Author Archives: Cristian

Adaptation to the big screen

The Hulu series of The Handmaid’s Tale differs in many ways from the novel. The Hulu series which was created by Bruce Miller, in my opinion, has done an excellent job in portraying what the novel was intended to say. The first 2 episodes take a rather fast pace to those who have read the novel. The episodes go through several chapter and including the ceremony. I feel like the creator had to do this in order to keep people watching past the pilot. In television, as well as novels, have to engage the reader into staying around until the end. The creator of the show had to take what was most interesting about the show and incorporate it into the pilot. In this case I think one of the more interesting aspects of the novel definitely is the ceremony and the strange aspect of it. This with the little backstory we get to see in the form of flashbacks from Offred do well into telling the viewer what is going on without giving too much of the story away.

With every television or film adaptation there has to be changes made. This is for both creative and time purposes. In this case I believe it was more of the creative process that had to be changed because the novel is long enough to create a series of multiple episodes without adding something of ones own. This can be seen already in the first 2 episodes of the series. When the Salvaging is taking place there is a big switch from the novel in which Offerd can be seen not wanting to participate at all in the act but in the series she is portrayed as someone who will take matters into her own hands. In the series Offred is the first one to deliver the first blow to the accused rapist. She is the one who is seen making the kicks and punches count and blood can be seen covering her robe and face. I think this is a very important and drastic change which changes the way the viewer sees Offred. In the novel despite everything that she gone through in the end she does not see it in herself to hurt someone else. She can not bring herself to hurt someone who she knows most likely is innocent. In the series one can say Offred is not afraid to lay the first punch and is seen as a much stronger character. This changes the tone of the series and makes it that much different from the novel. It puts a nice twist to the characters and makes it interesting to see how this new Offred will react to other situations.

I will continue to watch the series and see what other changes have been made. I do feel like the characters were changed to fit the narrative of the series. Some of the more notable are Serena Joy and the Commander, they are portrayed much younger than in the novel, I do not mind the change but it is there nevertheless.

Class Notes 11/9

Homework for 11/14

  • ESSAY #1 DUE BY TUESDAY 11/14 AT 2:29PM. **Remember that the essay must be uploaded to Dropbox by the deadline regardless of class attendance on 11/14** – bring in printed copy to class.
  • Reading assignment for The Handmaid’s Tale Parts IX-X with blog due Monday 11/13 by Midnight.

Reminders

  • Check requirements for Essay and read through Guidelines before submitting essay.
  • Submit essay with (First name, Last name, Essay #1)
  • Use ONLY novel as source
  • Check “How to revise” post for help
  • Tomorrow 11/10 is the last day to drop class with a grade of W.
  • DO NOT PLAGIARIZE!

CLASS DISCUSSION

  • Look over pages 93-94 (where ceremony takes place) and how it juxtaposes the birthing process in page (109) importantly the interaction between Offred and the commander’s wife.
  • Think about and look over

1. Objectify-  To turn/treat something like an object (in the novel how Offred is being treated as an object by Serena Joy and the Commander.

2. Commodify- To make something (in this case someone) into a commodity.

3. Devalued- To make something less valuable (Offred during the ceremony)

4. Perfunctory- An act/gesture done with minimal effort (not doing it for pleasure or because you want to)

5. Desexualized- deprive of the qualities of sex (the notion that sex is done for pleasure, with a loved one)

6. Functional/Transactional- Ceremony made into a transaction.

  • “Household” and how it is described and translated in novel (81) “that is what we are. The Commander is the head of the household. The house is what he holds. To have and to hold, till death do us part. The hold of a ship. Hollow.”
  • The rest of the household is involved in the ritual (Rita, Cora, Nick) but all seem to have a different tone/feeling towards the ceremony. Rita and Cora are annoyed, resentful because they could be doing something else and demanding.
  • The small interacting Nick and Offred have before the ceremony is an important piece in which Offred has a heightened, arousal with a simple touch. *The touch (nonsexual) was more intimate than the actual sexual act which occurred afterwards.
  • Look over the phrase which grounds Offred “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” which loosely translates into “dont let the bastards grind you” *the translation does not really matter at this point but what the finding of this phrase means to Offred and how it brings her pleasure because of the secrecy.

