Tess of the D’urbervilles Personal Response

After reading the book, Tess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, I was impress how he brings many feelings and emotions through the story. At first, I was so overwhelmed about the story as it projects the sad experiences that still exists in society towards women. I was scared to continue reading because true stories from young women being abused are heard everyday. It is not only the story that Hardy wrote but the way he writes to bring the story to life that makes an impact on readers.

I really like how Hardy makes the character of Tess. Most stories like this have characters that are superficial and a happy ending. However, Hardy goes deeper into characterization, we can relate his story as a tragedy and raises the question is Tess a tragic hero? Looking at characterization, the author conveys strong feelings through the characters, specially Tess, the main character. The author conveys guilt by the way Tess speaks and thinks. She is always thinking that she does wrong and doesn’t deserve good things in her life. By the way her parents, Angel and Alec talk to Tess it made me think about the responsibilities in the role of a wife, husband and the role of men and women in general. It made think that society assumes certain responsibilities just because of gender. Tess is the oldest of her siblings and a girl, she grows with the idea that she is responsible for providing to her family. In addition, Alec and Angel express the stereotype of a perfect wife. What is a perfect wife? Does society chose the image of a perfect wife? Why does the idea that the women has to take full responsibility keep passing from generation to generation? On the other hand, the circumstances of Tess’ life made me raise the question of what is to forgive? Angel and Tess confess their flaws, and Tess ends up marrying the man that raped her, Alec. Forgiveness can be seen in different points of views but in this story is going too far.

What I find the most impressive is that Hardy does a very good job expressing feelings of a young woman through Tess. I felt Tess like a real human that suffers, have hard times and it is not just a fairy tail love story with a villain. It made me identify with Tess in some things, the punishment and stereotypes of society just because experiencing something that a young woman can’t understand. This novel was published 1891 and it makes me think that there are still similar societal problems. Have women stereotypes changed over the time?

Things Fall Apart Personal Response

After reading Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, I really like how the author includes important topics in the story and not only colonialism. He includes the role of men and women in society, masculinity, folklores, cultures and their destruction.

In this book, there are a lot of references to the role of men and women in their society. It caught to my attention how the author refers to that topic by adding it to descriptions of their culture.  The author shows a gap between the role of men and the role of women. In the clans, men’s role is more important than women’s role, however, it shows contrast as the one in charge of the Oracle is a woman. It also shows contrast in the power of some goddesses. There are some expressions and cultural practices that show this gap. For example, the bride price for a man to show care for the bride, yams are for men to grow and the other crops are for women to grow, ceremonies being classified if it is for men or women by the way the crowd stood or sat, and crimes having two kinds, male and female, where female crimes are inadvertent.

The author includes masculinity as part of the characterization of Okonkwo, who is willing to be the ideal men in his clan. The author expresses this idea with Okonkwo’s thoughts in the story like, having the fear of failure and weakness, to show affection is a sign of weakness, a true man control his women and children. Including this idea in the story with the main character raises the question if Okonkwo is a tragic hero? Understanding the story, we can see that Okonkwo is one of the few who thinks that war, titles and strength are the most important. Although he is one of the strongest men in his clan, his ideas takes him to kill himself because no one thinks the same. Does this makes him a tragic hero?

I think that folklores in this story is very important as it creates a clearer understanding of their society and culture before colonialism. Folklores shows how colonialism affect the clan and their believes. This topic makes me raise the question; to what extent do folklores influence our actions?

Finally, I like how this book makes you reflect on the real meaning of globalization after all the colonialism around the world and the different ways it affected a lot of cultures.

Paper 1 Reflection

After looking at my Paper 1, what I did well was referencing to the text and the organization of some ideas.  I have learned how to developed more points on characterization; to use what the characters do, what the say, their feelings and other factors. I also learned how to make sentences more accurate to communicate my ideas. I need to improve my assertions so that they are stronger. I also need to make clearer analysis, descriptions, and be more specific.


