Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How to Be a Hero

by Anonymous

Everyone has the potential to be a hero. We see opportunities every day. It may not be a calling to bound buildings and save lives, but a simple act if kindness is also heroic. A true hero is someone who sticks up for those who cannot defend themselves. All too many times we see the weak are the ones who are hurt or picked on. It takes only one brave person to correct these wrongs and say something. These people are true heroes and should be acknowledged.

Standing up for those in need is not always easy; we often are afraid ourselves. Or perhaps it’s our nature to turn a blind eye, not wanting to get involved with what's happening. We often think that someone else will say something and stop the abuse, but all too often that is not the case.

You don’t have to run into a burning building to be help someone in need. All it takes is a kind word to someone who looks sad, or a hot meal for a stranger, or maybe even a load of groceries for your neighbor who is going through tough times. These are the things people are going to remember and be grateful for.

Everyone deserves a hero. Are you going to be someone's hero? Next time you see a person in need, stop and think about what might happen if you don’t help. Stepping in and helping could save a life and isn’t that what being a hero is all about? Those who step up and help are true heroes and should be acknowledged.

Sure, being able to stop bullets and leap over tall buildings is what we think of when you mention a hero. It is something we all wish we could do, but don’t forget all those out there that are heroes in their own right. We all get the call to be a hero; are you going to listen? Forget about yourself and do what is right. Be someone's hero.

Heroism is in the Eye of the Beholder

By Anonymous

The definition of a hero is an individual who is romanticized for their valor, nobility, bravery, or exceptional accomplishments. However, are these qualities what truly makes a hero and is the anti-hero closer to the definition of a hero? To just behave bravely with noble and good intentions seems to be closer to a Disney version of a hero.

Often enough there are so many controversies to a conflict that the hero has to make ugly discussions on what is best and how to solve the problem. From my own observations of anti-heroes, their sometimes unconventional methods achieve more good than those who are charismatic and charming who run into battle with their best intentions.

If we have learned anything from our history is that more suffering can come from another’s best intentions.

Is that not what the Christian missionaries believed themselves to be doing to the Native Americans, and the Indigenous people of Australia by taking their children away to the missionary schools, cutting their hair, and applying punishments for speaking their own language.

Did they not believe they were doing something good by killing another’s way of life. With that being the case can not a hero just be a person who is fighting for what they believes is right.

Is not Robin Hood considered to be one of the greatest heroes maybe one of fiction but still a great hero. He, time and time again broke the law against a corrupt government by taking it’s wealth and giving it to the people made poor by their own ruling leadership.

I believe a hero is one of those subjects that is far too complicated and complex to define as one thing, and perhaps heroism is in the eye of the beholder.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Hero's Journey of Faust

By Penny Peterson

Goethe’s Faust depicts a man torn by a changing modern society and how Faust ultimately meets and deals with these changes. The play does follow the Hero’s Journey as Faust is unsatisfied with life and agonizes over his decision to sell his soul to the Devil. Faust ends up making a deal with the Devil and he takes the role of an antihero. Through his adventures Faust has his loyal servant Wagner beside him. Wagner is the one that tries to pull in Faust and help him see the error of his ways.

The ordeal that Faust encounters that changes him forever is love. His love for a woman not only wakes up his human feelings but Faust eventually seduces Gretchen. When Gretchen’s brother finds out, Faust is called out to fight and Faust wins the fight with the Devil’s help. Now Faust must leave Gretchen and run for his life as the townspeople want him arrested.

Much later in the play, Faust finds out that Gretchen has given birth to his child out of wedlock and has been scorned by the town. Faust returns to the town to find that Gretchen, in grief died along with his child. After this horrific event, Faust turns his talents to better mankind. He continues his good deeds until he is old and feeble. As his last hours are slipping away, the Lord asks Faust if he will repent giving Faust a chance at salvation. Faust repents and his guilt and love in life, is his salvation in the end.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Soul of Weaponry

by Leroy Martinez

Contemplating the soul of weaponry is capitalization upon fear that motivates each and every one of us. The Iron Man is an archetype that has been defined in our society through movies and stories. The hero's journey of self transformation models from higher development from mythology and this is a way that humans were believed to think. 