Women in society

In the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, in parts III-VIII we see a little more into the society of Gilead and how women are regarding. I think for me and other students it has been impactful the way certain actions in the novel take place and are regarded as nothing, or in certain situations the women’s fault. I mean of course of the way these Handmaids are being brainwashed into believing they are indeed a tool to be used over and over again with no regard to what she thinks or feels. The way men have gotten away with rape, and making these women believe it is their fault. The way these women suffer the same and see the same madness taking place but they are all thought to think it is normal. The way they suffer “Last week, Janine burst into tears. Aunt Helena made her kneel at the front of the classroom, hands behind her back, where we could all see her, her red face and dripping nose. Her hair dull blond, her eyelashes so light they seemed not there, the lost eyelashes of someones who’s been in a fire.. none of us wanted to look like that, ever. For a moment, even though we knew what was being done to her, we despised her. Crybaby. Crybaby. Crybaby (Atwood 72)

It is also interesting to see the little bits of memories that Offred has of her past. The things she misses the most, like the changes she had to read and write. The way things looked before and how chairs were set up. The moments she has flashbacks are little moments of peace in the storm of what she is going through. How she has memories in the moments where one would think is suppose to be a moment of pleasure but it is rather just an obligation, Therefore I lie still and picture the unseen canopy over my head. I remember Queen Victoria’s advice to her daughter: Close your eyes and think of England. But this is not England. I wish he would hurry up (Atwood 94)

These women have been going through a lot and it will only be time until we see whether this society will fall on itself and it will all be a horrible piece of history like we have today, or there will be no rescuing and no hope to be had for any of these women. The novel so far is very interesting and as I have mentioned before has a 1984 similarity which I like. The sense of being watched at all times no matter where you are. The feeling that you are not safe even in your own thoughts is something very scaring that we as Americans have had the freedom to think and say as we please. This I think is a privilege that many of us take for granted every single day,

Not belonging

The novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Artwood starts talking about a new world and society in which women are used for procreation only. The first chapter gives us a small hint of what life was before this new world came about. Maybe even how things could be if there wasn’t a Commander, which is the leader of this society, regulating your every day life.

The story is written in the first person point of view which is from Offred, one of the many girls living in this house with the Commander and his wife being used only to produce offsring. The interesting aspect of Offred is that she knows she doesn’t belong. She has memories of when she was a child, being able to dress as she pleased, not having to wear only red, the color of the Handmaids. She feels different and knows this is not the only life for her. She is not like the other girls who take pride in being used for children feeling proud to be the ones who get pregnant for the Commander. There is Janine who “looks at me, then, and around the corners of her mouthy there is the trace of a smirk. She glanced down to where my own belly lies flat under my red robe, and the wings cover her face (Atwood 27).

There is a lot of order in this society and the house where the Handmaids are kept runs like a military camp. The beds and sheets even are the ones used in the military “we had flannelette sheets, like children’s, and army issued blanks old ones that still said U.S” (Atwood 4). Everyone is distinguished by the color they wear, the Handmaids wearing the color red, the Commander black and his wife wears blue. Everything strictly regulated and enforced with guards which are known as angels standing gard outside, because they are not allowed inside. The story is a lot like 1984 in which the society is always being watched and everything single thing they do is controlled and closely monitored. It will be very interesting to know how they story will continue and how much more similarities will be found to the novel 1984. There is also that similarity from Station Eleven in which the memories of the old world haunt the person who knows how life could have been and how they want their life to be. All the changes that have occurred all of which they had no control nor say in.

The purpose of living in the end

In the novel Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel there are many conflicts throughout the novel and a central one can be said to be the need to find a purpose. The novel takes place in a post apocalyptic era where there has been a pandemic known as the Georgia Flu which has ended with society, and in many ways, humanity has we know it. This pandemic has wiped all forms of former life and has left only small towns of people who only live to survive one more day, and this can be said to be their purpose.

The Traveling Symphony is part of the post pandemic population but rather than settle in towns they have found their purpose to be to travel across their known territory in search of people who might want to listen and see them perform. They are a group of artist lead by the Conductor which has decided to travel in order to perform plays, play music and as one can say keep the art form of performing preserved. One of the member’s of this symphony is Kirsten, she is a young women who most of all I believe longs to find her purpose in this new world, but surprising I think she also wants to find her role in the previous one. She has items in her possession like the comic book called Station Eleven written by someone who lived pre Georgia Flu. This comic book is a link to the world that was destroyed with the flu and Kirsten does not know what to do with this power. The power of having something from the past, not knowing whether to keep it for memory or leave it behind like everything else was. The purpose of having something like this would be to find more about it.