“Writers & Company” Personal Response

Religion has always been a sensitive, dangerous and controversial topic. It is interesting that Rushdie talks about artistic freedom. Artists can express their cultural thoughts in multiple ways making it more difficult to be respected by everybody.

As people have the right to express, people have the right to defend. However, there has to be an ethical way of thinking. It caught my attention the way that Rushdie referred to the topic of  “The Satanic Verses” as if it was an insignificant topic. It is serious topic and it needs respect. I think that this is an extreme situation with the order of execution and him not leaving free.

I agree when Rushdie says that “…people say they are in favour of free expression but everybody should be careful not to upset people. Well, that means you are not in favour of free expression.”  People have different opinions, no one can ever agree to everything. Thats why there are intermediaries in everything; sports, politics, etc. People are capable enough that free expression is a human right. As well as we are capable to be respectful and ethic towards what we express.

Slaughterhouse-Five Personal Response

After reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, I understood the importance of narrative techniques. This book is confusing from beginning to end, however, the author makes a unique effect of bringing this confusion to think about different perspectives of life and society through the narrative technique. The narrative technique and the use of words raises questions about true opinions from society through characters and irrationality.

The author uses a narrative technique where there is not a normal chronology and there is not a normal relationship between the author and characters. The chronology represents all the events with sci-fi and characters with a sense of being unstuck in time. The relationship between the author and the characters raises questions of what a character really is and represents.

I think that having important true historic events brings a unique role for characters to represent true opinions of society with the author inside the story. Having stereotypes and sci-fi with no rational interpretation, raises questions about reality, if it makes it more realistic or distracts from reality. War is a sensitive topic as people are affected by it, bringing this topic with characters and sci-fi can give us an idea of how rationality affects our way of thinking and the different perspectives of what is important in society. Vonnegut brings the idea of true opinions of society that is controversial, accepting the things how they are or being able to change things in society.

Vonnegut also brings the idea of humans being machines through the ideas of Tralfamadorian and being unstuck in time. It explains how everything is determined and if something is different or unique, it must be removed. It raises questions about our real purpose in life and how society live to work or work to live. It made me realize how society has not changed, how it still divides society into enemies and stereotypes.

The narrative technique brings confusion into a deeper thought of the purpose of life and society around the world. Vonnegut bringing this narrative technique and register makes it more interesting to think about every detail and its true meaning with relation to  lifetime.


Response to Byerman

In Keith Bayerman’s essay, I noticed that there are a lot of points and ideas that the author wants to cover. The author talks about the term “womanist”, the assimilation with other authors, each character, healing and change, love and many more. I think that the author has good points. However, the organization and the very detailed explanation of the essay turns it more into a type of summary rather than an analysis.

The author wants to cover as much points and ideas as possible that he goes back and forth in the story. Which I think that for people who hasn’t read the story could be confusing. And for people that had read the book, a little confusing too. The author also assumes events in the story so that it supports his points better. For an analysis, it does not make a good analysis if events in the story are assumed.

With a very detailed explanation for each point, it creates more a summary than a analysis. It explains too much of the story. As a result, he jumps to each point with no transition between each point. And explains more the content of the story rather than analytical points of how it is written.

Orwell Personal Response

By reading Orwell’s essays, I learned more about him and his way of thinking. I noticed that he is a serious and honest writer with a passion for language. Orwell being a serious writer brings the focus on his surroundings by the way he writes about the disappointment for people and justice with personal experiences. He writes his personal experiences with honest opinions and thoughts, this helps the reader to understand the way he thinks and bring sympathy towards Orwell. I really liked how he describes his surroundings, “harshness of environment”, it conveys the reality of the world and the people which I think is a reason why Orwell is still an influential writer, because the world hasn’t change and the same issues which he mentions in his essays continues on. And with his honest opinions, it makes the essays to really get in readers’ mind with the freedom to share their opinions. By also writing his personal experiences, it brings the political side closer. In the other hand, his passion for language is another reason why his essays are very influential. He knows the real meaning of clear writing and using it as a powerful tool to bring the emotional, cultural and political side together.

