Thursday, December 5, 2013

In the Skin of a Lion

          Michael Ondaatje's In the Skin of a Lion, is a novel whose main landscape is Toronto in the 1920s and 1930s. This novel explores the culture of the many hard working tunnellers, bridge builders and immigrants who worked day and night, in dangerous conditions to build the marvelous city. "All people are born in isolation and gradually become integrated into a greater society comprised of dominant and marginalised groups. How well integrated you become is a determining factor of your status in that society"(Nebo Literature). Ondaatje emphasizes immigration and the continual struggle for an acceptable division of power. The novel allows the voice of previously "marginalized perspectives" to be heard(Gamlin, 2012). I have learned throughout this novel that these hard working immigrants have not been treated fairly and had not received the appropriate thanks for their hard labour. I have also noted, that the male gender were the rich, and the hard working labourers, while the women were nuns or seemingly fragile and unable to sustain life on their own without a man to provide. This culture had an affect on the main character, Patrick Lewis, it made him want to scowl those who had been in power, and had not rightfully recognized the efforts of the immigrants. Patrick Lewis was a lost soul and a searcher on a constant journey throughout this novel. Michael Ondaatje created a voice for those unheard and unappreciated, through Patrick Lewis.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Mystery Skype; Manitoulin Island

          After participating in a Mystery Skype with an English Class from another part of Canada, we soon discovered their location which was, Manitoulin Island. We learned a lot about First Nations People, how they live, where they live, what they do and which Stereotypes were untrue. Both English classes watched the First Nations documentary, 8th Fire, which illustrated the First Nations culture. The Class we skyped with informed us that the documentary made them feel upset because of how their culture was portrayed. They explained how Natives on the reserve don't face these stereotypes but Natives that don't live on the reserve always have to deal with stereotypes. We learned they do practice their culture by: attending ceremonies, rain dances, powwows and smudges-which is a cleanse of the soul, mind and body with traditional medicines that they burn. They explained how their quality of education was very good, they have similar opportunities that we do: clubs, sports teams, field trips, dance classes etc. Another interesting comment from them, was that they would rather live on the reserve than live in an Urban setting because it is easier, quieter, they feel as though they are not judged and are not stared at as often and there aren't as many rules: they are allowed to drive quads around the reserve, do what they want on their own land, allowed to have passengers in the back of their pickup, etc. They have a happier life on the reserve when compared to people in the city. Personally, I enjoyed the Mystery Skype because it was an eye-opener, it taught us what was true, what was not and the differences between our cultures. I think the next Skype should be more prepared, everyone should be able to be in the Webcams view and we should try to be more organized to prevent any interruption of others. All in all, I liked the Mystery Skype experience and I am excited to be apart of the next one.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Twerk or Selfie?

         When Mrs. Le asked us, "Twerk or Selfie, which word do you think is the word of the year?" we all assumed "Twerk" would have been the chosen word. We assumed "Twerk" most likely because of the rise in popularity of "Twerking" - dancing in a sexual manner, on social media such as; Vine, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube, the majority of "Twerkers" were in the teen-aged generation. Surprisingly "Selfie" was the official word of the year chosen by Oxford Dictionaries. Both words have "gained momentum throughout the English-speaking world in 2013..." But "Selfie" - a self portrait usually on a smartphone or webcam - was selected word of the year on Tuesday by the Oxford Dictionaries, based on a 17,000 percent rise in its usage from a year ago (Reuters, 2013). "Selfie" beat a number of other buzzwords of 2013, including "twerk" referring to dancing in a sexual manner which was popularized by singer Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards last August (Reuters, 2013). As I am reading articles based on the chosen "Word of the Year," I've come across some words that are spinoffs of "Selfie" such as; "helfie" for a picture taken of someone's own hair, "belfie" for taking a picture of your own posterior and "drelfie" for a self portrait while in a drunken state (Reuters, 2013). These spinoff words seem rather ridiculous to me and makes me wonder who came up with them, why did "Selfie" and "Twerk"  stick in our generation and make sense to us...and what's next? Which word will be next in the English Language and make sense to us, but seem weird to someone outside of our generation? 

Monday, November 11, 2013

In the Skin of a Lion- Michael Ondaajte

            Michael Ondaatje, born September 12th, 1943, is a very successful novelist and poet who has been awarded prizes and acknowledgement for his many accomplishments. His novel, In the Skin of a Lion, is "a rare and exotic novel whose main landscape is Toronto in the 1920s and 1930s. Multi-textured and intricately woven, the novel blends real and invented histories with a moving love story...reflective and tender [the writing] leads us at once into the harsh world of labour..."(Ondaatje). Michael Ondaatje is a credible author of this novel. His novel was inspired by his own past as a Canadian immigrant. Born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, he then moved to England in 1954. After relocating to Canada in 1962, he became a Canadian citizen and moved to Toronto. The real strength of this novel lies in the way it decentres ‘official history’, giving voice to the unheard (Writing bar, 2011). The hard working efforts from the immigrant tunnellers and bridge builders were not given the proper acknowledgement or appreciation in Toronto's history. This unfortunate event adds to the novel by thoroughly emphasizing the hard work from many immigrants, and how influential one person can be when reconstructing history (Writing bar, 2011).

Thursday, October 24, 2013

GTAV, Men just as offended as women?

    I'm not the type to play video games nor be attracted to the newest game trends, for example, the most recent game, GTAV, "a sensational video game and a marvellous feat of technical engineering" (Hoggins, 2013). But this game in particular is has had a lot of people discussing its ways of degrading women. Since I am female and the majority of females are uncomfortable or unimpressed with the way the women in the game are portrayed, personally I think the men are portrayed just as badly. Men should be just as offended as women. "Women in the game are either bit-part players or set dressing: strippers to throw money at, prostitutes to pick up...There are three lead characters that players can control in the game: all male. The women characters are often leered at or cast as nags. One of the player characters daughters has “skank” tattooed across her back, one mission has you chaperoning a paparazzo as he tries to photograph an aging actress’s “low-hanging muff” (Hoggins, 2013). Nearly all the characters are being portrayed as awful people, "women are shallow and sidelined, and the men front-and-centre are heartless, psychotic, money-obsessed, philandering bastards" (Hoggins, 2013). Not only are the men in this game portrayed this way, but some men in real life have gotten so caught up in this virtual lifestyle that they act out in similar mannerisms. GameSpot’s Carolyn Petit called Grand Theft Auto V “politically muddled and profoundly misogynistic," and in return a male responder said, "no point in giving GTA to a woman to review. Their input is worthless" (Hoggins, 2013). It's a shame women are being treated this way and even more outrageous that men can't see how awful they're being made out to be. Games of this genre add to the distrust of some men, and why many women view men as players, and cold-hearted people who are blinded by the amount of money they have or want. In conclusion, I feel as though men should be just as offended as women when being rudely or incorrectly displayed in any and all content.