Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Jenny Rosen and Ronit Langer Candide assignment

These sources taught us about Voltaire's genius and motivations while writing Candide. They also showed us how Candide was a picaresque and bildungsroman. One message Voltaire was portraying in Candide was the idea of evil, and how easily it is for society as a whole to become corrupted by that evil. This messages comes through when Voltaire satirizes all the different social and religious groups. Yet Voltaire is also telling us that we should avoid this evil and try to structure our lives in a way that fights against evil, by committing ourselves to change. The paintings put the settings into perspective and therefore made the stories clearer. Once we understood the message and clarified the story, it became clear how the book was a picaresque. At first it does not seem as though Candide is a roguish character, which is typical of the picaresque. After reading the sources we realized that it is a picaresque in the way it mocks society in a humorous way, but it is a bildungsroman for Candide. Over the course of the novel, he grow from having a purely pessimistic attitude to one of balancing the good and evils of the world.

Taming of the Shrew group post

·      Jenny Rosen:  resources to understand the play
·      Ronit Langer: rule/misrule how do they work in your play
·      Tsipora Stone: choose a motif in the play
·      Elijah Lippe: explain how the theme of appearances vs reality works in your play
·      Ayala Ahdoot: explain how masks, cross dressing contribute to the theme

Ronit Langer

         Rule and misrule is a major motif in Taming of the Shrew. The point of the play is the return to social order. In the beginning of the play Kate, the shrew, will not conform to her gender role, to be silent and obedient. Due to her resistance, disorder ensues. Kate's father, Baptista, declares that no one can marry Bianca, Kate's younger sister, until Kate has been married. This decree causes one suitor of Bianca, Horiensento, to disguise himself as a lower class music teacher, so that he can tutor Bianca and remain close to her. This decree also causes a student new to Padua  Luciento, who falls madly in love with Bianca the moment he sees her, to switch places with his servant, Tranio. With Tranio disguised as Luciento, Luciento dresses up as a lower class tutor to teach and be close to Bianca, while Tranio pretends to be of the upper class. The mix-up in social classes and the disguised identities are driven by love, but in the end of the play all of them must return to their proper social class, and their love is not their driving force, but their money propels them forward.  
       The idea that marriage is a monetary institution and not driven by love is clear throughout the play. Petruchio come to Padua to find a wealthy wife. He does not care what kind of person she is, only that she has money. Petruchio is sent to court Kate, after much warning about how shrewish she is. Petruchio is determined to marry her and to tame her. During their first encounter, Kate is resistant to him and tries to out-wit him. But, Petruchio does not let her out-do him, for every witty remark she makes, he has a come back. This exchange sets the stage for their future relationship. Finally, Kate met someone who is willing to put her in her place.
       Very soon after their meeting, the day of Kate and Petruchio's wedding arrives. Petruchio comes to the wedding late in comical clothing. These clothing are not what is socially acceptable, and the fact that he is wearing them foreshadows the fact that he will not conform to convention. When Petruchio takes Kate back to their house, he uses an unconventional method to reach a conventional end. He does not allow Kate to eat or sleep, so that Kate realizes how much power Petruchio has over her. Petruchio says, "Thus I have politically began my reign and tis my hope to end successfully." He is saying that he is the master over Kate, and has a "reign" over her, and the end result is that she serve him. But then Petruchio uses animal imagery, "My falcon is sharp and passing empty." He is treating Kate as an animal in order to have power. Just as a falcon is starved in order for it to learn that its master is its source of food, so too Kate was starved in order to show Petruchio's power. 
       In the end his methods work, and she agrees to serve him, even when he is being insane. The turning point in her behavior is when Petruchio commands Kate to say that the sun is the moon. At first she resists, but finally she gives in and says, " And be it moon, or sun, or whatever you please... Henceforth I vow it shall be so for me." Kate has now allowed herself to be controlled by her husband, thereby she is fulling her gender role as a wife and returning to a proper social order.
       Once social order is returned to Kate and Petruchio, the other characters have to return to their social order. Once Kate is finally wed, suitors are open to come court Bianca. Tranio, as Luciento, is given Bianca because he offered the most money. This exchange of the most money for the girl points to the idea that marriage is a monetary institution. Baptista agrees to Tranio's amount, as long as Luciento's father comes to approve the amount. Again social classes are confused when a lower class pedant, dresses up as Luciento's father, who is of the upper class. 
       All of these lies begin to come undone when Luciento's real father comes to Padua, and chaos ensues. Luciento's real father comes to Luciento's house where the pedant and Tranio are pretending to be the father and son. Tranio has Luciento's father arrested for pretending to be who he really is. Finally this chaos comes to an end when the real Luciento arrives with Bianca, who he has just eloped with. He explains the whole situation, and everyone's true identity is revealed. Everyone goes back to filling his/her appropriate social role/ 
       The situation comes to a close when all the characters are gathered at Baptista's house for a meal. Petruchio makes a bet with Luciento and Horisento to see whose wife would obey his call. Luciento and Horisento, who tried to work around the social class system are "punished" by having their wives not fulfill their social role of obeying their husband. Petruchio, who works throughout the play putting Kate in her proper place, is rewarded by her coming to him when he calls. The play ends with Kate making a speech about her proper role as a woman, and with this social order is restored. 