By doing the DRJs, it helped me to see his passion for writing in a clearer way analyzing the words he use to create an image, sound effects, structure, diction and tone. It made me raised questions about his events that he writes in a very special way. Because he is a very good writer, I found it challenging to analyze his essays. Getting feedback on the DRJs, helped me to notice the more deep side of the meaning of the words he use.

Finally, I really like the way Wheatcroft describes Orwell. The phrases he chose to describe him, really match Orwell. He describes Orwell as “Unusually high moral sense and respect for justice and truth” and “His passion for liberty and intellectual honesty”. This phrases really brings Orwell’s personality to life and it can be seen in every essay. It makes me realize how strong his opinion is that it is still relevant to the world we live in today.

Year-End Reflection

What I will remember the most from DP1 English is that literature does not answer question, it raises questions. Also how to analyze readings and to pay attention to details in readings.

What I learned in DP1 English that I think will stick with me is how fun is to learn literature if you ask questions.  And to read more if I want to continue to improve my english.

The Awakening Personal Response

After reading “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin, it left me with doubts about Edna’s decision at the end of killing herself, whether it is right or wrong? The way it is written is in a very descriptive way to understand Edna’s feelings and the society she lives in. It was boring for me. However, the question that it raised, made me think about Edna at the end getting away wether it was right or wrong.

Edna did not want to face what people thoughts about her after everything that happened and what was about to happened. She kills herself and just thinking about her children. There is one side that we can see it as right as she is not happy in her life, she feels tied on something that she does not want to,

“She thought of Leonce and her children. They were a part in her life. But they need not have thought that they could possess her, body and soul” (p.137)

She was thinking of her family but she is not happy anymore, she feels obligated in something that she once felt comfortable in. In the book the author conveys different events that shows Edna trying to escape from her feelings form her life. Showing that not always mothers are comfortable with their lives. But can we justified what she did? She only thinks about her children as a way of justifying what she is doing as the right thing for her. However, if we think about the children, what is going to happen with them after knowing their mother is dead? There was another way to get out of her life like moving to somewhere else.

The author gives a drastic change at the end to convey a feminist point of view that started since the begginig with Edna’s character in their society. Being an independent woman who doesn’t like her life being “possessed” by Mr. Pontellier as in normal society. Killing herself because of society.

I did not like the book, the story was not interesting. However, the author does a good job in conveying the idea of infidelity and not make the story predictable in that idea as we are used to the consequences of it and giving it a different path with Edna’s character.

Pygmalion Personal Response

In the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw I noticed how the author makes Higgins an apathetic person showing how he refers to Eliza as if she is an object with no feelings, useful and something that they can make advantage of her.

During the play, we see how from Higgins and Eliza meeting each other along the street, to Higgins teaching Eliza to be a lady as she wanted to. However, their relationship is something peculiar as Higgins treats Eliza as an object. When Eliza was a flower lady, Higgins treated her with no respect for being from the lower class.   She arrived to his house to ask him for English classes, during this discussion, Higgins is prejudicing Eliza for being poor:

PICKERING: Does it occur to you, Higgins, that the girl has feelings?

HIGGINS (looking critically at her): Oh no, I dont think so. Not any feelings that we need bother about. Have you Eliza?


No matter that Eliza asked polite for classes, Higgins looked down at her not caring about her feelings.

Later on the book, after the argument between Higgins and Eliza because she feels invisible for Higgins and Pickering and they just care about their success and that the bet is over. Eliza leaves the house without telling Higgins and Pickering. They called the police not knowing she was with Mrs. Higgins. Higgins just wanted to find her because she is useful for his daily tasks. Higgins and Pickering went with Mrs. Higgins to talk about it:

PICKERING: The inspector made a lot of difficulties. I really think he suspected us of some improper purpose.

MRS HIGGINS: Well, of course he did. What right have you to go to the police and give the girl’s name as she were a thief, or a lost umbrella, or something? Really!


Eliza’s purpose for the argument was for Higgins to realize how he was hurting her feelings. Higgins thought of her as a selfish girl. And when she disappeared, Higgins just wanted her back because she is useful for his tasks. He was not even planning to apologize. The author shows in Mrs. Higgins’ reaction an affirmation of Higgins’ behavior towards Eliza.

