Monday, December 3, 2007

The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

When reading the “Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County”, I was fascinated by the different bets within the story and how they revealed the characteristics of Jim Smiley. From the time when Simon Wheeler tells the story of Jim Smiley till the end when the frog loses bets are being made that help identify Jim.

Jim Wheeler constantly makes bets, if there was a “horse race you‘d find him flush or you‘d find him busted at the end of it; if there was a dog fight, he‘d bet on it; if there was a chicken fight, he‘d bet on it; if there was a cat fight, he‘d bet on it” (526). This shows that not only was he a gambler, in sense, always playing the game of luck. Then, Jim is portrayed as a cruel man by make his dog fight even though he has no legs and in the end the dog couldn’t win and he gave Smiley a “look, as much as to say his heart was broke, and it was his fault, for putting up a dog that hadn‘t no hind legs for him to take holt of and then he limped off a piece laid down and died” (527). This shows that Jim is cruel because he tortured this dog and made him fight till death, knowing that the dog did not stand a chance due to it being handicapped. Finally, he is portrayed as a smart man when he figures out that his frog had been messed with in order for him to lose, he wondered to himself if there “ain‘t something wrong with him-he ‘pears to look might baggy…Why blame my cats if he don’t weigh five pounds! And turned him over and he belched out a double handful a shot” (528). This reveals that he is a man of wit because be figured out that he only lost the bet that his frog was could jump the longest because the stranger had messed with it.

These few examples given help identify what type of person Jim Wheeler is, which can be shown by his different types of bets that he makes.
“Outcasts Of Poker Flat”

When reading “Outcasts Of Poker Flat”, I was extremely intrigued by Bret Harte’s use of characterization. From the first paragraph to the last paragraph characterization is to show how there life style leads to there fate.

John Oakhurst has a gambler life style living life as a game, because he was too “much of a gambler not to accept Fate. With him life was at best an uncertain game, and he recognized the usual percentage in favor of the dealer” (537). Later in the story its revealed that whenever John was ahead he would cast in his checks and get out while he was ahead. This leads to his fate of him committing suicide, during a time of bad luck, because before it could be worse he cashed in his life. Another situation where a characters life style leads to there fate is Uncle Billy, who was a suspected sluice robber (536). This corrupt life style leads to him getting exiled from Poker Flat and latter getting stranded in the snow all because of his want for gold and robbing. Finally, Tom Simson and Piney life style of basing all choices of emotion causes them to run away, so they can be together. This decision to run away for love leads to them also being stranded in the snow.

Using the characterization of John Quaker, Uncle Billy, Tom Simson and Piney as examples, the fate of a character can be revealed based on there choice of life style.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

When I recently ask Mrs. Himes’ six period English class what the best color hair was, I was shocked by the results. The choices for the hair color are brown/black, blonde, red hair, and dirty blonde. The winner of the hair colors was Brown/Black, with the total of 8 votes, tied for second was Dirty Blonde and Red Hair, with 4 votes each, and last place was Blonde, with only 2 votes. When I saw the results I wondered why brown/black was the number one choice. I came to two conclusions, one of those conclusions was that it gave two options, black colored hair and brown colored hair. Secondly, I thought that most of the votes would be based on what color the hair the voter had, so in this case the majority of the voters either had black or brown hair. Then I wondered why blonde was last place? I decided that blonde could have gotten the least amount of votes because not to many people have completely blonde hair; many might have a mix, which is where the dirty blonde option came into play. The final conclusion from both the graph and the poll shows that brown/black hair had the most amount of votes and is the best hair color based on the opinions of Mrs. Himes’ six period English class.

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Romanticism Essay

Life is like a flower, it starts from a tiny bud and slowly starts to grow into something either beautiful or something that is bad. Along its course of life the bud grows, to do this it needs water, sun, and most importantly care, and eventually gets its petals. If not taken care of right the flower will eventually become unhealthy and die, but if taken with care the flower will flourish with beauty. The different stages of a flowers growth are crucial in defining what the flower will become, much like the human. Along the way there will be struggles, hardships, temptation, and in a flowers case pesticides, that will help determine the way of life. Both stories I have chosen demonstrate there different ways of life that can be found, one bad and one good. Trough the stories there are a lot of highs and lows along the journey but in the end they help determine the individual. In “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and “The Devil and Tom Walker”, both Harriet Stowe and Washington Irving demonstrate that every individual has a quest to define themselves and that there are different ways you can do that by either giving in and giving up or staying strong, through the use of characterization, setting, and symbolism.

