boy and his dad discover the waterfall on page 38 they are amazed at their new discovery.  The is a parallel to when they arrived at the Gap because it is two situations where they discover new places in nature in a world that they thought lost everything from its past.  Something that is very interesting about this parallel is that people and technology change, but nature always stays the same.  The parallel emphasizes the importance of nature in the book and in our world.

  .." I had a bad dream.  I had this penguin that you wound up and it would waddle and flip its slippers.  And we were in that house that we used to live in and it came around the corner but nobody had wound it up and it was really scary."  "Then he said: The winder wasn't turning." (36-37)

This section of the story is a contrast with the whole book in general.  The child's bad dream represents human nature falling apart.  When the penguin was winding and waddling the boy envisioned himself in his old house and there was human civilization.  When the penguin stopped waddling it was not alive and therefore it showed a loss of hope for human nature.  On page 36 the boy also asks why he had such a scary dream and the father responds by saying he does not know, but to go to sleep.  The father has not lost hope and is fighting for survival.

What makes a person want to survive when everything else is gone?
What causes this scary dream to occur at this point in time in the book?

Pages 1-31

 The father brings his son to revisit his old house. (26)
 "..he read old newspapers while the boy slept.  The curious news." (28)

In both of these passages the father chooses to revisit the past.  He clearly misses how things used to be therefore he uses objects to remind him of how good the world used to be.  Memory is valued a lot in the book and this parallel shows how America used to be and how big parts of civilization have been forgotten.  When the father and his son visited his old house he remembered memories of Christmas and where he used to sleep.  In the new world that the father and son are trying to survive in there are no holidays or a place to call their bedroom.  They are always on the move and fighting for survival.  The old newspapers and the fathers old house were both used in triggering old memories.  This is a parallel that shows how America has changed and the two objects are now only memories and not reality.

  "No one traveled on this road.  No road-agents, no marauders." (16)
"He kept constant watch behind him in the mirror.  The only thing that moved in the streets was the blowing ash." (24)

This is a contrast because the father is constantly looking in his mirror for safety, but repetitively does not see anything.  In the book the father and the son are the only people we have seen alive in the book thus far.  In many passages it describes the earth as being barren, dark and filled with ash.  It also talks about how empty the road is.  The father knows that they do not have any company, but the author decides to use this contrast because he wants to emphasize how much the father cares about his sons safety.  He is so paranoid about someone hurting his son that he continuously looks back just to ensure his sons well being.  It also makes the reader question what encounters he has had during the apocalypse that we do not know about to give him this fear.  The contrast also shows that he is a cautious father because he is the only one on the road, but wants the reassurance by peering through the mirror attached to his cart.

Do you think it is a necessity to have goals for survival?
What past experiences do we not know about that the father has experienced to make him so paranoid about running into other people?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fools For Love

       After watching the two movies Double Indemnity and LA Confidential, I was able to make many parallels between both the plots and characters.  In the two movies the main, men characters fall for the mysterious, women figures.  In Double Indemnity the main character Walter Neff falls for Phyllis Dietrichson.  She convinces Walter into killing her husband in order to get money.  He kills Phyllis's husband because he feels bad for her.  He wants her to be happy and he has strong feelings towards her.  The only thing Phyllis ever wanted was money and Walter eventually figured this out.  In the end they both killed each other.  Walter regretted what he did, but fell for the girl instead of sticking to his morals.
      In LA Confidential, Bud White and Ed Exley work together to solve a case.  In the end the person responsible was someone from their own work force.  Bud White was known as the partner who took action and used physical actions to help a case.  Bud particularly enjoyed helping women.  He fell for one woman in particular.  Her name was Lynn Bracken and her job was to dress up like a celebrity and sleep with many men.  Bud found her interesting, but also felt bad for her.  He slowly started to grow feelings towards her.  Buds partner, Ed Exley was known to be the brains behind a case.  He always followed the rules and played by the books.  One night Ed Exley went against his morals and slept with Lynn Bracken.  Little did he know it was a set up to turn Bud and him against each other.
     The two movies are both very similar.  Both of the main characters in each movie fall for women who end up bringing them into trouble.  Ed Exley, Bud White and Walter Neff all go against their morals to help or get with women.  In the two frames below from each movie, it shows the women looking up towards Walter and Ed.  Both of the women have a mysterious look on their faces and are gazing into the mans eyes.  They both give off a vibe that they are trouble by their facial expressions.  Ed and Walters faces are not shown in these frames because the camera is angled over their left shoulders.  The focus of each frame is the women.  The director wants us to recognize the emotions being shared from the women and how they are effecting the two men's decisions.
    Overall, LA Confidential and Double Indemnity are very similar.  The two movies both have women who trick the men into going against their morals.  The two shots below are very similar and show the power these women had over the men.  When it comes to women men are just fools for love and in these two cases they forget their morals.                                                                   

