Monday, May 30, 2011

symbolism in the scarlet letter

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Symbolism is traditionally a sign or token of something. In the matter of literature, the definition of the literary device, symbolism, is more complicated. Symbols of literature are usually metaphysical. The main symbol of The Scarlet Letter is the red A that Hester Prynne was sentenced to wear on her chest. Nathaniel Hawthornes intention was to make the meaning of the crimson token worn on the bosom of Hester


Prynne is highly ambiguous. In this he was successful. Although the A means adulteress to the people of Boston, to reader the A may have other meanings such as American or able. To the townspeople, author, and reader clearly the original intention of the A was to stand for adulteress. When Hester Prynne became pregnant during the absence of her husband she was accused and convicted of adultery. Her sentence was to wear a scarlet letter A on her bosom to let everyone know that she was an adulteress, forevermore. Because of her unique sentence everyone knew that she was, in fact, an adulteress and people treated her that way. Society condemned her for her sin, without knowing anything else. Hester was forced to live alone on the outskirts of the city. She was a seamstress, but got very little business. When she used her skills to decorate the A, things only got worse. People felt that she was trying to show off the fact that she was an adulteress, or that she was proud to be. Hesters daughter, Pearl, was constantly ridiculed by other children for being an evil, devil child. Clearly it was the first intention of the symbol to reveal that Hester Prynne was an adulteress. Although the first intention of the A was to mark Hester Prynne as an adulteress, it also has other, more abstract meanings. The letter has a relation to the word, American. Hester Prynnes A reflects an American meaning in various ways. For one, America is a melting pot of many peoples and ideas, as was Hesters A. She earned that A under certain situations. She was in a loveless marriage. She had been separated from her husband for years. She thought he might be at the bottom of the sea. She was in love with another man. She was perceived and punished under a strict Puritan eye. Like the development of America, the were many conditions that led to the developed of Hesters A. Another way that Hester Prynnes A symbolizes America, is that they were both shaped by past actions. No matter how Hester had changed, since her act of adultery, at any point in her life, she was forever damned to be labeled as an adulteress with the A. The symbol of the scarlet letter shaped who Hester became. America was shaped by everything that happened in her past. All the various people and cultures, mistakes she made, and her relationships with other countries. Along with meaning adulteress or American, Hester Prynnes letter A stood for able. Hester Prynne was a very able woman. She was too strong of a woman for Puritan Boston right from the start. That was known from the very beginning of the novel when she faced the people of Boston with her sentence and her dignity. She always held her head high. She was able to accept her punishment. She was able to take with pride all the torment the townspeople could throw at her. Hester was also an able mother, nurse and seamstress. Despite everyones talk about Pearl, Hester never let that interfere with her mothering Pearl. She was able to bring up a strong daughter. Hester had a strong devotion to her work as a nurse. She also went on with her work as a seamstress. Hesters most important accomplishment was her ability to overcome her sentence. She accepted her sin and accepted herself. She learned to love that she was. By accepting herself other people began to follow her example and embrace who she was, not what she was labeled as. The main symbol of Nathaniel Hawthornes The Scarlet Letter is the red letter A that Hester Prynne wore on her chest. This is the most important symbol of the story, and symbolism is a major literary device of the story. The main character, Hester Prynne wore the letter throughout the story, and the letter took every road that the story did. The letter became one with Hester and Hester became the meaning of the scarlet letter.







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Saturday, May 28, 2011

DOWNSIZING

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DOWNSIZING


Downsizing is defined as a reduction in the number of employees, and sometimes in the number of operating units within a company. It began as a strategy of weak corporations as a way to reduce the costs of the company. Shareholder wealth was the main concern, and companies were willing to do whatever they thought necessary to convince the market that the stock price should rise. The stock price had become more important in the decisions of top management because many companies were offering stock options to them as part of their salaries.


Downsizing was being used as a survival strategy by corporations who were trying to increase their market values especially in Turkiye. It was often perceived as making a company more competitive in todays global marketplace. In typical downsizing, a profitable firm would announce to the public that it was firing a large percentage of its workforce. The idea was that the market would get excited and begin buying up the firms stock at a higher price. But, there are different views on how stockholders react to this kind of news.


The idea that downsizing increases stock prices is fueled by the belief that if earnings are to be maintained and improved, corporations have one alternative-cut costs. This usually meant cutting jobs because trimming the payroll seemed to be an easier way to increase profits in the short run. Downsizings also had everything that a company wanted when trying to increase stock prices-they were tragic and newsworthy and they showed that a company was serious about its cash flow.


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Downsizing not only reduces the number of employees, but often shrinks the number of management levels as well, and middle managers have been particularly vulnerable to downsizing changes. Downsizing is usually done by a company because of the perceived effect of more efficiency, resulting in cost reductions.


This trend has emerged due to the idea that corporate downsizing will increase the stock price of a company. This paper will focus on this issue by looking at two major companies who have downsized in the last few years and the effects, if any, that it had on their stock prices.


The word of Downsizing has became a very powerful meaning in Turkiye last three years. The economic crisis, and the bad market situations in Turkiye made managers learn downsizing in their managements. Everyone tried to distribute their risk instead of takeing the risks by himself. We also have learned the stocks values, and we have been trying to manage our bussiness with minimum value of costs.





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Friday, May 27, 2011

Trendkiller

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The world � demoralized. When I think of the world today, I have to ask myself “whose poor excuse is this for a world?”. The big city environments are corrupt and full of drugs, a place where people slaughter each other for money, an environment in which the negative aspects effected me greatly. Ultimately, making me appreciate peaceful, small town living.


I grew up in a small town nestled in the rolling foothills, secluded from the violent and drug filled environment of a big city. Because the town was so small, there was never anything to do. When I was young it wasn’t so bad. Although I was the only child, I had a good imagination; I made my own fun. As I got older, however, I started to use my imagination less and less. Life got more boring day by day. I needed to get out, experience a more exciting life elsewhere; a city perhaps. I yearned to see the big city lights, and experience the nightlife. Sure, the environment wasn’t the safest, but it couldn’t be so bad. I was wrong.


My best friend lived in a town larger than I did, and close to a city. I decided to spend a summer with her, to experience a different way of life. I had no idea how different it would be. There, I experienced an event that would forever change the way I viewed my boring yet safe hometown. I still remember that day � watching my friend get stabbed; a dispute over drugs, a dispute I was involved in. Me, a small town girl took a free hit of meth; played a part in a fight, which led to my friend’s stabbing. I can’t forget her body lying there in a pool of blood, the look of anguish on her face. In one week I had went from a small town girl never experiencing any trauma, to witnessing a drug war. I rode in the ambulance with her. I never would have thought that that ride would change my perception of the world today. The paramedic asked me what had happened. After telling him the story, he shook his head in disappointment and muttered “kids these days…”


As hard as it may be to believe, those three words touched me in a way no other words have before. I looked down at my friend, in agony, over drugs. I thought of how easily this could have been prevented, and how easily it could have been me. My eyes opened to see how abysmal the road I was heading down really was. Because of those simple words, and what had happened to my friend, I promised myself I would never succumb to drugs again. I wanted to inform anyone who I thought may be heading down the same road I was, of my horrific story with hopes to direct them down a more auspicious road. I ask you to stop and think for a moment of how deplorable the world really is. Think of girls, twelve years old, selling their bodies for drugs, hundreds of people dying per year over drugs or money, parents neglecting their children, instead getting high; what about the children, growing up and seeing this sort of thing everyday. This isn’t going to effect them positively, they’re likely to view drugs as a way of life, and be more likely to use. This is what the cities have come to, and it’s not getting better.


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Now looking back at my boring town, I realize that boring is a better environment than corrupt. After seeing how cities operate, I realize that I took my safe little town for granted. Towns are wondrous, you can hear an emergency siren, and assume it’s a fire, not wonder if someone you know may have just been shot for their shoes. Cities may be more fun, but that fun comes at a price.





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Monday, May 23, 2011

Iliad

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The Iliad was written long ago about 75 B.C. but it is still being read and analyzed over and over again until this very day. Themes are the most important and often universal ideas explored in a literary work; the Iliad revolves around several major themes. It stresses on war and peace, the heroic code, anger and responsibility, and mortals and immortals. When reading the Iliad we are able to recognize and relate to the experiences of the different characters and learn from them.


Homer did a great job of showing the realities of war in the Iliad. Men would die gruesome deaths getting their head chopped off or their limbs ripped apart. A plague broke out in the Achaean camp and destroyed the army. Even the strongest warriors occasionally experienced fear in the poem. The brutal images that Homer brings to our minds can still be seen in present times. Men have not stopped killing each other and there’s still war going on between other countries.