Tsipora Stone

Throughout history women have been fighting for their rights and battling against gender roles. The problem with gender roles can be dated back to the beginning of human civilization and is a main theme In Shakespeare’s comedy, The Taming of the Shrew. On the surface, the play seems to be portraying a cruel message, implying that women should be tame and obedient. However, a deeper understanding of the plot reveals Shakespeare’s wise use of mistaken identity to shed a positive light on the play, contributing to the theme that people are deeper than outside appearances.

Shakespeare begins the play by describing the public perception of Katharina as a shrew. Because of this perception, no man desires to marry her. In Act two Scene one, Baptista, talking about Kate, says to Petruchio, her lover, “Well mayst thou woo, and happy be thy speed. But be thou armed for some unhappy words,” describing Kate as a mean, improper woman and reflecting the public opinion, calling Kate a shrew. However, the reason Kate is considered a shrew is not because she is truly a wicked woman, but rather because she is a smart woman who contradicts the female gender role of the time. This alienation also causes Kate to act out, which further contributes to her shrew-like characteristics. The play continues and describes Petruchio, Kate’s lover, as a handsome, strong-willed man, who declares his love for Kate. This declaration shocks societal norms in which a woman with a brain is undesirable. Furthermore, Petruchio, being stubborn, could have easily gotten any other woman in society, but he chose to be with Kate. This shows that Petruchio, unlike most other men at the time, saw a sincere, wise woman through Kate’s rumored “shrewish” character. Once Petruchio meets Kate and they talk for the first time, it becomes clear that their relationship is outside of the norm. Their conversations are wise and include many puns and plays on words. The two first meet in Act two Scene one, in which Petruchio says, “O slow winged turtle, shall a buzzard take thee?” to which Kate answers, “Ay for a turtle, as he takes a buzzard.” This first encounter is not the usual conversation of a couple, in which the partners talk only about their love for each other, but rather it is filled with witty puns and metaphors, showing both Petruchio and Kate’s intelligence. In the end, Petruchio further defends Kate’s honor by showing up late to their wedding day clad in strange clothing, showing that outside appearances are not a basis for judgment.

            Shakespeare contrasts Kate and Petruchio’s love with that of Bianca and Lucentio. Bianca, Kate’s younger sister, is obedient and well loved, representing a desirable young woman of the time. Shakespeare, seemingly on purpose, does not fully establish Lucentio’s character. By making him an underdeveloped character, Shakespeare was attempting to portray the idea that Lucentio is a follower in society rather than an individualist. Because of  Shakespeare' description of Bianca and Lucentio, it is not surprising that the couple, when united, form a classic love-filled relationship. In Act four Scene two, Lucentio dressed up as Cambio says, “’Now mistress profit you in what you read?’” to which Bianca replies, “’what master read you? First resolve me that,’” to which Lucentio answers “’I read, that I profess, The Art to Love.’” Their conversation is much lighter than that of Petruchio and Kate’s and portrays society’s ideas of a relationship, in which partners talk of nothing but their love for each other.