Monday, October 28, 2013

Pre-Crime vs. Iranian Secret Police

In the movie The Minority Report Pre-Crime was discussed as being an invasion of privacy.  It assumed crimes before they were actually committed.  The Iranian Secret Police was an organization from 1957-1979 and was Iran's most hated and feared institution.  It practiced torturing and executing opponents of the Pahlavi regime.  They practiced surveillance on the Shahs opponents so that they would not go against them.  This was an invasion of privacy because the civilians did not know this was going on.  Muhammad who was the Shahs ruler at the time did surveillance of the Iranians in their homes and abroad.  In the movie The Minority Report the Pre-Crime agents also went against the peoples rights by going into homes and spying on families without their approval.  In both cases crimes were assumed before they were committed.  The Iranian Secret Police would arrest people just from judgement that they were against Muhammad's regime.  The Iranian Secret Police were responsible for censorship of press, books, film, interrogation and torture of prisoners and surveillance of political opponents.  This can be compared to Pre-Crime because they both did illegal surveillance of innocent people and assume illegal activity before a crime was committed.

The Importance of Last Names

" A thousand years of history and tradition behind this family, A thousand years and these upstarts refuse to recognize my nephews death?  As if Mehdi never existed!!"  On page 205, Mehdi's uncle wanted to post an obituary in the Keyhan newspaper.  The newspaper was strictly told that they were not allowed to post any deaths in the newspaper from the protests.  This made the uncle mad and he responded by saying "If you think you can wipe this family's name off Iran's map, You've got another thing coming!"  In this case the uncle wanted his nephew to be remembered and be a part of history.  In every culture a name identifies you.  Generation after generation last names are passed on with different reputations that they carry.  My last name is McGuire and I know that the first McGuire's that came to America were immigrants from Ireland.  I am fifty percent Irish today and my families history and culture are still remembered and celebrated today.  In Zahra's Paradise chapter 18 emphasizes the importance of a persons last name.  Zahra's Paradise suggests that we construct our identity through history and that a last name carries on and remembers a families history.   

"Words, words, words..."

In the graphic novel Zahra's Paradise words are used in most of the frames.  The only times when words are not used in the frames are when they are action shots that can be described without words.  For example, in chapter 12 on page 164 Sepideh is looking for his brothers grave and a guard comes up and yells at him.  In that framer there were no words, but from the facial expressions in the shot I was able to understand that the government guard was upset with Sepideh.  Certain words are bolded or larger than others.  This makes it more noticeable on the page and is usually used when describing a noise or something that is being screamed or emphasized.  As a reader I unconsciously read the dark, bolded letters with more emphasis which gives the characters more personality.  The location that words are inserted in each frame also has an impact on how the reader reads Zahra's Paradise.  When there are words placed at the top of the frame those are read first.  When the words placed at the bottom of frames with no words on top I view the picture before reading the words.  The author intentionally puts words in certain places for a reason which I find very interesting.  This was the first graphic novel I have ever read and I loved it.  Every word placement is for a reason and it gives the author control on how the viewers read the book.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Zahra's Paradise Shots

    In chapters three through six of Zahra's Paradise I analyzed different shots on each page and studied their meaning.  At the beginning of chapter three there is a very strong medium shot of Khamenei (the leader of Iran) looking down at his people.  The people are staring up at him in fear.  This shot in particular shows that Khamenei has lots of power over his people.  On the next page there is an establishing shot of Khamenei behind a large podeium saying " My Dear Children" and above him are the words " The Word of God".  This also emphasizes how powerful Khamenei is and that his power goes hand in hand with religion.  Many shots throughout chapters three through six are shots looking upward towards powerful men figures.  This shows the power men had in this society and as a viewer I can see in each shot that these men are above other people.  There are also many large frame, birds eye view shots which help establish a scene.  Birds eye shots also make it easier to capture all the action within the frame.  On page 65 of Zahra's Paradise there is a large birds eye shot that captures chaos in the streets.  A birds eye view shot helped this frame show all the action at once and it was a very interesting frame for me to view as a reader.  The different shot angles shown throughout Zahra's Paradise make this graphic novel fun to read and easier to have a visual understanding of what it was like in Iran during these times.      

Zahra's Paradise Frames

    The size and shape of frames in the graphic novel Zahra's Paradise can change the way the reader views the novel completely.  In this particular graphic novel there is often one larger frame which establishes the setting of the story on that page.  There are then smaller frames that surround the large frame and these frames explain the action that goes on at this certain place shown in the largest frame.  The small frames also focus more on introducing main characters rather than showing an entire plot.  In this graphic novel there are some frames that are split up into even smaller rectangles and squares which focuses in on the action being done in each frame and how important it is.  The bigger the frame the more noticeable it is.  Therefore, the frames are purposely larger so that the plot is identified to the reader before the reader sees the smaller action shots on the page.  It is very interesting that a frames size can determine what order it is noticed and its importance.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Three "Oracles"

