Wednesday, 30 October 2013

GINS Post 2

Hello! This is my second official GINS post. Below you will find a link to my groups recording of our very first round table. I hope you enjoy, and if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below or send me an email.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

GINS Post 1

For my G.I.N.S, I chose the novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The novel I chose regards many pressing issues, but I have found that the main ones are human equality and discrimination.
Originally, I had chosen a novel that was on the list of options our teachers had supplied for this project. However, during the break, I had thought about the project and suddenly remembered a book my mom had told me about a few years back. I then asked her about it and deepened my understanding of the novel, discovering that it clearly related to a global issue and met all of the criteria for the project. My mother has always loved books and after hearing that it was most defiantly one of her favourite reads, I couldn't help but be drawn to it.

Discrimination and human equality are both major issues that are evident in our everyday lives. They come in all different shapes and sizes. I have not only learned or heard about them in school, but also in the real world. Many current events in the news and subjects of movies I have seen regard these two issues. I know that racial and cultural discrimination, which is mostly focused on in the novel, can be very crucial.

My goodness, I have so many questions. Thus far, the author has done a brilliant job of ending chapters with a perfect touch of foreshadowing and suspense, leaving readers, like me, hungry for more. I would like to know more about the background story of Amir's father, Baba, and what his wife, whom is Amir's mother, was like before she died. I would like to know where Hassan's mother is right now, and if she will ever return. Does she feel guilty for abandoning him and Ali? Does she ever wonder what her son is like? Or how he smiles or laughs or the way his eyes light up when Amir reads him stories? I would like to know what happens when "Afghanistan changes forever", and how Amir and Hassan's lives will change, as well? How does Amir end up living in San Francisco? Does Hassan stay with him over the years? I would even like to know the smallest of details, as well, such as if they will win the kite-running competition? And what is so significant about it that the author decided it to title the book after it?

One thing I absolutely adore about the novel thus far is the characters. Many characters have been introduced and delved into. We have met the two main characters, Amir and Hassan, and their fathers, Baba and Ali. Rahim Kan has been introduced as Baba's business partner and a fatherly-like figure to Amir when Baba isn't present. The author has briefly introduced us to Hassan's mother, whom left shortly after giving birth to him to run away with a group of singers and dancers, and Amir's mother, who sadly passed during his birth. We've also met Assef, the blonde-haired blue-eyed tormenter, and his two followers. These have been the major characters that have been introduced, and I am sure many more are about to come. Each and every one of these characters are vividly unique and add their own little spice to the story.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Litspiration Challenge

For the first litspiration challenge of grade nine, I decided to create a playlist for the character Elena Gilbert in the 1990 series, The Vampire Diaries. Enjoy!

1. This Gift – Glen Hansard

 After mourning over the recent loss of her parents, Elena has found the light in the darkness, and is keeping her head held high. She has a touch so soft and delicate, but she has a core as strong as rock. Here is a direct quotation from the novel, where Stefan expresses his thoughts on Elana. I chose this song for Elana’s playlist because it clearly reflects the positive way she views life. Unlike many characters in the novel such as Stefan and Damon, Elena looks at life as if it is a gift. She believes in making the most out of it, for before she knows it, all her time will have slipped through her fingers like sand, and it will all be over.


 2. Addicted To Love – (cover) Florence + The machine

 When Elena first meets Stefan, something changes within her. Her every thought revolved around him. If her life was one never-ending storm, he was a hurricane. She knew that she wanted him; in the second chapter of the novel, she says: “She’d have him, even if it killed her. If it killed both of them, she’d have him.” (Smith, p.022). After their love finally kindles, Elena finds herself addicted, in a way. She’s not only addicted to him, but to the way he makes her; the love. Before she met Stefan, Elena was always that girl who “didn’t care”. She wrapped people around her finger and played with boys’ feelings as if she didn’t have a single care in the world. I found that these specific lyrics from the song really relate to this point: “Whoa, you like to think/That you're immune to the stuff, oh yeah/It's closer to the truth/To say you can't get enough/You know you're gonna have to face it/You're addicted to love”. Another quote from the novel that clearly exemplifies her love is in the eigth chapter, when it says: “Elena felt Stefan`s lips meet hers. And... it was as simple as that. All questions answered, all fears put to rest, all doubts removed. What she felt was not merely passion, but a bruising tenderness and a love so strong it made her shake inside. It would have been frightening in its intensity, except that while she was with him, she could not be afraid of anything. (Smith, p.095)