            Shakespeare ends the play with another character change that goes beneath the costumes. Bianca takes on Kate’s role as the disobedient woman, while Kate takes on Bianca’s role, acting more docile. By making Bianca, a woman considered so desirable, disobedient in the end thereby showing that people’s characters change, this identity switch further expresses the idea that appearances are unimportant. At the end of the play, Petruchio compares Kate’s obedience to that of the other wives’ and Kate proves herself to be the better wife by acting complacent. One of the last speeches that Kate gives in the play is, “I am ashamed that women are so simple to offer war where they should kneel for peace, or seek for rule, supremacy and sway when they are bound to serve, love and obey.” After all of the “taming” that she has gone through it would seem to the reader that this quote shows Kate finally acquiescing to society’s ideas. However, previous evidence of Kate’s witty character and Shakespeare’s common use of double meanings prove the opposite. While reciting these final words about women, Kate was mocking the views of society rather than agreeing with them.

            Throughout the comedy, Shakespeare plays with Bianca and Kate’s characters using mistaken identity. According to the social mores of the time, Bianca is the proper woman and Kate the shrew, but by switching their places at the end of the play, Shakespeare defies this notion. The mistaken identity that Shakespeare refers to in the play is the misconception that outsiders have towards Bianca and Kate, which leads to the main idea that people are deeper than public perceptions. Through this play and its usage of mistaken identity and switching of gender roles, Shakespeare rebels against society.

Ayala Ahdoot
     Shakespearean comedies cab=n be considered the foundation of American comedy due to the unique use of standard societal behavior and multiple motifs that demonstrate the conflicts that appeared in the time of the Elizabethan period. Such motifs are mistaken identity, cross dressing, and masks, which are depicted in William Shakespeare’s The Taming of The Shrew. The Taming of The Shrew is a comedy regarding a group of people who all have certain goals and attempt to achieve them by the impersonation of others through multiple methods. The impersonation is illustrated physically, verbally, and mentally. In the play, The Taming of The Shrew, the motifs, cross-dressing, masks, and mistaken identity contribute to the theme of gender power.

