Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reflection

I really liked the Electronic Portfolio assignment. I think it was both very interesting and useful. This was the first time I created my own blog and it was an extremely valuable experience. Now I know what it is like to have an e-portfolio: how it actually works, how to upload my work online, etc. I realized how important sharing your work with other people can be because in this way you can understand what they think about it and they can give you advice on how to improve it. What is really interesting about publishing my pieces of writing online is that it made me work even harder, because I knew that other people will see them and I wanted them to be as better as possible.
I also enjoyed the second part of the assignment - the exchange with the students from Kentucky. I am very happy I was part of it and I am glad I’ve got such a wonderful partner -Jessica Borchers. Her wok is amazing and reading it was not only a great pleasure but also taught me some helpful things I can apply to my own writing. The idea of this assignment is very good because it is a great opportunity for us, Bulgarian students, to keep in touch with native-speakers of our age. This allows us to practice English and by exchanging ideas improve it.
The only thing I think can be improved about this assignment is to make the communication with the US students more regular. I believe it will be even more useful if they comment more often the work that we post and respectively we write comments on theirs.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Infidelity – the Motif, Jealousy – the Weapon, Murder – the Resolution


Act V, Scene ii, Lines 76-96


OTHELLO

By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in's hand.
O perjured woman! thou dost stone my heart,
And makest me call what I intend to do
A murder, which I thought a sacrifice:
I saw the handkerchief.

DESDEMONA

He found it then;
I never gave it him: send for him hither;
Let him confess a truth.

OTHELLO

He hath confess'd.

DESDEMONA

What, my lord?

OTHELLO

That he hath used thee.

DESDEMONA

How? unlawfully?

OTHELLO

Ay.

DESDEMONA

He will not say so.

OTHELLO

No, his mouth is stopp'd;
Honest Iago hath ta'en order for't.

DESDEMONA

O! my fear interprets: what, is he dead?

OTHELLO

Had all his hairs been lives, my great revenge
Had stomach for them all.

DESDEMONA

Alas! he is betray'd and I undone.

***

Shakespeare’s Othello is one of the world masterpieces, and the tragic destiny of Othello and his beloved Desdemona has become legendary throughout the course of history. The beautiful love story of the Venetian general and his wife turns into a real nightmare at the end of the play when they metaphorically and literally fall victims of Iago’s evil plan. When Othello is convinced that Desdemona has a relationship with Cassio, his uncontrollable jealousy pulls the trigger to carry out the only possible resolution of this problem – murder. The passage (V.ii.76-96) presents a part of Othello and Desdemona’s dialogue right before he kills her. It clearly demonstrates how the unbearable feeling of jealousy has transformed the once noble and loving Othello into an irrational and vindictive murderer.
Othello is trapped in Iago’s web, and he is so skillfully manipulated that he believes every single word the “honest Iago” says (V.ii.92). Shakespeare uses irony to describe Iago in order to show what a perfect villain he is and how naive Othello is to trust him so blindly. The only proof that the general has of his wife’s supposed infidelity with Cassio is the handkerchief. However, it turns out to be serious evidence because every time he accuses Desdemona in unfaithfulness he mentions it: “By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in's hand” (V.ii.76). The handkerchief has a metaphorical meaning and it symbolizes Othello’s love and devotion to Desdemona. Discovering it with another man makes Othello feel betrayed, and the connection between Desdemona and him is destroyed.
Once Othello finds out about Desdemona’s affair with Cassio, he undergoes a sudden and irreversible transformation. He loses his temper and rational thought, and falls completely under the control of the feelings born from his jealousy.
O perjured woman! thou dost stone my heart,
And makest me call what I intend to do
A murder, which I thought a sacrifice:
I saw the handkerchief (V. ii.78-81 ).

