Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dangers in What You Believe

                Conformity is a central theme in the movie “The Dead Poet’s Society”. The teachers and their techniques are very old school, and frankly, not interesting. The teachers are elderly white males with dull, tiresome, mundane voices and very strict class rules. Unlike the teachers in the schools, the boys in the school are quite the contrary and believe in unconformity. The conformities that exist in the school stop the boys from pursuing their dreams and explore who they really are during high school.  Teenagers need to be allowed to experiment, broaden their horizons, try new adventure to determine their own potential and interests.   In this critical time in their lives, restricting their need to discover themselves can cause many unexpected and undesirable outcomes. The extreme differences between unconformity and conformity between the teachers and the students, lead the boys to acting out behaviors.
                In the film there are many examples of the boys’ misbehaving antics. Neal, who unfortunately cannot become an actor, because of the disapproval of school personnel and his father, ends up committing suicide. The pressure of being just like everyone else and having his life planned out for him by his father became so overwhelming that he felt he did not have any other way of dealing with the pressure to conform. Some of the other students created a new club called the Dead Poets’ Society with the inspiration of a new teacher named Mr. Keating, who believed very much in unconformity. This new teacher was harshly criticized for his new ways of teaching and his influence over the boys in the school. The boys who were in this club had to secretly meet, because the fear of being expelled participating in something they believed in. In the end though there were some devastating endings, many of the boys stood up for their beliefs even though it meant risking being expelled or being punished which really showed that they were unconformists.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Transcendentalist Shirt Response

Wearing my transcendentalist shirt created many reactions throughout the day. I was asked by students and teachers why I was wearing my shirt. I was proud to tell them the reason behind my shirt, and was proud of all the things about me on my shirt. Not the majority, but a few people gave me confused and strange looks. Even though it was hard to not worry about people judging me I am proud of what makes me who I am, so there opinions and looks didn’t affect me. To participate in this transcendentalist was an eye opening activity, and it was nice to express myself and watch others express who they are. This is a great extra credit opportunity, and I am glad I got an opportunity to express myself in a setting where even though I don’t mean to, I try to fit in.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Being Herself: Lovin Life

An example of a modern day transcendentalist would be Selena Gomez. Her true personality is expressed through her acting and her music. She is an amazing artist, and in her songs, she encourages young girls to be themselves. In the song below “Who Says” by Selena Gomez, the lyrics say “But when it comes to me, I wouldn’t want to be anybody else.” This very much expresses the beliefs of transcendentalists. They believe that others should express who they are without the opinions of others affecting them or changing the very essence of their being. She is very charismatic and is able to influence teens and young adults all over the world. Many people look up to her as a role model and characterize her as a performer with character as well as strong morals and values.

 Selena’s transcendentalist attitude guides others to believe it is okay to be who they are, and that other people’s opinions don’t matter. Being a musician and actresses in the public eye, she has a great deal of pressure to act a certain way for the media. We have often seen other actors, actresses, and musicians crack under this intense pressure. They become influenced by materialistic goods, the unrelenting examination of their fans, and even put on an act to try to portray someone they are not. Though many think it is easier to pretend to be someone they are not just to fit in, sometimes it is harder.  Emerson once said “imitation is suicide” by imitating someone you are killing what you could be if you were yourself. Selena supports this, and she stated “Be yourself always, there’s no one better!” which sets a good example for young fans. Eventually, pretending to be someone we are not, will become evident. The game of pretense can only occur for so long without the scammer suffering or others become aware of the fa├žade.
In Hollywood and the business of performing, the artists often suffer ridicule and harsh criticism for every move they make due to severe scrutiny of the public. To rise above this judgment and to stay true to who they are is very inspiring, and this is what makes Selena Gomez a true modern day transcendentalist. Selena is true to herself and is a breath of fresh air in a world of much fake and pretense.

Gomez, Selena. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2011. <>.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Walden Post

Elyse Beach
Mr. Provenzano
1st hour Honors American Literature
7 November, 2011
Henry David Thoreau once said “Why should be we live with such hurry and waste of life” (Thoreau 491). After 2 long years in solitude and isolation, Thoreau experienced much of what nature has to offer about life.  Although it is difficult, by minimizing the use of technology the people in society can live simpler and less stressful lives.
Technology allows people to communicate from miles apart, easily connecting businesses and families. With the internet people can acquire information instantly which many people feel is necessary in order to maintain life in this fast paced, instant communication society. With this improved technology, there have been significant improvements in many aspects of our world. We can quickly relay information to our loved ones, sharing news about life events. Businesses can operate efficiently by holding meetings with people who are miles apart geographically but can see each other and share ideas through the internet.  Even our health systems, use this technology to communicate about health issues, advancements in research or even on a smaller scale to remind someone about an upcoming appointment or presentation.
Technology has made communication and information more accessible at a much more rapid rate.  It’s a world of inner-connectedness, instant communication, and a focus on wanting everything immediately.  Despite the efficiency of being able to communicate more easily with family, friends and business both near and far through email, Facebook, twitter, blogging, etc, people feel the need to stay connected to the point that it’s detrimental to relationships and living in the moment.  Sitting at the dinner table and having your family member text someone else takes away from the personal interaction of the moment.   Life without technology would be much simpler.  The excitement of receiving a letter in the mail has been replaced with a text message that will eventually just get deleted. People also take advantage of the ability to hide behind technology.  People do not have the same face-to-face interaction and can communicate in relative anonymity.  This allows people to hide behind technology and “say” things that they would never say face-to-face.  One consequence of this cyber communication is an increase in bullying and spiteful comments about others.  Also, texts and e-mails do not effectively convey the tone of a message or comment which is usually apparent in normal communications.  This leaves the reader to interpret a message and often leads to the wrong interpretation.
            Society should consider limiting the use technology of technology at home, at school, at work and in human’s everyday mobile life.  By using technology less and putting a cell phone or laptop down for a little while each day, people can enjoy life and take a moment away from the stress and pressure of constant and instant communications.  “Why do precisely these objects which we behold make a world” (Thoreau 495)? This quote is very true in the world today.  The world holds on to technology as if it is what gives us life, and without it we would live in complete solitude.  Technology has transformed the way our world works, and sometimes it is not always for the better. Children are starting to get involved with technology at younger ages. This can be  detrimental and lead to childhood obesity and medical complications such as diabetes due to their sedentary existence.   Also, because they are attached to the computer they don’t go outside as much to enjoy nature and the simplicity of a world with no technology. Fishing, hiking, studying leaves and birds and growing a garden are all activities Thoreau would have experienced and should be shared today.
Technology is a very helpful tool which we, as a society, benefit from on a daily basis. It’s hard to imagine at day without a cell phone, email, fax machine or computer. Although it is helpful and often efficient to obtain information promptly, there are drawbacks. People are less likely to take the time to rest, relax and just “small the roses.”  Taking the time to meet with people face to face and really “read” a situation, and live in the moment is critical to us as people. Take a step back in time, like Thoreau, and just enjoy nature and take a more minimalist approach at life.  It also limits the amount of time we take to enjoy the minimalism of life, and nature without it.