Many people die for no good reason because of arrogant and emotional decisions made by men. The anger of Achilles was the main reason of the destruction of the Achaeans in the beginning of the poem. Although he proved his heroic character at the end of the poem, through most of The Iliad, Achilles was driven by anger and revenge. In fact, his greatest flaw was the intensity of his emotions, which usually lead to more disaster. Insulted by Agamemnon, he refused to continue in the fight against the Trojans. Instead of performing like a warrior, he preferred to stay angry and seek for personal vengeance. Step by step the anger of the hero increased until the death of Patroclos, an event which replaced the deeply rooted anger with extreme grief. I myself tend to get very angry sometimes. I shout and throw things at people not thinking of my actions and I hurt people’s feelings on the way. Anyone can ruin their self and their relationship with others if they don’t learn how to control their anger and other negative emotions.





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Throughout The Iliad, the heroic characters make decisions based on a set of principles, which are referred to as the code of honor. The heroic code that Homer presents to the reader is a basic cause for many of the events that take place, but many of the characters have different views on of how honor should be achieved. Achilles strives for honor based on the respect he is given. He gains respect by winning battles and by taking full command of his troops. Agamemnon on the other hand can see honor being gained materially. To be a remarkable leader in the eyes of his people, Agamemnon thinks he should attain material affluence, like women as war prizes. Agamemnon simply desires more so that he may be seen as more powerful. Hector is most probably the most selfless character. He tells Paris that though he is handsome, Paris has no strength or courage in his heart. Hector values recognition for his deeds; however, unlike Agamemnon and Achilles, he sees his worthiness or dignity in the love of his family as well as the love for his country. Today, people may receive honor through trophies or other forms of awards. But just like Hector, Achilles or Agamemnon different people also have degrees of their honor measured either by public recognition, or by love of self, or by love of family.


Throughout the Iliad of Homer there can be seen many features of the Greek religion. The Greeks in the Iliad believe in many gods. Each god had a specific “power” or “gift” that was known by people. Zeus was the supreme god in their religion and is also the King of Olympus. The Gods were there to make sure that whatever that was destined for the humans wouldn’t fail to happen. They were able to control the mortals and predict their every thought and move. The Trojans and the Achaeans would pray to Zeus for guidance and help to win the war. There is also sign of a belief in an after life in the Iliad, for if they didn’t have a proper burial they’d go to Hades (hell).


Today, we have different religions all over the world from Christianity to Buddhism. We still have the belief in a God or Supreme Being. When times turn to war, poverty, famine and such, it becomes much easier to accept the existence of an all-knowing being or an afterlife to escape to. It is much easier to accept a God handing down punishment to the wicked or deserving members of society than to accept the suffering or accept personal responsibility. The Gods are a way out to explain the atrocities that are part of the everyday human experience.


I look at the Iliad and I see a story about the greatest human follies, war. I look at the Iliad and I see how anger can never solve anything. I look at the Iliad and understand that it is always best to avoid war and to forgive and find peace instead. I look at the Iliad and see how important respect and honor is to us. I look at the Iliad and I see how we still are today. Who does not care about how one is seen by others? Who has never let rage control action? Who has never treated a fellow human being as an object to an end? Who has never felt controlled by a greater power, which cared little for the humans? We aren’t as evolved as we think we are. Homers portrayal of us is how we still are. Several thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of years did not evolve us that far.





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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth as fiendlike?

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Shakespeare coursework MACBETH


Does Shakespeare present Lady Macbeth as fiendlike?


Lady Macbeth is Macbeth’s wife. Her role in the play is to be a controversial character, especially in Shakespeare’s time as women are at the bottom of the Chain of Being but Lady Macbeth acts like she is at the top. The word ‘fiendlike’ suggests evilness and craftiness. Fiend means devil, demon, evil spirit or a person addicted to something. Generally Lady Macbeth might be regarded as fiendlike as she says and does a lot of evil things but is also sometimes gentle and caring at the end of the play.


Her character is very ambiguous so the audience can decide for themselves whether she is evil or not. Simple characters are very boring whereas complicated characters such a Lady Macbeth are more exciting. Other characters that could be considered fiendlike are the witches and Macbeth. However, we cannot compare Lady Macbeth with the witches because we don’t know enough about them. We can compare Lady Macbeth to her husband, as at some point in the play they both do evil things. Lady Macbeth has influenced Macbeth with her fiendishness throughout the course of the play.


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We would expect a woman like Lady Macbeth to be a typical noble who listens to her husband and supports him. She would also be expected to be kind and gentle. The role of women in Shakespeare’s time was to have children and we would expect Lady Macbeth to fit into this role as well.


Lady Macbeth’s first scene is Act 1 Scene 5, after Shakespeare sets the scene with the witches, the battle and after we have met her husband, Macbeth. She is reading the letter sent by Macbeth and the audience don’t know much about her then, but after reading the letter she talks to herself in an aside responding to the letter.


From the letter Macbeth and Lady Macbeth seem to have a close relationship. Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth everything that has happened. Macbeth also uses words like,


“…my dearest partner of greatness,” which is a huge clue to how close they are, and so far Lady Macbeth has not been fiendlike.


In the aside we get the first impression of fiendishness from Lady Macbeth


“…Yet do I fear thy nature;


It is too full o’ the milk of human kindness


To catch the nearest way.”


She is saying that for Macbeth to be king, evil needs to be done. (She immediately thinks of the quickest way she can make the prophecy true, as she has an ambition to become a queen.) To back this up she says, “The illness should attend it;” implying evil must accompany ambition.


When Lady Macbeth hears that King Duncan is coming, her first thoughts are to eliminate Duncan as he is seen as an obstacle to her plans to be a queen. This is not what we would expect of a noblewoman or wife, in Shakespeare’s time or present day.


She says,


“Come you spirits


That tend on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here”


She is asking to be evil in order to undertake the task of killing Duncan, by taking away everything that made her a woman, as no-one would expect a woman to kill someone in those days. This could be interpreted as fiendlike behaviour as she is taking her first steps towards killing Duncan. The audience may think she is possessed because after this point she starts acting unusually. Her actions might be forgiven by members of the audience who think the spirits can be blamed for her behaviour.


Act 1 Scene 6 starts of with dramatic irony, both Duncan and Lady Macbeth are kind to each other but the audience know Lady Macbeth is pretending to be kind as she plans to kill him later. Duncan calls Lady Macbeth a “fair and noble hostess” which is also ironic as we (the audience) know she is the complete opposite of that, so far.


In Act 1 Scene 7 Lady Macbeth is still willing to do the murder and willing to change Macbeth’s doubtful mind. Macbeth thinks he will regret killing Duncan, as he is trusted by Duncan as his kinsman and as his subject


“He’s here in double trust


First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,


Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,”


Macbeth would feel regretful for killing his guest who has trusted him.


Lady Macbeth tells us how she would rip her own baby off her nipple and rip its brains out in order to persuade Macbeth how serious she is about carrying on with the murder plan.


“I would, while it was smiling in my face,


Have pluck of my nipple from his boneless gums,


And dash’d the brains out, had I so sworn as you


Have done to this.”


This is evil as no-one would kill their own innocent child whom they must love and cherish. She is telling Macbeth to get rid of his emotions to kill Duncan, just like she would. This is also ironic as her role in life is to have children and she is talking about taking life away.


I think someone who is evil will try to spread evil and Lady Macbeth fits this description. She corners her husband Macbeth so he has no choice. Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that his love for her is worth the nothing if he refuses to go on with the murder plan. Macbeth wants his wife to love him and wants her to trust him, so he agrees with the plan.


“From this time


Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard


To be the same in thine own act and valour


As thou art in desire?”


The fact that she has ‘made’ him do it makes her fiendlike as she is spreading the evilness to Macbeth.


In Act Scene 1 Macbeth hallucinates about the murder he is about to commit. He talks to himself and says, “Nature seems dead.” This could mean he is saying nothing matters to him except deciding whether he should kill Duncan or not; he becomes obsessed. This could tell us that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have become selfish � they don’t think about anyone apart from themselves anymore.


In the next Scene Act Scene Lady Macbeth is waiting for her husband Macbeth. She tells us,


“That which hath made them drunk hath made me bold,


What hath quench’d them hath given me fire.”


She believes that by making Duncan’s attendants drunk, she is more intelligent than them in comparison, as the attendants cannot do anything while drunk. She also believes that by making the attendants drunk she is more determined to kill Duncan.


This suggests to me that Lady Macbeth has planned everything out � she is always one step ahead. She has clearly thought about what she and Macbeth are going to do. When she finds that Macbeth has brought the daggers along with him Lady Macbeth says to him,


“Infirm of purpose!