            The Taming of The Shrew presents the motifs cross dressing and mistaken identity. The play revolves around two sisters, Katherine and Bianca, who are each wooed by men for different reasons. Petruchio fancies Katherine, the ill-mannered sister, while multiple men attempt to woo Bianca, the courteous sister. The play depicts the predicament in the play, which is that Bianca cannot marry anyone until Katherine, her elder sister, is wed. This problem presents the motifs of cross-dressing, masks, and mistaken identity in the play. When the men realize that Bianca will be unable to marry until Katherine does, they begin to compose a plan that will satisfy each of their desires. They all decide to impersonate others in order to accomplish their goal.
Cross-dressing and masks contribute to the factor of gender power in the play. The play sets the scene of Petruchio and Katherine’s wedding. Katherine, slowly transforming into the obedient Elizabethan woman, waits on her wedding day for her soon to be husband to arrive. Petruchio, arriving late to the wedding, enters the church dressed in hideous clothing showing Katherine that he is the person who has the control in the relationship and beginning his plan to tame her. In the play Petruchio, determined to tame Katherine and restore the social order of the classic obedient Elizabethan wife, represses her with cross dressing and mistaken identity.  When Bianca’s wedding day arrives, Katherine begins to choose the clothing she will wear. Once she sets her eyes on the garment she desires, Petruchio rejects her choice while abusing her and giving her a worthless feeling. “And gentlewomen wear such caps as these/ When you are gentle, you shall have one too,
And not till then.” (Act IV scene 3)
 Petruchio, being the typical Elizabethan husband, begins to control Katherine by lowering her self-esteem and by causing her to feel insecure. As the play unfolds, Petruchio’s plan is developed by causing Katherine to begin to question her own identity. The play depicts the idea that love is an aspect that is different from all others; it is one that changes a person.
            The Taming of The Shrew shows how mistaken identity greatly contributes to the struggle for gender power. The play shows us how there is a constant struggle between males and females. The male gender was always known to be the dominant gender, the gender that has more authority over the female gender. The female gender was known to be the compliant and passive gender. In the beginning of the play, Bianca is the standard Elizabethan woman. She is very submissive to any commands by any males. Katherine, in the beginning of the play, is the complete opposite of Bianca, being a woman who refuses commands and rebukes everyone. The males are all trying to prove one thing, that a woman cannot rebel against her husband’s commands and must obey them. They are all positive that the only woman that is and will be rebellious is Katherine, and she is the only woman that must be “tamed.” At the end of the play it is depicted how Bianca and Katherine’s identity are mistaken. Bianca becomes the insubordinate wife while Katherine becomes the silent, obedient wife due to the abuse received by Petruchio. “I am ashamed that women are so simple/..Or seek for rule, supremacy, and sway/ When they are bound to serve, love, and obey.”( Act 5, scene 2)
        The Taming of The Shrew  is a Shakespearean play that consists of the motifs mistaken identity, masks, and cross-dressing. These motifs each revolve around the theme of the struggle for gender power. In the play it is shown how males struggle to remain the dominant gender, constantly attempting to tame the women and make them remain in an obedient state. It is shown how cross-dressing is what causes the confusion among society. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ayelet - Nonconformist Women


Although in the 1800's and earlier, it was typical for women to be obedient, docile, and compliant with their husbands or other men, there were those that did not conform.  Women's equality is a very modern concept; women were only granted the right to vote in the 1920's.  Before this, it was expected that a woman would tend to the house and raise the children, nothing more, nothing less.  Some women, however, possessed the strength to throw off the shackles that bound them to their houses, their husbands, and their obligations.  My artwork represents the anomalies: the women who were ahead of their time.
                One such woman was Queen Elizabeth.  Queen Elizabeth was an extremely popular monarch of England.  Her reign is known as the Golden Age of English history.  She left her mark on the world without a father or a husband.  Queen Elizabeth's father was King Henry VIII; after being disappointed when Elizabeth was born a girl, Henry had very little to do with his daughter's life.  She never had a strong paternal figure to guide her, or teach her, but Elizabeth was able to thrive.  Not only did she not need her father, but she didn't need a husband to rule in her stead; Queen Elizabeth ruled England singlehandedly.  In my artwork, I represented Elizabeth with a golden crown shedding light on the rest of the poster since she led the Golden Age of English history.  Below it is a cracked silver crown, which represents the crown a king would wear, showing that Elizabeth was able to break free of the confines of her time period, and rule as a woman.
              Another woman who was ahead of her time was the Wife of Bath, from Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. The Wife of Bath was an independent woman; she was not reliant on any one man.  She did not take marriage so seriously, referring to love as a game.  Additionally, the Wife of Bath was very smart and able to make a living off of her prodigious skill in weaving.  She was not silent and obedient, as was expected of women; she was known to laugh and joke at parties.  The Wife of Bath is represented on my poster with spools of yarn, showing that she did not need a man to support her; she was able to make her own living.  Beside the yarn are a bunch of engagement rings, signifying the Wife of Bath's many marriages.
                 A third woman who went against the norm of her time period was Nora, from Ibsen's A Doll's House.  A typical wife in this age was always compliant with her husband, but Nora was not afraid to defy her husband.  One example is when she lies to him about eating the macaroons.  Additionally, she sneaked behind her husband's back to get the loan; she is not just a helpless woman.  Perhaps the most extreme example is when Nora leaves her home and her family.  She leaves her security behind and ventures out into the real world, displaying her courage and independence.  In my artwork, Nora is represented by a men's briefcase with her name on it in pink writing.  This shows Nora going off into a man's world all alone.
                The last woman who I chose as one who defied the norm of her time period is Lady Bracknell, from Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.  Lady Bracknell was the only person in the play who was not strongly tied to a person of the opposite gender.  Her husband was not typically present, so Lady Bracknell was, in essence, the head of the house.  An example of her power is when she interviews Jack to see if he is a suitable match for her daughter, Gwendolen.  Typically, it is the father who gives his daughter away, but here, the roles are reversed.  Lady Bracknell is in charge of the whole affair.  On my poster, Lady Bracknell is represented by a large dining - room chair.  This is meant to convey that she "sits at the head of the table".  Essentially, she is in charge of the entire household.
             These four women are examples of "women in power."  They did not conform to their time periods.  Instead, they rose above what was expected of them and held their own in a man's world.

