About Me! Writing, Pickles, and Netflix

Hey everyone!

My name is Neia, I’m a 4th year arts student majoring in English Literature and minoring in Sociology. I’m from Richmond, BC and have lived in this city my whole life. Fun fact: I lived on campus for my first year and didn’t really enjoy myself as much as I could’ve because the person in the room next to mine would always blast loud house music at absurd hours (no hate to house music, I just enjoy sleeping is all). Sorry, as that sentence has perfectly shown, I’m pretty new to the whole blogging thing/ blogverse, so random comments may get interspersed throughout this introductory piece. Bear with me!

I spend a lot of my time in the Steveston area, partly because that’s where a lot of my friends live, and partly because I just absolutely love it there. Not sure if any of you are from that area, but I am obsessed with Timothy’s (ice-cream place). Espresso flake ice cream in a waffle cone… It’s all I eat. Not kidding. Oh, and since we’re on the topic of food, it’s worth noting that I am a big fan of pickles too.

While it may be a given since I am a lit major, I am really interested in writing and hope to get into a journalism program in the future. Aside from writing I enjoy reading, traveling (I love visiting New York in particular), binge-watching Netflix series (I am not kidding when I say that I am avid binge-watcher, currently taking suggestions**), and spending time with my family. I’m pretty big on spending time with my family; I have 3 brothers and I’m really close to all of them, along with my mom as well.

I’m excited for this course because I am interested in broadening my knowledge of Canadian authors and Canadian literature in general. I think it would be immensely beneficial to learn more about our country through the perspectives of fellow Canadians as well. I haven’t really done this whole online course thing, so I’m really excited to interact with all of you on here!

Okay, I guess that’s about it! Can’t wait to start learning with you guys!

– Neia

 

 

Sources:

Balao, Neia. “7 More Reasons Why Rey is the REAL Miss Universe” Buzzfeed. Buzz Feed, 11 Jan. 2016. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

Bate, Elizabeth. “Which Show On Netflix Should You Binge-Watch Next?” Buzzfeed. Buzz Feed, 17 Jul. 2015. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

Gay, Verne. “Best TV shows to stream online via Netflix, Hulu, more” Newsday. Newsday, 26 Dec. 2015. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.

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Survival In Auschwitz

I apologize for the late blog posts! But anyways,

With that being said, I thought that Survival in Auschwitz was undeniably, a remarkable piece. Not going to lie though, upon initially reading it, I was definitely a bit spooked.. like in the sense of, “whoa, this is a dark read.” Prior to reading Levi’s work, I did have quite a bit of background knowledge on the Holocaust, and the genocide. However, finally getting the chance to read a primary account was really touching. I was able to better recognize the struggle of the Jewish people, how they were completely disregarded simply because of the fact that they were not of the Arian race.

What I would say best stood out for me, was Primo Levi’s unyielding strength. In spite of it all, he still managed to find something to believe in. He believed in a better world, and ultimately, I think that is what enabled his freedom in the end of it all. Strength like that, in a place like that? I find that greatly admirable. Levi’s piece was by far, one of the darkest reads we have done thus far, obviously for the fact being that this isn’t some fictional piece that we can just shed off… but rather, this is history. We are reading an account from a man who went experienced the unimaginable and came out on top. I think that Survival in Auschwitz was one of my favourite reads this entire year. In spite of the fact that it was heavy and at times graphic, I thought the message was remarkable. Levi doesn’t write this account as a means of getting sympathy in return, or even as a means of making the reader hate the Germans for what they did. He wrote Survival in Auschwitz for the sole purpose of educating the reader; helping one understand history in more depth.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I felt privileged having gotten to read it from an individual who exhibited such immense strength during the Holocaust. I think that Levi’s piece is one that I will never forget, and it has also taught me to never take things for-granted as well. Reading this first hand account was an eye-opener, which makes this one of the best, at least in my opinion, thus far.

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Hernandez and Borges

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Regarding Borges and Daisy Dolls, I thought that his and Hernandez’ works were equally entertaining.

First though, I would say that Daisy Dolls was definitely a rather odd piece. The concept was no doubt intriguing, but I do think that at times, it had me feeling weird and eerie.. if that even makes sense. In some instances, I would say I found this piece to be rather sadistic, and the protagonist creating the scenes with the dolls a bit deranged, but nonetheless interesting. Hernandez definitely found a way to draw me back into the story time and time again. However in spite of Horatio’s odd, definitely weird ways, this piece is great. In spite of it being super strange and awkward, I did greatly enjoy it— and for whatever reason.. Horatio finds immense entertainment with dolls (I guess that’s respectable)…. to each his own I guess?

Now as for Borges, I’d say that he is one of the more complex and “deep” authors we have encountered. Now I say deep, mainly because of the Library of Babel. I found this to be my favourite Borges story, for the main reason that I thought the concept in itself, of a library carrying an infinite amount of books, some not even created yet, carrying each and every idea thinkable is truly remarkable. I found that this complex and revolutionary concept is what really drew me in to this particular story. I guess I just can’t seem to get over the whole idea of overlapping books.. of an endless abyss of books upon books upon books.. thoughts upon thoughts. Looking up several depictions of what this labyrinth of books would look like also didn’t help my obsession with this story and the way it would be in reality. Overall, I would say that I enjoyed this story a lot because of its idea. Not to say that Borges’ other stories didn’t intrigue me.. which they did.. but not nearly as much as this particular one did.

All in all, these stories are all intriguing and captivating in their own ways. They all have a rather strange and bizarre, yet enticing feature to them.. which is generally why I think they are so popular and renowned. The stories manage to convey a story that grasps the reader’s attention (like the Daisy Dolls and Library of Babel to me!) Thus, Daisy Dolls and the Library of Babel were of greatest interest to me.. probably because I enjoyed the concept and the peculiarity of their stories the most.

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The Metamorphosis & The Yellow Wallpaper

In my opinion, I found Kafka’s short story to intrigue me in more ways than some other pieces we have read so far. I thought that The Metamorphosis was an immensely compelling and tragic story. As I reader, I would say that it left me really pondering things, and wanting more out of the story. The fact that a normal man undergoes such a gruesome transformation so quickly, and in a flash.. his entire life gets robbed from him, is a depressing concept to grasp.  This isn’t a story that left me feeling satisfied or happy, to say the least. It is a tale that makes one feel absolutely miserable and confused. It made me wonder how something so awful could happen to one man, and how in the end, he must sacrifice himself for the sake of others. Essentially, his life is doomed from the get go of this transformation, and its really only a matter of time until he realizes what must happen in order to rid his family of misfortune, or being at severe risk. The anger and resentment that derives from this tragedy is definitely a detail I took note of. How quickly one’s life can alter and for no given reason to support such a drastic and life-altering change! So as I previously stated, The Metamorphosis was a story that deeply affected me. It triggered something in me that Frankenstein and Jekyll and Hyde etc, did not. Perhaps it is because this unalterable change occurred simply out of the blue, and to a man who was not looking for it at all… but I found the story to be very compelling and thought provoking. Leaving me miserable and consumed with the tragedy of it all, I found Kafka’s thoughts and story-telling ability to be sensational, and the tale as a whole remarkable.

As for the Yellow Wallpaper, I also found this poem to be pretty interesting too. I recall reading it in Grade 11 and deeply analyzing it then, granted prior to reading it again now, I was a bit hazy on some details, but nonetheless, I thought that this poem was also written well, and the story also gripping. One of the most notable scenarios is when the narrator describes her being confined within the four yellow walls. I found her description of everything that she was seeing, or thought she was seeing to be nail biting. Her utter hysteria and arguable insanity becomes quite noticeable and vivid at this point in the narration, especially when she states, “I pulled and she shook, I shook and she pulled.” This poem is brilliant. I absolutely loved reading it, and it definitely makes one feel like their going psycho even reading it. Generally speaking, everything about it was astonishing.

