Mariela's Journal

Journal Entry 1.2

After looking through several posts I was not surprised by any of the topics in particular until I read post #8, titled Barack Obama. This is the shortest post, only a sentence long accompanied by a picture of the T.V show Friends ( What struck me the most about it was that its one of the top ten posts and yet it’s so short and straight to the point. Ironically, it seems to me that the author of this post found it to be inappropriate or too delicate of a topic to provide any details as too why “White” people consider it best to be “friends” with Obama and their fear of being considered racist. Is racism such a sensitive topic that we cannot take the freedom of discussing it in a humorous perspective? Do people need to keep their opinions about our president hidden or how about African American people, do they need to like President Obama simple because he is “Black”? Would they be labeled as traitor or haters by the African American community?
As I tried to find reasons why the author only made the statement and did not proceed to expand as he had done on previous post I came to the conclusion that certain topics are before of left for interpretation of the reader. It’s difficult to attempt to provide more detail and remain politically correct; yet again this is a humor blog, how much PC is actually necessary, if any. I honestly think the author took on more than he could handle in this post due to the sensitivity of the topic of racism and the “White” community.

Journal Entry 2.2

I agree with Elbert’s expectation of the movie “Creation”, I too would have assumed from the title that the plot would focus on his theory of evolution instead of his personal life. However, I think it’s even more interesting to get a chance to get to know the man behind the theory and how he dealt with his thoughts; which were very controversial at the time. Another surprising aspect of Elbert’s description of the film is the role of Darwin’s wife Emma. I wonder how vocal or direct she could actually be in the 19th century in regards to her opinions of this ‘scientific theory’, a field reserved for men. I don’t doubt her level of intelligence but am curious to how much was acceptable in society for her to demonstrate such a disagreement with her husband’s beliefs, even behind closed doors. To some extend Elbert highlights this issue when he says “the movie doesn't allow them to fully debate their differences. It sees their opinions instead somewhat vaguely as personality characteristics”. It is possible that the director did this in order to stay true to the gender roles of the era, or to simply cut back focus on the relationship and shift that focus to the theory itself. There was only one issue in which I disagree with Elbert, and that is when he discusses the acceptance of the theory in relation to Christianity.
“Today, no major religion finds conflict between God and the theory of evolution. The majority of Christians can live with both ideas; religious opposition to Darwin is limited primarily to a fundamentalist minority of American Christians.”
What evidence do you have to support this statement? I believe it would be a good idea to mention one or two studies that support such a strong and conflictive statement. I understand that schools focus in the theory of evolution in the classrooms more than religion. However, this is a result of another controversy, religion in the classroom, not necessarily a direct effect of Christian’s acceptance of the theory of evolution.

Link to specific blog: TIFF #4:
Darwin walks out on Genesis

Journal Entry 3.2

In my opinion, The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges is a very difficult and time consuming piece to get through. I had the most difficulty keeping up with the setting of the story and the grasp time. How much time had passed between settings? It seemed like the character kept going back in time, at one moment he was alive and then he was dead. After reading it a second time, around page five, I began to realize that the reason why things seemed to be so disconnected from one another is time, and the choices that we make. The maze and the book are the same thing, and our futures change depending on where we turn in a maze, would we need to turn around an relive some events until we figure the right way out of the maze. “….the risk of coming once again to the night when she must repeat it, and thus on to infinity.”

“He believed in an infinite series of times, in a growing, dizzying net of divergent, convergent and parallel times.” This is describing the maze of time in which every decision we make may set us in a different path. This theory of a circular, interconnected time and the imagery of an infinite book (first page is the same as the last) I believe supports our idea that history repeats itself. The fact that the hero in the book is alive in one chapter, dead in another and then alive again demonstrates that history can be changed through our actions/ decisions and how it affects our future.

The website is very similar; actually it complements this theory because depending on where you click on the first page determines what information you access.

Journal Entry 4.1

While reading Propp’s Morphology of the Folk Tale, I could not stop thinking of the story of Hercules. Both the book and the movie follow Propp’s functions.

Sphere 1- Introduction

Initial situation: “context is given for the story, the hero and the family are introduce. Provides initial state from which change arises.”

Ex. In Hercules, we are able to see his birth to the Greek God Zeus. We meet Zeus enemy Hades who wants to take over Zeus, and proceeds to put a spell on Hercules making him half mortal and half immortal. In this example context is given; the hero is in a sense warned by the removal of his immortality, the hero is separated from family and what the villain wants is made clear.

