Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Civil Right Movements

The Civil Rights Movement:

When did civil rights movement start?

The Civil Rights movement began on December 1, 1955, a black seamstress, refused to cooperate with a segregation law. As she boarded a public bus in Montgomery, Alabama, she took a seat in the designated “black” rows in the back. When the bus filled up she was asked to move so that a white man could have her spot. She refused to give the man her seat and was then arrested. This event sparked what would become a national movement of resistance to racial segregation (separation of black people from white people) and discrimination. Local black leaders organized around Parks with Baptist minister Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968) as their leader.

What was Civil Right Movements about?

The African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–1968) refers to the movements in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against Africaan Americans and restoring voting rights in Southern states.

State some of the significant incidents that took place in the civil rights movements:

~March on Washington D.C for freedom and jobs
~President Truman creating his 10-point civil rights program

Which American President supported the civil rights movement?

The bill was called for by President John F. Kennedy in his civil rights speech of June 11, 1963, in which he asked for legislation “giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public—hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments,” as well as “greater protection for the right to vote.”


In what way is the Civil RIghts Movement related to the novel?

Ans: The Civil Rights Movement and To Kill a Mockingbird both involves discrimination towards the black-people. The Civil Rights Movement was established to stop discrimination to other race or religion. In to kill a Mockingbird, Tom Robinson, a black person, was faced with discrimination by a lady who claimed that she was molested but was not true.

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Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


Harper Lee


Writer. Born Nelle Harper Lee on April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama. Lee Harper is best known for writing the Pulitzer Prize-winning best-seller To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)—her one and only novel. The youngest of four children, she grew up as a tomboy in a small town. Her father was a lawyer, a member of the Alabama state legislature, and also owned part of the local newspaper. One of her closest childhood friends was another writer-to-be, Truman Capote. Tougher than many of the boys, Lee often stepped up to serve as Truman’s protector. Truman, who shared few interests with boys his age, was picked on for being a sissy and for the fancy clothes he wore. In high school, Lee developed an interest in English literature. After graduating in 1944, she went to the all-female Huntingdon College in Montgomery. Lee stood apart from the other students—she could have cared less about fashion, makeup, or dating. Instead, she focused on her studies and on her writing. Lee was a member of the literary honor society and the glee club. Transferring to the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, Lee was known for being a loner and an individualist. She did make a greater attempt at a social life there, joining a sorority for a while. Pursuing her interest in writing, Lee contributed to the school’s newspaper and its humor magazine, the Rammer Jammer. She eventually became the editor of the Rammer Jammer. In her junior year, Lee was accepted into the university’s law school, which allowed students to work on law degrees while still undergraduates. The demands of her law studies forced her to leave her post as editor of the Rammer Jammer. After her first year in the law program, Lee began expressing to her family that writing—not the law—was her true calling. She went to Oxford University in England that summer as an exchange student. Returning to her law studies that fall, Lee dropped out after the first semester. She soon moved to New York City to follow her dreams to become a writer.  While in the city, Lee was reunited with old friend Truman Capote, one of the literary rising stars of the time. She also befriended Broadway composer and lyricist Michael Martin Brown and his wife Joy. In 1956, the Browns gave Lee an impressive Christmas present—to support her for a year so that she could write full time. She quit her job and devoted herself to her craft. The Browns also helped her find an agent, Maurice Crain. He, in turn, was able to get the publishing firm interested in her first novel, which was first titled Go Set a Watchman, then Atticus, and later To Kill a Mockingbird. Working with editor Tay Hohoff, Lee finished the manuscript in 1959.