Daniel Ferber and Jonas Leavitt's project

In the Presbyterian church, women have full membership rights and privileges, in regards of becoming a minister and in any body of the church.  Woman can be ordained as ministers. They are very accepted and play a key role.

In the quaker church, from the beginning of the religion woman were able to do anything a man can do in there religion.  They were allowed to preach and hold all offices.  They also have an equal right to be ordained as ministers.  Many quaker woman were pioneer suffrage leaders.  The practice of calling a woman miss started in the quaker religion. Women and men were seen as complete equals in the Quaker society.

In Judaism woman have a slightly less prominent role.  They are mostly in charge of the household and are not required to do all the commandments.  They are not allowed to become Rabbis in the orthodox sect.  In many other sects, including Reform Jews  a woman is allowed to become a Rabbi.

Muslim women are seen as complete equals to the men. Although men are required to do some activities that women are not, women take care of the family and contribute in their own way. Women take part in the big fast but can not be accepted as part of clergy.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Alex and Michael: women's equality assignment

The poem "The Bonsai Tree" by Marge Piercy can be analyzed to symbolize the way Torvald treats Nora, his wife in "A Doll's House" by Henrik Ibsen. The first lines, "The bonsai tree, in the attractive pot, could have grown eighty feet tall," represents Nora, a beautiful woman who has a lot of potential to contribute to society. But Torvald doesn't allow this potential to be utilized. In this poem, Torvald is represented by the gardener. The destructive power of the gardener, or Torvald, is seen when the poem says he "carefully pruned it." This destructive or rather impeditive behavior is seen by Torvald spoiling Nora and making her feel like she is the center if attention so she won't have to get it for herself and be her own person. This is seen when Torvld practices the dance routine with Nora. Before they start, Torvald wants to check the mail. But Nora knows there is a letter he shouldn't see in the box so she throws a sort of tantrum saying "I can't dance tomorrow if I don't practice with you." Knowing she looks beautiful in her clothing, she begins to dance sloppily and wildly, but also seductively to get Torvald's attention. 

In the later lines of the poem, "Every day as he, whittles back the branches, the gardener croons, It is your nature, to be small and cozy, domestic and weak; how lucky, little tree, to have a pot to grow in," the gardener is seen to be making the tree feel good about itself, but also discreetly insults it. Torvald does this to Nora as well. He gets her the best clothes, the best food, the nicest jewels, but he also calls her names that are very subtly derogatory. He calls her "My skylark," "child," and "my dear." These names portray his views on her as being helpless and needy.

