Wednesday, May 28, 2008

light at the end of the tunnel

There is less than 11 full days when I have to be in class. We are so close to the end of the year, but I feel like I have more work than ever. I have final projects in AP Euro, Spanish, and of course English. I have a pretty solid idea what I am going to do for my presentation. To start, I am going to summarize my paper and go over my thesis. My thesis is that fairy tales are applicable to todays time. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Next, I am definitely going with the idea I posted in my last blog about modernizing fairy tale characters. I am going to make worksheets with a picture of the fairy tale character and small summary of their characteristics in case someone is not familiar with them. Then after about five minutes within the group, I will rejoin the class and go around and discuss what they came up with. That should take around 7 minutes of the presentation time. Then I will link that to what I did for my project, I modernized The Ugly Duckling. Depending how much I have done on my project, will be how much I am actually going to be able to present about my project. That should fill up the remaining time.

Progress on my project is going slow. I am writing my fairy tale called The Ugly Dancer, a modernized tale of Hans Christian Anderson's The Ugly Duckling. I have a detailed outline of my story, so I know exactly where I am going with it. I have three pages fully written so far. I am hoping to finish up writing my story by this weekend. Then over the weekend I am going to take pictures for my story. Then, hopefully by next week I will put everything together. After that I will be done with high school English forever.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

part 2- project/presentation

Now that I am finished with my research paper, it is time to move on to the project and presentation. For my presentation, I came up with a good idea for the class activity. Since my research paper was on how fairy tales can be modern I am going to break the class up into groups. Each group will receive a fairy tale character, that I'm assuming everyone will know, and they will have to modernize them. The list so far includes Cinderella, Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling, and The Emperor (from The Emperor's New Clothes).
As for my project, I haven't decide yet if I am going to make my own modern fairy tale or modernize an existing fairy tale. Right now, I am leaning towards modernizing an existing fairy tale, because this project is going to take a lot of time, and if there is already a plot, it will make things a little easier. The stories that I may modernize are Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling or The Brothers Grimm's Rapunzel. I am going to illustrate the book with my own photos. This week I will be focusing on writing my book. I am going to create a storyboard, so when I have the opportunity (and the people willing to pose for the pictures) I know exactly what I am going to take pictures of. While I am writing my story, I will need to keep a list of props, clothing, and places to go along with my story, so that I am ready. Hopefully I will have enough of my story down to begin to take some pictures over the long weekend.

Monday, May 12, 2008

almost there!

Today I realized that I will be missing school at least one day every week for the rest of the school year! I'm not sure if I want time to slow down or speed up. I want it to hurry up and be summer, but I am not looking forward to leaving all my friends in a little more than three months. With all these distractions it's important that I get my work done as efficiently as possible so I can enjoy this last month of high school.

Last week I read a lot more fairy tales and began writing my paper. I have an opening paragraph and a bulk of my research done. My thesis is that fairy tales are not just silly childish tales; they can apply to modern times and to adults as well. My three avenues will be analyzing the Brothers Grimm, Hans Anderson, and Aesop individually. I still need a transition at the end of the paragraph.
Here's my opening paragraph:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, the Ugly Duckling, and the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing are all familiar fairy tales told to us since childhood. They are often dismissed as childish and foolish tales. Maybe it is the talking animals or powerful wizards that turn people away, but the lessons and morals are far from childish. The lessons conveyed behind the fairy godmothers and magic spells are lessons to keep in mind even after adolescence. Fairy tales have stood the test of time thanks to three main storytellers Aesop, Brothers Grimm, and Hans Anderson. Each of these authors can be attributed with the success of timeless fairy tales.

