Dracula fishbowl #2

March2

For my second fishbowl discussion, the topic I chose was:

Why does Dracula only drink the blood of English women? Why doesn’t he drink, say, Jonathan Harker’s blood when he has the chance? Why is Lucy Dracula’s first target? What makes her vulnerable? What does this say about attitudes towards women at the time?

My thesis for this question was During the Victorian Era, men viewed women as innocent, frail, “delicate flowers” who were incapable of making their own decisions and taking care of themselves.

To organize my notes, I broke the questions up.

Why does Dracula only drink the blood of English women? Why doesn’t he drink, say, Jonathan Harker’s blood when he has the chance? 

I think that Dracula doesn’t drink Jonathan’s blood because Vampires were seen as being very sexual, and Dracula himself is attracted to women, so that’s whose blood he drinks. Another point is that Virgin women are seen as being very pure and innocent and Dracula wanted to be the one to take that innocence away from them

Why is Lucy Dracula’s first target? What makes her vulnerable?

Lucy is described as being slightly childlike—blond, beautiful innocent, extremely vulnerable and unable to defend herself (in the eyes of men) Another reason is that her sleepwalking makes her an easy target, because she is wandering around alone

in the middle of the night wearing only a nightgown, and so Dracula caught Lucy in her most vulnerable state. Also, women at this time were seen as very vulnerable and weak, so becoming sickly and pale as Lucy did wasn’t seen as abnormal and wasn’t normally paid attention to.

 

What does this say about attitudes towards women at the time?

In the Victorian Era, people believed that a women’s place is in the home, her career is marriage, and her prime use was to bear a large family. When a woman got married, her rights were legally given over to her husband and she was his property. There weren’t very high expectations of women—they did the cooking, cleaning, and raised the children, but other then that men saw them as being too delicate and innocent to do anything else.

The book is set around female oppression and the men having clichéd toughness—the women are forced to stay behind while the men risk their lives to protect them, and in various parts of the book, the men rush to protect the sickly women

Dracula fishbowl discussion #1

February17

Our first Dracula fishbowl discussion was a few weeks ago. My discussion topic was:

Bram Stoker is often credited with the creation of the vampire archetype. How was Dracula a caricature of people in his time and how are modern vampire characters different to that caricature? How does the change in the archetype reflect changes in our culture?

My thesis for this discussion was the image of “the vampire” is always changing with the different eras—it shows what people were afraid of, what people found attractive, and what people found intriguing.

“The vampire” changes as society’s interests change, and to what society likes and wants at a certain time. Dracula was written in the Victorian Era, and some themes of the novel include evil, forbidden, death, blood, and lust because those are all things society was becoming interested at that time. The whole vampire archetype started in folklore when vampires were repulsive, horrifying creatures that people wanted nothing to do with. Now, in today’s stories vampires have evolved into romantic, elegant, attractive beings. In Twilight for example, most of the vampires are the protagonists  and are seen as heroes that protect humans (they’re conveniently “vegetarian” meaning they only feed on animal blood). These vampires are handsome, perfect, inhumanly gorgeous creatures that are as close to human as you can get without actually being one. Twilight features these kinder, gentler, humanized vampires because people are currently interested and intrigued by the idea of beauty and immortality. In comparison, Dracula is meant to be frightening and thrilling and the vampires are the antagonists of the story. He is an evil, bloodthirsty creature meant to be as far from human and as close to demon as you can get and he represents everything that isn’t said or done in society.

The actual discussion went well–sometimes in fishbowls its more of a debate and everyone is arguing with each other, but this was a discussion with everybody agreeing for the most part and adding on to each others points.

Reading Dracula

February2

When I first started Dracula, it took me a while to get into it with the older language and everything, but once I got used to it, I really liked it. I was avidly reading it for about 3 weeks and was really enjoying it. Then, at around chapter 20 I got bored. I’m not sure if the story is just really long and drawn out at the moment, or if I’ve just lost interest, but I’m not really enjoying it anymore. I still how have about 50 pages left or so and I’m hoping that I start to enjoy it again.

Dracula chapter 17 summery

January26

Chapter 17 starts out from Dr. Steward’s diary with a telegram from Mina Harker to Van Helsing stating that she would be coming to London by train, and that Jonathan was at Whitby. Van Helsing gives Dr. Steward a copy of Jonathan’s diary from Castle Dracula and Mina’s Diary from Whitby for him to study. Dr. Steward picks Mina up from the train station and takes her to his house to stay at.