Othello no longer respects his wife but despises her for the betrayal. This is demonstrated by the tone with which he speaks to Desdemona – with disgust and hatred. The Moor accuses his wife of turning his heart into stone and declares that her actions are responsible for the measures he is planning to take. Othello directly states that Desdemona has the blame for her coming death and that her infidelity had sentenced her to it. The general defines the murder he is going to commit as a sacrifice. In this statement there is an obvious dramatic irony because Othello believes to be doing something noble by killing the vicious Desdemona, but in fact he is performing the biggest mistake and injustice in his life.
Othello is blinded by his jealousy, and he sees the only possible resolution of the situation to be the death of those who have deceived him. Throughout the entire dialogue (lines 76-96) Othello does not change his position on the subject even for a second. He is determined in his decision and does not doubt the rightness of Iago’s words and the facts. He does not listen to Desdemona’s suggestions that this might be a trap and that Cassio “is betray'd” (V.ii.96). Seeing her husband’s rage, Desdemona realizes what the consequences of this dramatic situation would be and she exclaims: “Alas! he is betray’d and I undone” (V.ii.96). Desdemona’s behavior throughout the passage demonstrates how much she loves Othello because despite his rude attitude towards her, she still calls him “my lord” and tries to make him see the truth (V.ii.85). Unfortunately, Othello does not believe a single word she says, and is determined to carry out his revenge and punish Desdemona: “Had all his hairs been lives, my great revenge had stomach for them all” (V.ii.94-95). The use of hyperbole, “had all his hairs been lives”, in this phrase emphasizes Othello’s determination to carry out his vengeance. This statement plays a key role because it reveals the change in his character and attitude. It shows that the revenge for him is above all, and he will complete it at any price. The Moor is no longer the confident and patient general from the beginning of the play. Instead he has lost his self-control, his consciousness lacks rational thought, and he is going to kill his wife as if she is the worst enemy in his life.
The theme of tragic love is illustrated in another work of Shakespeare - Romeo and Juliet. Even though the plot and the characters are different, in both plays love leads to dramatic consequences – the death of the beloved. Othello and Desdemona, and Romeo and Juliet become the victims of the unfavorable circumstances. Unfortunately, in the end it turns out that their love causes their death.
Desdemona’s last words “he is betray'd and I undone” from the passage foreshadow the tragic ending of the story (V.ii.96). Othello’s actions after finding out about his wife’s unfaithfulness reveal the power of jealousy and how it can influence a person’s character, thoughts, and actions. The final result is that from a loving and committed husband Othello turns into the merciless executer of his wife.

Works Cited

http://innocenthalfdevil.deviantart.com/art/Broken-Heart-38249254

Movies and Popcorn


December was one of the most exciting months of 2009 in terms of watching fascinating movies.
It had been a whole year since I was waiting for this particular film to come up. I could not believe that the moment of truth had finally come until I saw New Moon written with big letters on the black screen. I was so excited to watch the second part of my favorite Twilight Saga. I really liked the movie and I have to admit that it was much better than the first one. The special effects were improved, the action was extremely dynamic, and the actors’ play was more professional. The best part of the movie was Jacob Black who was one of the werewolves. This guy was absolutely amazing especially when he walked around half-naked, showing off his huge muscles. One thing is for sure – I cannot wait to watch the next part!
One of the movies that caused a lot of attention is 2012. In the beginning I did not even want to watch it because I was tired of apocalyptic films. However, after watching the trailer several times, I noticed that the scenes were really impressive. So I decided that it was worth seeing it. The subject of the movie is very banal and there are many other movies based on it. However, this movie is created in such an amazing way, with so many highly technological effects that it grabbed my attention from the first minute until the very end. What I liked was that at times it was extremely dramatic, but also there were some very comic moments that made me laugh. In general, I liked the movie, and I hope that it will never ever come true!
The last movie I watched is actually the one I loved the most - Avatar. The first time I saw its trailer, I realized that it would be a great film. Besides, when I found out that it was directed by James Cameron, I was absolutely positive about its success. The movie is glorious! The characters, the Pandora planet, the scenes, the animation… Everything is done perfectly and you fall in love with the smallest details. I really like how the action is developed and the transformation of the main character who from a simple marine becomes a true fighter. The film not only brings great enjoyment but also raises some important questions and makes the audience think about them. I believe that this movie will have a big impact on the movie industry and will define what films should be like in the future!

Special thanks to http://wolfskin.deviantart.com/art/The-Empty-Cinema-20923181 for the picture!

Home is where the heart is…

I still remember the day I left Bulgaria. This was the happiest and most exciting moment in my life. Most people would not feel like that when they leave behind everything they know and love – their home, their relatives, and their friends. However, I did not have even a slight hesitation when my parents informed me that we were going to move to another country. I felt like I had always been waiting for this journey to begin.

***

After 18 hours of traveling and after crossing the borders of three different countries, we successfully reached the final destination. This was the moment I had been waiting for so long. I imagined it thousands of times but it did not even slightly resemble my dreams. It was better than everything I expected. It was perfect!

***

It is almost a whole year since the first time we arrived here. In the beginning everything felt so strange and unusual. I felt like an alien – I did not speak the language, I did not know anyone and anything about this country. Nevertheless, gradually I got acquainted with the people and the environment. Now everything is so familiar that sometimes it seems to me I have spent my whole life in this place.

