Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Why is Shakespeare necessary?

Recently we finished our final unit of ENG 3U on Shakespeare's Macbeth. This brought the question to my mind "why is Shakespeare necessary to learn in class and how will this impact me in the future?"

Personally I found this unit challenging and difficult to understand. Throughout my high school years I have never really enjoyed reading any of Shakespeare's plays. I feel they were a good resource for learning during their time period, but in today's society they are frustrating and don't have as much impact on students. The messages displayed in the plays are relevant but I think there are better ways to teach teenagers these values using more current examples. Macbeth was incredibly hard to translate and I don't feel it would make a difference in a student if they ever read this play.

However when we used twitter as a medium it helped make the learning less painful and keep students on task somewhat. But I still feel it is something all English classes could do without.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

ISU Check #2 Cultural Identifers

     My ISU novel Secret Daughter written by shilpi somaya gowda explores many different cultural identifiers. The most reoccurring ones include family, gender and codes, customs and rules.

     The author describes family in India as very important in order to live a good life. She uses the bonds between families to show that strong families can get through anything if they stick together. The American couple Kris and Somer and their daughter Asha go through some rough times throughout the novel,(example Asha leaves them, Somer and Kris separate) but in the end because they are a family and realize all they are ever going to have is each other they get though it. They discover the best way to mend broken hearts is to give each other time and space. Also when Asha goes to India she realizes just how large her fathers family is,she learns more about her heritage and begins to understand herself. She learns that even if there is no biological connection between her and her parents they will still do anything for her because they love her.

    The biggest cultural identifier in this novel is gender. Gender plays a huge role in India when it comes to birth rates. Since 1991 the united nations has reported that the birth rate for girls in India has declined steadily which causes an increasing gap between girls and boys. The increase of sex-selective abortions in India causes a struggle for women's rights. This happens every day in India and in this novel Kavita gives birth to 2 baby girls, which she is not allowed due to the fact her husband Jasu wants a boy. This forces Kavita to give up baby girl #2 to an orphanage so her husband cannot dispose of her like he did to her first born. Some baby girls aren't so fortunate and this novel does a great job of raising this world wide issue of Gendercide, so that everyone can be aware and put a stop to it.

    Another cultural identifier gowda uses is codes, customs and rules. She describes the poverty in India and how most people don't have a choice but to be poor because they are born into it. It is an awful vicious cycle that takes many generations of hard work to break out of. The strength of human spirit and courage is what it takes. In this novel it is Jasu and Kavita who break the cycle and get out of the slums with their son Vijay. It takes them many years but Jasu finally becomes a foreman in the factory and Kavita a servant. This helps them settle their debt and they are finally able to move into a clean apartment with their own bedroom.

    shilpi somaya gowda does an excellent job creating all of these cultural identifiers in one novel about cross-cultural marriage and adoption. She makes great points that informed me as the reader of the Indian Culture.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Mystery Skype

Yesterday in class we did a mystery Skype with some students from Wikwemikong, Manitoulin Island. This was a very cool experience, it was so interesting to learn about their lives and it gave me a new incite on First Nations people.

After learning they were from Manitoulin, most would think that life would be different for them then it is for us in Orangeville and in some ways it is. But for the most part they live the same lives we do and are interested in the same things we are. Like us many of the students enjoy sports like hockey, lacrosse and volleyball. I also found it interesting to hear some of their opinions on the documentary "The 8th Fire." Myself, I was actually unaware that there were so many different native stereotypes and after watching this documentary it is completely understandable why First Nations people feel isolated from society because of these false stereotypes.

This Skype made me realize just how unfair some first nations people are treated and how many of them are no different than us.

Monday, 11 November 2013

ISU Check #1

I am currently reading the novel Secret Daughter written by shilpi somaya gowda. This author was born and raised in Toronto, her parents however migrated there from Mumbai. She holds an MBA from Stanford University and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

shilpi somaya gowda was inspired to write Secret Daughter during a summer she spent working at an Indian orphanage in 1991 while she was in college. The novel was published in 2010, it uses two ideas as its starting points: infertility in North America and female gendercide in India. The Thakkars are an American mixed-race couple who adopt a girl in India, after her birth mother abandons her at an orphanage to save her from the fate of her first daughter. While the American mother, Somer, struggles with the insecurities that adoption brings to relationships, the Indian mother, Kavita, tries to find happiness as her family leaves their village for the slums of Mumbai. The story follows these families over a period of 20 years.

Due to her own personal experience with the culture and her background information I think she is a credible author for this novel.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Serial Dating For Free Meals

What's one of the worst dates you have ever had? Has it ever been with a girl who will use you to take her to an expensive restaurant and pay for it, but never talk to you again?

That is what is happening right now to many men in Toronto because a girl named Erin Wotherspoon. Recently I listened to an interview radio broadcast on kiss 92.5, it was about Erin Wotherspoon and how she is going on dates with random men to accomplish her goal of eating at all the fancy 5 star restaurants in Toronto for free.

Personally I think what she is doing is completely wrong, you should never use anyone to get a free meal. This girl seems to have a lack of ethics if she can go through with this without any hard feelings or a guilty conscience. Also I am very surprised that the men will pay for the entire bill because in today's society on dates more and more couples will split the bill. This occurs especially on the first date when you are still getting to know each other. It also gives women a sense of self respect to chip in on the bill. I feel if you didn't at least offer than the male will walk away feeling used. What this girl is doing could make women in the future seem selfish and start to earn a lack of respect from the male population. It will set back equal rights women have worked hard to achieve to overcome stereotypes.  Erin Wotherspoon has set a bad example for all women!

Here is a link to the broadcast: [ROZ & MOCHA INTERVIEW] Toronto Blogger is Serial Dating For Free Meals at 5 Star Restaurant