In this scene of the three precogs they are all sitting in their set places in a round tank.  The blueish, bright water brings attention towards the dark precogs.  This shot is a high angle shot that looks down on Agatha and the other precogs.  The water in the precog tank is brought up many times throughout the movie.  The repetativeness of the bright water tells the viewer that the precogs are important throughout the film.  The precog tank is in the middle of the shot which also draws focus towards the three precogs.  Usually brightness represents good and dark blacks and greys represent evil.  In this shot the precogs are dark which makes them mysterious and amost spooky.  The citizines of 2054 in  The Minority Report do not know much about the three precogs but look up to them as godlike creatures who prevent crime and murder.  Little do they know, sometimes the "oracles" are not always right and can make mistakes.  Many people also fear the precogs since they have so much power and are able to predict the future.  Therefore, the dark shade in this shot put over each oracle floating in the curvy, bright tank makes the precogs have an evil,dark, mysterious feel.  By making this shot a high angle shot it makes the three precogs have power and effect.

Monday, September 2, 2013

List of Movies viewed this summer!

List of Movies I Watched this Summer
1) The Internship
2) Despicable Me 2
3) Caddy Shack
4) Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
5) Safe Haven
6) The Impossible
7) The Birds
8) This is 40
9) Holes
10) Schindler's List
11) Forrest Gump
12) The ShawShank Redemption
13) Breakfast Club
14) 16 Candles
15) Django Unchained
16) Life of Pi
17) The Little Rascals
18) Titanic
19) The Great Gatsby
20) Saving Private Ryan
21) The Notebook
22) Brides Maids
23) The Dark Knight
24) SlumDog Millionaire
25) School of Rock

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Summer Reading Questions and Answers

1) After reading Oedipus the King by Sophocles I believe that Oedipus had no control over his fate.  The definition of fate is the development of events beyond a person's control, regarded as determined by a supernatural power.  In the book Oedipus was ignorant to the fact that he was adopted.  When he found out his fate after visiting the oracle and decided to try to avoid it by fleeing town.  Little did he know this was only part of the "big picture".  In the movie Minority Report Tom Cruise tried to avoid his destiny by fleeing town as well.  Both him and Oedipus are both strong, intelligent men, but nothing is stronger than fate.  Fate decides itself and this was something both Tom Cruise and Oedipus had no control over.  On page 153 of Oedipus the King it says "One freedom is allowed him: The freedom to search for the truth, the truth about the prophecies, about the gods, about himself."  This means that everything else is predetermined.  As much as Oedipus would have liked to change his fate he couldn't of and instead he spent his life searching for it which in the end was part of his destiny.

2) Oedipus is a great ruler for the most part.  He was dedicated to the interests and the needs of the city.  He was a man of action and saved his people from plague.  He was able to make swift decisions  when necessary and was also very intelligent.  Although Oedipus was a great ruler he did have some flaws.  He only listened to his own opinion and listened to the gods and prophecy too much.

3) Oedipus's tragic mistake is that he did not listen to other people and made quick decisions without second thought.  Oedipus also could not come to believe that he was the one in the prophecy to kill Laius and when he found out it was him he was in shock.

4) In the movie Minority Report three "non-human like" people determine peoples fate through dreams.  The fate is never wrong and therefore everyone listens to it without question just like people 
from King Oedipus did with the oracle.  In the movie John Anderton is given a fate of murdering someone and he wants to escape it.  Therefore he flees to try to change his fate just like Oedipus does when he finds out his fate that he will kill his father.  In both cases they fail at changing their fate.  This is because fate cannot be changed by humans.  The most powerful things in both the movie and the play are fate and truth.  Both Oedipus and John are searching for the truth in their lives and the fate that follows.  

5) In the movie Minority Report eyes play an important role throughout the film.  The Precogs use their eyes to see the past and the future, but seem to shutout the present.  John Anderton who is the main character in the movie uses his eyes to change his identity.  Since the film is based in a time period of 2054 technology surrounds him that can scan and identify him by his eye balls.  He uses his eyes not only to see the present but also for disguise purposes.  In the film he trades in his eyes for a new pair to avoid the fate that the Precogs dreamt for him.  The film will be valued and noticed for years to come because of the focus on the past, present and future.  The idea of time and fate will never lose its value.  This movie brings attention to what our future could be like and how much privacy each person could get.  Is it an invasion of privacy to be able to scan peoples eyes in public places to identify them?  In my opinion I think it would be an invasion of privacy.  It would also scare me! 

6)  In the movie the Minority Report technology plays a huge role in the day to day life of 2054.  Everyday in our world technology is growing and changing our way of life.  Daily activities are now being done on computers, ipads, iphones, etc.  Apple products are improving and being made worldwide that is making our day to day life tasks faster.  We also have a dangerous competition when it comes to technology.  Many countries are working hard to improve their technology in warfare.  Many countries are preparing for future wars to defend ourselves by creating bombs and other weaponry.  This can cause other countries to stress when they find out America is producing atomic bombs and they try to do the same.  In return this can determine our fate.  Another World War?  Atomic Bombing?  Technology is not always making life easier, but sometimes it makes life more complex.