Give me the daggers. The sleeping and the dead


Are but as pictures; ’tis the eye of childhood


That fears a painted devil. If he do bleed


I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal;”


Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth being dead is like being asleep, to reassure Macbeth that what they have done is not so bad and also to convince herself of the same thing.


Lady Macbeth also hallucinates like her husband did before. Her conscious is playing on her, however she knows a bit about what is going on around her, just like Macbeth did. This is why from her state of mind when her conscious is playing with her, she talks to Macbeth,


“My hands are of your colour, but I shame


To wear a heart so white.”


She realises her hands are red with blood just like Macbeth’s. The audience may think this is when the spirits are controlling her as she acts very unnaturally and doesn’t show any signs of guilt.


Lady Macbeth easily influences Macbeth to kill Duncan. She also uses this influence to fuel her ambition to be queen.


In Act Scene we hear that the news of the murder has spread, after Macduff has found Duncan dead. When Lady Macbeth enters Macduff tells her,


“O gentle Lady


‘Tis not for you to hear what I can speak;”


This is another example of irony. Lady Macbeth was part of the plot to murder Duncan but the characters in the play don’t know that. Macduff thinks Lady Macbeth will be too emotionally shocked when she hears about the death in her own castle, but the audience knows she cares much more about her ambitions rather than the death of Duncan. To act as though she were a normal woman she pretends to faint, “Help me hence, ho!”


Macbeth feels guilty about the murder and Lady Macbeth responds by saying,


“What’s done is done!”


I think she uses Macbeth for the murder to get what she wants � to be Queen � and then dumps him except when she has to cover up about what they have done.


In Act Scene 1 Macbeth orders the murder of Banquo after he became suspicious of Macbeth. Macbeth didn’t even tell his wife Lady Macbeth about this. Now Macbeth seems fiendlike too.


In Scene 4 Macbeth hallucinates again. He is at the banquet and he believes Banquo � who is now dead � has appeared in the hall and sat down in his place. Lady Macbeth reacts to protect Macbeth and herself from the crime, she addresses the gentlemen,


“Sit, worthy friends my lord is often thus,


And hath been from his youth pry you, keep seat;


The fit is momentary;”


She covers herself and Macbeth up by saying Macbeth has had these fits since he was young. This makes people feel sorry for Macbeth as he was dragged into the plot.


Lady Macbeth talks to Macbeth saying,


“You lack the season of all matures, sleep.”


Lady Macbeth is more caring now, and I don’t think this is fiendlike as she tells Macbeth he needs some sleep.


In Act Scene 5 Macbeth goes on the moor to visit the three witches. He doesn’t tell Lady Macbeth about this either. From what is happening in the play I can assume that Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s relationship is not so strong and they are growing apart. Like Lady Macbeth earlier Macbeth is becoming more and more fiendlike now.


In Act 4 Scene a second female character is introduced called Lady Macduff. She makes Lady Macbeth look more fiendlike in comparison, as she is kind and gentle and looks after her son � even though she is upset and quite sarcastic as her husband has fled to England. She behaves like you would expect a normal woman to in Shakespeare’s time.


The next time we see Lady Macbeth on stage is in Act 5 Scene 1, when Lady Macbeth becomes mad due to the guilt that had caught up with her, after she ran away from it. Lady Macbeth hallucinates and sleep walks about the murder (suffering from guilty conscious) she and her husband had committed,


“What, will these hands ne’er be clean”


She believes she is trying to wash the blood off her hands but she imagining it. In a way she is being punished for her actions. She deserves the punishment but you also feel sorry for her (as would the audience). She loses her fiendishness at this point in the play.


Shakespeare could be trying to present a message to the audience, which could be a reason to why she is depicted as mad in the latter part of the play


If you run away from your problems they will catch up with you. I think the message also confirms her evilness early on in the play and her punishment later on. This is the final time we see Lady Macbeth in the play.


The battle is going on when Macbeth and Seyton hear a cry.


Seyton announces the death of Lady Macbeth �


“The queen, my lord, is dead.”


Macbeth responds by saying she would have died anyway in her life,


“She should have died hereafter;”


Shakespeare makes us feel sorry for both Macbeth and for Lady Macbeth as she killed herself while she was mad.


There are four main themes in Macbeth which are good and evil, appearance and reality, the natural and unnatural, and loyalty and treachery. They all apply to Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is evil and unloyal as she nearly killed Duncan and was plotting against him. She is also unnatural as she called for evil spirits to come into her.


We would expect Lady Macbeth to appear a typical noble person but in reality she is evil, and this is very unexpected for the audience as she reads the letter and without us knowing about her much, starts calling up evil spirits.


To conclude, I think Shakespeare does present Lady Macbeth as fiendlike. She asks for evil spirits to come to her and immediately after reading the letter she assumes they have to kill Duncan straight away without even doubting it. She would even kill her own baby and rip out its brain. She wanted to be a man so she could kill Duncan as she thought a woman couldn’t do this physically, mentally and emotionally. She also uses her husband for a selfish reason and always uses her persuasiveness against her husband’s weak point to get what she wants.


Overall, she puts ambition above everything else, including her own child. When she wants something she would do anything to get it, even kill.


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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Supernatural Phenomenon

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The house I grew up in was over two hundred years old. There were newer additions added to the house but the older parts were made of logs with mortar in-between these logs that had horsehair as part of the mixture.


Growing up in this house has left me with some very interesting stories. On hot summer days, there would be cold drafts. Sweet smells of perfume. Objects would move and sway all by themselves. When no one else was around you would hear the sound of footsteps over squeaky floors. Out of all these strange occurrences there are two incidents that I will never forget.


As I lay in bed fast asleep a most unusual sensation come over my body and awoke me. I was lying on my back with my head turned towards the right. When I opened my eyes I heard the creak of the opening attic door in my bedroom. I saw a white, transparent, humanly figure appear in the doorway. It floated slowly across my bedroom. The door to exit my room then creaked as it opened and the humanly figure was gone. Lying there unable to believe my eyes, I tried calling out to my mother. I realized that I was unable to move, speak, or call out for help. Totally frozen. Paralyzed.


During the summers my cousin Cathy would spend the night with me. My room was a typical teenagers room with papers, clothes and other debris on the floor. One night while we lay in bed with the lights off talking we heard the sounds of footsteps, which made the papers on the floor crinkle. We both immediately stopped talking.


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Did you hear that? I asked.


Yes I did, where is the cat? she said.


The cat is outside, I replied.


The crinkling footsteps stopped when Cathy and I began talking. Once we realized the cat was not making the noise we pulled the covers up over our heads. We lay there silently uncertain as to what we should do. She finally got up enough courage to run across the room and turn on the light switch. We slept the rest of the night with the lights on.


After all of these years, my mind is unable to forget these two supernatural phenomenons. I will always wonder, who were these visitors of mine? Why did they make their presence known to me? These experiences make for great stories when people find out that I lived in a haunted house. I will forever remember my ghostly





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Friday, May 20, 2011

cultural of thailand

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Cultural Analysis


Introduction


Thailand is a meeting place, where people of diverse backgrounds have come together to pool their culture and racial characteristics, giving rise to something new, strong and vital. With a territory and population about the same size as France, Thailands people are mostly ethnic Thai, with other ethnic groups mixed in Burmese, Chinese, Lao, Khmer and hilltribes. The people are mostly Buddhist, less than 10 percent believe in other faiths Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Brahmanism





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History


There are conflicting opinions as to the origins of the Thais. Three decades ago it could be said with presumed certainty that the Thais originated in Northwestern Szechuan in China about 4,500 years ago and later migrated down to their present homeland. However, this theory has been altered by the discovery of remarkable prehistoric artifacts in the village of Ban Chiang in the Nong Han District of Udon Thani Province in the Northeast. These include evidence of bronze metallurgy going back ,500 years, as well as other indications of a far more sophisticated culture than any previously suspected by archaeologists. It now appears that the Thais might have originated here in Thailand and later scattered to various parts of Asia, including some parts of China.


Geography


The Kingdom of Thailand, located in Southeast Asia on the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, shares boundaries with Myanmar (Burma) on the west and northwest, Laos on the east and northeast, Cambodia (Kampuchea) on the southeast, and Malaysia on the south. Thailand, although rich in rubber and in mineral resources, was never colonized by Europeans and has existed as a unified monarchy since 150. The capital, BANGKOK, an attractive blend of Western and Thai architecture, was established in 178.


Thailand covers a land area of 51,115 square kilometers, from North 5° 0¨ to 1° and from East 7° 0¨ to 105° 0¨, and extends about ,500 kilometers from north to south and 1,50 kilometers from east to west, with a coastline of approximately 1,840 kilometers on the Gulf of Thailand and 865 kilometers along the Indian Ocean.


Social Institutions


-Family


Perhaps the best way to comprehend Thai social values is to focus on its basic unit, the Family, and in particular the rural family in its typical village setting. Generations living under one roof, or at least under several roofs within the same compound; and it is here that the Thai child learns codes of behavior that will guide him throughout much of his later life, whether it is spent in the village or beyonds.


In a village, home is usually a simple wooden house raised on posts; domestic animals like buffalos, pigs, and chickens are kept below, and the family lives above, often in a single room. There is little privacy, though this is not as highly regarded as in Western countries, and the communal lift style instills a strong sense, of social harmony in which tact, compromise, and tolerance are essential. The father is regarded as the leader, but the mother also plays a significant role, particularly in the family finances.


-Education


The education system in current practice provides six years at the primary level, three years at the lower secondary level, three years at the upper secondary level, and four years at the tertiary level. Although only six years of primary schooling are now compulsory, a project to widen access to lower secondary level has been actively implemented nationwide by a special Cabinet approval since 187. The widening access is a first step towards an eventual goal of nine-year compulsory education.


Religion and Aesthetics


The Thais have their own culture (including literature, drama, architecture, music, painting, sculpture, folk dances, and many handicrafts), their own language, their own cuisine, their own martial arts, and their own beliefs. Though many fortuitous Indian and Chinese cultural traits have partially influenced Thai culture in many aspects, it is the mixture of these and Thai eclecticism that has, over the centuries, developed the idiosyncratic culture that is unique to Thailand.


Towards the end of the 1th century, a passion for the outward trappings of Western culture manifested itself in Thailand. However, the more refined Thai arts and crafts, such as those elegant accessories and ceremonial objects created for use in royal palaces, aristocratic homes, and Buddhist temples, were not entirely suppressed by the newfound taste for Western goods. Such items, displaying the highest levels of skill, had originated in the first independent Thai capital of Sukhothai and continued to be produced through the 400-year rule of Ayutthaya, and into the Rattanakosin, or Bangkok, Period. They and their creators were known as chang, which roughly means craft or craftsmen. Production of such refined crafts increased enormously in the Ayutthaya Period. To supply these needs, a large body of chang evolved, passing their specialized skills down from master to apprentice and eventually forming a hierarchy of their own.


Living Conditions


Though the great majority of Thailand’s 61 million people are ethnically Thai and Buddhist, the country has a substantial number of minority groups who have historically lived together in harmony. Of these, the Chinese are perhaps the most numerous (particularly in urban areas), though they have become so thoroughly assimilated it would be difficult to isolate them as a distinct group. Similarly, while there are Lao and Khmer groups in the Northeast and East, nearly all regard themselves as Thai, culturally as well as by nationality. More clearly defined as an ethnic group are the Muslims, who are mainly concentrated in the southern provinces, and assorted hill tribes who live in the far North; there are also sizeable communities of Hindus and Sikhs in large cities like Bangkok.


Some 80 percent of all Thais are connected in some way with agriculture, which, in varying degrees, influences and is influenced by the religious ceremonies and festivals that make Thailand such a distinctive country.


Language


The official national language, spoken by almost 100 per cent of the population, is Thai, classified by linguists as belonging to a Chinese -Thai branch of the Sino -Tibetan family. It is a tonal language, uninflected, and predominantly monosyllabic. Most polysyllabic words in the vocabulary have been borrowed, mainly from Khmer, Pali, or Sanskrit. Dialects are spoken in rural areas. Principal other languages are Chinese and Malay. English, a mandatory subject in public schools, is widely spoken and understood, particularly in Bangkok and other major cities.





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Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Company Man

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The Company Man, written by Ellen Goodman in the 170s, was written to illustrate how a family can be damaged by a father doing the right things the wrong way. Ellen Goodman used the example of Phil, an over-weight married father of three and successful business man, to get her point across. To Phil, work came before anything else, including his family, his happiness, and his health. Phil died on a Sunday, which is ironic because that was his only day off. This essay shows that Ellen Goodmans idea about company men in general is that they neglect what is most important for something trivial like a promotion or a raise. Phil was so blinded by what he thought was important that he spent his entire life focused on work, never seeing the bigger picture and what mattered the most--his family.


With good intentions in mind to be a good father and provide for his family, Phil went overboard. This is shown on one instance when Goodman writes, He worked six days a week, five of them until eight or nine at night, during a time when his own company had begun the four-day week for everyone but the executives. Phil never had time for anything outside of his work, not even his family.


His wife, Helen, gave up the battle of competing with his work, finally seeing that she would, at best, only come second. It is clearly shown in the essay that although Phils physical body has just passed, his emotional body died a long time ago. This point is shown in a comment made at the funeral directed to the wife from a co-worker when he said,I know how much you will miss him. And Helens reply was,” I already have.


Phils oldest child, a son, is following in his fathers footsteps, working the majority of the time, as an executive in a manufacturing firm. He rarely sees or even speaks with his family. Goodman shows in just a few words that the son has no shame when she states, In the day and a half before the funeral, he went around the neighborhood researching his father, asking the neighbors what he was like.


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When talking about Phils middle child a girl, Goodman shows that the daughter longs for relationships. Goodman writes, She lives near her mother and they are close, but whenever she was alone with her father, in a car driving somewhere, they had nothing to say to each other. This statement shows that the daughter is open to relationships, but doesnt really know her father well enough to have one.


Again we see the damage that is being done in the family by the father when Goodman talks about the youngest child, a son. This child always tries to grab at his father and show him that he cares. No matter what he does, he never seems to get through to his father. Because the son fails to catch his fathers attention, he is living a life that will lead to nowhere, finding enough odd jobs to smoke marijuana and eat.


So much damage was done by the way that Phil chose to live his life. Not intentionally but obliviously, he causes so much destruction that wont just go away because of his death, but will continue to destroy more lives if there isnt a turning point in the lives that were hurt to begin with, Phils family. Phil was so blinded by what he thought was important that he spent his entire life focused on work, never seeing the bigger picture and what mattered the most -- his family.





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Sunday, May 15, 2011

the one

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A Cultural Approach


The cultural and developmental aspects of American history in the 17th and 18th centuries are certainly among the most important and influential factors in the shaping of this countrys long and storied history. Historiographically speaking, there are undoubtedly thousands upon thousands of different studies and opinions on the most influential cultural strides of early Americans well as the pros and cons that each colonial region developed in shaping America and readying it for the Revolutionary Era. Each of these four studies brings a slightly different and even, at times, conflicting approach to analyzing the cultural and social roots of early America, but each one provides a fresh perspective that enhances the idea that America is a true melting pot of ideas, social values, and cultural traits.


Zuckerman, in his article, focuses his attention on the middle colonies and the erroneous tendencies of historians to ignore controversial or pertinent historical issues in favor of obvious, harmless social arguments. Historians have focused on New England as the true birthplace of America because of its early literature and thought that focused solely on Puritanism, and therefore offered an obvious and easy starting point with which to measure the regions cultural metamorphasis. However, as Zuckerman points out, New England was fairly unrepresentative of the real America, as it was a homogenous society dominated by English Puritans and their inflexible doctrines and unstatic customs and economy. The middle colonies, on the other hand, were made up of people of many different origins, races, and creeds, and their interrelationships are definitely more symbolic of American culture. Like most peoples idea of America, the middle colonies developed a commercial culture ba!


sed on a balanced economy, and, besides that, showed no real homogenous cultural traits that ran through the region. Indeed, most of the different groups that coexisted in this region did not intermingle with each other at all, but instead kept their own distinctive cultural and social habits. Because of this, the argument can be made that the middle colonies were not the heterogenous, melting pot culture that Zuckerman claims existed. After all, heterogenous seems to suggest a fusion of different types of people, when in fact these colonies offered more of a clannish type of policy when it came to dealing with their new neighbors. However, the simple fact that they coexisted with relative peace in such a dynamic and volatile atmosphere is evidence enough that the middle colonies were indeed representative of Americas melting pot reputation.


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Jack Greene hypothesizes that the idea of mastery and the relationship between the new colonies and Great Britain were foremost in shaping Americas colonial culture. Greene suggests that the idea of the English who migrated to the Americas was to achieve mastery over the rugged land of America as well as other groups, a mastery that was unavailable to them in their homeland. The problem with this mastery hypothesis is that it covers only the English migration to the New World, and only a relatively small portion of that group. After all, many English people chose to relocate to America for a wide variety of reasons that had nothing to do with mastery over others, and mastery was surely not at the top of their wish list once they arrived in the New World. Greene also advocates relating the culture of colonial America back to that of Great Britain, and that technique can be useful in some ways, such as delineating the differences between the two areas. However, taking thi!


s approach too far can be extremely dangerous, as the English in America were quick to develop cultural traits that had no connection whatsoever to their homeland and a comparison of some of these cultural aspects would only serve to confuse. Also, the many people who came to America from countries besides England would not fit into this historical approach.


Mintz and Price focus their concentration on the development of a distinct Afro-American culture in the New World. Their conclusion that the majority of Afro-American customs and cultures were consummated in the New World and did not directly stem from any particular pre-migration group culture seems sound, even if some of their methods of documentation are somewhat dubious. Their hypothesis can also help to understand the European migration to the Americas, as it seems that the development of mainstream American culture would undergo a similar pattern. With many different people arriving from Europe, it is logical to assume that their intermingling would cause a similar merging of cultural traits that they brought from their birthplaces. Greene would argue differently, and it is true that the fusion of a single American culture took a longer time to develop, but it is certainly likely that the European contingent in the New World underwent similar processes in becoming a!


n independent and self-sufficient group.


Finally, McCusker and Menard, like Zuckerman, focus on the middle colonies and their influence on the colonial period, but their concentration is centered on the commercial aspects of middle America. They see the middle colonies as more of a commercial balancing point between the plantation dominated southern colonies and the manufacturers of New England. Like Zuckerman, they believe that because the middle colonies offered such a balance in commercial capabilities as well as native inhabitants, that they should be seen as the focal point of America in its early years. Menard and McCuskey do give New England more credit than does Zuckerman, as they show that New England did indeed lead the way in foreign trade capabilities, but they also document the rise of Philadelphia and New York as the major urban areas ofAmerica by the mid 18th Century. Overall, Menard, McCuskey and Zuckerman take a similar view on the importance of the middle colonies in colonial America.





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assyrian art and culture

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Assyrian Art and Culture


Art is an ancient and unique way of expression made with a creative skill giving the piece form and beauty that are often particular to a specific race and culture. Every culture has its own way of life, along with its own beliefs. These two points are major factors in the unique artwork that each culture produces. This is no less true of the ancient Assyrian culture. There is no doubt that the art produced by the Assyrians reflect that culture.


Assyrian culture was established in northern Mesopotamia, and over time began to dominate that area. In about 1400 BCE the Assyrians had become a powerful group. In years that followed they proved their dominance and power by ruthlessly taking control of neighboring countries. Opposing countries tried to defend themselves and their land but the Assyrians were too swift and violent. They kept, forcefully, spreading their way of life and by about 00 BCE they controlled most of the Mesopotamian areas. Their artistic and cultural influence was widespread, and went far past the boundaries of Mesopotamian to countries such as Egypt.1 The Assyrian power came quickly and with a vengeance but as fast as the power came, it vanished. By about 600 BCE, because of enemies inside and outside of the Assyrian empire, the Assyrian empire collapsed. However, the spread of influence that Assyria had passed on to neighboring countries, was already accomplished.


Today, there is little information known about Assyrian life. The information that has recently been gathered is based on the clues from the architecture and works of art created by that culture. The bits and pieces of information in each piece were slowly put together over a long period of time. Discovering the history of Assyria was a difficult task that has not been and probably never will be completed. As much as the art of the culture was helpful there is simply not enough for a good sense of their culture. Excavations and research should have been helpful in constructing a history of the empire, however the lack of experience and modern techniques on the part of earlier researchers has caused previous assumptions to be invalidated. The research was thrown out because of the inaccuracy of the studies. There were inaccuracies such as mistakes of dates and a great deal of research that was based on opinion rather than fact. All the new studies of the culture have been done using the art as a way of understanding the history of the empire.


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The capital cities that were built for the Assyrian Empire expressed the Assyrians’ artistic nature through their architecture of their buildings. Most Assyrian architecture is in northern Mesopotamia. The capital cities along with the culture were strategically placed between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers for the empire’s protection, transportation, and water supply. This is a great area to have a culture grow successfully. The Assyrian way of life was dependent on these two rivers. In most cases each capital city that was built with sections of the massive structures partially on top of these rivers. These massive palaces took long periods of time to build. The natural resources of the Mesopotamian area were used as building materials in Assyrian architecture. The area was rich in alluvial mud but lacked stone and lumber. Sometimes stone was imported into the culture and was mostly used for the sculpting, but stone was a resource that never went to waste. These massive cities were made almost entirely of mud bricks using the labor of all the citizens’.4 The Assyrians did not experiment with their architecture like other cultures did; they only created rectangular cubes for the basis of their architecture. This made the structures fairly simple but the sizes of these palaces were amazing, all the while sending a visual message of strength and dominance.


Between about 88-854 BCE was the pinnacle of Assyrian strength. During this period, under the reign of Ashurnaisrpal II was the construction of Kalhu. Kalhu, also known today as Nimrud, was the capital city of Assyria and had shown the power of their culture. Nimrud was constructed of mud-brick with walls extending five miles long and forty-two feet high. Often these mud-bricks had words and stories inscripted on them that gave a lot of detailed history about Assyria. Inside the city walls was a world separated from the outside. A world that contained all the necessities to be self-sufficient which eliminated the need for outside travel. Dominating this world was a seven-story ziggurat or step tower that supported a religious temple at its peak. The temple, like the entrance, was an impressive and beautiful blue tinted brick that sparkled during the day.5 The Assyrian architecture was massive and heavily guarded in comparison to surrounding countries. This idea of architecture was created to send a fearful message of superiority to others.6


The Assyrian artwork is the most obvious reflection of the Assyrian culture. The majority of the ancient artworks of Assyria were sculptures, paintings or relief sculptures of scenes depicting war, kings’ tributes, Lamassus, and superiority over beasts. These artistic decorations covered the huge, plain brick walls of the palace.7 Most of the paintings, sculptures, and relief sculptures for this time period were of the king in scenes with beasts of nature. There were pictures such as The Lion Hunt and Ashurnaisrpal I at the Chase, which show the beautifully dressed and large body of the king having complete domination over the beast or the evil.8 The king would want to be shown this way because his followers would look up to him in admiration and see him as a fearless ruler. Scenes of war were also prominent. These were images that show the viewer how non-Assyrians were looked down upon, making Assyrians look dominant. These pictures in some ways were very naturalistic and showed intense emotion and gore. The most narrative pictures were found deep within the throne room of the palace. These pictures showed the goals of power that were attempted by the empire. They also showed graphic scenes of military acts on surrounding countries. This content gave excellent information about the hostility and aggressiveness of the Assyrians.10 These paintings are probably the most striking achievements of Assyrian art.


Along with paintings and architecture sculpture was greatly used. Most were low relief sculptures, also pertaining to the king, religion, war, and hunts. However, the most recognized Assyrian sculpture is an image of the winged human headed bull, also called a Lamassu. This th century sculpture was renewed to the world’s eyes in 1847 in Paris. This is a high relief sculpture that greatly epitomizes the Assyrian culture. It looks very powerful and demands attention because of its size and odd appearance. It is massive piece of work nearly reaching 18 ft. tall while most other Lamassu sculptures that have been found are around 15 ft. tall. They were placed at the entrance of the Citadel as the guardian animal, setting the scary mood of the palace. They were placed at the entrance to intimidate and give the feeling of being overpowered to anyone that wanted to enter the palace. It had strangeness because of its five legs, which showed stability, bull body, which showed strength, and with a human head and wings that showed humanity but with god-like strengths. They attempted to provoke fear in anyone who saw it. The Assyrians wanted to be feared, and this was the perfect figure to capture that feeling.11 The category of Assyrian art and architecture was a major contribution to ancient art history.1


Assyrian art had a major influence on many cultures and before their downfall, was a large and powerful. The Assyrians reigned from 00-600 BCE and were very militaristic in culture. They were warriors and their culture greatly reflects the work it had produced.








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Friday, May 13, 2011

Blah Blah

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Many of Ernest Hemingways books have had different meaning and all could be interpreted in different way, but there has never been so much written about his other stories. Well the Old Man and the Sea had more written about it than any of his other novels and there have never been so many different types of interpretations about his other novels. The Old Man and the Sea is a book in which can be interpreted in many different ways. Here you will read what many critics have composed about the story of a great writer, Ernest Hemingway. Many of the critics have the same outlook on the works of Hemingway. Hemingways work The Old man and the Sea can be looked at in many different perspectives. All the critics believed that his styling of writing was very defined.


In 144 Ernest Hemingway went to Havana, Cuba and it was there he wrote a letter to Maxwell Perkins which states he has a idea on a new novel called The Old Man and the Sea ( Nelson and Jones 1). Hemingway first got his idea for The Old Man and the Sea from the stories that he had heard in the small fish cities in Cuba by a man named Carlos Gutierrez. He had known of this man for about twenty years and the stories of the fighting marlins. It was then that he imagined that man under the two circumstances and came up with the idea. After about twenty years of pondering on the story , he decided that he would start on the novel of The Old Man and the Sea. The story The Old Man and the Sea is about a old man named Santiago who has to over come the great forces of nature. Things seem to always go wrong for him because originally he started out going to fish for some dinner, then he caught the biggest marlin ever and it pulled him out in the bay of Cuba even more then he was. After he was pulled out, he hurt his hands and couldnt risk going to sleep because of the risk of sharks. When the sharks finally attacked he lost the marlin which had become a great part of him because he knew that no one would believe him when he told them the size of the marlin. This has to be one of the most memorable fights in a novel that I have ever seen, but I think that the way he put the novel together was just as good as that of the fight.


When he put them together it was then that he relized that what he was actually writing about was a struggle of man vs. nature. He liked the idea of man vs. nature and decided to use it in the struggle scene with the marlin. Magill wrote, the book can be seen as a fable of the unconquerable spirit of man, a creature capable of snatching spiritual victories from the circumstances of disaster and material defeat (Magill 45). Also it is said, the conflict is of the strength of a ordinary man and the power of nature(Magill 45). I feel that Santiago plays a large role in the novel by being able not to give in and prove to the element of nature that he would over come them in the long run.


Magill wrote, The Old Man and the Sea is a direct descendant of Moby Dick(Magill 46). He feels that the struggle between Santiago and the marlin is very much like that of the whale and the captain in Moby Dick. The similarities between The Old Man and the Sea and Moby Dick are extremely noticeable after reading both of the stories back to back, but there are differences in the story line. The main difference is that Santiago never comes out with anything unlike the captain in Moby Dick. Santiago was left with just a broken boat, a bad fishing pole, and the misery of defeat.


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The story could also be interpreted as being religious because of the struggle that Santiago was put though. Also it is felt by some people to be religious because of the way he only cut his palms( from the rope), his feet( on the front of the boat) and his head(when the bow hit him in the head). It is often portrayed as that of Jesus on the cross. I dont know if I really agree with this interpretation of it being religious. The reason I dont agree with this is because if everytime someone got cut on the hands and feet in a movie or book then I guess that they too resemble that of Jesus on the cross.


This story has many different interpretations to it, but would the interpretations be if the story contained everyone from the village in it and sowed how the were raised, born, educated, and bore children. This story could have been well over a thousand pages if the above were included (Plimpton 15). The big question that I ask is though, if all the above were included in the novel, how different do you think that the interpretation would be? I feel that the interpretations would be so very different because the whole story be circled around that of the battle between Santiago and the marlin. Also, I believe that the religious interpretations would be not as strong because of dealing more with the life of the city people and that of Santiago.


Hemingway is a writer who creates things out of his head. If he wasnt a genius then how come did he win a Pulitzer Pride for the story The Old Man and the Sea Hemingway states, I knew two or three things about the situation, but I didnt know the story I didnt even know if that big fish was going to bite for the old man when it started smelling around the bait. I had to write on inventing out of knowledge. You reject everything that is not or cant be completely true.(Bruccoli 17) I think that Hemingway is a genius for writing this novel because in my point of view it shows the battle between human and nature and that really caught my attention rereading this novel for the third time. I also caught the moral of the story in my point of view, and that is not everything good that you have is always going to be there. To me that means alot because that moral also refers alot about your family as well as friends.


Hemingway is looked upon as one of the greatest writers to ever set foot on this earth in the twentieth century. He is a writer who is know for leaving very little left unsaid or leave you wondering, for example, whats going to happen, is he gonna die or not. As you could see in this novel he got to the point in a direct manner without leaving anything unsaid and he definitely didnt leave you thinking about if Santiago was going to live or not.


Many people do not like the writings of Ernest Hemingway because they feel most everything that he writes about is unhappy or make believe. Fredrick Busch said at one point in time , He didnt want to read that of which was unhappy or make believe referring to Hemingways work (Bryfonski 10). Many have said to believe that The Old Man and the Sea was written about the life of Ernest Hemingway, which in reality it was written about a Cuban by the name of Carlos Gutierrez. However some of the parts in this story do relate to things Hemingway has experienced.


In conclusion, The Old Man and the Sea can be interpreted in many different forms, but I think it isnt how you interpret it. Dont get me wrong some people like to read to see how many ways you can interpret it but , you should read a novel to learn from others mistakes and also for the pleasure of expanding you knowledge American and English literature. I could name many different books in which I have read that have actually left a impact on my life in some sort or another.





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Monday, May 9, 2011

Sports

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My Moment As A Sports Hero


Golf, what a sport hey? I honestly would have never thought that playing golf would have been such a joyous experience and extremely fun. I know now that it is a completely different feeling when you participate in a sport then watching it on television. Golf has really gotten a bad reputation from people, and also the way it is portryayed in movies as a dumb and meaningless sport. That is how the ridiculous analogy came about, that all golfers wear plaid pants with their socks up to their knees along with some ugly hat. Come on, it is so much different than that, golf is one of the most hardest sports I have ever played. It takes a lot of skill, coordination and accuracy to play golf, and for my first time out on the course I can say that I definitely did not display any skill whatsoever or so I thought.


It was on a Sunday morning, and when I say morning I mean my dad and I were two of the early birds on the course. Our tee off time was 800am, and you could still see the dew that had formed on the grass overnight. The air was still moist but a gentle breeze came around every so often and swept the leaves on the fairway. So far, everything seemed interesting and peaceful but one thing was for sure, the golf course was just beautiful, with its brightest green fairways, golden sand traps, and enormous trees.


When my dad and I were called to tee off at the first hole, I remember that all of a sudden my heart began to skip a couple beats and my hands were getting moist. I recall my thoughts at that moment, I was telling myself over and over, Why am I getting so nervous about hitting that dumb little white ball. Honestly, how hard can it be right! Well actually it was very difficult because I missed the ball the first time and then by luck I made contact with my second swing. Right away my self-esteem took a plunge and the fact that I am such a competitive person made it worse. Whenever I am unsuccessful at something, I get upset and am very disappointed. Having my dad by my side really made me feel better because he kept telling me that I was doing well for someone who has never played golf in their entire life. He said I was a natural.


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As we walked from one hole to the next, I was improving by the minute and I could recognize from my dads face that he was very happy for me. Then we were approaching the eighteenth hole, which is the last hole in the game but we had to wait a bit because the group in front of us was holding us up. That was one of the things I didnt like, youre ready to hit your ball but you cant because some other person is front of you taking their time and holding you up. Anyways, as I stepped up to the tee I was feeling so relaxed and calm. I guess it was because I was more comfortable now and I had an idea of what I was doing. As I stood over my ball I felt very confident, and I knew I would not miss this time. It was amazing! I made solid contact with the ball and it flew nice and straight through the air and then down the fairway. My dad and I were really happy and I knew at that point that this was only the first of many games that we would be playing this year.





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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Society's Worth

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Leadership is an important aspects of any society. The nature, man inherited from his fall, requires there to be rules and rulers. True leadership can only be effective when supported by the majority. Human nature can also cause conflicts to arise over who should have power and what that person should have authority over. Therefore, Division is born when these conflicts emerge, causing chaos to erupt.


William Golding’s The Lord of the Flies is a prime example of humanity’s need for authority. A society is formed when a plane full of English boys goes down. The boys are stranded on a deserted island without the presence of adults. The inevitable need for leadership arises once the boys have congregated. Two of the older boys, Ralph and Jack, appear to be the ones most suitable as leaders. Ralph is portrayed as the upright, democratic leader, who is the dynamic character, willing to listen to others and heed their advice. Jack is the selfish one, given to human nature and pride, never willing to change but only following his way. The clan of boys vote on which of the two should receive authority, choosing Ralph to be their guide. Ralph is a hard working leader who gives the people a voice. Many of the boys eventually stop listening to Ralph and turn to Jack . Jack begins to lead his own sect which eventually turns into the majority of the clan. Jack rules over the boys, stepping the group in ritualistic and immoral behavior. During Jacks reign two of the boys are murder and a hunt is on to find and kill Ralph. In the story Ralph symbolizes the good nature of man and true democracy, whereas Jack symbolizes anarchy, chaos, and the fall of man.


In conclusion man most be lead, for the demise of a people can many times be found in their higher authorities. Humans have a sinful nature and must be bound by rules. In order for rules to be followed the people must have a say in the laws and leader they will be subjected to.


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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Harrison Bergeron

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Science Fiction has been famous for stretching the imagination of the reader. Even though “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, is not a “hard” Science Fiction story, since it show no relevance to real natural science; like Biology or Chemistry. It is taking the social views of Political Science, and putting that into focus. In addition, society’s idea of equality, made every American that was not treated unfairly, do something. It was also a great time to write this story, since it was during the time that Civil Rights were a big issue.


The story was being told in the third person and the narrator is an omniscient, and non-participant in the plot and setting. The setting is in the future, based in a living room, and the characters observing a live show on television. The antagonist is Harrison Bergeron, and is easily noticeable in the title of the story. The protagonist is the Handicapper General. The supporting characters are George and Hazel. Who are in the living room, and they give us clues, on the status, of society. They have to be reliable, since every person is equal. The tone of the story is consistent, since the narrator is not participating in the story. We would have to assume that he is confident and omniscient.


Their are two forms of symbolism that is showing in the story. One of which is how the Constitution and the United States Handicapper General symbolizes equality. The other would be how society as a whole symbolizes equality.


There is no real foreshadowing in the story. It is more of a social commentary on current events in that time. The narrator told the story as it went along, and made points of past events to help accommodate the reader, on what was going on. The idea of telling a “soft” Science Fiction story is to tell a scientific view of the future, using subjective views. For example, the main idea of the story was derived from the concepts of Political Science; thus, the ideas of Civil Rights.


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Well, in the climax of the story, we learn that total equality may not be a good thing; especially, when Harrison Bergeron makes his big appearance, in the television studio. When Harrison takes off his handicaps in front of the country, it creates a giant change in mood. Then, he takes the ugly mask off the beautiful woman, and they start dancing. Harrison was giving his idea that natural beauty is far better than forced-equal beauty.


In the conclusion of the story, when death comes to both Harrison and the beautiful girl by the Handicapper General, that shows how control mixed with beliefs will always overcome. Then through the technology of this era, everybody ends up forgetting about the whole incident is forgotten.


This story was written during a time when Civil Rights were making a big impact on society. Moreover, this story is related to the social science aspect. This story was just a commentary of how our future could look like, if we keep taking issues like this seriously. Even though it is very unlikely, Vonnegut made a great interpretation on the common beliefs and ideas about humankind.





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Friday, May 6, 2011

Management People & Organizations

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INTRODUCTION


A&B, a strong ethical chain of department stores, selling clothes, food and hardware, faces insurmountable obstacles to its survival as many of the structural factors that have provided the basis for the company’s success are under threat. Radical changes in the retail market make the company to loose ground in market share and, consequently, to have to reconsider all elements of its activities. Hence, as an attempt to recover, A&B’s managing director proposed to remodel staff attitudes and set customer care as the primary focus of activity, in other worlds to adopt a more flexible firm model.


THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE PROPOSED FLEXIBLE FIRM MODEL





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Formal organization, organizational culture, structure and characteristics of the employees are key variables constraining the entire change process.


The flexible firm model will enable A&B to remove hierarchical levels and to introduce a flatter organizational structure, which may lead to reduced costs. This structure may increase the quality of working life, as it draws on many people’s skills and expertise necessary for rapid decision-making. Moreover, with the flexible structure, decentralized management and control will be increased. Some decisions will be made by individual smaller centers, whilst centers still report to the central control. This situation will give divisional managers some freedom to experiment with new ways of working and make decisions as best fits the circumstances at the time as they ‘know best’ how to act in their own local sphere of responsibility. But, it is worth noting that “because flat organizations have fewer levels of management, with fewer supervisors and middle managers, vertical communication between the workforce and senior management may be hindered”. (Leicester 001, .7-.8)





In general, employees resist a change as they fear will take away something of value. A proposed change in job design, structure may lead to a real or perceived loss of power, prestige, pay, or company benefits. The fear of personal loss is perhaps the biggest obstacle to organizational change (Donnelly, Gibson & Ivancevich 187, 44). Undoubtedly, according to propose that all the employees’ full-time contracts will become part-time will cause job insecurity. This arises from the fact they will loose all the privileges and benefits previously had and moreover will feel treat of loosing their jobs, as their contracts may not be renewed.


Job insecurity among employees leads to job dissatisfaction. There may be more of a dominant assumption that inputs are offered with the expectation of a like response. Therefore, according to the ‘Expectancy Theory’, if the outcomes, such as pay, recognition, benefits and other rewards that are available from high effort and good performance, are not valued by employees, motivation will be lower. (Daft 00, 556&557)


As stated by Abraham Maslow in his ‘Hierarchy of Needs Theory’, employees are motivated by multiple needs. The first need in the hierarchical order is the Physiological need that in the organizational workplace is reflected in the need for a base salary to make certain survival. The next one has to do with the need for job security; therefore, security needs could be aroused at work when there is uncertainty about continued employment with the company. Subsequently, social needs act as important motivators of behavior when the individual has a need to belong to a group at work, which, for example, influences the desire for developing good relationships with co-workers, participation in a work group, giving and receiving friendship, understanding, and finally a positive relationship with supervisors. Esteem needs include the recognition as a result of efficient and effective job performance and the need to establish status in the organization. At the bottom of the hierarchy is the self-actualization need that provides employees with opportunities to grow and to be creative. Managements’ blocking or frustrating of these needs can lead to potentially dangerous implications for employees’ safety attitudes and balancing behaviors; resistance to budget pressures, antagonism, and an unwillingness to cooperate. (Daft 00, 54&550)





The effect job insecurity can have not only on a range of important individual outcomes but also on organizational. Employee’s motivation affects organization productivity, as it is worldwide known that people are the most crucial resource in any organization. Therefore, an organization is effective only if it is staffed by talented and highly skilled employees that effectively discharging their assigned duties (Donnelly, Gibson & Ivancevich 187, 46). Differently, low employee motivation goes hand-in-hand with low organizational performance and profits (Daft 00, 546&547}. Employees who feel that their jobs are insecure may prefer to close the eyes to critical safety policies and ‘cut corners’ to maintain or enhance their production numbers in an effort to retain their job. (Probst & Brubaker 001, 1-15)


Now, concerning the propose that wants A&B to run on a franchising basis, will allow the organization to transfer risk in an uncertain market while retaining control of suppliers, prices and business style. In the main, franchising is a powerful tool for a business firm to gain revenues and market share with no financial risk and low cost,


The emergence of low cost products is due to the fact that A&B faces competition from a new generation of fashion shops, which source their products from low labour costs. In response, the director proposed the ending of the contract with Smith & Co with the intention of enabling A&B to buy many of its imports from the third world and consequently to be able to offer low prices for goods.


In addition, the establishment of new specialist boutiques and other facilities, like restaurants, within the store, it may help to recover. When Marks & Spencer lost ground in the market, in order to reassert its position as a leading started to look at the Food Business; it established stand-alone food stores, ‘Simply Food’, and moreover ‘Caf� Revive’. Turning to Food, Marks & Spencer had unique strengths in the fastest-growing sectors of the market. The positive responses from customers led Marks & Spencer to build market leadership in this category. But also at the same time, it started to regain market share in the core business, clothing. Anon1 (00)


Finally, the transfer of the company from Scotland to England means that A&B needs to be prepared for a different culture, as it is worldwide known that managing a business in a town may be far different to managing a business in another town. (Leicester 001, .7)


Indeed, A&B’s programme of change is not an expression of mutual trust and reciprocal emotional obligations between the company’s employees and its management. Rather, it is an alternative control mechanism and should be understood as such. A&B, as every organization, is related to its environment and therefore different situations will require different culture and structure. Change is an essential requisite for its survival; it is necessary in order to achieve greater effectiveness and to improve competitiveness. But it is important to state that A&B can be successfully adaptive to the flexible firm model, only if employees may feel threatened by efforts to make radical changes in the organizations’ culture and structure.


CAN, AND HOW, A&B RECONCILE SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS STRATEGY AND FAIR ETHICAL EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES?


It is generally known that change thrusts an organization into uncertainty. This period of uncertainty requires the employees to trust their leaders and to stand behind their leader’s goals and vision in order to stay together as a team and focus on the objectives; ethical leadership can help foster that commitment. Therefore, to encourage employees to act on principle, an organization must be led by a chief executive who actually makes decision not only within business boundaries but also within ethical boundaries. Hackworth (1)


A&B’s employment decisions are based solely on the match of a candidate’s qualifications with the organization’s requirements. It complies with all laws with regard to prohibited types of discrimination against any employee, to include race, color, sex, national origin, age, religion. A&B is working very diligently to advance more minorities and women to its leadership groups.