There are many different ways to think about the Iron Man persona and why it is bred into our society as a developed sense of the human being. Industrialization and modernism have changed the way we believe to think, developing us into futuristic human beings. But the gladiator and warrior still linger in all of us in one form or another. This now affects the mainstream population at large. Mindless violence, warlike violence and authoritarian personalities. This was some kind of inhumanity that humans should have conquered in this day and age, but it seems that we are going backwards in time to barbarian ways. Peace is hard work and killing is the coward's campaign as we see in our present day society. Give a soldier or cop a gun and they will us it. 

Heroism comes in many forms and there is an alternative to violence. Iron Man's heart is at the center of this story and is an emerging machine consciousness which is tension between self and persona. Are we afraid that creation will replace the creator? It takes a dramatic event in one's life to make them reflect on what they have become through imperfect, biological, and emotional turbulence.

Sequential art is a part that may give us some insight into our own personal reality. "With great power come's great responsibility," it says in Spider Man. Yet humans still don't know how to contain this.  Take, for example, the ongoing problem of killings and the Albuquerque police department. Worlds of imagination can be useful to give us great insight to the actions that we might take, for instance in The Iron Giant by Ted Hughes is a great example. This is an extraordinary action of humanity by an Iron Man (machine) to save the world by not using his weapons of mass destruction but uses his heart and mind to save the world. This is the possible world that we all want to live in, the perfect world of love and peace.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Reflection on The Infinite Horizon

by Krisana Hall

Infinite Horizon is a graphic novel retelling the story of the Odyssey written by Gerry Duggan and illustrated by Phil Noto. It is set in a post apocalyptic America with conflicts of a Middle Eastern war fought abroad.

The main character or Odysseus figure is named the solider with No Name. He is a methodical calm collected commander who is generally fearless. One aspect I wished and would of made the story more interesting if the Solider kept Odysseus’ boastful demeanor. The solder was way too humble and at times avoided conflict.

Infinite Horizon begins as the Soldier volunteers for service in the Middle East. Only to find things are turning for the worst. No Name can bring victory in any battle but cannot guarantee winning the war. Innocent Civilians are fighting a gorilla warfare war. The hero’s unexpected journey starts when they are forced to flee from their fallen fortress after being outnumbered and scarce resources.

Meanwhile No Name’s wife Penelope is left alone with their young son at home. She is fighting to maintain their land and water rights from greedy neighbors and the mayor of New York. The story flips back and fourth between America and Abroad. No Name is taken to all sorts of interesting places as he tries to return home.

One of the elements I liked about this edition is beautiful drawings full color.  There are also unique twists of story elements such as the Cyclops redesigned as a Cyborg Russian Super Soldier.

The plot feels rushed a bit. Certain plot points could have been more impactful if more time was spent on critical sequences. Sometimes mediocre dialog would be like a soulless B action movie. Some characters are not fleshed out to be who they were supposed to be such as the doctor and siren arcs.

Overall it is an enjoyable read if one is familiar with the Odyssey and the reinterpretation is quite interesting in this well-rendered post apocalyptic setting.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Still My Hero

By Karen M. Lynn

Robin Hood, in my opinion, falls in to the definition of a hero. I think he would also be considered an anti-hero by others. The simple history of the character is that of stealing from the rich to give to the poor. For the poor that makes him a hero. Stealing makes him a thief and thus anti-hero to those from whom he took.

In the history of the period that the story is set in, the English Kings of the day, Richard the Lion Heart and his brother John, had run the royal coffers very low. That caused them to tax their citizens relentlessly. Historically, people in those days, with exception of the rich, had very little and survival was likely a daily struggle. The common folk could ill afford to support the royal houses. Robin Hood is the man that pilfers from the rich, giving the spoils to the poor and downtrodden; the hero of the day.

The story of Robin Hood is known around the world and resonates still today considering the current financial inequalities experienced by many. I think this tale will always carry some value to those who struggle. May the Hero live on!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Iron Giant vs. The Iron Giant

We were recently assigned to read the book The Iron Giant by Ted Hughes, and then we watched the movie The Iron Giant in class.

Well, I'll admit...I didn't read the book before we watched the movie! Bad me! But I loved the movie, and I went and rented it that night and watched it again with my three year old son, and then we watched it again, and again, and again (as it tends to go with three year olds when they love a movie).

I then read the book. It's a relatively short, easy read and very different from the movie. In the movie, Hogarth, the young boy who befriends the Iron Giant is the main character, and the relationship that they have is so sweet and well formed, they become good friends and at one point Hogarth even expresses his love for the Giant, and the Iron Giant clearly loves the boy.