It is crucial this week that I stay on schedule, if I fall behind, it is just going to snowball and leave me with a lot of work for Thursday night. So here is my plan for this week --
Tuesday - in class I plan to write my paragraph on Aesop. Then Tuesday night I am going to write my body paragraph on the Grimms.
Wednesday - I am going to write my final body paragraph on Hans Anderson. Wednesday night I am going to write my conclusion and finish my paper.
Thursday - I am going to a field trip to Chelsea Piers with photo, so I won't be in class. Thursday night I am going to put finishing touches on my paper so it will be ready to hand in on Friday.
Friday - paper due!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Little Tiny, Hans Clodhopper, and The Salad

Last week I read about 40 Aesop's Fables and two Grimm' Fairy Tales. The fables are very different from the fairy tales. They are very very short, most only one page. In the edition that I have, at the end of each tale is an application. The application is the moral of the story, making it very easy to understand. For my project, I probably won't write a fable, I'll stick to just fairy tales.

This week is going to be very busy with two A.P. tests coming up, so I am going to have to work very hard during class time. Tuesday I am going to devote to just Anderson's Fairy Tales. I am planning to read very familiar ones such as The Ugly Duckling, The Princess and the Pea, and The Emperor's New Clothes. Also, I am going to read some I've never heard of such as Little Tiny, The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf, Hans Clodhopper, and The Old Street Lamp. Wednesday I am going to read Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty), The Salad, The Pink, Cinderella, The Water of Life, Red Riding Hood, The Clever Gretel, Snow-White and Red-Rose, and Hansel and Gretel out of Grimms' Fairy Tales. Thursday is out wiki day and Friday is the day of my two A.P. tests, so I don't think Ill be in class. Over the weekend I am going to at least formulate my thesis, write my introduction, and maybe my first paragraph. Then next week, I am going to have to find research and finish up my paper.

I still have yet to come up with a good idea for my modern fairy tale, but I'll start worrying about that after the research paper.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Over break I did not do anything for English because I was in France having the BEST spring break ever!! But this week I plan to do a lot.
I changed my project slightly, and now I have a more focused idea. I am going to read Grimms Brother, Aesops Fabels, and Anderson fairy tales. My research paper will be answering the question of weather or not these fairy tales can be applied to modern times. Then my project will be to write my own fairy tale using the same styles as the three mentioned, but with a modernize twist. I will present it in a book form illustrated with my pictures that I will take. Right now I am going to focus on the research paper, but I'm worried for the book that I'm not going to come up with a good idea. So I will try to brainstorm a little bit on what my modern day fairy tale will be about.
This week I am planning to read at least 15 of Aesop's Fables and 3 or 4 Grimms Brother tales and annotate them. I will be keeping an eye out for how these stories can relate back to today's time. I'm sure the lessons behind them will be modern, but maybe the settings they are placed in will be a little outdated. I think this is a reasonable goal for this week. Maybe if I work well, I will read more in the books.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

fourth marking period and fairy tales

So for my final English project of high school, I am researching fairy tales. When trying to come up with a project, I knew I wanted to include two elements, photography and fiction. The topic of fiction is very general, so I did some research to see if I could narrow down my selection. So for preliminary research, just to get a general overview, I went to Wikipedia. The first image on the website was an illustration from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.So, I decided to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, but still hadn't narrowed what exactly I wanted to research. After discussing with several people, someone suggested studying fairy tales. Fairy tales may be aimed at a younger audience, but the morales are aimed at all of society. When I went home and discussed the topic with my mom and it turns out that we owned Aesop's Fables, Hans Christian Andersen's and Brothers Grimm fairy tales. So I'm not sure if I'm still going to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland because the other three books contain a large volume of these fairy tales.

^^Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm^^

Thursday, March 27, 2008

last blog (of the third marking period)

So I finished Like Water for Chocolate. I know I praised magical realism in my previous blog, but now I'm not so sure. It's nothing against the style, because I did enjoy that, but I guess it was the way Esquivel used it. The death of certain characters (I won't mention who in case you want to read it) were a little bit on the ridiculous side. However, other than that I really enjoyed this novel. The next book I am reading (after I complete a project for this one) is Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I wanted switch it up and read a novel by a male author, but due to the lack of time, I chose what looked like the shortest book. This book like In the Time of the Butterflies and Like Water for Chocolate is written by a female author. Herland takes feminism to an exteme. Instead of presenting feminism in a normal setting, Gilman creates a setting dominated by women where there are no wars (according to Wikipedia). However, I find a peaceful society with only women highly unlikely. When one first hears of the society full of women, they might think, there are no comparable example in today's society. However, look at reality t.v. shows such as America's Next Top Model.

