Monday, June 2, 2014

Masterpiece Academy Question

Rucker 1
Daniel Rucker

Professor David Preston

AP English Literature and Composition

31 May 2014

The Masterpiece Academy of Open Source Learning

The universe is delightfully evolving around us.  Life, language, and the make up of our galaxy are all changing and expanding the diversity of the universe.  Something far less concrete than these - man’s view of the world - can also evolve, just like the connotation of the word espouse.  As students in this class, my classmates' and my views have evolved from a standard mundane appreciation of learning to an espousal of learning. 
         From the beginning, we have had the freedom to customize this course to how we want it to be, much like one would customize an iPhone or a bedroom.  This represented trust from Dr. Preston that we deserved, although it was unexpected, as all humans are individuals, and should be given the freedom to choose their surroundings.  Sadly, we did not learn to completely honor this trust until the end of the year, when most of us realized that learning was for us, and we fully decided to do what we want to as a class.
        Our time in this class has made us a hero, collectively.  Our class embodies all of the positive aspects of modern society, as well as our ideals.  We have athleticism, bravery, kindness, intellect, and many other traits that are epitomized by our society, to what heroes are.  Due to the fact that we are a class of heroes, our journey throughout the year, which started in May-June of last year, and is now coming to a close, we have gone on a heroic journey.  This journey started with the threshold of us creating our blogs, came to a climax with our masterpiece, and is now resolving, making our journey come full circle, as we are back home, due to the fact that we will return to traditional learning next year, and that the circular calendar year is over, and we have worked in this course from last June to this June. 
        Looking back on the year, our heroic journey was mapped quite neatly, with Beowulf at the beginning of the year subtly foreshadowing the journey we had ahead of us; the acquiring of our heroic qualities, such as understanding, by reading texts such as A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations, which gave us the quality of understanding and empathizing with the human condition; and ended with a course in Poetry which caused us to reflect upon what we have done this year.  These reflections lead us to the climax of this year and our journey with the Masterpiece Academy presentations.  We showed our reflection and appreciation of knowledge in a variety of ways, from Lisa's new-found understanding of empathy, Melissa's hard work and passion for the class trip to Yosemite, and Allyson's yearning for knowledge of the biological sciences.  In all of these projects, we saw possibly the most important personal quality in modern society: passion.  In every presentation, such as Edmond's writing, and Zach's desire to help people through physical therapy, we see passion.  Passion for our masterpieces has drawn us together as a class, and made us finish our journey, as we had found the trait that we set out on our journey to find.  
        Personally, passion has not been incited in me by the course to learn more or otherwise, as I already had that, but it definitely has given me a passion towards humans, as I was inspired by the vast amounts of passion around me.  I have always been passionate about learning, but seeing this passion in the people around me makes me passionate to better society for the people around me.  I have begun to do this in a variety of ways.  My favorite is suggesting songs and television shows for people to watch, as I full-heartedly believe in the healing quality that comedy and music provides through laughter and passion.  Before, I have kept these techniques to heal myself to myself, but this class has inspired me to pass it forward. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Masterpiece: Connections

Everything on planet Earth is connected to one another, and although us humans like to separate everything into categories, like subjects, cultures, et cetera, the world does not do this.  For instance, there are many things in Earth's many cultures that are very similar to aspects of other cultures.  I question why these similarities arose, and try to find where they come form.

The Firebird Myths: firebirds are found in many cultures, and are often though to signify the sun, and    rebirth, due to the sun's "birth" and "death" each day.  The sun is also thought to be the basis of all rebirth ideologies and myths, from the Hindi caste system, to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Greek Phoenix 
The Slavic Firebird

The Witches:
Lloyd Alexander's
"The Black Cauldron"
which depicts the three witch
myth in the Celtic regions of Europe.
There is a common myth about witches in groups of three throughout the different indo-european cultures, I wrote about them here.
Shakespeare used this common
mythical form in his play "Macbeth"

A painting of a clock modeled after the
Baba Yaga's house.  This painting was
painted by Viktor Hartmann, and served as the
inspiration for the ninth movement of
Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition
Suite, The Hut on Fowl's Legs (Baba-Yagá).