Judith Viorst wrote a poem about how she thinks the Cinderella story really happened. The poem goes like this:
"I really didn't notice that he had a funny nose.
And he certainly looked better all dressed up in fancy clothes.
He's not nearly as attractive as he seemed the other night.
So I think I'll just pretend that this glass slipper feels too tight."
She seems to think that the slipper really did fit the princess, but she saw the prince for who he really was, and then decided she didn't like him, so she pretended that the slipper didn't fit. The princess did this to avoid living with him because she now saw the prince for who he really was and didn't like the truth for what it was. This realization can compare to Cecily's and Gwendolen's reactions from "The Importance of being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde. When Algernon, posing as Jack's brother, Ernest, asks Cecily if she would still love him if his name was Algernon. This dialogue went as follows:
Algernon(aka. Ernest)- But, my dear child, do you mean to say you could not love me if I had some other name?
Cecily- But what name?
Algernon- Oh, any name you like - Algernon - for instance...
Cecily- But I don't like the name of Algernon.
Algernon- I can't see why you should object to the name of Algernon...if my name was Algy, couldn't you love           me?
From this dialogue, it is seen that there is a major distaste of the truth when one finds out something they believe is beautiful is , in fact, much less beautiful than it seems. (i.e. Algernon's real name vs. his poser name) 
The same is seen with Gwendolen when Ernest, who believes his name is truly Jack, not Ernest, tries to convince Gwendolen that his name really is Jack. 
Jack(aka. Ernest)- You don't really mean to say that you couldn't love me if my name wasn't Ernest?
Gwendolen- But your name is Ernest.
Jack- But [suppose] it was something else...do you mean to say you couldn't love me then?
Gwendolen- Ah! That is clearly a metaphysical speculation,and like most metaphysical speculations has very little reference at all to the actual facts of real life, as we know them.
Jack- To speak quite candidly, I don't much care about the name of Ernest...
Gwendolen- It suits you perfectly...
Jack- I must say...there are lots of other much nicer names...Jack, for instance, a charming name.
Gwendolen- Jack? No...the only really safe name is Ernest.
Gwedolen is revealed the truth about Jack's real name, she doesn't like it. She doesn't like the truth, just like Cinderella in the poem. She immediately sees Jack as much less beautiful when the subject matter of changing the thing she finds beautiful comes up.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Is Zuckerberg A Modern Day Gatsby?

Talia Bardash and Tamar Liberman

Mark Zuckerberg and Jay Gatsby both acquired their wealth through ruthless chicanery. Jay Gatsby, a character in the novel, The Great Gatsby, cheated his way through life as a bootlegger. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, stole the idea from his Harvard classmates, the Winklevoss twins. Society accepted this deception because the masses benefited in both cases. No one censures Zuckerberg's ways because Facebook is so appreciated and commonly used by the whole world. Similarly, no one criticized Gatsby's shady past because his outrageous parties were so enjoyable to the public. In conclusion, society accepts fraudulence when there is a positive outcome. 

Women in Sports- Josh Eagle and David Zucker

Women are often viewed as inferior to men in physical aspects. Most people view men as stronger and more athletic than women. Before the late 1800's, majority of women sports didn't have rules and were only focused on physical activity, but were not competitive. The dominant view in the 1800s was that each human had a set amount of energy, with women having the least. Horseback riding and swimming had become fashionable, but were considered dangerous for women to participate in. The modern Olympics first admitted women sports activities in 1900. In the early 1900s softball was created. It was considered a safer way for women to play baseball. As the century progressed, women became regularly active in sports. In 1972, Congress passed Title IX, prohibiting gender discrimination in schools. Because of this, women sports became regular school activities. Research has shown that since Title IX teenage pregnancies are down, and depression among high school girls is less common. In 1974, girls were first admitted to play in little league. A decade later, in 1987, Jackie Joyner-Kersee appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the first women ever to do so. In 1994, speed skater Bonnie Blair became the most decorated American Olympian ever, man or women. Since then the WNBA, opened, women have appeared in professional sports as referees, and Wimbledon has made the prize money the same amount for both the men and women's tournaments. Women's rights have progressed majorly since the late 1800s. At that time, Henrik Ibsen's, A Doll's House, first appeared in theaters. Nora, the protagonist, was considered radical for leaving her husband and showing a sense of individualism. However, we now know that Nora wasn't radical as evidenced by the progression of women's sports. Nora was only the beginning of a new era.
Here is a short video of a young girl who today dominates her league with her knuckleball: