mandag 30. januar 2012

"The Great Debaters"

Film Cover 
Today in class we watched "The Great Debaters" directed by Denzel Washington. It is inspired by the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. The film follows Tolson's three inspiring students and debaters, Henry Lowe, Samantha Booke and James L. Farmer Jr. They have all gained a spot on Tolson's debate team, and are considered very lucky and talented to be included. At the time there weren't equal rights between white and Negros, so the two colors weren't allowed to debate each other. However, that was about to change this year. In 1935-36, Tolson's debate team fought a nearly-undefeated season which resulted in the first debate competition between students from white and Negro colleges.

One thing that was quite obvious in the film was the differences between white and Negros. Another thing that I noticed, was the elder "wise" men's dominant role in the society. One in particular was the relationship between the debater James L. Farmer Jr. and his father, James L. Farmer Sr. He spoke to his son like a teacher would talk to his student, if not even stricter, and referred to him as "Junior" instead of his real name. I got the feeling that Mr. Farmer wanted his son to be just like him, successful and intelligent. However, this relationship develops throughout the film when Mr. Farmer realize that his son is quite a remarkable boy, and eventually begins to treat him like he should.
James L. Farmer Jr.

The debate team's  hard work and their countless victories led to an invitation to face Harvard University's national champions. After a cut-throat debate, Tolson's debate team conquers Harvard's champions. Although this was a great milestone, I must say I liked the one that happened some time before was more touching. When "Junior" was leaving to debate, James L. Farmer Sr. hugged his son good bye and for the first time he called his son James, his real name. I think that this shows how proud Mr. Farmer actually was, and the look on his son's face was so touching.  

søndag 22. januar 2012

"Lamb to the Salughter" by Roald Dahl

The best books I read as a child was written by Roald  Dahl, because they are so well written and easy to understand. "Matilda", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Witches" were the ones I enjoyed reading the most, I am sure I've read them  at least three times each. However, today in class we read "Lamb to the Slaughter" and later saw the dramatizing of it by Alfred Hitchcock. I am not sure if I have read or seen it before, but it was something about it that made me wonder if I have. I must say that I enjoyed reading it rather than watching it, mainly because there are some differences and I liked the version of Roald Dahl better.
Mary Maloney and one of the policemen in the background
Published in 1953, the novel gives us an insight in how it was like to be a married couple at the time. Mary Maloney is like usual prepared for her husband to come home from work, but this time something is different. There is a peculiar atmosphere filling the room as he walks in, and from the way he acts we can assume that he is going to leave her. Here is one point where I liked the novel better, because  Roald Dahl leaves the thinking to the reader , while Hitchcock's dramatizing confirms it immediately. Further, Mrs. Maloney walks in to the kitchen to make her husband supper, and comes out with a club of lamb. While Mr. Maloney is standing with his back towards her, she knocks the club on the back of his head and he falls over. The story ends when the policemen eat the roasted lamb, not knowing that it is the murder weapon they are putting into their mouths. Another thing that made the film less good, was the way Mary Maloney acted and her appearance . It wasn't what I had imagined from the reading, I imagined her to be more skinny and calm. I actually think that she was kind of annoying and not the perfect match of Mary Maloney. 

tirsdag 10. januar 2012

"She makes storytelling seem as easy as a birdsong"

Cover of the book
It has been a while since last time I read a book, but when my teacher recommended a book for me, I decided to give it a try. The reason why I don't read books is not particularly because I don't enjoy it, but I don't find time and calm to do it. However, the book that I was introduced for is "The Thing Around Your Neck", a collection of twelve novels. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the author, grew up on Nigeria and is the bestselling author of "Half of a Yellow Sun". Both of them have received great reviews and her writing is described so on: "She makes storytelling seem as easy as birdsong" - Daily Telegraph. 

So far I have read to of the novels, and I am looking forward to read more of them. however, I have done some analyzing to dig deeper into the stories. I have chosen two paragraphs from each novel to describe the plot and the development of the main character. Further I have explained why I chose these particular paragraphs.  

Novel: "The thing around your neck"
My Words
"You knew by people's reactions that you to were an abnormal couple - the way the nasty one were to nasty and the nice ones to nice. (…) The white men and women who said "What a good-looking pair" too brightly, too loudly, as though to prove their own open-mindedness to themselves." Page 125
The novel is about a young couple who finds it hard  to feel accepted by the society. At that time it was quite abnormal to see a couple of a black and a white, so it wasn't too hard to guess that they would get looks. The fact that most of the society didn't accept it is another story, one that luckily has been developed throughout the years.
Development of the main character
"So when he asked you what African country you were from, you said Nigeria and expected him to say that he had donated money to fight AIDS in Botswana. But he asked if you were Yoruba or Igbo, because you didn't have a Fulani face. You were surprised - you thought he must be a professor of anthropology at the state university, a little young in his late twenties or so, but who was to say? Igbo, you said. He asked your name and said Akunna was pretty. He did not ask what it meant, fortunately, because you were sick of how people said, "Father's wealth'? You mean like your father will actually sell you to a husband?""
I think that this moment really changed Akunna's view of Juan. Earlier she was very uncomfortable in Juan's  presence,  because she thought he was just another prototype American. But now she realized that he is a genuine, nice guy who just wants to be kind to her and learn more about her.

Novel: "Cell One"
My Words
"When he took the key of my father's car and pressed it into a piece of soap that  my father found before Nnamabia could take it to a locksmith, she made vague sounds about how he was just experimenting and didn't mean a thing." Page 6-7
I have chosen to use this quote to describe the plot of the story. This is mainly because it describes most of Nnamabia's actions, and a very important messages is to be found in this sentence. Nnamabia's mom let him do whatever he wanted, with no consequences given, which I think is why he did what he did. He is also described as a handsome young man, one thing that maybe let him do  more stuff.
Development of the main character
"Nnamabia stopped there and we asked him nothing else. Instead I imagined him raising his voice, calling the policeman a stupid idiot, a spineless coward, a sadist, a bastard, and I imagined the shock of the policemen, the shock of the chief staring openmouthed, the other cell mates stunned at the audacity of the handsome boy from the university." Page 21
This particular sentence shows us Nnamabia's development throughout the novel. From the way Nnamabia had acted earlier in the novel, this wouldn't be the expected behavior. After a stay in prison, he learn more about himself and the people around him. He saw people suffering, and realized that he didn't really had much to complain about.