Throughout both stories different characters have a huge impact on each other and the decisions they make for their way of living. Tom Walker in “The Devil and Tom Walker” after living the life style he promised the Devil he would thinks “with regret on the bargain he made with his black friend, and set his wits to cheat him out of the conditions” (Irving 243). This quote shows that Tom was impacted badly by the Devil, filling his life with great and making him live a life style that Tom wished he would not of, this shaping him into a individual filled with evilness. This quote also shows that Tom now has a bad way of life, which causes him to do wrong like cheat the black man out of what he is owed, by the Devils impact. In addition, in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” God Topsy, a slave girl who is deeply impacted by a white girl named Eva, who “did not become at once a saint; but the life and death of Eva did work a market change in her. The callous indifference was gone; there was now sensibility, hope, desire, and the striving for good” (Stowe 437). This quote shows that Eva had toughed Topsy and affected her attitude on life. This also shows that Topsy’s life had been changed, so Eva helped shaped Topsy on her journey of life. These two quotes help get across the point that the impact of individuals will help shape the character of a person, for better in Topsys situation and for worse in Tom Walkers.

While on the quest to individualism, people are not just impacted by people that are met along the way, but also the setting in which the person traveled travel. In the “Devil and Tom Walker” Tom takes a shortcut through the swamp that was full of “pits and quagmires, partly covered with weeds and mosses, where the green surface often betrayed the traveler into a gulf of black” (Irving 238). This shows that the setting of Toms’ journey was dark and unhealthy much like the characteristics of Tom. This also shows that because the setting was corrupted, Tom was corrupted by falling into the environment around him, which ultimately led to his decision to make a deal with the devil. In addition to the effects of the setting, Aunt Chloe in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” talks about how being sold to the South is the “last severity of punishment. The threat that terrifies more than whipping or torture of any kind is the threat of being sent down river” (Stowe 136-137). This quote shows that the south is a corrupted place that is well feared by all slaves and blacks. This also shows that all who live there are tempted by the evilness and abusing of slaves, which could be the reason Mr. Haley, a slave owner in the south, beats his slaves and makes them wear chains. Both of the quotes given represent how the setting had a huge effect on the individuals there, giving a corrupt set of mind due to a corrupt setting, eventually altering the type of person they are.

Along with the setting both Stowe use symbolism to represent things that hold a significant key in helping form the individual. For example, in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” Eliza, a slave, escapes and crosses the Ohio River with one “wild cry and flying leap, she vaulted sheer over the turbid current by the shore, onto the raft of ice beyond. It was a desperate leap-impossible to anything but madness and despair; and Haley, Sam, and Andy, instinctively cried out, and lifted up their hands, as she did it” (Stowe 86). This shows that Elisa, with some unexplainable force crossed the river, this symbolizes the desperate leap for freedom. This quote also shows that her leap had some impact on Haley, Sam, and Andy, because the all yelled out and through up their hand; also, later Andy was so touched by her desperate leap to freedom that he decides to be proud of his skin, which clearly shows the affect of Elisa’s leap on others around her. In addition, in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” the Cabin and Tom should be a reminder “of your freedom, every time you see Uncle Tom’s Cabin; and let it be a memorial to put you all in mind to follow in his steps, and be as honest and faithful and Christian as he was” (Stowe 624). This shows that the cabin stood for freedom and that Tom was a symbol for honest and was a true model figure. This also shows that Tom is a person that impacts everyone he meets allowing them to be honest and follow him, which is shown later when his idea of loyalty to his master no matter what keeps Cassy from poisoning there master Mr. Legree. Both quotes are symbolic for the way little things, whether a person or an action can stand out and impact someone and maybe alter there way of life.

Through the use of characterization, setting, and symbolism, both Harriet Stowe and Washington Irving demonstrate that every individual has a quest to define themselves and that there are different ways you can do that by either giving in and giving up or staying strong, in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and “The Devil and Tom Walker”. Both authors use characters to impact others in there story through the use of characterization. In “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” it’s a slave that finds a new look on life because of a white girl and in “The Devil and Tom Walker” its Toms evil life style due to the impact of the deal him and the devil made. Also, both authors use the setting to impact the characteristics of the people located in that setting. In “The Devil and Tom Walker”, Tom Walkers shortcut through the dark and terrible swamp cause him to do terrible things and Mr. Haley in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” is a mean and corrupted slave owner due to him living in the South, were all slave owners are corrupted and have no emotion for the slaves. Finally, Stowe uses symbolism to portray the fact that certain things people do can mean much more to different individuals and ultimately have an impact on what they become, whether it was a simple leap or a person. This relates to mankind because throughout life there will be different places (like homes and schools), people (like family members, friends, or even a stranger), and events (like 911 or death of loved ones) that will help build character and impact the way of life. So take this into consideration through everyday life and embrace what comes your way, for better or worse, because these will be what stands out and helps shape you into who you will become.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Effects of Equality in the Constitution