There is more drama than you can ask for in a house full of females; these girls fight, yell, and scream with each other and they're just competing for a modeling job, I'm having a hard time imagining that there is peace when they are all trying to run a country. But I guess the point of the novel is to illustrate female-empowerment. And this I agree with. Women can do just as good as a job as any man. It shouldn't matter if someone is a man or woman, it should matter if they are qualified for the task at hand. I hope that Gilman can realistically explain how this society functions and I hope to see this sociey suceed.

**paris countdown-20 days**

Monday, March 17, 2008

"ghetto of magical realism"

The literary style of Like Water for Chocolate, magical realism, is one that we rarely encounter at Pascack Hills. The only other book that I can relate to is summer reading for freshman year english, which was Pete Hamill's Snow In August. I'll let do the summary. "In 1940s Brooklyn, friendship between an 11-year-old Irish Catholic boy and an elderly Jewish rabbi might seem as unlikely as, well, snow in August. But the relationship between young Michael Devlin and Rabbi Judah Hirsch is only one of the many miracles large and small contained in Pete Hamill's novel...Interlaced with Hamill's realistic descriptions of violence and fear are scenes of remarkable poignancy...(and) Michael's introduction into the mystical world of the Cabbala and the book's miraculous ending."

When reading criticism in The New York Times, I saw that many critics "in the United States...often consigned (this genre) to the "charming but aren't we moderns above it" ghetto of magical realism" (O'Neill 1993). I gathered from that statement that critics look down on this genre; as a result, many great books in this genre go unnoticed, which is why they get skipped over here at Pascack Hills too. However, I happen to like this style and would be interested in reading more; I think it is a breath of fresh air. The "magic" keeps the reading light, and gets the ideas, emotions, and feelings across more accurately. Wikipedia describes magical realism as "combining the external factors of human existence with the internal ones: it is a fusion between scientific physical reality and psychological human reality; it incorporates aspects of human existence such as thoughts, emotions, dreams, cultural mythologies and imagination. Through this amalgamation, magic realism can be more exact in depicting human reality." I agree with this, instead of having to infer the characters' feelings, they are played out in this mystical fashion that personifies their emotions very obviously.

In Like Water for Chocolate there are many examples of this already, even though I'm only half way through. When Tita, the main character, cooks for her family, she pours her emotions into the food and when anyone eats that meal, they are immediately overcome with whatever Tita's emotions were when she prepared the meal. When preparing wedding cake for her sister's wedding, she was extremely distraught and depressed because she was the one truly in love with her soon to be brother-in-law. Once the wedding guests ate the cake, they became violently ill, vomiting everywhere. Now, this obviously would not happen; just because the chef is depressed while making the food does not mean the consumers of the meal would be depressed, but it serves as a great metaphor of Tita's distress. Laura Esquivel cleverly and seemlessly weaves together the symbolisms of Tita's emotions into her greatest passion, cooking.

