The End…A Farewell

December 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hello all,

It has been wonderful being in a class with all of you. I had a great time and it was easily one of my favorite classes, in no small part due to the our awesome class. I doubt many of you will read this – what with the class being over and second semester seniors to boot – but I wanted to thank all of you for such a great semester. Especially Carla, since it’s not often that I get watch The Lion King and call it research =D


Have a great 5 days and 2011 everyone!

-Matthew Roy, “sǝɹıɟ & sɹıɟ”




Developing a Story from a Previous Plot Line-101

October 12, 2010 § 3 Comments

If you ever find yourself stuck with a scene or a piece of writing, try this exercise (it gets the creative juices flowing):

First, take a piece of a story or a scene you like. For this example, we took a scene from the call of the wild, specifically the betting scene with Buck and Thornton:

Gee!” Thornton’s voice rang out, sharp in the tense silence.

Buck swung to the right, ending the movement in a plunge that took up the slack and with a sudden jerk arrested his one hundred and fifty pounds. The load quivered, and from under the runners arose a crisp crackling.

Haw!” Thornton commanded.

Buck duplicated the maneuver, this time to the left. The crackling turned into a snapping, the sled pivoting and the runners slipping and grating several inches to the side. The sled was broken out. Men were holding their breaths, intensely unconscious of the fact.

“Now, MUSH!”

Thornton’s command cracked out like a pistol shot. Buck threw himself forward, tightening the traces with a jarring lunge. His whole body was gathered compactly together in the tremendous effort, the muscles writhing and knotting like live things under the silky fur. His great chest was low to the ground, his head forward and down, while his feet were flying like mad, the claws scarring the hard-packed snow in parallel grooves. The sled swayed and trembled, half-started forward. One of his feet slipped, and one man groaned aloud. The sled lurched ahead in what appeared a rapid succession of jerks, though it never really came to a dead stop again . . . half an inch . . . an inch . . . two inches . . . The jerks perceptibly diminished; as the sled gained momentum, he caught them up, till it was moving steadily along.

Now, after choosing your passage, start to rewrite your passage with the main character as something else, for example if your character is a dog, rewrite it with the dog being a human, specifically a man, as done here:

Buck struggled forward, pulling on the rope with all his might. Bracing his feet firmly, he dug in, and the muscles on his biceps bulged outward, as he threw his full force and determination into pulling the sled. « Read the rest of this entry »

Turning Points

October 11, 2010 § 7 Comments

There are many turning points in people’s lives.  These are points where you take a step back and reassess the situation and decide how you want to live the rest of your life.  But which turning point counts as “coming of age”?  Each change feels as if you are coming of age, but I have come to believe you only come of age once despite undergoing multiple changes in the process.   Coming of age entails when you finally know who you are and how you want to act and be.  In real life, almost no one ever comes of age, but in literature and movies….well that’s a whole other story. « Read the rest of this entry »

Circle of Life

October 11, 2010 § 5 Comments

Bambi, The Lion King and Call of the Wild share many similarities. In each story there is a strong natural order and a social hierarchy in which one species dominates over another. Each protagonist also has a destiny to fulfill and inner strength that must be recognized. In Bambi, the title character had to mature in order to fill his father’s shoes as Great Prince of the forrest, Simba had to take charge and bring order back to his kingdom, and Buck must recognize the beast within. Another similarities between the three stories was the fact that all of the title characters underwent a transformation and came of age. For me the most striking similarity was a theme of respecting nature and its creatures.

Both of my parents are strict vegetarians. Despite my mother’s own refusal to eat meat she always left the decision up to me. I have never had meat in my life, not one bite (except that one time with my nanny at the grocery store but I spit it out) but my mom actually encouraged it. I of course couldn’t bear the thought of eating a dead animal and I think that these three stories actually led me to remain a vegetarian.

In Bambi, cute, lovable animals are destroyed for sport. As a little girl Bambi made me feverntly opposed to hunting and taught me to respect the natural world.

The Lion King also has some serious animal rights themes. The Lion King reinforced the respect for nature that Bambi introduced me to. It reminded me that just because you are “superior” to something does not mean that you should disrespect it just because you can. All links of the food chain are to be respected as they are all crucial aspects of the circle of life. It’s interesting that Simba ends up living off of bugs. All animals in The Lion King are personified but since the bugs weren’t it’s almost like Simba was living a off of a vegetarian diet.

In Call of the Wild, Buck is tormented by man. The first time I read Call of the Wild I became obsessed with dogs. I would wear those really ugly dog shirts with no intention of being ironic  and volunteered at animal shelters with my friend. I would never eat a dog and knew that I could never eat a pig either.

Bambi, Call of the Wild, and The Lion King are kind of like PETA’s wet dream.  Man is a source of corruption and a force of evil that exploits and abuses the natural world. Each story personified animals in such a way that they were more than cute they were human. These stories led me to respect nature and teach all children to do the same. 

Humans are Unnatural

October 10, 2010 § 6 Comments

Whether or not a human can be considered an animal is a questions long pondered by those philosophical enough to take the time.

Is a Human a type of animal?  It yes than what makes us different, why are we so… separate?  if not than what are we, our own group?

Many movies, and books hugely personify animals, supporting the idea that we are, indeed, one of them.  The Call of the Wild, by Jack London, for example, gives us an image of dogs as intensely intellectual beings.  They have their rules and laws that, often times, mirror those « Read the rest of this entry »

The Struggle to Survive

October 10, 2010 § 3 Comments

The Call of the Wild by Jack London is the story of Buck’s transformation from a lifestyle without competition to one that depends on his constant competition with his surroundings in order to survive. His lackadaisical attitude that guided his relaxed life in the beginning of the story is quickly shocked when he is relocated and has to learn to survive in the wild. His innate competitiveness is brought out by the literal “dog eat dog world” and  his character is transformed by his environment.

Obviously this reaction to the shell shock of a hostile, new, and difficult to survive in environment would bring out this innate nature in anyone. As Darwin so eloquently named it, the survival of the fittest, is the evolutionary law that rules our natural world and therefore is inherent in all of us. I think it was very interesting to use a dog in London’s telling of this journey because it shows the simplified traits that are buried deep within each and every one of us.

Throughout the story Buck is attributed many human-like characteristics and I think this is to show that in every one of us we have a similar way of responding to dire circumstances. When I read The Call of the Wild, I couldn’t help but picture my two dogs, the most pampered animals I know, attempting to survive in the wilderness. It was certainly hard trying to picture them fend for themselves, but ultimately I know that they would manage. Even in our everyday lives, like when I walk them for instance, a little bit of that innate competition comes out. Miles, my Labradoodle, has to be first no matter what. Both he and Saatchi spend the entire walk trying to “out walk” the other. Or when I feed them leftovers (usually their favorite is scrambled eggs) they always try to push each other out of the way to get the food first. These small instances reveal the selfishness that we are all born with – animals or human.

Can you Convince Others?

October 10, 2010 § 2 Comments

It is said that writing is thinking; that the act of convincing someone of your point allows you to find the point yourself. To be honest I am hoping that, as I collect my thoughts on the screen we can both come to understand them.

The ability to get ideas and thoughts across to people is one that develops as we grow older.  As we age our thoughts, our voice, and our ability to convince others of them, change. « Read the rest of this entry »

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