 3. Oh No! – Marinna and the Diamonds

Throughout her life, Elena has always been the beautiful, prominent, and undeniably desired girl. She is notorious, flamboyant and hard as rock. She has always been good at hiding her feelings and even she is upset, she is able to appear as cool as ice on the surface. She knows what she wants, and she gets it, no matter what the consequences. In the song, it says: “I know exactly what I want and who I want to be/I know exactly why I walk and talk like a machine”. Other people look up to Elena as if she is a goddess. In this specific quotation from the novel, it is Stefan’s thoughts toward her: “Elena... For a moment he felt a rush of pure joy and awe, forgetting everything else. Elena, warm as sunlight, soft as morning, but with a core of steel that could not be broken. She was like fire burning in ice, like the keen edge of a silver dagger.” (Smith, p. 107)


 4. Name – Goo Goo Dolls

 Elena and her younger sister Margaret lost both their mother and father in a tragic car accident when they were younger. At the time, Margaret was too young to understand what happened, and she still doesn’t quite understand any of it. Ever since then, Elena has had to be strong and fight through the pain so she can be there for her little sister. I believe that the song “Name”, by the incredibly and timeless back Goo Goo Dolls, relates to their situation perfectly. In the second stanza, the lyrics read: “And now we’re grown up orphans/And never knew their names/We don’t belong to no one/That’s a shame/But you could hide beside me/Maybe for a while”. This tidbit of lyrics relates to Elena and Margaret’s situation because it is saying how they have no one anymore but another (aside from their aunt, of course) and how Elena will always be there for Margaret and shield her from the pain.


 5. Still Into you – Paramore

Elena and Stefan’s love is full of hardships and misfortune, but through it all, their love has been able to persevere and make it through. This part of lyrics from the song really connects to this aspect of their relationship, in my opinion: “It’s not a walk in the park/To love each other/But when our fingers interlock,/Can’t deny, can’t deny, you’re worth it/’Cause after all this time I’m still into you”. There has been so many opportunities for them to give up on their love, but they never did.


 6. Why Can’t I? – Liz Phair No matter how much she loves Stefan, Elena’s feelings for his older brother, Damon, always find a way of creeping back up on her. They are feelings that she doesn’t and never will understand, leaving her lying awake at night, restless, asking herself “why?”. I found that the chorus of the song “Why Can’t I?” fits her circumstances with Damon perfectly; “Why can’t I breathe whenever I think about you?/Why can’t I speak whenever I talk about you?”. From the first minute she met him she was undeniably attracted to him in a way she had never been with anyone before. It was so different from the way she felt about Stefan. No matter how much she hated how she felt that way, she couldn’t help him. Although a big part of her despises him and what he does, those feelings will always be there. On page 164, the whole page is when her attraction towards Damon becomes dangerously extreme for the first time. At the end of the quotation, which is far too large for me to include, Elena thinks: “...I was about to let him kiss me! But that wasn't the worst thing. For those few minutes, something unbelievable happened. For those few minutes, she had forgotten Stefan.”


7. Lovers in a Dangerous Time – Barenaked ladies (cover)

Just like the song title, Elena and Stefan are lovers in a dangerous time. In a way, it is a forbidden love; the young teenage girl with a bright future ahead of her and the brooding vampire who can ruin everything for her in a single moment of mania. In a world where every single thing around them is screaming that their love is wrong, they don’t care. In the last stanza, the lyrics weave into their situation utterly: “When you're lovers in a dangerous time/Sometimes you're made to feel as if your love's a crime/Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight/Got to kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight/When you're lovers in a dangerous time”. In this morsel of lyrics, the darkness could signify what Stefan is, a vampire, as well as how it could simply represent their infortune.


8. Crave you – Flight Facilities

 “Why can’t you want me like the other boys do?/They stare at me while I crave you”. When Elena first met Stefan, he seemed undeniably uninterested in her, which was most defiantly a rare occasion for teenage beauty queen Elena Gilbert herself. This specific quotation is from the beginning of the novel, not long after she meets Stefan and witnesses the odd way he acts around her. “She was interested in the guy because he made her feel nervous? Not a very good reason, Elena, she told herself. In fact, a very bad reason.” (Smith, p 37)