Sphere 2- The body of the story

“Villainy and lack: The need is identified”

Ex. The need for Hades to kill Hercules is presented as the central obstacle of his plan to overthrow Zeus.

“Hero discovers the lack”- Hercules doesn’t fit in on earth with the mortals, there’s something different about him. Which leads to a search for his real identity; he is the son of the Gods. After finding out he is Zeus son, Zeus tells him that in order to return home he most become a true Hero thus sending Hercules on a mission.

Sphere 3- The Donor Sequence

“Testing: Hero is challenged to prove heroic qualities”

Ex. After meeting his father Hercules trains and helps his friends. As a result he becomes a famous hero on earth. But before he can join his father he most defeat Hades. In addition to defeating Hades he needs to save his love Meg.

“Reaction: hero responds to test and Acquisition: Hero gains magical item”

Ex. Hercules sacrifices himself to save his love Meg, which in effect makes him a true hero. Therefore, he gains his immortality/ powers and defeats the villain Hades.

“Guidance: Hero reaches destination”

Ex. Hercules is able to return home, Mount Olympus, with his parents. Everyone recognizes him as a hero so he gets his “branding” as Propp states.

“Resolution: The initial misfortune or lack is resolved”

Ex. Hercules regains his immortality.

Sphere 4- The Hero’s return

“In the final (and often optional) phase of the storyline, the hero returns home, hopefully uneventfully and to a hero's welcome, although this may not always be the case.”

Ex. Hercules does return home, Mount Olympus, to a big celebration worthy for a hero. However, Olympus is no longer Hercules home; he decides to return home, earth, with his love Meg and live happily ever after. I hope!

Journal Entry 5.2

The Blue Velvet website in my opinion is a good example of how technology [the web] has provided writers the opportunity to express themselves in a variety of ways. It has incorporated music, videos and pictures in an essay in ways not possible on paper. The additions of these elements make the reading more interactive and capture the reader’s attention but most importantly it maintains the attention level. The text is separated into short paragraphs in which the author plays around with the font size and layout of the words. This playfulness in essence serves to translate additional meaning to the reader. For instance, the words that are in a bigger size and layout than what the reader is accustomed to in text, it sends a message of importance and that it requires more close attention. The fact that the website requires you to click on specific words to continue on exploring makes it interactive, it involves the reader in the process and builds suspense as to what is coming next, the background music helps build the suspense as well. When I first started looking through the page I thought it would be similar to The Garden of Forking Paths website, and that the words I clicked on would determine which “path” I would precede on changing the order or the text I encountered on my way. However, this is not the case. The website provides a limited amount of words you can click on and the order of the parts of the essay you have access to are presented in a linear progression [1.New Orleans 2.Preferences 3.Liberty etc.] and the reader must follow it in order to attain all the information, at least the first time you visit the site. After you return to the site, if using the same computer, all of the choices you had visited are available for you to revisit and navigate through the website but the new information must be access in its natural progression.

Journal Entry 6.2

Pattern Recognition (pgs. 42-83)

The tone of the story is very weird to me, I didn’t expect it to be uplifting or happy because of all the uses of black clothing by the main characters but it’s not really depressing either. The narrator seems to be in a somber state of mind. I get the feeling that the narrator [third person] is distant to what is occurring in the story however, the descriptive language indicates otherwise. I hear the voice of an outsider as I read the story but sometimes I feel like if Cayce is the narrator. In these pages it is clear that Cayce is completely invested in her job it has almost become an obsession to find out the origin of theses film clips that keep being downloaded, who is the creator and is it part of a small creation or “a work in progress”. However, this book is really hard for me to keep up with, I get caught up on all the descriptions and trying to get an image of the scene depicted but I fear am loosing the big picture as a result. The flow of the novel is interrupted by the language and how often I reread. One question I have is what is the point of all the “blackness” in the story, it comes up so often and in different situations that I am puzzled to whether or not there’s a hidden meaning that am missing or if am simply reading too much into it.

Journal Entry 7.2

Pattern Recognition (pgs. 124-166)

Cayce embarks on a trip to Japan tracing the creator of the footage through a watermark. But to be able to do this she must contact Taki and obtain the “mystery number” used to trace things. On the flight there she begins to search through her post on F: F: F. She discovers that Prion is on the same flight as her and begins to wonder if the world is that small, is I coincidence or is he the one following her, begins to think of her own paranoia. She remembers her father’s thoughts on paranoia and how it made her the center of “something larger”, egocentric.