In the book, they hardly even have a relationship. In fact the story is completely different. The Iron Giant appears one day as a nuisance to the community, eating machinery and fences and other metal objects (okay, that part is similar to the movie) until the town's people capture and bury him (with Hogarth's help). The Giant eventually frees himself, and with Hogarth's help once again the town's people are able to find a solution by pacifying the Iron Giant at a junk yard, where he can eat all of the scrap metal he wants.

Then, unlike the movie (which is more of a parallel to the fears of the cold war) one day a giant “space-bat-angel-dragon” literally the size of Australia lands....well, on Australia, and terrifies the entire planet by demanding living things to eat. The people of Earth band together to try and destroy the “space-bat-angel-dragon” and when they are unsuccessful Hogarth goes to the Iron Giant and asks for help. Only when Hogarth explains that there will be nothing left for the Iron Giant to eat if he does not help, does he decide to help! In the movie, he helps Hogarth, because he loves him!

In both the book and the movie the Iron Giant is willing to sacrifice himself to save others, that is clear. Both stories are entertaining, I won't argue that. The book is definitely a classic and I would surely recommend it as a good, short read (as I mentioned before). However, the movie absolutely captured my heart. The relationship between the robot and the boy, and the realization that a machine could “love” is a theme that I have grown up with and I loved it, but the book and the movie were shockingly different, and I just haaad to blog about it.

This is my first blog, I don't know how to end it.

The End.

Shadow Dove

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Hero's Journey in Stories

By Cortnie Gurno

I love movies. The movies I enjoy most are action and adventure. However I like historical movies as well. Movies that use action and adventure to bring a story to life is a great interpretation of that historical event. An example would be the Trojan War and Odysseus and his journey.

I was always intrigued by Greek mythology so studying Odysseus and his journey brought my back to that time. You could never go wrong with Ancient Greece. It is such a beautiful time full of beautiful architecture and stories of Gods, Goddesses and Monsters.

This class is perfect to explore the realms of books and movies. I found that some of my favorite movies were based on books. I am reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which is a great movie but also a great children’s book, one that I never took the time to read. The character of Dorothy is one I feel young women can connect to. Digging deep into her story also lead me to another brave young girl named Alice. Alice in Wonderland is a story of pure imagination and creativity. Both of these stories are well known and popular movies that came from the pages of books. Both characters are heroes in their own journey to find themselves and who they are.

Exploring the model of the Hero’s Journey exposed how many classic stories and tales follow this model. After learning more about the Hero’s Journey I believe this is the key to a successful storyline

Friday, April 4, 2014

Cultural Referencing with the Simpsons, D'Oh!

By Nikki Cain

Every Halloween, since 1990, The Simpson's television show has regaled fans with new tales in The Tree House of Horror series. There are now twenty-five episodes of fantastically freaky fun in this series. Each episode is brimming with intertexuality references. The first episode, The Tree House of Horror 1, contains no less than twenty references to movies and books, if not more. The series was originally inspired by EC Comics Horror Tales. There are three segments or stories in each episode which always parody popular and classic literature, movies, radio, and television shows. With twenty-five Tree House of Horror episodes, The Simpsons have touched upon subjects and themes concerning every thing spooky often overlaying plot lines from a variety of sources.

In the debut episode, during a segment called Bad Dream House, the Simpson family finds that their house is trying to possess their souls in order to convince each family member to murder one another. The segment uses themes from The Shinning, Ghost Busters, The Exorcist, Amityville Horror, Poltergeist, Psycho, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Addams Family. In a funny plot twist, the house kills it's self rather than continue to try and convince the family to do each other in.

In the segment called The Raven, a satire of Edger Allan Poe's poem, a grief stricken Homer is plagued by a bat like Bart. This segment appears in the first Tree House of Horror episode. Not only is The Raven referenced but so is The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and The Pendulum, The Tell Tale Heart, and The Purloined Letter. Edgar Allan Poe's poem is only slightly changed in it's wording so the viewer gets a close rendition of the original Raven. Poe's bust appears in the scene as well as the bust of Peter Lorre who stars in Tales of Terror which was inspired by Poe's writings.