***
It’s summertime. Dad is having a holiday. We are leaving tomorrow, returning to Bulgaria for the first time since we moved. I cannot wait to get there. I want to meet my friends, visit my grandparents, and do everything I used to.

***

We are back from the holiday. I am exhausted by the trip. The journey to Bulgaria was exciting but being home always feels better.

***

I am in my room, packing my baggage. Tomorrow is my flight to Bulgaria. September 15 is in a week and the new school years starts then. I have to return to Bulgaria because I will study at the American College of Sofia.
My classmates (actually my ex-classmates) have already started going to school – here the school year begins on the 1st. I went to visit them but it felt unbearably strange. I was there but I was not part of it anymore; I was only a spectator, a bystander. Besides the pain and unhappiness I felt, there was another feeling burning me from within – jealousy. I envied them for staying here. Why couldn't I stay too? I didn't want to leave. I didn't want to leave everything I loved.

***

It is September 15, 2005. I am standing in a crowd of strangers. It feels as if I don't belong here. I just wish I was in another place. I wish I could go home…

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Welcome to Tunisia!


The woman smiled and greeted us with the words: “Welcome to Tunisia!” At that moment I realized we had finally arrived to Tunisia. I was really excited. I knew I was going to have a wonderful holiday in this country where everything was so exotic and paradise-like.
When the bus stopped in front of the hotel, I had butterflies in my stomach. I was nervous because there I was going to spend this so anticipated holiday. I was afraid the place would not meet my expectations. What if it did not resemble the picture in the catalogue? Holding my breath I entered the reception hall. I could not believe it. It felt as if I had entered one of those palaces described in the Arabian fairytales. Every single detail was perfect and presented the Arabian culture. At the reception desk we were given two key cards: one for my sister and me, and another one for my parents.
When I entered our room, I could not believe how beautiful it was. The thing that impressed me the most was the view. From the room I could see everything: the Mediterranean Sea, the beach, and the pools. Everything was within my reach.
We could not wait to walk around the resort and see what it had to offer us. We walked along the numerous alleys and saw the tennis courts, the pools, the different bars and caf├ęs, the animation corner. However, our curiosity stretched beyond the borders of the resort. So we decided to visit the near-by town and see what the Tunisian life was like. This experience turned out to be one of those moments in my life I would never forget…
The streets were full of people: both tourists and Tunisians. And, of course, the Tunisians were the ones who grabbed my attention. It was absolutely normal for them to stop a girl or woman they liked and ask her to marry them. Several times my father was offered camels for me and my sister which in the beginning irritated me but afterwards made me laugh. Walking down the streets was pretty stressing because, first, you had to make your way though the crowd and, second, there was noise coming from everywhere. In front of the stores, there were people shouting in different languages. Their job was to make you enter the shop and surprisingly most of the time they succeeded. However, the torture started when you liked something and decided to buy it. You had to spend hours bargaining for it until there was a deal. One interesting fact about the Tunisians was their “hobby” which caused numerous traffic jams. It seemed the Tunisians really loved to drive up and down the streets with their entire family in the car. It was really funny to watch them because there was obviously not enough space in the car for everyone.
The Tunisian lifestyle seemed very different from my own but it was a really useful experience to discover their culture and look at the world from their perspective. This made the journey to Tunisia one of the most exciting trips in my life!

The image was taken from: http://www.sports-corporate.co.uk/uploads/flag_faces/tunisia.jpg

The Twilight Saga


The Twilight Saga is written by the American author Stephanie Meyer and it contains four books: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. The books trace the love story of Bella, a high-school girl, and Edward, a charming vampire.

Twilight

In this book Isabella (Bella) Swan moves to Forks, Washington to live with her father, Charlie. There she meets the most handsome guy at school, Edward Cullen, and falls in love with him. After a series of strange circumstances, she finds out that the members of the Cullen family are vampires. One remarkable fact about them is that they are vegetarians, which means that they drink animal blood instead of human. Throughout the book Bella’s life is endangered by a thirsty tracker vampire named James who wants to hunt her down. The Cullens do everything to protect her and in the final fight Edward kills James. In the end of the book Bella tells Edward that she wants to become a vampire but Edward refuses.