The Krampus: A christianized tradition.
Thousands of years ago in pre-christian Europe, there was a germanic goddess who is known as the germanic equivalent to Greek Hera.  In northern regions, she was known as Frigg, in central Europe, she was known as Holda, and in the southern, alpine area of the germanic peoples' land, she was known as Perchta.  Perchta had a very important task at the Yuletime celebration- to scare away the evil spirits that roamed Earth in the "darker half" of the year.  The germanic people of the alpine regions would celebrate this in Yule celebrations by doing what Perchta did: dressing as a mutilated goat and scaring the spirits away.  When the christians came and converted the germans to christianity, they forced them to give up their old beliefs, but some lived on- Yule as Christmas, Samhain as All Saints Day, and Perchta traditions as Krampus, St. Nick's companion, and punisher of naughty children.  This also connects to the witches, as Baba Yaga myths first appeared in slavic areas in the alpine regions.  Was the slavic fear of the germanic tradition of perchta what caused the Baba Yaga myths?

Other than Mythology:

There is far more to these cross cultural connections than in just mythology.  Almost every aspect of our culture is mirrored in other cultures, and there are far more connections between the people of earth than just culture, such as mathematical concepts, science, art, and simply how we think.  I feel that it is due to human nature.

One fun example of similarity is the Sandwich! If you think, most cultures have a meat that is wrapped in bread, and they did this without communication: tacos, sandwiches, gyros, falafels, dumplings, and many many more...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Macbeth Character Map

Normally I do not use Cliff Notes, but this map was a very good representation of what I needed:

Monday, April 14, 2014


I am really not sure about this crossroads concept.  I am a major planner, and I plan things years in advance so that I will not ever have to be caught off guard with a big decision.  My mind is generally mad up in advance.  I already know what my "must" is, and I follow it.  If I did not, I would not be at all be as driven with my work.  I tend not to do things that I do not consider musts, I just push them aside and out of my radar.  They have nothing to do with what I want to do.  This way, I truly only do what I want to do.  I study out of school because I want to.  I research because I want to.  I take AP courses because I want to.  Do you see me partying? No, because I do not want to.  I am lucky to like what society wants me to do, so most people's shoulds are my musts.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

10 Commandments of AP Literature & Composition

Hey, guys! I found this resource on the internet that someone was not showing us!  I think it would be very helpful for all of you to read it!
Thank you for this resource, Dr. Preston!

AP Questions for Macbeth

1) Pick a novel in which friends become enemies.  Explain how the author uses characterization and the plot to make this happen.

2) In great literature, no scene of violence exists for its own sake.  Choose a work of literary merit that confronts the reader or audience with a scene(s) of violence.  In a well-organized essay, explain how the scene or scenes contribute to the meaning of the complete work.  Avoid plot summary. (actual prompt from 1982 that I felt would work well)

3) Pick a novel in which a character's actions make him commit similar actions in the future.  Explain how this makes us sympathize the character, while at the same time making us disagree with them.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

What about my masterpiece?

    I have been struggling with the whole masterpiece thing, as Dr. Preston wants us to do something, and I am just trying to learn a lot, not thinking that I have the skill set to do what I want to do yet, as I really want to learn about the world and research at a university and be a professor, while the people around me want to go into music and cooking and other things like that.  I was trying to get by by studying the world, but I do not think that that will work as a masterpiece.
    Recently, a friend who has a rare and largely unknown disease that doctors are trying to learn about using this person as a test subject, as this person is the only one to have it.  This person was wondering what the medications that helped their disease had in common, so I was given the list of medications, and am going to look at the structure and function of these medications to see what is actually helping or hindering this person's disease.