Near the end of the play, Eliza tells Higgins that she could marry Freddy. But Higgins disagree about that:

HIGGINS: Can he make anything of you? Thats the point

LIZA: Perhaps I could make something of him. But I never thought of us making anything og one another; and you never think of anything else. I only want to be normal.


The author shows us that Eliza is reaffirming that he only takes advantage of people.  And she just wants to be an educated lady.

The different scenarios that the author makes creates the personality of Higgins. Showing us how apathetic he is by referring to Eliza as an object no matter her social status. I do not like the personality of Higgins because people need to learn to care about others’ feelings and to respect them. However, Higgins makes the play more interesting and it made me want to read more.

I really liked the “well-made play” in this play. It gives the play a twist. It also allows the reader to think about what could have happened before and after the time that the play is taking place. I liked how in a short play there can be lots of changes of circumstances.


A Doll’s House Personal Response

After reading “A Doll’s House” by Henrik Ibsen, made me doubt about, what is “love” in this play? We can see different relationships between characters that we can call the feeling that they are conveying “love”, like the love that Dr. Rank felt for Nora, the love between Krogstad and Kristine, the relationship between Anne-Marie and Nora and the love between Torvald and Nora. Love is a very complicated feeling that everyone can interpret different.

First of all, how do we know that the characters are conveying love? I notice that the diction and the context that the author is giving to each character are the elements that are giving us an answer. Like Dr. Rank with Nora, before Dr. Rank confessing his love to Nora, we can see that the author is giving us an image of Dr. Rank as not only an old friend of Torvald but also a person that really pays attention to Nora. The way that he refers to Nora we can see that he is someone that truly listens to her, enjoys her presence, wants to know what she really thinks and he appreciates her. In comparison to the relationship of Nora with Krogstad, Krogstad only sees Nora as a housewife and the way he refers to her, we can see that he just sees Nora as an opportunity for him to get his job back. In the other hand, we can see that Krogstad and Kristine have an honest relationship that no matter that they haven’t seen each other for a long time, they both share their feelings and care about each other. With Anne-Marie and Nora is more about how Anne-Marie talks to Nora and their relationship more like a mother daughter relationship, “Little Nora, poor thing, didn’t have any other mother but me”- Anne-Marie. We can see that Anne-Marie really cares about Nora as if she was her daughter.

We can say that “love”  is a feeling of appreciation, interest and caring for someone no matter their differences bringing an honest relationship. In the case of  the “love” between Torvald and Nora, at the beginning of the play, the author presents their relationship as a happy couple that has everything and nothing to worry about. However, we start to see details of how they interact with each other, how Torvald refers to Nora, “my little squirrel”, “my skylark”, in a way that the author is giving a context as if he owns her. And Nora trying to do everything for Torvald so that he is happy without Torvald caring about her. Then we can see that Nora is scared to share thoughts with Torvald. Before Nora confessing that she doesn’t love Torvald anymore, we can compare the other relationships with Nora and Torvald and identify that what they have is not love, they don’t share a connection. Nora grew up with the idea of loving but she never felt love. So she thought that what she felt with Torvald was the same feeling of “love” as her relationship with her dad and then realizing it is not love. And Torvald was in love of  the idea that she did what he said, to control her and he was being selfish. We can now see that since the beginning, their relationship doesn’t define how the author represents love.

The Merchant of Venice

After reading The Merchant of Venice, I came to the understanding that reading the play creates unique imagery and allowed me to have a more personalized interpretation of the play. Whereas while watching the play, my interpretation was not something I could still picture because the play in the movie is interpreted in a specific way created by the director. We were watching how it is already interpreted.  When watching the play in class, the tone and rhythm behind each speech were different in a way. This is because of the fact that the reader is not in control of the tone, rhythm, and imagery any more. The idea of the play has already been conveyed by the director. This meant that watching the play conveyed a stronger feeling than reading it. While reading, I felt I was prioritizing the understanding of every speech because of the different English, while watching it, the main aspect it brought to my attention was the feeling that it was convening in each scene seeing that the acting makes it easier to understand. We can see this when Portia and Nerissa cross-dressed as men.