** Paris Countdown - 25 days! **
As spring break gets nearer, the more excited I get! I'm going to Paris with A.P. Studio Arts ( and the A.P. French class). I'm a little worried because I don't know any French, but I am very excited to go and take lots of pictures. I found this blog called Paris Daily Photo. The title is self-explanatory; everyday the author posts a picture of Paris. I keep checking back to get a little preview of what's to come.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I am a butterfly and you wouldn't let me die

"Las Mariposas" was the underground nickname of the Mirabal sisters during the revolution. Whether or not the codename was given by chance, it serves as an appropriate metaphor for the girls. The first thing I associate butterflies with is metamorphosis. Through the course of In the Time of the Butterflies we watch the girls blossom from little girls to leaders of an underground revolution. Each girl had their unique voyage and a turning point where they come to acknowledge their calling. Minerva changed the earliest of the girls, realizing she was unsatisfied with "El Jefe" while still in school. The others followed as Trujillo struck closer to home with every blow. The last of the girls to change was Dede. She did not realize her role in the revolution until, unfortunately, her sisters died. Then she realized she was to be their voice from the grave, the last of the beloved butterflies. Watching the girls grow made me really sympathize with them even more. They began as four normal young girls growing up in the Dominican Republic and transformed into much more.

The title of the post is from Something Corporate's Me and the Moon; you can see more of those lyrics on my song post.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Latin-American Women Writers

Latin-American female authors wrote both Like Water for Chocolate and In the Time of the Butterflies. “These writers are women and they concentrate on the experiences and relationships of women in Latin America, thereby providing a rich field in which to discuss the issues of gender, race, and class” says Myriam Yvonne Jehenson, author of Latin American Women Writers.
In the Time of the Butterflies is no exception; it provides many opportunities to discuss gender. The fight for women equality is a major theme in In the Time of the Butterflies as the Mirabal sisters fought against Trujillo. The Mirabal sister's biggest problem always seem to be men. Take a look at Kristen's blog titled Ugh, men. Kristen describes their rebellion; "The girls have defied the men around them left and right. Minerva, the spunky one, even took it to the level of slapping the blessed cheek of Trujillo when he made a pass at her on the dance floor". The girls are expected to act a certain way that the men dictate for them. After reading various summaries, this seems to be the case in my next book, Like Water for Chocolate. The main character, a female, is forbidden to marry because of society's expectations.

Another stereotypical view of women in Latin American, is that they are solely for household chores, such as caring for the children and cooking. From the title it's obvious that cooking is a major theme of Like Water for Chocolate. In Jehenson’s book about Latin-American female authors, she says “women are reappropriating household metaphors to revalorize them for serious critical purposes". She continues to name other works by influential writers, "Rosario Castellanos employs this technique in "Lección de cocina" ("Cooking Lesson") in Album de familia (1971; Family Album). An excellent collection of feminist writings bears the title El sartén por el mango: encuentro de escritoras latinoamericanas (1985; The Frying Pan by the Handle: Meeting of Latin-American Women Writers). Debra Castillo Talking Back: Toward a Latin-American Feminist Literary Criticism ( 1992) begins and ends with culinary and household metaphors. Cooking is the central trope of Laura Esquivel's best-selling book and even more successful movie, "Como agua para chocolate" ("Like Water For Chocolate").”
How will Esquivel make this cooking metaphor her own and how will it relate to the novel? I'll have to wait to find out as I start to read.

Laura Esquivel
author of Like Water for Chocolate

Julie Alvarez
author of In the Time of the Butterflies

Monday, March 3, 2008

banjos and books

This weekend (not counting Friday) was an amazing weekend. Saturday I went to School of Rock in South Hackensack to see the Higher

Seth of the Higher

and Sherwood together for the second time. The Higher was ten times better than when I saw them in July. They choose most of my favorite songs and also covered Low by FloRida and Bye Bye Bye by NSYNC. Then , to make the evening better, I found out while I was there that I’m getting a puppy! He's a Wheaton terrier and we're going to name him Bailey. I'm very excited.
Sunday, I went to Bowery Ballroom in the city to see Lauren’s cousins band The Postelles. Surpris
ingly, they were very good. We stayed to see another really good band, Illinois (picture below). And yeah, he really plays the banjo.

Unfortunately, now it's Monday and time for another week of school, which means another blog.

