Sunday, November 16, 2014

Three Main Challenges

                In the novel Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, it was a challenge for me to keep track of the characters, keep track of past situations, and fully understand scenes. In every novel, there are at least fifteen characters whether or not they maintain a large role in any situation. Every character is important and contributes to the story, which is why it is important to keep track of each and every one of them. There are also multiple situations that occur and help explain why other situations occur. It is best to take notes of these events. Lastly, certain scenes may contain a large amount of vivid detail and vocabulary, which often requires the reader to reread the scenes. Rereading the scenes can help the reader understand each sentence and carefully piece the puzzle together. Nevertheless, there are multiple ways to help overcome these challenges.

                While reading a novel, it is common for readers to keep a character list alongside to be able to familiarize myself with every individual and how they were connected to the other characters in the novel. Characters with important positions and characters who are not even identified by a name should be kept on the character list. Memorizing names and who these characters are involved with can be quite a challenge. Many readers believe they can easily look back to past chapters or scenes to realize who certain characters are; however, for larger novels, it becomes harder to find specific pages that the characters were first mentioned in. After a few chapters, the reader is able to clearly identify the main characters that would be involved in the final situation. Learning these characters’ names and relationships with other character occurs much quicker with the accumulating character list.

                Throughout the novel, new relationships were being developed while old relationships were either sustained or forgotten. Due to the large amount of characters, keeping track of all the relationships between the town members was a bit of a challenge.  There were many families yet also many individuals without a family that were still involved. Small groups filled with their own personal issues had been involved with the main issue, and, in this case, was the vampires taking over the town. Townspeople were disappearing. Families were suffering from these disappearances. Family members were getting sick more often. People were not being seen as often as they were before. Keeping track of all these issues contributed to the main purpose, which was getting rid of the vampires that had taken over the entire town.

                The author also wrote scenes with a great deal of vocabulary to help support how to explain the individuals’ actions, emotions, and environments. A dictionary should be kept by the reader’s side to have quick and easy access. It is also recommended to reread certain scenes to fully understand what was going on and who was involved. Knowing the definition of each word in the sentence will help the reader to understand what the sentence is trying to prove or explain. There are moments where scenes are fast-forwarded and specific details had to be interpreted by what was given. Slowing down and mapping out what is occurring during the scene can help the reader a great deal to understand how it connects to the main idea. Other moments contained actions that involved information that had to be remembered from previous chapters, and this required me to look back to review. This proves that keeping track of characters, relationships, and situations is a large portion of reading the novel.

                Although it is a challenge to keep track of characters, to keep track of characters’ relationships, and to completely understand a scene and its vocabulary, there are many ways to help the reader understand these sections. A list of characters of the novel should be kept by the reader to be able to remember certain relationships throughout the rest of the chapters. The reader can also keep a list of main problems or issues that occur between each characters because these matters can help contribute to the main puzzle of the novel. A dictionary should be kept alongside the reader to make sure they can contribute to certain words that must be understood. Once vocabulary is recognized, the sentence or the large scene can be figured out and connected to the main issue of the novel. There are always ways to help the reader understand how to read every single type of novel.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

Chapters 1-3: Protagonist, POV, Setting, Symbol, Characters.

The setting of Chapters 1-3 take place in a small town named Jerusalem’s Lot during the summer of 1975. Chapter 1 is written in Benjamin Mears’s point of view. Chapter 2 is written in Susan Norton’s point of view. Chapter 3 is written in the town’s point of view. Benjamin Mears is the protagonist, which is the main character of the entire novel. When Benjamin Mears is first introduced in the novel, he is unsure of what he returned to Jerusalem’s Lot for. He questions himself, “What was he doing, coming back to a town where he had lived for four years as a boy, trying to recapture something that is irrevocably lost? What magic could he expect to recapture by walking roads that he had once walked as a boy and were probably asphalted and straightened and logged off and littered with tourist beer cans? The magic was gone, both black and white.” (Ch. 1, Scene 1) However, towards chapter 2, as Ben and Susan are speaking to one another, they Ben reveals that he has come back to write a novel based on the town and to conquer his fear of the Marsten House. A major symbol is the Marsten House. It symbolizes the town’s hidden secrets and fears.

In Chapter 3 of Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, Dud Rogers should be considered a horrible individual. Personally, I believe that no matter what, animals should be loved. However, Dud Rogers does not care for that thought because he continuously shoots rats for fun.

Dud Rogers considered the dump as “Disneyland and Shangri-La all rolled up into one” (Ch. 3, Scene 10). He liked to yell at the kids and watch them run off. He liked to pick up dump from the piles thinking they still had a purpose in life. He liked to save car parts from one end of the dump. He liked to set the dump on fire on Sunday and Wednesday mornings, and on Monday and Friday evenings. Nevertheless, the most gruesome thing is “(holding) his .22 target pistol loosely in his hand and waited for the rats to come out” (Ch. 3, Scene 10).