When I was reading it, I was focusing more on understanding the context and the agreement they were proposing to Shylock and Antonio. However, when we watched it, I could see the whole scene, getting the full idea making me feel interested in what was happening. Watching the play helped me to fully understand, but I also liked reading the play because the language is interesting and I was able to analyze it.

I enjoyed the language as it not only effectively conveys, but also enhances the message behind it. I found the language challenging, as it was really hard to understand Elizabethan English. However, the way it was implemented made it more captivating as a reader.


Selected Poems by Langston Hughes

After reading the Selected Poems by Langston Hughes, the author made me look at how he is teaching about the racial segregation of black people that was happening in his time in America by raising his voice through poetry. It is important to know historical background as their meanings are specific and it has identification with history and the struggle of discrimination in those days. His poems are free verse that uses an informal speech that Langston Hughes combined, the language of jazz and the language that black people used at that time to clearly convey a message that evokes a feeling. He creates the feeling of empathy by using certain words that describe things that everyone has had like a mother, difficult times, a dream, the excitement of been a child in a candy store, etc. He also uses the word “I” and gives a different meaning to oneself like Whitman. Langston Hughes uses the word “I” to refer to the whole black community including himself.

I identified three main points that Langston Hughes uses, dreams, hope, and being fed up, not only to make clearer their suffering, but also to tell us about freedom. First, with dreams, dreams that are difficult to fulfill because of racism been an obstacle and dreams been deferred. He communicates the stereotypes of black people from the side of white people and compares it with how the life of black people really was, the injustice and their life being hard because they can’t get what they want, making them forget their dreams. Second, hope, giving positive messages to unite black people and to appreciate black people. Telling them that their dreams can come true, they need to stay together, hold on as there is always something good and it can be possible despite the suffering. However, as the poems explain their suffering, dreams and give people hope, there is a point where Langston Hughes shows his feeling of being fed up. Not only communicating to stay together, but also to speak up and end the suffering because what was happening was wrong. He shows how people were tired, sad and hopeless. To stop letting white people to oppress them and to really show what was happening. The three main points shows that the suffering passes through generations and he makes clear the word “freedom”. When he refers to the word freedom, he is not referring only to give freedom to black people but also, he expresses that freedom is for everybody, expanding to more societies and how it is what it will save us all.

Candide Personal Response

What I like from Candide was how many events happened spontaneously and takes you to different places in each chapter, even if the chapter is one page, it surprises you with things that happen as the characters go through. This makes the events of the story unexpected. I also learned  from the real life events from a perspective from someone who lived around the years of the events. The use of words were not formal, it was easy to understand.

What I did not like is that there are so many events that it skips some transitions between events. I would like it to have more content between transitions, so it gives us more information about the real-life events. The way the satire uses humor with racist comments and prejudices weren’t good.

In Candide’s final conclusion, “we must cultivate our garden”, the word “cultivate”, in this case is a big word, it conveys that is a way to mature and grow, no matter what they lived, the tragedies they lived, they can take it as knowledge they learned about the world and leave it behind so that they can continue and find something that doesn’t make them miserable. It also tells us that they are not focusing on someone else, they are focusing on themselves, however, it is not clear if the garden is a literal meaning or a deeper meaning.

Response to “The Odyssey”

What I enjoyed the most about The Odyssey was how the author is presenting the story because it makes it more interesting. Starting with Telemakhos searching for his dad with characters along the path who tells him what they know about his father, Odysseus. This made me be intrigue of what is going to happen as there are clues and Odysseus comes up later instead of starting with the main character narrating the story. Adding up with Athena being involved in the events, this creates the connexion between the gods and Odysseus’ story. Following with Odysseus narrating his story, this immersed me into the storyline. Finally, Odysseus getting in Ithaka and the author making pauses with stories from the past and conversations between the characters, had me wanting to end the book and compelled to keep reading.