The next book I decided to read is Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. This will be the second book I’m reading, and it is also the second book I’m reading by a Latin-American female. So, I thought I’d do research a little more about Latin-American literature that might help my understanding of In the Time of the Butterflies and Like Water for Chocolate. That blog will come later this week.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In Time of the Butterflies soundtrack

Today we handed in the first project of four (maybe). I did the project to make your own unit plan. As a part of the unit plan, I was making creative group projects. One of the projects I came up with I think would actually be a good assignment. It was create a CD of 10-15 songs that relate to any element in In The Time of the Butterflies. So I came up with a list of songs where some of the lyrics of the song relate to the themes, characters, or events in the book. The list is in no particular order. If you read the book, let me know if you agree/disagree or have any suggestions of your own. My comments/explanation are in blue.

1) Me and the Moon- Something Corporate
"i am a butterfly, you wouldn't let me die"
-The Mirabal sisters’ nickname was “Las Mariposas” which means the butterflies in English. The people of Dominican Republic did not let the spirit of “Las Mariposas” die. Plus, this is one of my favorite songs.

2) Fully Alive- Flyleaf
"All my complaints shrink to nothing. I'm ashamed of all my somethings. She's glad for one day of comfort, only because she has suffered"
-This is how I felt a little while reading this book. When I saw how much the people of the Dominican Republic suffered during the Trujillo Era, it made my problems seem much smaller.

3) Are We the Waiting- Green Day
"Forget me nots and second thoughts live in isolation. Heads or tails and fairytales in my mind. Are we we are, are we we are the waiting unknown. The rage and love, the story of my life"
-This song describes the uncertainty that many of the revolutionaries felt. They were constantly living in fear of what Trujillo would do to them next if they were caught. I can't imagine living such an unpredictable life.

4) We Intertwined- The Hush Sound
"Innocence was the key I was locked up never free until you turned me"
-This line from the song describes how each of the girls found their calling to help end the terrible dictators reign. Each girl had a pivotal moment, "the key", where they realized they wanted to help end Trujillo's regime.

5) Mistakes We Knew We Were Making- Mae
"no insurance for the unthinkable, blindly get us through. we've been searching for a lifetime, short as it may seem. Riding on the fumes that spark us, while igniting dreams. Mistakes we knew we were making. "
-This is another song describing the uncertainty of the revolutionaries' future. The Mirabal sisters are all so young, but that did not stop them from fighting. They were aware of the potential risks they were taking against the dictator. I don't think I could ever do something like that.

6) You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us in Prison- My Chemical Romance
"They say, "Come with your arms raised high!" Well, they're never gonna get me, Like a bullet through a flock of doves...To wage this war against your faith in me"
-Three of the sisters and their husbands spent some time in jail. They, for the most part, kept their faith and continued the revolution as best they could in jail. Trujillo tried everything in his power to stop them, but he couldn’t. Even killing them, their spirit still lived on.

7) Sonny- New Found Glory
"When you lose a part of your self To somebody you know It takes a lot to let go Every breath that you remember Pictures fade away but memory is forever "
-this song represents all the people that died while fighting for their freedom. The memory of them kept the people going so their death wouldn’t be in vain.

8) Where Is the Love?- Black Eyed Peas
"But if you only have love for your own race then you only leave space to discriminate And to discriminate only generates hate And when you hate then you're bound to get irate, yeah Madness is what you demonstrate And that's exactly how anger works and operates Man, you gotta have love just to set it straight Take control of your mind and meditate "
-The connection is obvious with this song. Trujillo besides being a tyrant in his own country, slaughtered thousands of Haitians. He was selfish; he killed so many innocent people for his own benefit.

9) Hold On (The Piano Song) – The Starting Line
"Her mind steadfast through time, Her family stood by trying hard not to cry, With patience and virtue, kept strong through the night, oh. She never fell to her knees, her searching was over, over. "
-The Mirabal sisters and their husbands were all supportive of the revolution. They kept strong to support Minerva and the other two girls instead of running away. Minerva never fell to her knees, giving up and surrendering.