In these pages there seems to be a lot of reminiscing on Cayce part, the early days of the forum, how she got caught up in this search for the creator of this mysterious footage, and her father’s experience or thoughts on paranoia. In these pages we see her loneliness through the absence of her father, who I believe is named Win. I wonder what type of person is her father for he is first introduced in relation to paranoia and then either Cayce or her mom knew that he was back in town.

“Win. She’d started to project Win on those white walls, and that wont do. The image still ungrieved (p.133).” This sentence foreshadows the next chapter; we finally learn about Cayce’s family and in part understand her character, the black clothing, her attention to details and need to find a meaning to everything and the somber tone of the narrator. Her father disappeared in New York City during the September 11 attacks. But the only reason why they believe he was there is because her mom Cynthia was “guided” by voices. And Cayce believes she saw signs of this tragedy, for example, “she had watched a single petal fall, from a dead rose, in the tiny display window of an eccentric Spring Street dealer in antiques (p.138).”

Journal Entry 8.2

Finally, Cayce and Dorotea confront each other; we now know that indeed it was Dorotea spying on Cayce this entire time. However, while some questions are answered new ones are formed. For instance, Dorotea reveals how she received information about Cayce’s sensitivity to The Michelin Man from her old psychiatrist Katherine McNally but introduces the mysterious Russian from Cyprus who is the one interested in Cayce. This brings up the questions of who is this character, how is the connection between him and Cayce and what is his interest in following her every step?

Now Bigend hiring Dorotea after knowing everything she has done is very intriguing because to me it implies that Dorotea knows something that can harm him and the company and that’s the only reason why he is keeping her around. What dark secret could Bigend have and does it have anything to do with the footage or Cayce’s father’s disappearance.

Boone seems suspicious to me, with everything that has happened he seems to be at the right place, at the right time to protect Cayce, and seems to have a very clear understanding of what is going on at all times. He has made decisions without consulting Cayce in two separate occasions, in the car when Bigend picked them up at the airport and now telling Bigend everything that has happened. Is he really looking after Cayce or is he part of the Russian “organization” that is spying her, is his role to become her friend, the person she confides in and later reports to the “Russian” about Cayce’s every move and thought process. Can he really be trusted, is he genuine or fake. Can Cayce really trust anyone she meets in the search for the creator of the footage, whom we still don t know who it is.

Journal Entry 9.2

In this section, the search for the creator of the footage has come to an end. Finally, Cayce meets with Stella Volkova and her twin sister Nora. Nora happens to be the creator of the footage, but her work is a response to an unfortunate event in her life, the death of her parents and her surgeries. Everything in this book takes a turn after a major tragedy, for Cayce the turning point was the disappearance of her father on September 11.

I was surprised at the fact that the creator of this wonderful work of art that everyone seems to be hypnotized by to the extent that it becomes a major part of their life’s [people following the forum], is such a vulnerable character that doesn’t even seem aware of the world around her. Gibson definitely caught me off guard with such an uneventful reveal of the mysteries creator of the footage. It was too easy for Cayce to have access to this idolized human, the creator was like a supernatural being to her and to have Cayce see her in action during their first meeting seemed to soon, no momentum was built to lead to this event.

In addition to that, I had thought Dorothea knew something about Cayce’s dad and now I guess the secret would be out of whether or not Win is alive or dead. Now that Dorothea has drugged Cayce would she take her to her dad or was it just a trick, what is going to happen to her. Would the twins help Cayce from the Mafia, led by their uncle or how is she going to get out of this.

Journal Entry 10.2


This computer generated game reminded me of the reading from the beginning of the semester and its corresponding internet page, The Garden of Forking Paths. The reason why this reminded me of it is because of the different directions you can take the story depending on what you type in to the screen. It is a more interactive way of reading. Photopia made me think of the metaphor of a maze present in The Garden Of Forking Paths because you are allowed to move forward and do certain actions but sometimes they lead you nowhere, there is no chance of advancing in the game forcing you to retract your steps and start again in a different direction [different question or command]. Unlike the garden of forking paths I dislike photopia. Photopia takes too much time and a lot of the commands are not recognized or accepted by the “interpreter”. The storyline becomes a bit confusing and hard to follow from time to time because depending on the commands the narrator changes as well as the focus of the story, characters are introduced and the main characters of the previous section are almost forgotten. It puts a lot of responsibility and pressure on the reader to be able to keep track of all the details and make the connections. For example, when we start the story, the main characters are two male friends who happen to be driving drunkenly, then after a few commands you run into the story of this person being in the hospital as a result of being involved in a car accident in which the two people in the other car got away with no injuries. The reader needs to make the connection that the two people in the car that were not hurt during the car accident are the two drunken friends from the beginning of the story.

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