Everyone from Kirsten, August, the Conductor, and even the Prophet which can be said to be the antagonist of the story, have and set out to find their purpose. The Conductor lives by the quote “Because survival is insufficient” (Mandel 58) She can be said to live for the symphony and the preserving of art and music. Kirsten lives for surviving and finding clues and hints of what her life was like before the Flu. She was too young to remember her live in detail like August, a member of the symphony, but was old enough to know she had a life. The Prophet is a bit more complicated because not much is said about him until the end of the novel, but one can infer his purpose was to find a purpose because he was so caught up in the idea of being “the light” and spreading “the light” that he was lost in his own thoughts.

The novel ends with something that was absent throughout, hope. Hope I think goes hand in hand with a purpose because hope can give you strength to have a purpose. The hope is only a glimpse but it is there, “but it is possible that somewhere there are ships setting out?” (Mandel 332) After all was set and done people’s purpose to live and need to survive shift and people find new thing to live for.

The past and present

In the novel Station Eleven by Emily Mandel the story has begun with a sort of flashback to what was

The story of an ending of the world is similar to many shows and stories that are presently showing like the walking dead and other apocalyptic novels. In this particular novel the survivors form a sort of family or group which call themselves the Traveling Symphony. They are introduced briefly in the following parts of the novel and they are in way remembering how they all came to be. How it started in the Elgin Theatre where Arthur collapsed to his death. How it shocked everyone who was there including Kristen who is now introduced as an adult 20 years after the tragedy.

There are still many questions that remain unanswered, like what exactly has happened throughout the world at this point. Is the group of people still alive living in pure ruins the only humans around the world. It is very interesting to see the way machinery and technology have become obsolete. How humanity has come to a point where the next new thing is not what phone will come out next year or who has the lastest gadgets but everyone is back to basic survival mode. It gives me a sort of perspective of life today and what really is important in everyday life.

It will be interesting to see how many other questions will be answered throughout the novel and how the characters in the novel will prioritize what really is important to them in this apocalyptic world. Knowing how cars are practically useless and singing and arts become the essence of everyday life will be good to see how they all evolve and become different people throughout.

Death is in the air.

The novel of Station Eleven starts off with a tragedy which is the death of Arthur Leander, an actor playing King Lear. The first chapter begins with his sudden death while performing the play King Lear. The story is being told in the 3rd person point of view with a sort of omnipresent view throughout the beginning. The protagonist Jeevan is seen here trying to save his life when Arthur has a heart attack on stage, he rushed to the stage to try to save Arthur’s life to no avail, which caused him to have a self reflection. He is seen leaving the theater and walking by himself in the park contemplating the events that had taken place. He was reacting internally to what exactly had taken place and how this now will affect him for the rest of his life. He was studying to be a paramedic, and seeing Arthur dying this way, not being able to save him, and knowing now he was able to do good in this world could have been the best thing that could have happened to Jeevan that night.

There are many sentences in the first 3 chapters that foreshadow what is about to happen in the near future. When in chapter 2 the narrator makes us aware that the crew which was working on the play with Arthur suffer the same fate as his, we are now aware that a big tragedy is about to occur. Nothing is certain yet but is can be said that the author wants us to be aware that danger for the characters is about to occur.  The story jumps between the thoughts of the protagonist and the rest of the crew from the play making us aware of a broader spectrum of plots and themes going on. There is the first conflict which was the internal conflict of the character of whether his life was going in the right direction. The other conflict can be seen between the crew of the play, and it has to do with what they are going to do with Arthur now that he is death. Most of them did not know him on a personal level to know what exactly he wished be done if ever he were to pass away. They can be seen thinking of who exactly they should call first and what the right thing to do now. They agree they have to call his lawyer, since his ex wife and son are overseas, and he did not have any known next of kin in the area. Already conflicts are starting to arise and slowly these will come and find resolutions and we will be able to know more in detail of what exactly is going on, whether Arthur’s death was an isolated case of health or something everyone should be worried about in the upcoming days. Many questions are still left unanswered but I am sure once they are reveled, everything will start to make more sense throughout.

Nature vs Technology

The story “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury speaks in my opinion to how man and technology are once working together for a purpose but if one, in this case, man are taken out of the equation there is no purpose after all. In the story the house, being a sort of protagonist in this story, is filled with technology which is supposed to make life easier for it’s tenants. The house begins announcing the date and time in the beginning of the story and throughout, stating “today is August 4, 2026” (Bradbury 1). This can be seen as a repetitive notion which is announced everyday. The house is suppose to be helping it’s tenants get ready for work, get the house clean afterwards and make sure it is ready for the time they come back.