Novels Written By her:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird. (1960) New York: J. B. Lippincott.
  • “Love—In Other Words”. (April 15, 1961) Vogue, pp.64–65
  • “Christmas to Me”. (December 1961) McCall’s
  • “When Children Discover America”. (August 1965) McCall’s
  • “Romance and High Adventure” (1983), a paper presented in Eufaula, Alabama and collected in 1985 in the anthology Clearings in the Thicket.
  • Open letter to Oprah Winfrey (July 2006), O: The Oprah Magazine

Awards she won:

Pulitzer Prize (1961)
Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews (1961)
Alabama Library Association Award (1961)
Bestsellers Paperback of the Year Award (1962)
Member, National Council on the Arts (1966)
Best Novel of the Century, Library Journal (1999)
Alabama Humanities Award (2002)
ATTY Award, Spector Gadon & Rosen Foundation (2005)
Los Angeles Public Library Literary Award (2005)
Honorary degree, University of Notre Dame (2006)
American Academy of Arts and Letters (2007)
Presidential Medal of Freedom (2007)

Why was To Kill A Mocking Bird a significant to her?

To Kill a Mockingbird was an immediate bestseller and won great critical acclaim, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. It remains a bestseller with more than 30 million copies in print. In 1999, it was voted “Best Novel of the Century” in a poll by the Library Journal.

Many details of To Kill a Mockingbird are apparently autobiographical. Like Lee, the tomboy (Scout) is the daughter of a respected small-town Alabama attorney. The plot involves a legal case, the workings of which would have been familiar to Lee, who studied law. Scout’s friend Dill was inspired by Lee’s childhood friend and neighbor, Truman Capote, while Lee is the model for a character in Capote’s first novel, Other Voices, Other Rooms.

Harper Lee has downplayed autobiographical parallels. Yet Truman Capote, mentioning the character Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird, described details he considered biographical: “In my original version of Other Voices, Other Rooms I had that same man living in the house that used to leave things in the trees, and then I took that out. He was a real man, and he lived just down the road from us. We used to go and get those things out of the trees. Everything she wrote about it is absolutely true. But you see, I take the same thing and transfer it into some Gothic dream, done in an entirely different way.”




Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


Historical Background: Slavery



Reports of slavery were very common in the pasts in countries like China and Japan, Egypt and the Middle East, Africa, Europe and the Americas. It seems that since prehistoric and primitive times, dominant people have used force and fear to make other people serve them. Most slaves were actually the Africans and African-American



In Europe, many crops could not be grown and sold. So, the europens brought slaves in their fields to make them work in the field. The basic reason for the constant shortage of labor was that, with large amounts of cheap land available and lots of landowners searching for workers, free European immigrants were able to become landowners themselves after a relatively short time, thus increasing the need for workers.


United States:

Slavery in the United States was a form of unfree labor which existed as a legal institution in North America for more than a century before the founding of the United States in 1776, and continued mostly in the South until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1865. Most slaves were black and were held by whites, although some Native Americans and free blacks also held slaves; there were a small number of white slaves as well. Europeans also held some Native Americans as slaves, and African-Native Americans. The slaves from Africa were brought to plantations and agricultural fields to work as the europeans needed free labour. The slavery conditions in United States were so bad that in 1860, the population of the slaves grew to 4 million


Britain played a prominent role in the Atlantic slave trade, especially after 1600. Slavery was a legal institution in all of the 13 American colonies and Canada (acquired by Britain in 1763). The profits of the slave trade and of West Indian plantations amounted to 5% of the British economy at the time of the Industrial Revolution. The Somersett’s case in 1772 was generally taken at the time to have decided that the condition of slavery did not exist under English law in England. The judgment emancipated the 10,000–14,000 slaves or possible slaves in England, who were mostly domestic servants. It also laid down the principle that slavery contracted in other jurisdictions (such as the North American colonies) could not be enforced in England. In 1807, following many years of lobbying by the Abolitionist movement, the British Parliament voted to make the slave trade illegal anywhere in the Empire with the Slave Trade Act 1807. Thereafter Britain took a prominent role in combating the trade, and slavery itself was abolished in the British Empire with the Slavery Abolition Act 1833. Between 1808 and 1860, the West Africa Squadron seized approximately 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans who were aboard. Action was also taken against African leaders who refused to agree to British treaties to outlaw the trade, for example against “the usurping King of Lagos”, deposed in 1851. Anti-slavery treaties were signed with over 50 African rulers.In 1811, Arthur William Hodge was the first slave owner executed for the murder of a slave in the British West Indies. He was not, however, as some have claimed, the first white person to have been lawfully executed for the killing of a slave.



