The Awakening: Edna Pontellier isn’t the only one whose had one.

I’m sure almost all of you reading have experienced the dreaded required readings of your high school days.  I know that I had the great “fortune” to read a number of selected novels from the big guys who sit in the big chairs at the Board of Education.  It seemed that with every book, my tolerance shrunk little by little.  I can say that this was the case up untill I took AP Literature in my senior year of high school.  The novels finally seemed to sing a different tune than all the others. 

I especially connected to a novel by Kate Chopin.  It was called The Awakening, and boy was I in store for a big one.  The Awakening was the first novel that made me want more.  You know when you’re reading a novel, not by choice, and you hit certain parts that you just don’t understand?  Well we all know that we just skip it and assume we will figure it out later on in the story.  Well, I tell you that I was so deep into this novel that I actually stopped to Google anything I didn’t understand! Yes, I’ll admit it!  I wanted every part of the novel to thoroughly sink in that I made sure I understood every part. 

Since I’ve made this book seem so fabulous, let me give you a BRIEF summary.  The Awakening is a fictional novel set in the nineteenth century that is based on the life of Edna Pontellier.  Edna is a wife and mother who grows to become very bored with her everyday life.  She ends up having an affair with a young man (who is very attractive in my mind) and begins to recuse her common womanly duties.  The very attractive man gives Edna the tools to become an independent woman.  The main gift the man gave Edna was the ability to swim on her own.  In the end, Edna is so immersed with this freedom that swimming gives her that she swims too far out.  The novel ends in the reader coming to their own conclusion about whether Ednas drowns or survives. 

As I stated earlier, this novel was brought to my attention through my wonderful English teacher, Mrs. Gibson.  Mrs. Gibson selected The Awakening for our class to read in our senior year.  This novel made a difference in my life in two ways.  First, it made me less judgmental.  At first, I thought this novel was going to be another dud that the board thought would be “educational”.  I learned to give everything a fair and equal chance which I feel I’ve applied to more than just required readings. 

Secondly, the novel made me notice that I shouldn’t settle.  Edna knew the cards that she was going to be dealt and she just took it and led a miserable life until she broke free.  This applies most to me in the aspect of my career.  I know that I won’t let myself get stuck in a career that a hate because it will lead to over unhappiness.  Edna taught me a lot by her actions, even if she is a fictional character.  I believe that you should always try to break free of your everyday norm if it makes you unhappy. 

Check out Kate Chopin’s website where you can learn more about The Awakening!

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Forever Young. Forever Disney.

I can remember watching all of Disney’s classic princess movies over and over as a child.  Cinderella is my favorite movie that still holds a spot in my heart.  I think that many young girls grow up loving Disney’s princess movies because they can identify with one of them physically.  Mulan is Chinese, Pocahontas is Native-American, Jasmine is Arab and Tiana is African-American.  This allows all young girls to identify with each princess.  I sure my love for Cinderella has some correlation to the fact that we look similar, even though I don’t run around in a light blue ball gown.  Disney’s movies, specifically the fairytales, have characteristics that are seen across the board.  Whether a young girl is following her dreams or seeking her prince charming, some element of faith is present.

In Cinderella Disney wants us to believe that dreams do come true.  In Sleeping Beauty Disney wants us to believe that love and conquer all.  Even in the recent The Frog Prince, Disney wants us to believe that love can come in all forms.  As you can see, in all of Disney’s fairytale princess movies, Disney is demanding that you let go of rules and boundaries and believe.  I believe this is the key element to why Disney has such a strong audience.  People want to sit down and get lost in an imaginary world. We want to escape our everyday lives, even if it is just for an hour or two.  
Disney transcends this imagination into many other elements.  Not only can you get lost in the film, but you can get lost in the theme parks, stores, cruise and more!  Disney gives you just about every option to immerse yourself into their world.  Did you love Tangled? Would you like your whole room covered in Rapunzel’s world?  Just go to your local Disney store, and they will hook you up with the works!  

The Disney theme parks are my favorite.  I will admit that I have been to Disney World 5 times and with each trip I fell in love more.  Disney not only brings out your wallets, but it brings out the kid in you.  If you think about it, Disney has its own culture.  Especially at Disney World people act a certain way, dress a certain way and there is a certain language that is spoken.  A spirit is present in the air that makes everyone, well most everyone, extremely happy.  

I have to say that I am a big kid at heart; I’d say around seven.  I have pictures and posters of Disney in my room today, and I’m not ashamed of it.  One would probably think that nine year-old lives in my room but that’s ok with me.  I know I’m not the only one who is over 12 with some element of Disney in their room.  This is a prime example of why Disney is loved so much.  They encourage you to explore all possibilities and dreams, while also spending your hard earned cash.

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Why Say it When you can Type it?

It seems that social networking is the top form of interpersonal communication in today’s society.  Why say it face-to-face when you can write it on someone’s wall and avoid awkward silences?  I found this fabulous study/research done by Carlyne Kujath on the exact topic.  Her research about social networking replacing in person communication sheds light on how college students really use social networking sites.  

I feel that in many instances college students use social networking sites like Facebook to take the easy way out in certain circumstances. College students use Facebook to tell someone how they really feel, to talk about others, and they even break up with people via FaceBook.  It’s all very sad, but it’s the ugly truth.  In Kujath’s article, she said that the 183 college students she surveyed said that they mainly use Facebook as an “extension of face-to-face interaction.”  So college students are not using Facebook to cop out of one on one interaction all together, but they are using it to extend those in person interactions.  

Only one level of communication is in person!

I found interesting that in Kujath’s research, she provided a term that was new to me: CMC or Computer-mediated Communication.  This term is widely used in describing the grave use of the internet for communication purposes.  I think that our world would go mad if we had to go back to the days of sending letters.  The rapid development of CMC is opening doors for expansion, creating, and advertising of businesses as well as social purposes.  Also, Kujath’s researched pointed out that college students use Facebook not to initiate new new relationships, but to investigate people that they have met in person.

 
This research makes a lot of sense to me seeing as how I am a college student as well.  I can think of numerous times when I’ve used Facebook to continue a conversation that I didn’t have time to finish in person.  I will also admit that i have checked out someone’s page if I briefly met them in person.  Facebook, among other sites, prove to be great ways in which people sustain friendships.  I think this is because it does allow for those face-to-face conversations to be extended, which builds friendships.  

Kujath’s research does show that some of those college students surveyed did use Facebook and Myspace as a way out of face-to-face communication.  It’s becoming more common for many more people than just college students.  I understand that it can be hard to work up the courage to say something to someone’s face, but then again, that’s life isn’t it?  You’ll end up as a couch potato if you only communicate through social networking sites.

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Teen Mom 2: Successfully Infiltrating the Web

I have watched many episodes of Teen Mon 2 on MTV, just as many of America’s youth do.  The dramatic issues and outlandish storylines always catch my eye.  I’ve begun to notice that Teen Mom 2 has a very interactive website due to the advertisements I’ve seen during the shows’ commercials.  These ads proved successful because I found myself looking at the website to see bonus material.  


Teen Mom 2’s website is full of interviews with the cast, bonus footage, information about teen pregnancy, and other related activities to explore. The website catches your eye with bright colors and a run through of the latest gossip.  The creators of this site did a great job of honing in on what the viewers of Teen Mom 2 want in a website.  I personally enjoy watching the bonus clips because they usually involve more information about the teen moms.  The site has a toolbar to the left hand side that allows viewers to select what they want to view in regard to the show.  For example, viewers can select to look at message boards, photos, cast bios, etc.  

The site serves mainly to provide entertainment to viewers that come to the site.  Many visit the site to watch full episodes they have missed, or to watch bonus footage that is advertised during commercials.  Overall, I think that the Teen Mom 2 website is successful in bringing in viewers to the site.  In turn, this allows the creators to charge more for advertisements because the site is getting more and more views.  Sometimes, MTV will post advertisements for their other shows, which gets viewers hooked on other MTV shows. Furthermore, the Teen Mom 2 website help keeps ratings up for the show because many viewers see previews for next week’s episode and make a note to watch it.  

Teen Mom 2 Cast

I also feel that the Teen Mom 2 website is an education tool to viewers.  The site provides information about teen pregnancy as well as domestic violence.  Viewers can find information about support groups and organizations on the website.  

One recommendation that I have for the site would bring in more viewers would be to add blogs from the teen moms.  I think that this would give viewers a chance to see who the teen mom’s really are.  Adding this to the website would bring in more viewers because it would be exclusive information that only the website would provide.  I also think this would be successful because the view never knows what’s 100% true due to editing.  So this would be a great way for the teen moms to give their own accounts of scenes from the show.

Overall, I think that the Teen Mom 2 website is very efficient in pulling in viewers.  It stands currently as an entertainment tool as well as an educational one as well.  The creators of the site are doing a great job pulling in new audiences and sustaining their current one.

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Task: Avoid Media at all Costs for 2 days. Results: Read and Find Out!

The idea of this task seemed easy, but executing it was a whole different story.  On the first day, I found myself beyond bored.  After I got into the groove of avoiding my usual media, I found myself cleaning.  I realized that I could still be productive while avoiding mass media at all costs.  My room and my bathroom have never looked cleaner. 

By the second day I was itching to get on my celebrity gossip sites.  I couldn’t stand not knowing the latest 411.  So, I hate to admit it, but I cracked.  Itwas 2 in the afternoon, everything was clean and I had nothing to do.  I felt like I was stealing or something.  I waited until my friends weren’t around and I got on Perez Hilton as fast as I could.  It entertained me for about 20 minutes, and then I was back to the world where time stands still.  You feel kind of lonely in a way, just sitting around trying to find something to do. 

I tried hard to stay away from my blackberry; I even turned it off once or twice.  Overall, it did get the best of me in certain instances.  It was easy for me to tell myself no TV and no internet, but I found myself checking my phone without even thinking.  I think my phone use is so involuntary because it keeps me connected.  I’m a worry wart most of the time so I like to keep my phone with me in case something happens to a family member or one of my friends has an emergency.  I think that plays a big part in why my phone is always stuck to me.  Overall, I did cut down on my phone usage over those 2 days but I was unable to cut it out completely. 

Involuntary media is a killer.  I had classes over those 2 days and I noticed how much media I am exposed to while on my way to class.  I see advertisements for Towson apartments, Towson clothing, events, etc.  It is literally unavoidable to not be exposed to media while on your way to class.  Well, I take that back.  If you were blind-folded you could avoid it.  This task really made me think about how large of a role involuntary media plays in our lives.  We can’t control those around us and what they choose to expose themselves too.  Even advertisements today are so creative and bold that it is hard for them to not catch your eye. 

I guess you could say that I was somewhat successful in avoiding mass media for 2 days.  I tried really hard; I even missed the new episode of Jersey Shore.  That should definitely account for something!  I also learned a lot about my media habits.  I seem to use my blackberry the most, much of it being unconscious.  I have to say that it felt weird walking around campus without listening to music or using my cell phone because it is so the norm.  Not only does it entertain you, but if you notice most everyone else is doing one of the two as well. 

Overall, those 2 days were pretty unpleasant.  It brings awareness to myself that I rely too much on the entertainment mass media brings.  There are a million other things I could be doing that would be more productive.  This really increased my knowledge of the role of mass media plays in our society.  It seems infections; new media spreads like a wild fire.  We all know a great example of this: Facebook.

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As Britney Spears Once Said, “Gimme More.”

Media is all around us and we couldn’t love it more.  As a young adult, I was raised with media all around me.  My family had the money to have TV and internet, so I was exposed to using media at a young age.  Even today, when I look at my log of media intake, I realize how much media I voluntarily expose myself to.  The scary part is that I know I am only one of billions who are exposed to the same amount, if not more, media. 

It’s weird thinking about my media intake because I have never thought about it before.  I sign on to my laptop and immediately check my facebook, then go through a variety of celebrity gossip sites and end my rounds with a couple YouTube videos.  There it is; my online media exposure in a nutshell.  As a successful college student one might think that I would sign on and get started on researching for my classes, but that’s just not in the cards my friends. 