There is one problem with this situation though, there are no tenants. So the question raised is, is there a purpose to all of this if there is no one to enjoy the perks and hard work of the house? It is similar to the saying of “if a try falls in an empty forest and no one is there to hear it, does is it still make a sound? Technology is great and in many ways makes our lives easier but there is still mankind needed for certain things. The way mechanical life is able to continue with daily routine makes it seem as if it would be okay without humans to get to enjoy what the house is able to do, but at the end of the story as with everything, there is death and destruction.

At the end of the story there is a great destruction of the house by fire, a fire started by a tree falling down. This tree being representing natural life, the house still representing mechanical life. The fire and house fight till the death, once coming back and punching the other. The house making its final attempts to put out the fire with all the tricks it knows. At the end the house is consumed by flames and there is nothing but a wall standing at the end. This single wall is still able, like the beginning, to tell you the date saying, “today is August 5, 2026 (Bradbury 4), repeating this over and over again. In this case the fire (nature) consumed the entire house with its fury, one can say it won after all, but what can be said about the wall still standing from the house, so who won after wall.

Inside her MIND

The story The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins is told through the lens of a woman who sees the world differently from everyone else. The story starts off as one would say, just like any other story, explaining the scenery and some reasoning of why the characters are where they are. It then starts evolving into the plot which is the telling of a woman who has experiences like no one else in the story, it seems. She begins focusing on a particular wallpaper which is in one of the rooms of their new home. She begins preoccupied with it in a way which tells the reader this wallpaper is going to be a big part of the story. She begins speaking about the wallpaper as if it was another character in the story, and the narrator too is aware of this personification saying “I never say so much expression in an inanimate thing before, and we all know how much expression they have” (Perkins, 3)

The narrator begins explaining of her “illness” and delves  in to what she and others perceive of her being not well. In many ways she hints of knowing she is not well and wanting to be better by doing the things she loves to do. Her husband in this story becomes what stops her from doing so. Her husband being a physician talks to her as if she were a cild, calling her child directly. It can be assumed her husband does not believe the narrator is sick at all but in tern acting as if something is wrong just to get her way. He tells her “you know the place is doing you good and really dear I don’t care to renovate the house just for a three months’ rental” (Perkins, 2) I can see how the narrator starts to become frustrated with herself and with everyone around her, becoming more and more fascinated with the wallpaper, making it an escape of some sort from reality.

She begins with wanting to know more of the wallpaper, imagining how the life it had before she moved in. Picturing children ripping the paper down because they couldn’t bare the sight of it the way she did. She begins in a way becoming the wallpaper, preparing a way in which she must break free. It is hard to say exactly what type of mental illness she suffered from and to say one in particular would be speculating. She begins having hallucinations in the room where the wallpaper is, becoming more secretive with her interest in the wallpaper with her husband as to hide what is going on inside her mind. At the end it is clear the wallpaper had possessed her entirely and there was nothing she could do but give in to the new reality which was her inside the wallpaper and the desire to finally break free once and for all.  She has been free from her mind and the life she is living right now.

A Standard to Follow

In story of “Girl” speaks to a girl as to the rules and norms to follow. It is assumed that the narrator is someone of age giving knowledge and advice to a younger, perhaps someone in the family, girl. The story is structured abruptly and  runs on to more of a conversation than a short story. The conversation is set heavily one sided to having the narrator take forth most of the conversation. No names are given and many assumptions have to be made in order to have a clearer picture of the plot taking place. In my mind it is a grandmother of a small village setting ground rules and norms to be followed by her granddaughter to be able to be accepted their society. It is a verbal pass down of rules  and standards for women to follow and in a way it can be seen as a passageway to becoming a women in their community.

There is examples of this in a cultures around the world, some being with strict laws and directives, while others have a more passive manner of enforcing norms. In the United States there is social norms that are followed and activities that are looked down upon. In the story there is an emphasis on making sure the “girl” that is being spoken to does not become a slut, which in different cultures can be interpreted very differently. In the story the term slut is seen as a label that can be given to a girl in their community but one that can not be taken back. In the United States the word slut does too get thrown out a lot but with a lesser enforcement, I believe. In the story the “grandmother” warns of  the repercussions that can come if she were to ever become a slut and to the gir’ls dismay she can become a slut quiet readily.

Time is also important to the story, one of which is not given and can only be assumed. Time being what period in history is this conversation taken place, was it yesterday, in the last 10 years or a century ago. During different periods of time people think, interact and behave differently. A conversation like this might have been an everyday conversation, but today it might be looked down upon. Many things can be assumed in this story and it can bring upon many feelings while reading, but I believe that is all part of the joy of reading.