                Dud Rogers did many things including shooting innocent rats. He considered them as big and dirty. Dud Rogers absolutely loved to shoot them. Still, these rats cannot speak to human beings. Human beings are unable to communicate to these rats. Similar to dogs, cats, rabbits, lizards, and snakes, but these living beings are considered to be pets. Pets require training to understand what is right and what is wrong. Human beings when they are first born are not even able to determine which actions are approved of or not. These rats that Dud Rogers enjoyably shoots should be cared for. They attend the dump to search for food, water, and shelter they need to survive. They are not harming Dud Rogers in any way that should force him to harm them.

                No animal deserves to be shot for a careless reason such as an individual finding the task fun. Animals do what they need to do to survive. They do not understand that trespassing another individual’s property is unacceptable. Dud Rogers does not care for the rats he kills and their lives. I dislike any individual that harms animals for their own liking, and that includes Dud Rogers. Do these innocent living creatures really deserve to be shot for something they are unaware of as wrong?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Prayer, a Candle, and a Notebook

Growing Up Thematic:
“But Spanish has entered my brain, unlocking memories, making me take one of my trips backs to my childhood in New Jersey and our first year in this country.” (Pg. 21, Paragraph 1)
18c. Experiencing biculturalism, bilingualism
“Keeping track of my thoughts in a journal is a habit I acquired as a teenager experiencing the conflicts and loneliness of Puerto Rican immigrant life in the sixties.” (Pg. 21, Paragraph 2)
3. Family dynamics

“My father died with many things unspoken between us.” (Pg. 22, Paragraph 2)
15. Experiencing life-changing turning points

“I attended a school with he driven and overachieving offspring of Nazi camp survivors and also alongside the children of Irish and Italian immigrants.” (Pg. 24, Paragraph 2)
4. The need to belong: community/peer pressure to “fit in”

“In our apartment, especially during the hours that my father was not here, my mother followed certain rituals that got her through each day.” (Pg. 27, Paragraph 2)
8. Cultural and family customs and traditions

Memoir Questions

4A.         The chapter is mainly about Judith’s relationship with her parents, her parents’ relationship with one another, and their reason why they moved to New Jersey.

4B.          Judith did not have a close relationship with her father because of his strict requirements and expectations. Once he passes away, Judith clearly states that she was left with many things unsaid. Judith had a close relationship with her mother because her mother was always home and did not have many acquaintances or responsibilities to take care of. Judith’s parents often argued due to her father forcing her mother to move to and stay in New Jersey while her entire family is in Puerto Rico. Judith and her mother also had a challenging time to get comfortable in New Hersey because it did not consist of traditions they were used to following in Puerto Rico.

4C.          Judith’s relationship with her parents and her parents’ relationship with one another is very important to Judith because it contributes to who Judith will become and to the parent Judith will attempt to accomplish. “Twice a month I talk on the telephone with my mother, who lives in Puerto Rico. Today, after our usual exchange of news about people on the Island whom I barely remember and people in my life she has never met, I try to concentrate on writing in my notebook. But Spanish has entered my brain, unlocking memories, making me take on of my trips back to my childhood in New Jersey and our first years in this country. I get my notebook om my dresser and settle down on the couch next to my textbooks and papers, which represent my real life now as an English professor at a southern university” (pg.20, paragraph 2). Without Judith’s father’s determination to stay in New Jersey and keep his job to give his children the education they need to succeed, Judith would not have the place she lives now or her position as a professor. However, she still has the close support of her mother to stay close with her immediate family. “He (Judith’s father) was an intellectual who did not go to college, a dreamer without hope, an artist without a medium. So I went to college. I became a teacher and later a writer. I had to finish what he had never even begun at the time of his death” (pg.22, paragraph 2). Judith states that she accepted the education to continue the lives that her father was never given. She stayed in school to make sure all the hard work her parents had to endure was worth something more than just surviving a community.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

My Rosetta and The Woman Who Slept with One Eye Open

My Rosetta and The Woman Who Slept with One Eye Open by Judith Ortiz Cofer are considered to be very significant to me due to the lessons they consist of. My Rosetta taught the reader about allowing an individual to release from traditional restrictions and beliefs. The main character of the essay, Judith, was being raised in a Catholic family and taught in a Catholic school; however, a teacher in the school Judith attended was not as predictable as the other teachers were. This teacher, Sister Rosetta, pushed Judith to finally break out of her shell and be proud of what she believed in. This relates to my personal life because of my strict Catholic family; nonetheless, my parents have always restricted me from doing certain things such as encouraging factors that are not agreed with in traditional Catholic beliefs. The Woman Who Slept with One Eye Open initiates the possibility of an individual's motivation to lead them to success. Maria Sabida, considered to be the "smartest woman on the whole island", is the main character of a very popular Spanish story. She finds a way to punish a group of men who have been terrorizing her country side for many years by sacrificing her peace of mind; however, she is rewarded by gaining the respect of many individuals including the leader of the gang. This story inspired Judith to stay strong during any challenge to gain the reward she believes she deserves. Staying strong to complete a challenge that will benefit me in the future has occurred numerous times. I have had to accompany myself in journeys that will contribute me mentally and physically.