What I enjoyed the least about The Odyssey was the beginning and the introduction of characters because it got me confused. There are a lot of characters and family trees that are introduced, the storyline goes slowly at the beginning explaining what is happening and there are events that already happened before Odysseus went missing.

What surprised me the most is all the things that Odysseus needed to do and did so that he could come back home safe, from sailing home, to being in Ithaka and waiting the right moment to reveal himself to kill the suitors.

Pastiche on Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations”

Passage 1: Throughout the years I’ve been at this school, Brookes Westshore, is not my home; and my dad Miguel, living at home, and also my mom Adriana, were in Mexico are missed by me; and that Luisa, Rodrigo and Diego, my best friends back home, were also are missed by me; and that a combination of emotions comes and is intersected with home sickness, and the excitement to go home. That the light at the end of the tunnel, is the time when I get to go home; and that reason to be happy, when they receive me with a big hug, was the joy; and that cold feeling of sadness growing everyday, with that feeling of losing myself will come soon to an end.

Passage 2: A beautiful dancer, all in a beautiful costume, with great rhythm in her heart. A woman with no limits, and with grace in every step, and her hair moving around. A woman who had a big smile in her face, and showered with sparkles, and strehght to jump, turn, bend and stretch, with emotions flowing, and a message to transmit; who moved, and grooved, and danced, and who’s feet never stop as her mind was leting go all the feelings that cannot let her be herself.

Antigone Personal Response

Loyalty to the state vs. loyalty to family best describes Antigone.

As we know, Antigone is doing whatever it takes, no matter Creon’s law for her brother to receive a proper burial. The play clearly shows the two sides, the loyal to the state and the loyal to family.

The side of the loyal to the state is first shown when Creon declares that the body of Polynices should not be buried as he is a traitor of Thebes, Creon did not care that Polynices was the son of the king (Oedipus).  And no one standed against Creon, no one said nothing, the diction of the people of Thebes conveys that they were scared, like when the Sentry is talking to Creon about the body.  Then, they find out Antigone was the one who buried the body, Creon says to Antigone that she is the only one who thinks that the body should be buried, Antigone’s response to that is, “They see it just that way but defer to you and keep their tounges in leash” (page 84, line 570). This means that she knows people think like her but they prefer to not to say anything and to be loyal. Rumors of the people are mentioned but no one would do something about it.

The other side, the loyal to family is Antigone. She is disposed to die for her brother, she is not scared to confess that she buried the body and she argues about her point. Her priority is her family and she wants to end things how she thinks it is right no matter what.

Ismene is also evidence of the loyalty to the state vs. loyalty to family. When Antigone tells Ismene her plan, she is loyal and she is scared of Creon. But then, when Antigone is sentence to die, Ismene is also willing to die with her as she is loyal to her family.

In conlcusion, loyalty to the state vs. loyalty to family best describes the play Antigone as they can be clearly identified.

Oedipus the King Personal Response

The progression of ideas in this story is interesting because of the way the author organized and putted all the events together. The author joined the events by using lots of descriptive language so that the reader can clearly understand what is happening in the story and he also used the Chorus so that it is easier to understand the change of scenes.  It is easy to predict the end of this story, however, the author makes the story interesting by the different scenes, where lots of things are happening to Oedipus but in each scene, there is a different character who interferes with him and his life problems, which all of them are related to the prophecy. What it makes the story complex is that in every scene there is a deeper meaning that made me relate some events from the previous scenes, think about the character’s behaviour or think about what is going to happen next.

Turning Pages

Turning Pages made me think about how the written word can lead someone’s life as the person is growing and reading all kinds of books. Like Sonia Sotomayor who since she was little, books helped her in her life not only for learning new things, but also in making her fear of needles disappear, cope with sadness, and choose a career. This made me realize that you do not just learn with books, books can help you to make decisions of your life based on the knowledge you acquire and the interests that you discover by reading books. I noticed in the way it is written that the author wrote it in short paragraphs and added some analogies.