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The Waste Land: Thoughts

So going into today’s seminar, to be honest here.. I didn’t really have a good grasp at all on this poem. Not saying that my understanding of it is amazing or anything, but I mean, it definitely improved upon talking about it with all of you. Jon said that this would probably be the hardest not-philosophical text we would come across in this course— and I understand why. For starters, maybe I wasn’t really focused, but I found that it was hard to follow along with what the story of the poem. It seemed kind of scattered to me and really confusing. (In high school, analyzing poetry wasn’t really my forte, so doing this one was a bit of a task for me).  This was a read that I needed to take my time with on some lines (well, more than a few) and go over until I could finally comprehend it.

With Waste Land, asides finding it a bit of a more challenging read, I thought that the inputs of phrases in different languages made following the story that much harder. Lines like, “Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.” Thoroughly threw me off guard.. but I think that maybe Eliot added those in there to emphasize the language barriers. How perhaps we will never really be able to fully understand one another, or the difficulty in doing so, due to these cultural differences, or maybe he did it to emphasize his German roots? I don’t really know, so these are really all just thoughts going through my head. I also found that the poem didn’t follow a set rhythm or pattern of any sort. It was a bit scattered and varied, which I assume was to emphasize more parts in comparison to others, depending on the scenario.

What I can say, however, is that in spite of the challenge (which is something I feel like I placed emphasis on pretty well), when I finally did understand and manage to follow the story, I quite enjoyed it. I particularly found Part II. A Game Of Chess to be most interesting to me. How the woman was fixated on getting herself a set of false teeth as a means of pleasing her husband and ensuring that he doesn’t go looking for other women. I found this to be of interest to me, because of the story no doubt, but also because of the interruptions of the bartender. I liked how it didn’t follow an organized, usual structure of a poem, and thought that it was an alternative take and a refreshing twist to writing.

Anyways, overall, Eliot was better than I expected. Can’t wait to hear more thoughts!

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Freud Response

Prior to reading Freud, I had no knowledge of him. Maybe that’s my fault for not being quite familiar with him or his writing styles, or his beliefs and what not.. but I didn’t know anything about him really. With that being said, I did however, find that his writing style wasn’t too difficult to read through. That he did bring up quite a few intriguing and interesting spins of particular topics. To be brutally honest here… I definitely expected some wordy, fancy, and elaborate essay of some sort, and the fact that this piece of writing actually appeared to be normal—made reading Freud less daunting.

In my opinion, Civilization and its Discontents was in my opinion, a pretty good read. I feel like I didn’t really “jive” well with the other philosophical texts that we have read thus far, (Arts One made me rethink my desire to potentially major in Philosophy…) but this one wasn’t too bad for me to handle. I found that one most predominant concept here in Freud’s essay, is repression to one’s self.  I found his opinions though perhaps a bit flawed or open to interpretation, were captivating to learn of.

“The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life.”

In more depth, I found the way in which he described religion to be particularly fascinating to me. Having come from an immensely religious family, full of devote Catholics, and having gone to a Catholic school my entire life.. Freud’s views on the subject of religion, and its impact and importance to people immediately struck my interest.  Freud touches on the idea that religion, and the way we rely on it for different things—be it to blame when things do not go our way, or as something to hold onto and believe in; to confide in. In spite of coming from, as I said, a pretty religious family… my  brothers and I didn’t really adopt that same devoutness I guess you could say. We are religious, but not nearly to the same extent that my mom and my relatives are. Essentially what I’m saying, is that I am not practicing. However, (there’s a point to this.. I swear!) when Freud discusses religion, it hits home. A religion is there to have belief in something, as a means of comfort… when times get a bit difficult, one’s religion is their rock; their shelter. However, Freud states that religion, and belief in God, or a different religious figure as a mere fault of humanity; which is what screws us up as individuals. I don’t really take what philosophers say to heart, but all in all, I did find his arguments overall (in spite of their flaws) to be pretty solid.

