Friday, March 21, 2008

The Bean Trees

The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver, was not the kind of book I was expecting to analyse. In school, usually our books have symbolism and themes that we are supposed to interpret. Looking further into it, The Bean Trees does have this. It's just hidden by the author's style. Mrs. Kingsolver has a unique style.

First off, the novel is written from the voice of a young, "modern" (it was written in the 80's), Southern girl. She is leaving her home in Kentucky to just get away. While in Oklahoma, an Indian girl sets a baby in her car. The child, who she names Turtle, is silent and shy. Taylor discovers she has been abused, and the novel goes on to describe how they find a home, friends, and new life in Arizona, and how both Turtle and Taylor begin to thrive.

Our group decided that one of the most important themes of the book was that of belonging. Each part of the novel, no matter how random, becomes relevant and is wrapped up together by the end. It deals with issues of teen pregnancy, illegal immigration, and motherhood. I found the last to be the most interesting. Taylor's main motive for leaving her hometown was that she didn't want to become pregnant like the rest of the girls in her town, and therefore has a cynical view of being a mother. However, as she comes to love Turtle, you see her values change. It's an interesting observation.

Othello: the Venetian Moor

For years now, I have read at least one Shakespeare play in English. While he is, admittedly a careful author with a special skill, I don't get why it's always Shakespeare. In any case, for English 30, it's Othello.

*Othello spoilers ahead*

We had a guest speaker come from the local Shakespearean club to talk to our class, and he pointed out that Shakespeare uses the theme of the jealous husband in several, several plays, and Othello is the only one where it turns out badly.

In Othello, he is a Venetian general who falls in love with a young girl named Desdemona. His lieutenant is Cassio, but Iago wanted to be lieutenant. Iago also thinks that Othello is sleeping with his wife (he's not). Therefore, Iago wants to revenge himself on both at once, by convincing Othello that Cassio and Desdemona are having an affair (they're not). By the end of the play, Othello murders Desdemona, Iago murders his wife, Iago murders Roderigo (Desdemona's previous suitor), and Othello commits suicide. Cassio is wounded and Iago is tortured. Needless to say, with all the murdering and betrayal, it is a depressing read, and a little crude at times.

However, Shakespeare makes a good point. Jealousy is a dangerous folly. Othello was so smitten with his wife and highly honored, but after a little bit of gossiping by Iago, he becomes so jealous that he feels he is carrying forth justice by murdering his wife. He is changed in a mere couple days.

The play is probably worth the read- it does explore some interesting points on jealousy, betrayal, and fidelity. However, the movie (1995) that we had to watch in class, I would not recommend. The director takes advantage of their artistic license, and it's unnecessarily graphic, in my opinion.

For You, Rae

Public Service Announcement from the BVB grade 12 girls' small group: We are obsessed with bakers. ;)

Soooo many books to talk about.
Bean Trees
I Samuel
II Samuel

Plus any I read on the plane as I fly to lovely Houston!!!
Actually, Houston's sort of ugly in and of itself. Except it's green. That's one up on Calgary's brown grass.
The people are lovely though!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Last Year

A year ago, I was up here, in Canada, looking for a house. A year ago today, I was snuggled under one of Grandma's quilts with my cousins, watching a movie.
This last year has been good. I've made lots of new friends, and made better judgments. I've enjoyed the privacy that I've allowed myself in school. I hardly know anyone, and I'm actually quite content with that. I used to know so many people that every class I was in, someone would talk to me, which is great, but it's nice to just sit, do classwork, get reading done, and relax. I don't have commitments every weekend with friends. I have been able to add responsibilities as I go.
That being said, I'm not a loner! :) I have formed a close circle of friends that I get along well with, who take as much pleasure from drama as I do. I'm closer to my small group at church than I was to the one in Katy, and we get together outside of church for dinner or at youth events.
School is also so much more relaxing. Weeks like these last few have been chaotic (I have 5 projects due in the next four days) I have to keep reminding myself that I get 8-10 hours of sleep. In Katy I'd be lucky to get 7. I am doing well in my classes and learning relevant relational things. In Katy, I would be feeling bogged down with hypotheticals and historical facts, worrying so much about the memorization that I forget the importance.
Here, I have had more opportunity to have Spanish oral practice in class. I have had more presenting opportunities in my other classes. I have written more essays, poems, and short stories than probably all the essays, poems, and short stories I had written before this year combined (minor exaggeration).
My beliefs have been challenged more- especially in debate. Canada is much more liberal than the US, and my school is one of the more liberal schools in Calgary. The conservative government party is called "progressive conservative," for goodness sakes. Probably about 10% of the school population is gay. Biology is taught from a solely evolutionary standpoint. Sex-ed is not abstinence only. Though Christianity is not publicly criticized, it is considered a religious minority, which leads to some interesting discussions.
I've had more time to spend with family here, and though I miss many of my friends dearly, I still keep in touch with most of them, and will see most next week. :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spring Hast Sprung in Canada

This last weekend has been gorgeous! Saturday it was hotter in Calgary than in New Braunfels, TX. Right now it's 12 degrees C out (54F) which is perfect for going out in pants and a tshirt after the winter we've had. On Sunday I went for a walk with Mom and her boyfriend to the Bow River, and it's starting to brown up on the hills. Almost all the ice is gone. Upon return, I checked our "garden" and the bulbs that I planted last autumn are sprouting.

Also, an update on Kim. She's noticibly improving, and even she noticed today at lunch that she could drink out of a straw. Thanks for your prayers! I have an English paper to write, but I plan on doing a post on I Samuel, II Samuel, and The Bean Trees.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Prayer Requests

I'm sorry I haven't posted recently- I haven't been doing much reading recently, since this week has been a little hectic at school. I do have a couple prayer requests though, concerning the health of my friends.
First, there's my friend Kim. She's such a dear girl, and always so helpful. The other day, she said her eye was bugging her, but the other eye was the one that looked swolen. She went into the doctor, and she was diagnosed with Bell's palsy. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it is an infection of one of the facial nerves, so half of her face is paralyzed, which makes blinking, talking, and expressing yourself difficult. Though it isn't extremely obvious when talking to her, being a high school girl is hard enough, and I'm sure she's self-concious about it, though she has remained strong through all of this. The prognosis is pretty good, and she should recover. It's just a matter of time.
Then, there's my friend Rae, who thinks she may have mono. Hopefully not, since she was able to make it to school again today, and mono knocks you off your feet, but she feels horrible. Her friend has it, and since I ate after her Sunday night (darn mushrooms!!!) I may, though it's not likely unless she used her fork before she took a bite of the lasagna (and who licks their fork before they take their first bite, really?). In any case, mono is not fun, and being the end of her senior year, she needs to be as healthy as possible.