10) Believe- Yellowcard
" Think about the love inside the strength of heart. Think about the heroes saving life in the dark. Climbing higher through the fire, time was running out.Never knowing you weren't going to be coming down alive.But you still came back for me. You were strong and you believed. Everything is gonna be alright. Be strong. Believe. Think about the chance I never had to say. Thank you for giving up your life that day. Never fearing, only hearing voices calling out. Let it all go, the life that you know, just to bring it down alive. And you still came back for me. You were strong and you believed"
-This song captures the bravery of the people fighting against Trujillo. They fought against all odds for their freedom. They risked their lives so that their children and their country would not have to live in constant fear and panic.

11) Watch the Sky- Something Corporate
" And I will crawl, there's things that aren't worth giving up I know. But I won't let this get me I will fight. You live the life you're given with the storms outside. Some days all I do is watch the sky. "
-This is a very inspiring song. When lead singer of Something Corporate Andrew McMahon was diagnosed with Leukemia, the words "I will fight" were printed on bracelets sold to raise money for a Leukemia foundation. The Mirabal sisters also fought, even when it seemed like they were never going to win, they did not give up.

12) Do You Feel? – The Rocket Summer

These are the lyrics to Do You Feel? by the Rocket Summer. I feel that this song sums up the inspiring message behind In the Time in the Butterflies. These three girls saw an injustice and instead of letting it happen, they stood up and took matters into their own hands.

I'm thinking 'bout other things I heard about today
All this week and tomorrow
And how these hands can create some better things for bettering
but you see for now I got my own things
I can't help it
I got too many issues I own
So I cannot help I'm afraid, yeah
But keep on preaching, preaching and heal the world
Lip service makes us look great

Do you feel
The weight of the world singing sorrow
Or to you is it just not real
Cause you got your own things
Yeah we all have our things I guess

I guess my mind wanders off
from time to time
Sometimes I convince myself
that all is fine in the world
It's not mine
Why should I
have to try
to fix things I didn't create or contrive

Do you feel
The weight of the world singing sorrow
Or to you is it just not real
Cause you got your own things
Yeah we all have so many things

Have the habits
Had you
Has it been for long
Can you feel the souls behind what's going on

Do you feel
The weight of the world singing sorrow
Or to you is it just not real
Cause you got your own things
Yeah we all have our things

Do you feel
The weight of the world singing sorrow
Or to you is it just not real
Cause you got your own things
Cause we all have so many things
And I can get past these things

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

piermont pictures

This Saturday, I went to Piermont, NY to go take pictures with my mom's digital SLR.
I made a slideshow on Photobucket. I hope it works.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"'We live in a very crazy time, and the suggestion of violence could trigger an irrational act by an unbalanced individual"

The title of this blog was a quote, that I found ridiculous, from a mother regarding the banning of In the Time of the Butterflies in a Port Washington school.

While looking for a book review on the New York Times website, I found an article that I feel should be discussed.
School Board Questions Fitness of Book Because of Bomb Diagram
In the Time of the Butterflies
was in the center of a debate in Port Washington , New York in 2000. The Board of Ed wanted to ban the book because of a sketch in the book depicting the set-up of a homemade bomb. It surprised me that this debate took place in 2000, a pre-September 11th society. The board president says the book should not be part of the curriculum because "'Especially in today's climate, we have problems with a book that gives out instructions on how to build a bomb. I understand that it is a good book, but I don't think it's appropriate that we should be condoning a book that gives out these instructions so easily. We are not banning the book, but we're just not approving it for use in the curriculum.'' How could people who have never read the book judge weather or not the topics are appropriate? The superintendent of this school makes another absurd point on why this book should be banned "I also understand that the drawing is not really relevant to the story. It has come up for discussion that maybe the publisher would be willing to reprint the book without the diagram." Asking the publisher to change the book is like asking an artist to change his painting because it might "influence someone".
Thankfully not everyone in Port Washington is being so closed minded. One mother said "I'm disturbed by the picture, especially because of the violent world we live in, but I'd hate to see good literature sacrificed because of one picture...I don't think that any kid would be influenced enough by a drawing to make a bomb. A disturbed person who wants to make a bomb would somehow find out how to do it.'' I agree with her 100%. This is an important book about a subject many Americans are unfamiliar with. Also, by making such a big deal of the ONE page, students are just going to look for that page first because of all the controversy.
"Whatever the outcome to the debate, it seems to have helped sales of ''In the Time of the Butterflies.'' Mr. Sussman, the school board president, said that since the board sent the book back for re-evaluation, it has sold out at local bookstores."
Denying students this exposure to a different culture would be wrong.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