Then it switches to Mina’s diary. She is very interested in Dr. Steward’s phonograph and offers to type the story of Lucy’s death on her typewriter so that they have documentation and Jonathan, Lord Godalming, and Mr. Morris can all read it.

The story switches back to Dr. Steward’s diary and Jonathan arrives from Whitby. Jonathan and Mina begin knitting together all the evidence they have of vampires, and typing it out. We learn that the Count’s house in London is right next to Dr. Steward’s house. He goes to visit Renfield, and they talk for a while. Renfield talks about getting discharged and going home. I believe that, had I not had the chat with Harker and read the letters and the dates of his outbursts, I should have been prepared to sign for him after a brief time of observation. As it is, I am darkly suspicious. All those outbreaks were in some way linked to the proximity of the count. What then does this absolute content mean? Can it be that his instinct is satisfied as to the vampire’s ultimate triumph?

It switches to Jonathan Harker’s journal and goes back a few days to when he was in Whitby. He was there getting information about the Count’s mysterious cargo from Mr. Billington. Everything had been carefully thought out, and done systematically and with precision. He seemed to have been prepared for every obstacle, which might be placed by accident in the way of his intentions being carried out. Mr. Billington gave him an invoice of “Fifty cases of common earth, to be used for experimental purposes”, and a letter to Carter Paterson and the reply. He went to talk to the man who had received the boxes and he said that the boxes were “main and moral heavy” and that shifting them was dry work. He then talked to a few more people, and one carrier said Blyme! But it ain’t been touched sence a hundred years. There was dust that thick in the place that you might have slep’ on it without `urtin’ of yer bones. An’ the place was that neglected that yer might `ave smelled ole Jerusalem in it.

 Jonathan learned that there should be 50 of the boxes in the old chapel at Carafax.

Switching to Mina’s journal, Lord Godaling and Mr. Morris arrive and Mina tells them all that she knows about Count Dracula. Then Lord Godaling and Mina are left alone and he tells her about how he loved Lucy and about all the grief he’s experiencing.

 

iSearch project

January8

One of our projects for iHub Reads 2015 is called iSearch. What we had to do was find a detail in our book that stood out to us and that we wanted to know more about, and find out all you can about that detail–what it is and why you think it was included in the book.

Who are the 3 female vampires and what is their significance in the story?

The 3 female vampires first appear in Dracula in chapter 3, and are automatically shown to be seductive and are known as the vampire sisters. Two of them are dark haired, and the other is fair; this may symbolize something but I’m not sure yet. Who they are exactly is uncertain, but they have been referred to as the brides of Dracula (not mentioned in the novel). It has also been noticed that the two dark haired vampires are described to have “high aquiline noses, like the Counts’ and it has been suggested that they are his daughters. The single blond vampire seems to take on the role of their leader, as she was described as “the first”.

The vampire sisters help to illustrate the spectrum of women in Dracula and also in this time. Mina is shown to be a typical Victorian woman, loyal to her husband and obeying the rules of society. I think that the vampire sisters might be there to show the opposite end of the spectrum, and are supposed to represent what women of this time weren’t allowed to be—they’re the opposite of Victorian womanhood. A women was either a virgin or a mother, and if she was neither of these she was seen as promiscuous.  Bram Stoker makes these vampires both evil and enchanting at the same time. There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear (chapter 3). It was improper for women to act as the 3 sisters did in Dracula, and this idea would have probably been a disturbing and frightening concept to most people at this time.

 

Dracula, Bram Stoker: Chapter 3 summery

January6

We are reading Dracula in school right now, and each chapter is going to be summarized by a student on their blog. The first chapter that I need to give a summary for is chapter 3.

At the end of chapter two, Jonathan Harker finally realizes that Count Dracula is keeping him prisoner in the castle. Realizing this freaks him out as it would for anybody. At the beginning of chapter three he tries every door and window, but over time realizes that he is helpless and begins to think about what he could do to get out of the castle. He concludes that he can’t let the Count know that he’s figured out that he is a prisoner. Jonathan later walks in on the Count making his bed, which conforms his suspicion that there is nobody in the house other then the Count and himself. In the night, Jonathan has a long talk with Count Dracula and he learns a lot about Transylvanian history. He finds it strange that the Count spoke about these events like he had been present for all of them.