The Simpsons are a wealth of intertexuality. Anyone craving a healthy dose of popular cultural education needs only watch The Simpsons to be fulfilled. The episodes are full of written as well as visual references that create richer, deeper jokes for the audience to enjoy. Reference layering is the joy of intertexuality; it creates an enriched experience for the media consumer by representing ideas and themes and creating fresh interpretations. The Tree House of Horror series as well as the rest of The Simpsons episodes, offer a rich assortment of intertexuality and parody from a wide breadth of sources. Watching one episode will remind the viewer of countless plot lines, characters, and themes from popular culture. With twenty-five full and irreverent seasons to enjoy, viewers can get a full sense of classic and popular themes in literature as well as a good laugh.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Heroic Youth in Peril

By Hallie Taylor

Growing up, I read a lot of things. From science fiction to historical classics, I always had a book in my hand. It seems contradictory that I would start to read young adult novels once I became an adult, but that's how it happened. As a child, I mostly read “grown-up” books, and as an adult, I mostly read young adult books. There is something fetching in these tales of young love, heroes and heroines triumphing over evil and bonding over personal struggles. They draw me in and catch my attention, but at the same time, I'm constantly running into a personal struggle of my own: what is the fantasy these books are providing for the readers?

What does living in the myriad worlds of these novels say about the readers? It seems to me that a reader of young adult fiction is living within a specific kind of fantasy world. From the vampire fantasy of Twilight, to the dystopian tragedies of the Divergent and The Hunger Games series, an avid reader of young adult fiction is constantly consuming what almost all young adult genre books have in common: young love and young violence. All of these books, invariably, include a romance of some sort between two teenage protagonists, who, throughout the course of the novel, engage in multiple battles with their perceived enemy. In our culture, I've heard it said that we have a fixation with youth: reading young adult novels transports the readers to a fantasy land, where the characters remain forever young, forever triumphant, and forever in love.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Heroes Among Us

By Renee Lynda Martinez

I suppose that a hero lies in the eyes of the beholder. I started writing a novel almost 10 years ago and the main character is a vampire who takes the lives of only murderers, rapists, child molesters and animal abusers. I created her from my idea of what a hero would be like. The type of heroine that I would be. This is quite a far cry from the days of my childhood, when I wanted to be Wonder Woman.

As I grew up and grew older, I still had my fantasies of what a hero would be like but the black and white slowly bled into each other and I found that there is a beautiful shade of gun-metal gray that appeals to my senses.

My idea of a hero/heroine is not one, solely, of a super-human dressed in tights, a cape, body armor or who possesses super-human strength or powers - although, that aspect is appealing when presented creatively. I now see heroes who look like everyday people… like you and like me. I see Harvey Milk, a tall, gangly, middle-aged Jewish guy from New York who stood up for the most basic of Human Rights and was murdered in cold blood because of it. His body died but his legacy goes on. I see Malala Yousafzai, a 16 year-old Pakistani girl who also stood up for the most basic of Human Rights and, who was nearly assassinated because of her convictions. She is a living miracle and her legacy has only begun. In both of them, I see the hero that I wish to become. I see that I don’t have to be Wonder Woman or the vampire who exterminates the scum of the earth in order to be someone’s hero. I simply have to speak up for someone who may feel oppressed and inspire others to do the same.

I wear no letter “S” upon my chest but my heart carries the strength of that symbol. I have no Lasso of Truth to use on others… I only use it to speak my truth. My weapons consist of my words, my actions and my intent. When I grow up, I want to be just like Harvey Milk and Malala Yousafzai. I want to be a real Hero.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I Will Meet You on the Hero's Journey

By Brenda Bauer

Sitting in a coffee shop, I watch people. It is a favorite pastime of mine. There are coffee shops that I avoid because they have become internet cafes. I like people and when I step into a coffee shop filled with people that have only the awareness of the screen in front of them I am left feeling alone and disconnected, but they have a story too. I wonder why they go out into the world and then not take a part in it. The stage for people watching is not isolated to coffee shops.

My voyeurism has an element of storytelling. I tell myself the story. Taos, New Mexico is a perfect setting for this pastime. There is a rich diversity of people here that fires my imagination. In the laundromat one day a beautiful woman came in dressed in old but well designed clothes. She stepped into the middle of the rows of washers and dryers and began to sing in a clear lovely voice a sad sweet ballad. Immediately I began to tell myself her story. What had prompted her to break out in song in this unusual setting? What did her journey look like? I tell myself the story of what barriers she had to face and what battles she had had to fight. What choices had she made to bring her to this town , to this state of being, to this laundromat? I tell myself the story of her sadness, her humor, her brokenness and her laughter.

I believe that we are all on hero's journeys and in telling myself the story of others' journeys I no longer feel alone in my own. So my people watching is not just about observation. It is about connection with the whole of humanity.