missing camera

I lost my camera.

Not only did I leave my camera on the bus, but inside of it was my memory card that held like 800 pictures. And to top it all off, it was in my Coach wallet which I used for a case.
So I'm looking to buy a new camera. I might buy the same one, but I'm not sure. Does anyone have suggestions?

Some of the last pictures taken with my camera

(my sister & I picked up my littlest sister from school for her birthday & surprised her with balloons! needless to say we were bored because we got there early)

I would post some more of my favorite pictures taken with my camera...but blogger takes forever and it's annoying

next English related post sometime this week

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

one book down...two to go

Minerva, Patria, and Mary Teresa Mirabal

I just finished In the Time of the Butterflies and I really enjoyed it. Julie Alvarez is a great writer who is able to bring the Mirabal sisters alive to the reader. The book takes place during Trujillo's rule of the Dominican Republic, a time of fear and oppression. It follows the four Mirabal sisters, known as Las Mariposas or "The Butterflies" They were "symbols of defiant hope in a country shadowed by dictatorship and despair. (who) sacrificed their safe and comfortable lives in the name of freedom" according to the back of the book. The story is an inspiring tale that covers their involvement in the revolution against their dictator from the beginning to the end, when three of the sisters are murdered under the command of Trujillo.
I enjoyed this book, so I requested two books of poems, Something to Declare and Homecoming, by Alvarez from the library. With these books, I hope to start #3 in section B for my project which is "Find and read a short story, poem, or other work from one of your authors. In 2 pages, compare and contrast some of the elements between the novel and the smaller work".
In Alvarez's postscript she credits three other authors who have also written about the Mirabal sisters or the "Mariposas". One of the works was a poem "Amén de Mariposas" by Pedro Mir. I tried to look it up, but I did not find any English translations; I only found a translation of the first verse here.

"Cuando supe que habían caido las tres hermanas Mirabal me dije:
la sociedad establecida ha muerto."

"When I found out that the three Mirabal sisters had fallen I said to myself:
our established society has died."

It is a long poem, and with my limited knowledge of Spanish I was disappointed that I could not read it. If you know Spanish, here is a link to the complete Spanish version. I'll keep my blog updated as I come across more information. Overall, I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

First three chapters

Today in class, I read the first three chapters of In the Time of the Butterflies. The first three chapters, each narrated by a different Mirabal sister, went by very quickly. It might seem because each chapter is written by a different sister in different situations, and sometimes not in chronological order, that it would be difficult to follow; this is certainly not the case. The different stories are flawlessly seemed together, creating, so far, a clear picture of all the Mirabal sisters. The movie takes a different approach and follows Minerva primarily as you can see in the trailer.

Most of the time, it's a chore to read books for class. However, In the Time of the Butterflies has been an exception so far. I'm anxious to read on, despite the fact that I already know what happens.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

first post!

Hi! This blog was set up for my english class. Mostly what I'm going to be writing about is what I'm currently reading and my reactions or anything else related. The first book I chose to read is In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez. Last year, we watched the movie in Spanish class and it was very interesting. I am very excited to read the story of the four Mirabal sisters. Hopefully, the novel will be as good as the movie! The picture I included is one I took in Ireland.