Besides being an addict of the internet, I am addicted to listening to music.  I not only sleep with my radio on while I sleep (this includes naps), but I also have a shower radio.  Yes, I admit that I rock out in the shower.  So, not only does the media influence me as I fall asleep, but I am forced to listen to those pesky advertisements in between my jam sessions. 

I thought it best to wrap up my media exposure with my most deadly weapon, my blackberry.  My blackberry is sadly like my child.  I take it everywhere: to class, to the gym, it’s even next to me as I sleep.  The worst part of all is that I named my blackberry.  Her name is Halle, Halle Berry… get it…? Anyways, I’m constantly talking to my mom or bbming (BlackBerry Messenger) my friends.  It’s addictive because I feel the need to be up to date on pretty much everything; my friends, my classes, family, etc. 

I definitly spend most of my day on the internet, listening to my music and using my blackberry.  I noticed that I spend about 19 hours of the day on my blackberry.  It’s basically all three of my addictions wrapped into one.  I can listen to the radio on it, search the web and stay in contact with my friends/family.  I check my blackberry without even thinking and I never leave a room without it.  Honestly, I could probably operate my phone without even looking, I know it so well. 

I see the gap of media in my generation compared to older generations.  My mom has a phone and still texts with one finger.  She also won’t write out a word because it saves her time.  For example, she always spells you with one letter: U. Even though it is forever annoying, I have given up on trying to teach her more because she likes things simple.  She always says to me, “stop texting and listen to me!”  The funny thing is that I see my friend’s parents saying the same things to my friends.  It is second nature for my generation to check their facebook a couple times in an hour alone.  Students walk around campus with their face in their cell phone or iPod.  People are so focused on texting they are walking into lamp posts and falling into fountains! 

I noticed that I rely a lot on media.  I rely mostly on it for the entertainment value.  Reality TV has got the best of me and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.  It’s ok with me though, I embrace it.  There’s no other way to look at it.  Once I start getting carpal tunnel from texting, I’ll seek help for my addictions. 

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Out With the Old, in With the New.

Picture this, maneuvering throughout your day without checking your blackberry or your Facebook page. Can’t do it?  Neither can I.  I have to say that I rely more and more on my blackberry to keep me up to date on my school work and my personal life.  If I had to estimate, I would say that i check my blackberry at least 20 times within one hour.  One single hour I spend so much time devoted to making use I’m on top of my game.  I hate being unprepared for just about anything and my blackberry is a key tool that helps me prevent that. 

Technology has come a long way since the telegram.  I can’t imagine relying on communicating with my friends through writing letters.  E-mail and text messaging are the same tools as pen and paper, but in today’s society we are all about speed.  Why write a letter when you can send an e-mail in seconds.  Time seems to be a key factor in the new developing technologies.  Everyone wants to have the world at their fingertips immediately and it is being made possible through new developing technologies.  For example, the web 3.0 is supposed to provide faster, more advanced web access. 

I wanted to research others who tried to live a day avoiding technology.  Here’s what I found:

A video by Ford:

The advances in technology will continue as time goes on.  I am getting to the point where it is even too much for me, a 19-year-old who is exposed to media everyday.  Between touch screen phones and 3D movies in your own home, I feel like we can never go back to the basics. 

I remember watching a documentary on women operators in the 1900’s and how that was a major first job opportunity for women.  The women operators would take the incoming call and then plug the caller into the phone line of who they wanted to speak to.  I can’t even imagine the extra time and expense involved in communicating through an operator.  I can’t recall the last time I talked to an operator, in today’s society there are mainly voice recordings. 

For a day, the whole world should give up using the internet and their cell phones.  This would open many eyes into how people back in the day had to communicate.  So when the internet crashes or the cell towers fail, the world will not panic.  We will be well equipped to continue on with our daily activities, all the while still communicating through “old fashion” ways.  I would really like to further explore the concept of going back to the basics in regards to communicating.  I feel that a movie about the modern-day world with only minimal technologies used could be a great eye opener for today’s generation.    

I guess we will never know if today’s society could live without our current technology.  It would be like taking candy from a baby.

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