It is worth noting that employees’ perception of how fairly they are treated by their company is of prime importance. Consequently, they require perceiving their compensation as equal to what others receive for comparable contributions. (Daft 00, 555)


The statement that managers’ contracts will remain full-time, it may cause discontent among employees, who may feel unappreciated as they give the same loyalty, patience, hours as managers, but in accordance with the new proposals they sense that will be not fairly and equally treated. But, it must be taken into account that managers and employees belong to a different group. The managers must be secure in their own positions. Insecure managers would perceive any participation by employees as a threat to their authority. They might view employee participation as a sign of weakness or as undermining their status. They must be able to give credit of good ideas and to give explanations for ideas of questionable merit. However, managers need to behave ethically; to manage their responsibilities in what is deemed an ethical fashion; to be trust; to be fair and equitable in their treatment of employees and to respect their rights as individuals. (Donnelly, Gibson & Ivancevich 187, 478-47)


Equal employment opportunity is basic to A&B’s values and enforcement of this policy is a vital part of management responsibility. Managers have the duty to be responsible for applying equal, fair and consistent criteria for selection, promotion and reward based on individual merit; employees will perform job for which they have the appropriate skills, abilities, and traits. Other avenues to address concerns with respect to this policy, specifically include the Open Door Policy; A&B may encourage employees to openly discuss ideas and concern with leadership. Employees will have the opportunity to talk with their leader at almost any time and should be as open as possible. It is important for employees to report any incident in which they feel they have been the recipients of harassment or have concerns about equal opportunity, affirmative action, and discrimination. Concerns can be brought to the attention of the supervisor or the personnel representative for the workplace. Anon (00)


Besides, when current employees have the skills to fill open positions are given a preference. A promotion-from-within policy will generate higher employee commitment, loyalty, development and satisfaction, as it will give opportunities for career advancement (Daft 00, 415). But also outside sources will be tapped, if the needed human resources are not available from within the company.


A&B, also, can use training programs in order to help employees understand the aim and the importance of a new strategy and moreover help them develop the necessary specific skills and behaviors to contribute to organizational performance (Daft 00, 568). As Burke argues, “although training may lead to individual change and in some cases to small group change, there is scant evidence that attempting to change the individual will in return change the organization” (Burnes 16, 178).


In order to be successful, A&B has to tap and direct the energy and talent of its workforce. This requires the removal of obstacles, which prevent this, and the provision of positive reinforcement, which promotes it. Carefully considered reward systems are likely to constitute an important source of motivation. A bonus scheme, for all employees, based on the output, sales or productivity of a particular work group will probably be an effort to encourage flexibility and cooperation among members of the group, and to some extent provide opportunities for the employees to decide for themselves how to achieve the required results. (Beardwell & Holden 17, 56)


To come to the point, A&B has a history as a good corporate citizen and behaving ethically is one of those essential values that it should maintain. Attention to ethics in the workplace helps ensure that when leaders and managers are struggling in times of crises and confusion, they retain a strong moral compass. Ongoing attention and dialogue regarding values in the workplace builds openness, integrity and community, critical ingredients of strong teams in the workplace. Employees feel strong alignment between their values and those of the organization; they react with strong motivation and performance.


DO ENVIRONMENTAL, ETHICAL, SOCIAL AND MANAGEMENT POLICIES OF AN ORGANIZATION AFFECT CONSUMERS’ PURCHASING CHOICES?


It is envisaged that environmental, ethical and social impacts have become the most important way of tracking the company’s progress. Increasingly, consumers are factoring companies’ business practices and perceived values into their purchasing decisions. Several companies that are typically associated with values-based business practices in the media and by consumers credit their commercial success, in large part, to brand loyalty among customers who support the company’s values and mission. BSR Staff (00)





In recent years concerns about damaging the natural environment have taken on a new importance. This increased focus on environmental issues is having a profound impact on many organizations, which must deal not only with changes required by specific laws and regulations, but with public perceptions. At McDonald’s, the clamshell debate is a prime example.


In 10, McDonald’s found itself in the middle of an animated debate surrounding its food packaging. At the heart of this debate lay the famous polystyrene ‘clamshells’ used to package McDonald’s hamburgers and other food products. Clamshell opponents argued that this was not an environmentally responsible packaging method, and that ‘greener’ methods were available. The Citizens Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste even organized a boycott against McDonald’s, with picketers in ‘Ronald McToxic’ clown suits. (Stoner, Freeman & Gilbert 15, 61)


This was not the first criticism levied against the clamshell. McDonald’s had previously confronted public outcries in the late 180s when voices were raised against the clamshell for its use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs); chemicals considered capable of destroying the stratospheric ozone layer. According to a survey by packaging designers Gerstman & Meyers, sixty percent of the respondents believed that plastic packaging was the source of most of the solid-waste disposal problem. Considering the amount of polystyrene the company used became an easy target for angered environmentalists. Finally, the McDonald’s clamshell became a casualty of the growing environmental consciousness of the American public. So, at stake was the ‘golden’ image McDonald’s had worked so hard to achieve. (Stoner, Freeman & Gilbert 15, 61)


Initially, McDonald’s was reluctant to replace the clamshell unless it was absolutely necessary. So, McDonald’s responded to public concern by boosting polystyrene recycling endeavors. So, McDonald’s introduced a plan at 450 New England restaurants to recycle polystyrene plastic and corrugated cardboard garbage. In addition to its recycling efforts, McDonald’s agreed to work with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Furthermore, EDF Executive director told that the EDF would publicly refuse to endorse the recycling program. Eventually, in preserving its good public image McDonald’s decided to replace the clamshell with paper packaging, which although is not recyclable, it is nonetheless better for the environment. (Stoner, Freeman & Gilbert 15, 7)


Attention to ethics and social responsibility are also strong public relations. The fact that an organization regularly gives attention to its ethics and social boundaries can portray a strong positive to the public. People see those organizations as valuing people more than profit.


The Body Shop was the first International cosmetics retailer to be approved in the USA for its non-animal testing policy under a common Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals. “The Body Shop’s animal protection management system covers the monitoring of raw materials used in its products and the assessment and rating of the practices of raw material suppliers against the Company’s Against Animal testing policy. These procedures are formally assessed against ISO 00 every six months, and since its first assessment in March 15, compliance has been successfully retained.” Anita & Roddick (17)


It is important to note that more than thirty percent of The Body Shop users see the Company as ethical, campaigning, thoughtful, socially conscious, caring and environmentally aware. Moreover, consumers maintain that The Body Shop’s stringent auditing standards that exist in the areas of animal protection are an important factor in their product choice. Anita & Roddick (17)


The General Motors Corporation has a long history of making considerable and varied charitable contributions to deserving external organizations, bringing wide-ranging benefits to the community. Over the years, the General Motors Corporation has been a main contributor to a variety of arts and cultural institutions; it continues to support these organizations in its effort to promote appreciation of the arts, recognition of diverse cultures and awareness of arts in education programs. Moreover, it maintains relationships with universities by offering grants not only to colleges and universities, but also providing direct support to students. Anon (00)


Also, in 000, General Motors Corporation initiated an effort to give a relief to those in crisis. During 001, when a devastating earthquake struck the entire Indian sub-continent, within hours, it responded with a contribution of $100,000 to aid in the earthquake relief efforts. But, one of their key philanthropic priorities is the Cancer Research, which established in 178 to recognize scientists throughout the world who had made seminal contributions in cancer research. All these activities were highlighted and gained favorable comment from the international press and as a result their public respect was enhanced. Anon (00)


Undeniably according to the above examples and many others, “companies need to be honest and less secretive in dealings with society, that they go beyond their legal obligations, that they do not market products with an unknown degree of risk, and that they refrain from activities which waste scare resources, or pollute or irreparably damage the environment” (Leicester University 001, .7). Predictability, which is one of the five dominants themes within the ‘McDonaldisation Thesis’, refers to the attempt to structure the environment so that surprise and ‘differentness’ do not encroach upon customers’ sensibilities. Predictability is the idea “that people prefer to know what to expect in all settings at all times” (Leicester University 001, 1.17). “The Internet has become a crucial weapon in the fight to make corporations more socially responsible” (Daft 00, 14), as there is the facility to speedily spread information on the Web and consequently consumers are provided with helpful information. It is pleasure to note that increasingly companies are web-based reporting.


CONCLUSION


Organizations are not in complete control of their own fate; they can be, and often are, affected by the environment in which they operate. So, to be effective organizations need to be adaptive to their changing environments. But simultaneously, attention to business ethics is critical throughout the change as it sensitizes leaders and employees to how they should act. Moreover, consumers who have become increasingly concerned about a range of valued issues consider the ethical and social standards that an organization has adopted.





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