New Moon

Edward and his family leave Forks, because they do not want to threaten Bella’s life. Bella falls into deep depression and the only person who brightens up her miserable life is Jacob Black. Jacob becomes her best friend. Eventually, it turns out that he is a werewolf. When Victoria, James’ girlfriend, comes to seek revenge on Bella, Jacob and his pack protect her from the vindictive vampire. A misunderstanding arises, and Edward thinks that Bella has died. He sees no reason to continue living without her and decides to commit suicide in Volterra, Italy. With the help of Alice, Edward’s sister, Bella stops him. Unfortunately, she meets the Volturi, the ruling clan in the vampire world. Under the condition of Bella’s becoming a vampire in the future, they let her go. Bella and Edward get together again, and the Cullen family returns to Forks.

Eclipse

Victoria is back to seek revenge on Bella with an army of “newborn” vampires she has formed. The “newborns” are extremely dangerous and uncontrollable. The Cullens and Jacob’s werewolf pack work together to protect Bella, and destroy Victoria and her army. In the end Bella has to make an important decision: to choose between her love, Edward, and her best friend, Jacob. Bella chooses Edward, and agrees to marry him.

Breaking Dawn

Bella marries Edward and they go on a honeymoon. During the honeymoon, Bella gets pregnant and they have to return to Forks. She gives birth to a half-vampire-half-human girl named Renesmee. During the birth Bella almost dies and Edward has to inject her with his venom in order to turn her into a vampire and save her life. The Volturi find out about Renesmee. They think that she is an “immortal child” which is considered a serious danger to the vampire world. The Cullens gather all their vampire friends in order to witness that Renesmee is not an “immortal child”. In the end Volturi understand that Renesmee is not a threat to the vampires and their secret. When the problem is solved Edward, Bella, and Renesmee can live happily forever.

The image was taken from: http://kellyquinn.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/edward-and-bella2.jpg

If you want to find out interesting facts about the books, watch the trailers of the movies, or learn more about the author visit the following website:

http://www.twilightthemovie.com/

Thursday, October 29, 2009

There is no escape


Sofia was still asleep. Its citizens were enjoying the final hours of sleep in their cozy beds before their routine was going to start. The streets were empty and silent. There was only one thing that was breaking this idyllic image: the sound of a karutza’s* wheels and the tramp of a horse’s hooves. The karutza was cumbersomely going down Madrid Boulevard when it suddenly stopped in front of two garbage containers standing on the street. The three passengers, a man, a girl, and a boy, got out of their vehicle and started searching through the contents of the bins. After finding several bottles and an old pair of shoes, they returned to their original places. The man gave a sign to the horse and the karutza pulled off again.
The man was in his early forties, but he looked much older. The cold look of his eyes gave away the hard life he had lived and was still bearing. On his right, one of his sons was sitting. He had just turned five, and he already was getting into the basics of his father’s “business”. Next to the boy there was a girl. Her name was Aishe and she was 17-years-old. She had been helping her father to gather all types of garbage as long as she remembered herself. She had no other option but do it because this was the only way for her huge family to survive. She had four brothers and four sisters. Two of her brothers had already married and had their own families, but still there were six more children to be fed and dressed. Tomorrow at least she would be gone and one more burden would be thrown off her parent’s shoulders.
The karutza was slowly passing down the numerous shops on the boulevard: the Nedelya Pastry Shop, the banitza bakery, the pizzeria, and other stores that were offering a plenty of goodies for those who could afford them. The two children studied the store windows in detail every time they were passing by. This was an enjoyment to them because they imagined tasting all this delicious food, but at the same time it was an unbearable torture. They realized that it was only a dream, and dreams never come true.
This morning Aishe did not even flash a glance at the store windows. There was something unusual going on with her.
Aishe was the most cheerful of all the children in the house. She was always smiling and positive no matter how hard her life was. Even her name suggested what type of person she was - in Arabic it meant “alive”. Aishe was not a typical Romany girl. Most girls of her age were only interested in getting married but not her. She wanted a different future, a different life from her mother’s, from all Romany girls’ lives... She had attended school until 5th grade, but she had to give it up because her parents could not afford it after the birth of her younger siblings. She liked going to school. It was the only meaningful thing in her life. She was not like the other children who could not wait for the end of classes. She did not want to go home. If she could, she would have stayed there forever, in this magic world of knowledge where it did not matter who you were and where you come from. When she stopped going to school, something inside her died. She was no longer the same person. Yes, she was still kind and lovely, but on the inside she was different. She had realized that dreams, at least her dreams, could not come true…
Aishe was 17 and according to the Romany tradition it was just the right time for her to get married. Actually, her wedding was the next day and while they were driving down the street she was drowning in deep thoughts about this event. The wedding is usually the most beautiful day of a woman’s life, but for Aishe the marriage would be the beginning of a constant nightmare. All her life she had been observing her mother’s miserable existence and she did not want to follow her steps. She did not want to marry a person whom she did not even love. She did not want to have nine children, and she did not want to see her children gather garbage. She wanted another future for herself. She wanted to break the chains and there was only one alternative to her marriage – an escape. She wanted to escape from her home, her family, this killing routine of being. But where could she go? What could she do? Suddenly she remembered about her friend Lala who went to work in Greece. If only she could go there too... She decided to talk to Lala’s brother and ask him to help her go work there just like he had sent his sister. She did not have another choice. If she did not escape from the world she was living in, she would become part of it, she would become just like her mother.
* * *
It was early in the morning. Aishe went out of the hotel and got into the black BMW. Lala was already sitting in the car. The driver turned on the engine. The car moved along the Athenian streets.
While the car was traveling up and down the city streets, Aishe was staring out of the window. Even though her look was fixed, she was not noticing what was going on around her. She was seeing only one particular image: his face. He was right in front of her, smiling in his always calm and friendly manner. She had met him a month ago in the restaurant where she worked as a waitress during the day. Every single day he had his lunch there and she brought him his meal. He was always well-dressed, very polite, and well-mannered. He was one of those clients who treated her with respect. At first there was nothing special going on between them, but as time passed by, things began to change. She started feeling that every time he looked at her, she was blushing and that the first thing she was thinking about in the morning was him. He was responding to her feelings and the reason why he was coming every day to this mediocre restaurant was that she was working there. She was different from all the girls he had met before – they were spoiled and shallow, thinking only about shopping and their look. The first thing he noticed about her was her eyes. He had never seen such deep and beautiful eyes before. There was something hidden in them, some secret that never let them look truly happy. And even though she was always smiling, her eyes gave her away.
At first they were only friends. He offered to show her the town, teach her Greek. He wanted to help her in every way he could, because she was so delicate and fragile. When two people are in love they cannot hide their feelings for too long so very soon there was their first kiss and the things started becoming more and more serious. Aishe was truly in love with Nico. This was her first love and she could not imagine living without him. He was different from all the men she had met – he respected and loved her the way she was.
Now that she was sitting in the car, she was thinking about the situation with Nico. She wished the day never ended because during the night she had to put her mask on and follow her obligations towards Lala’s brother who a year ago had helped her escape. It was him who had saved her from the miserable life in Sofia and she had to pay him back… She did not know for how long she would have to return the favor but that was something she could not ask about, at least, if she did not want to lose her freedom. Only she and Lala were permitted to have “normal” lives during the day. This was a privilege she was awarded because Lala and she had been best friends since childhood. Lala loved Aishe very much and she was extremely happy when her brother brought her to Athens. Now that they were together her life was brighter.
Considering the circumstances, Aishe had come to the conclusion that she had no other choice but to talk to Nico and explain the situation to him. She was afraid that he might not understand it and leave her forever, but it was better to be alone than keep lying to him, the only person who had ever truly loved her. And besides, if he loved her, and she was sure he did, he would forgive her no matter how horrible her mistakes were. If they stayed together, there was only one possible resolution of this problem: an escape. She could not go on with this terrible masquerade every night. She hated herself for being involved in it, but she did not have any other choice. Now that she was not alone she could feel the strength rising up inside her and suddenly she had the power to put an end to this nightmare. Together with Nico she would escape from this city and this dual life, and she would start anew. She only hoped Nico would not leave her.
* * *
It was midnight and Aishe was already at the airport. She had come earlier in order to be sure she would not be late. There was half an hour until the arranged time of her meeting with Nico. They were going to take the airplane to Australia where Nico’s brother was living. Aishe could not believe that very soon everything was going to be over. Once she left this country she would forget about everything she had been through there.
Aishe was looking at the monitor of the departing flights when suddenly she felt someone’s hand on her shoulder. She turned back smiling. All of a sudden her entire expression changed. She became pale as if she was going to faint. She saw the three familiar men dressed in black suits facing her. They had come for her.
They escorted her to the black BMW waiting at the entrance of the airport. Aishe got into the car and saw someone she did not expect to see: Lala was sitting at the back seat.
Lala had found out about Aishe’s plans to escape with Nico, and she had come to prevent it. She could not let Aishe go and leave her alone in this misery.
The car pulled off in the direction of the city. Once you get there, there is no escape from it…
*karutza – the traditional Bulgarian name for a cart pulled by a horse or donkey

Works Cited
La Vie En Rose. Photograph. Deviantart.com. ParanoidButterfly. Web. 28 Oct. 2009. .