The next day (May 12th), the Count asks Jonathan a lot of questions about living in England and solicitors, and Jonathan finds is slightly odd that he is asking so many questions and that he already knows so much about the country. Then the Count asks Jonathan if he had written to Mr. Peter Hawkins, and when Jonathan tells him that he hasn’t, and the Count tells him to write to Mr. Hawkins telling him that he will stay at the Castle Dracula for another month. Jonathan has no choice but to comply as he is afraid of the Count, even though he would like to leave the place as soon as possible. Jonathan writes to Mr. Hawkins, and to his fiancé Mina, but is not allowed to include any personal details. Before the Count leaves for the night, he warns Jonathan not to fall asleep in any part of the castle except his own room, because there are bad dreams for those who sleep unwisely. Later in the evening, Jonathan goes out towards the stone staircase where he could see outside into the dark courtyard. While he is looking out, he suddenly sees the count emerge from his window, and begin to crawl down the castle wall, and Jonathan is greatly startled and disturbed by this. What manner of man is this, or what manner of creature is it in the semblance of man? I feel the dread of this horrible place overpowering me; I am in fear—in awful fear—and there is no escape for me; I am encompassed about with terrors that I dare not think of…

Jonathan Harker’s next diary entry is three days later, and he has seen the Count crawl down the wall once more since his last entry. After the Count leaves that night, he decides that it would be a good time to explore more of the castle. Almost all of the doors are locked, and the few that weren’t only had dusty furniture in them. Finally, he found another door that wasn’t locked and gave way with pressure. He decided to sit down in the room and write in his diary instead of going back to his bedroom. Later on, even though he felt tired he decided to disobey the Count’s warning and sleep there. He recalls the next part from the morning after, and he’s not sure whether it really happened or if it was a dream. Sometime after Jonathan finished writing in his diary, he suddenly, realized that he wasn’t alone in the room. There were three young women standing across from him, and he came up to him and stared at him for a long time, and whispered together. Two were dark, and one was fair. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips. The fair woman came up to him and was about to drink his blood when the count appeared, and was very angry at the three women. Jonathan notes that his eyes were positively blazing. The red light in them was lurid, as if the flames of hell-fire blazed behind them. The Count had brought a bag with him, and when one of the women opened it and Jonathan heard the sound of a half-smothered child. After this, he passed out from horror.

Population project

May9

This week, we are learning about population. Today, we got a set of data, and we had to form a question and make a graph to represent it. My group’s question was: how do the populations of the countries in North American change from 1950, 1980, and 2010?

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 2.45.36 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of the data doesn’t show up on the graph because the scale is too large.

Grade 10 grad plan

April7

*= exam for this course

Grade 10: Math*, Science*, Social Studies, English*, PE,  French 10, and Planning

Grade 11: Math, Science, English, Socials*

Grade 12: English*, 3 other courses, Grad transitions

I would like to be accepted into University of British Columbia and take the Professional Development Program (PDP)

 

 

What happened this week

February7

This week at inquiry hub, a few things happened. On Tuesday, a group of us went to the space centre. We went to different shows, and looked around for a few hours. It was fun and I learned a lot. On Wednesday, we had the second round of iHub Reads. Mr. Soiseth, Michael, Chloe, William, and I went. I did the book Every Day by David Levithan, and I think it went pretty well. I won that round, so we’ll see how it goes.

Board game design project

January24

This week for science, we have been doing a game design project. You have to create some kind of a biology game that teaches you about the food chain, biomes, and other aspects, and Shauna, Hannah, and I are all working together.

For our game, each person has a canadian biome, and you try to build up your biome’s food chain using the animal and vegetation cards. We have a circular board which has a space for each biome, and there are also spaces around the edge  of the board that you land on each turn and they can usually help you. For example there are: pick up an animal card, take a vegetation card from another player, pick up a fate card, ect. Fate cards are cards that usually make it harder for you to win by making you take away parts of your food pyramid, or even starting the whole pyramid again.

Hannah, Gabe, Wilson, Jay and I tested out the game this morning, and we found some major things that we need to change. The game progresses too slowly, so we think that it would be better if each biome started with having the basics (trees, water, grass, ect.) and then built up from there. Another major problem is that Gabe’s biome (grasslands) accidentally had no vegetation card which obviously made it hard for him to play the game. Another problem was that we didn’t write down what order the animals go in on the food chain, so we are going to make cards that say the order to make it easier to play. There are also some other problems that we need to figure out, but hopefully we can make this a better game.

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