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Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Response

Soooo.. not sure about anyone else, but I was ecstatic to finally read a text that was not written by a philosopher. After many weeks of focusing on philosophical texts, reading Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was definitely a healthy alternative. Now prior to reading this text, I have heard quite about it. I always knew the basic concept of the story, with the split personalities, but reading this piece was long over due for me. I thought it was really interesting, and the huge contrast between both personalities just kept me glued to my book.

I’d say that perhaps one of the main things that I particularly enjoyed about this book, were the two characters (well, one technically).  Before actually reading this story, the only “split” personalities I’ve ever really been familiar with are the ones we see in graphic novels. Spiderman and Peter Parker, Iron Man and Tony Stark… a seemingly normal individual with a completely, contrasting, alternate life. And this is basically the same case with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This duality portrays the battle between an age-old debate: good and evil. It shows how balancing both and trying to keep up with both immensely contrasting views can work for a while but in the end, one side will prevail. Now I obviously wasn’t shocked upon reading that the seemingly harmless Dr. Jekyll exhibits satanic and monstrous traits. However, in spite of his character being an obvious one to every reader, reading this text made me dig deeper and ponder what I believe is one of the underlying messages from Stevenson. The emphasis on dual personalities tells the reader of the evils that lie within each of us. That malevolent voice that lurks within our souls, which at sometimes, and in some instances, prevails over the good in us. That temptation, that desire to give in…. and the man who is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde exposes this struggle to us.

Anyways, in a nutshell, I found Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde to be both a (very very) refreshing as well as enticing read. I completely loved the whole thing and it shined light on a disorder that people struggle with in reality as well. By reading this, I got a better understanding of just how problematic and serious of a condition this is as well. Reading Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde reveals to us, that without a strong sense of will and self-assurance and strength, we have the potential to easily give in to negative influences. But yeah… Can’t wait to hear what everyone else thinks tomorrow!

 

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Thoughts on Nietzsche

In my opinion, reading Nietzsche was a bit of a task for me. To be honest, I don’t really find much enjoyment in reading philosophical texts. Perhaps it’s just difficult for me to understand what the philosophers are trying to get across to the reader, or maybe it’s because I simply cannot really understand what they’re trying to convey at all… I basically don’t really take that much of a likings to philosophy.. and Nietzsche’s essay didn’t really change my opinion on this either. I found that it was particularly hard to fully understand and agree with some of his points; granted, I did find them interesting however, but I still had much difficulty with this read. I found that he takes a different, more diverse and I guess to some, a shocking approach in conveying his opinions in the text. With that being said, I still found some of his ideas to be quite enticing and nonetheless, intriguing by the end of his essay.

For starters, I thought that Nietzsche’s reference to Ancient Greece should be noted. By doing this, Nietzsche somewhat resembled Rousseau to me, to a certain degree that is. I find that philosophers tend to make certain referential statements to further emphasize their points, or validate them, and I found Nietzsche’s essay to e more interesting because of this.  However, unlike Rousseau, I did find that Nietzsche wasn’t exactly as easy to understand as Rousseau. I would have to say that reading Rousseau was perhaps one of the most enjoyable philosophical reads for me to date. I found that Nietzsche rambled quite frequently, which made it challenging for me to follow all the way through.

In my opinion, I think that Nietzsche’s main argument in his essay, is that of good and evil. He states that humans create good and evil; with regards to this topic, I think that it is quite interesting how good and evil are two vices that were thought to have been present since the existence of humanity, rather than actually being a mere creation from our perception. Furthermore, I found that Nietzsche’s views on punishment to be very intriguing. In spite of his alternative ways of thinking and looking at particular subjects, his arguments were still pretty entertaining to me. From today’s lecture, I definitely found a new perspective on Nietzsche, since he basically said that he thinks that punishment is something that is fun…. Something that should be enjoyed! Though I do not believe this to be necessarily true, I will somewhat (I guess) respect his view on this.

Basically, after reading Nietzsche’s essay and attempting to analyze it in more depth, and upon attending the lecture, I am still left somewhat confused with his points. Cant wait till I hear other people’s opinions! See you guys tomorrow!!