Thomas Jefferson, our nation's third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, states that there should be a "wall of separation between church and state", then August 23,1963, Marten Luther King Jr. gives his “I Have a Dream” speech, and finally Alice Paul who helped establish the first women's suffrage amendment was presented to Congress in 1878, all have one thing in common, they fought for equality in the Constitution. Between the years 1787 and 1920, starting with the First Amendment and ending with the Ninth Amendment, freedoms of race, religion, and gender came into act. Equality in the Constitution has shaped this country, making it a place of freedom, and effecting the everyday lives of those who live in it.

First, on December 15, 1791, the First Amendment was established allowing freedoms of religion, speech, press, petition, and assembly. This amendment allowed Americans to right to believe in whatever they wish to, worship different Gods, and also the option of going to church or not. Because of this, America is now home to several religions and churches, which is a major feature of this magnificent country. Then again on December 6, 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment was established, which abolition slavery in America. This amendment became a key point in equality, because it allowed freedoms to all races and nationalities. Thus, allowing Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics the ability to eat, live, play, go to school with each other, and most importantly to be joined as one. Finally, the Nineteenth Amendment is written in August 18, 1920, helping theWomen's sufferage cause and allowing freedom among the genders. This is a huge deal in America, because it help settle a balance between the power of women and men. Also, it lead to women being able to seek career opportunities and make a impact on the world, which initially gave America nurses, women teacher, women governors and hopefully someday the first women president.

In conclusion, Equality in the Constitution resulted in religious freedom and freedom of gender and race. These rights are Shown by the Amendments which help shape the world around us and allow America to become a great place of freedoms larger than any other country. Which leads to the everyday lifestyles in this country, without these there would be no more mix races in school, the right to believe in God or not, and the right for women and girls to get an education and pursue their dreams. Equality in the Constitution has indeed shaped this country.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007



Herman Melville created Bartleby to be a satire [which is a writing that ridicules or criticizes ideas, work ethics, and even individual] that criticizes the transcendentalist ways of life, which is shown by using a sympathetic tone throughout the story. Melville shows that Bartleby is a satire, by ridiculing the way the narrator runs his office. Right after Bartleby refuses to examine the paper, the narrator, instead of getting mad and laying down the rules just “Stood gazing at him awhile, as he went on with his own writing, and then seated himself at his desk. This is vary strange, he thought. What had one best do? But his business hurried him. He concluded to forget the matter for the present…” (12). Oliver, in the Second Look at “Bartleby” , shows that Melville makes a joke of the situation, because the narrator instead of being outraged by the usurpation, he instead is overwhelmed by the idea of how lonely Bartleby must be (69). Again Bartleby is shown as a satire, when Melville criticizes the idea of individualism and living a simplified life. Bartleby, who can be considered to be a transcendentalist due to his individualism, simplifies his life so much that he would “prefer not to dine would disagree with me; he is unused to dinners” (40). Oliver shows that Melville wrote this satire to make fun of transcendentalist life style of simplifying your life, by showing that one cannot afford such a lifeless lifestyle; that to do nothing and live within yourself is to not live at all (66). These two examples given show that Melville wrote Bartleby to make fun of the silly lifestyle of the transcendentalists and the simplified life of an individual, which makes Bartleby a satire.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Sadie Ries
Period 6


Death is such a strong word.
It’s a final solution,
The conclusion to our lives.
No one knows what it is like,
Although we have are own interpretations.
To me, death is the beginning.
A time to relive life,
As if never lived before.
With no recollection of the past.
When we die we will be taken
Before the death so there is no pain.
We will find ourselves
In a miraculous place.
A place full of radiance,
Love, peace, and comfort… Heaven.
All will shine with rays of light,
Rays that will dance around us
With such feelings not yet comprehendible.
We will look down on all those
With hope for the everlasting.
This place of beauty will go
On in time. Never once will
Those wish to go back
But rather gracious to be living,
Living in his home, his Castle.
The kingdom comes to hold
Those worthy of the King
All those are worthy for
The King.