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Thoughts on Frankenstein (the not-so monstrous monster)

Prior to reading Frankenstein, I’ve definitely heard of him, since I feel as though he is just one of those “cult classic” monsters that everyone more or less knows about. And that’s how it was like for me. I was somewhat familiar with Frankenstein, more so his physical appearance, but upon reading this book I got a deeper sense, a more well-rounded sense of a more human monster than the other novels we have read thus far in Arts One.

This book was a pretty fascinating read in my opinion. I found that Mary Shelley does an exceptional job of bringing Victor’s character to life. Through the use of her vivid and imaginative descriptions, she really paints a picture in your head. Additionally, prior to reading Frankenstein, I expected him to be this awful, immensely monstrous.. monster. I expected his appearance to match exactly who he was on the inside. However, having now read it, my expectations were flawed. Frankenstein is more misunderstood than anything. People think the book is going to be focused on this evil green dude with bolts in his neck murdering a bunch of people; but he is just a misunderstood creature. Rather than fear him, I sympathize for him. For his misjudgment, and attachment to such superficial claims. I particularly enjoyed this book, because this was one of the first times that we’ve seen a twist to our perception of monsters, well at least in my opinion. In Oedipus, we see a man who is a victim of circumstance, but his physical appearance doesn’t look like that of a monster. (Obviously opinions about Oedipus will vary, but that is mine). But in Frankenstein, we have an intimidating, scary-looking (an actually frightening) monster. Frankenstein’s outer appearance paints an inaccurate image of whom he truly is inside. This is so juvenile, but Frankenstein kind of reminds me of Monsters Inc.. where the monsters are misrepresented, and people fear them without really getting a deeper sense of their character and looking beyond just the outside. Which brings me to my other point, I found this book to be quite emotional to my surprise. The tale as a whole intrigued me, and it pulled me in. This book, I can confidently say, kept me enticed the whole read through; from cover to cover.

Overall, I thought Shelley made an excellent book. Reading this piece brought me into almost an alternate universe, for it widened my perspective on monsters.

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Discourse on Inequality

Although I found Rousseau to be a bit confusing and not entirely a clear read (since I did have to re-read some lines more than once), it was a good read. However, I’m not going to say that I fully agreed of even understood all the points that he raised. To be quite honest here, Rousseau’s views somewhat mind boggled me from time to time. I found that upon reading certain parts of his argument, it was hard for me to fully and entirely comprehend what he was trying to convey/ persuade us to believe. Though with that being said, I do still think he raised some very valid and thought provoking points and questions.

As I previously stated above, Rousseau’s argument did indeed confuse me here and there, but in the very beginning, he proposes the question: “How can we know the source of inequality among men if we do not first have knowledge of men themselves?” By clearly outlining the question that he is trying to answer, I think that Rousseau’s thoughts were better laid out for me to understand. This simple question was particularly thought provoking for me and intrigued me greatly.

A Discourse on Inequality clearly demonstrates Rousseau’s belief that the growth of a society corrupts man entirely. He believes that as society continues to further develop and evolve, us as human beings only suffer from this change. That man’s natural happiness and freedom are severed by artificial inequality. Rousseau essentially conveys throughout his claim, that the introduction of private property, is what catalyzed the decline in society as a whole. Rousseau brings up quite a valid point in my opinion, when he asks, “How many crimes, wars, murders; how much misery horror the human race would have been spared if someone had pulled up the stakes and filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men: ‘Beware of listening to this imposter. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to everyone and that the earth itself belongs to no one!”

Imagine a place where everything was shared and selfishness, or amour propre did not exist. A place without pride, or immense self-indulgence. Rousseau clearly comprehends throughout a Discourse on Inequality, his belief that society has taken a turn for the worse. That nascent society was the peak of civilization before modernity and artificial matters took over the simplicity and innocence of the state of nature.

Thus, with that being said, I think that Rousseau raised some great questions. Do I think that they are entirely true? To a certain extent, yes. But in spite of my opinion regarding the way he views civilization and society, Rousseau’s persuasive way of conveying his thoughts made this read quite enjoyable; more enjoyable than I expected really.

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