Slavery had existed in Europe from Classical times and did not disappear with the collapse of the Roman Empire. Slaves remained common in Europe throughout the early medieval period. However, slavery of the Classical type became increasingly uncommon in Northern Europe and, by the 11th and 12th centuries, had been effectively abolished in the North. Nevertheless, forms of unfree labour, such as villeinage and serfdom, persisted in the north well into the early modern period. In Southern and Eastern Europe, Classical-style slavery remained a normal part of the society and economy and trade across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic seaboard meant that African slaves began to appear in Italy, Spain, Southern France, and Portugal well before the discovery of the New World in 1492. From about the 8th century onwards, an Arab-run slave trade also flourished, with much of this activity taking place in East Africa, Arabia, and the Indian Ocean. In addition, many African societies themselves had forms of slavery, although these differed considerably, both from each other and from the European and Arabic forms. Although various forms of unfree labour were prevalent in Europe throughout its history, historians refer to ‘Chattel Slavery’, in which slaves are commodities to be bought and sold, rather than domestic servants or agricultural workers. Chattel Slavery is the characteristic form of slavery in the modern world, and this chronology is concerned primarily with this form.


Rules that  Slaves have to follow:

Slaves usually have to follow rules set by their masters who were usually the whites. The slaves would never be able to escape but  if they were to, their owners would beat them up or cut off their body parts to punish them. The slaves seldom go outdoors with their owners’ permission as they may find a way to escape. The slaves could be sold to plantations to work in the fields or sold to another owner or auctioned. The slaves were never educated iin case they thought about freedom and try to escape. Also, slaves were never given any dangerous weapons lest they attack their owners.


How does the notion of slavery relate to the novel? Does the study of slavery help you understand the novel better?

Yes. In the book “To Kill A MockcingBird”, slavery and discrimination against the blacks were introduced. The main character involving in the discrimination was Tom Robinson who was accused of molesting a lady which he did not.

Slavery in the United States was a form of unfree labor which existed as a legal institution in North America for more than a century before the founding of the United States in 1776, and continued mostly in the South until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1865.[1] The first English colony in North America, Virginia, first imported Africans in 1619, a practice established in the Spanish colonies as early as the 1560s.[2] Most slaves were black and were held by whites, although some Native Americans and free blacks also held slaves; there were a small number of white slaves as well.[3] Europeans also held some Native Americans as slaves, and African-Native Americans. Slavery spread to the areas where there was good-quality soil for large plantations of high-value cash crops, such as tobacco, cotton, sugar, and coffee. By the early decades of the 19th century, the majority of slaveholders and slaves were in the southern United States, where most slaves were engaged in a work-gang system of agriculture on large plantations, especially devoted to cotton and sugar cane. Such large groups of slaves were thought to work more efficiently if directed by a managerial class called overseers, usually white men.

Before the widespread establishment of chattel slavery (outright ownership of a human being, and of his/her descendants), much labor was organized under a system of bonded labor known as indentured servitude. This typically lasted for several years for white and black alike. People paid with their labor for the costs of transport to the colonies. They contracted for such arrangements because of poor economies in their home countries.[4] By the 18th century, colonial courts and legislatures had racialized slavery, essentially creating a caste system in which slavery applied nearly exclusively to Black Africans and people of African descent, and occasionally to Native Americans. Spain abolished slavery of Native Americans in its territories in 1769.

From the 16th to the 19th centuries, an estimated 12 million Africans were shipped as slaves to the Americas. (see Slavery in the Americas)[5][6] Of these, an estimated 645,000 were brought to what is now the United States.[7]

By the 1860 United States Census, the slave population in the United States had grown to four million.[8]

Slavery was a contentious issue in the politics of the United States from the 1770s through the 1860s, becoming a topic of debate in the drafting of the Constitution; a subject of Federal legislation such as the ban on the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850; and a subject of landmark Supreme Court cases, such as the Dred Scott decision. Slaves resisted the institution through rebellions and non-compliance, and escaped it through travel to non-slave states and Canada, facilitated by the Underground Railroad. Advocates of abolitionism engaged in moral and political debates, and encouraged the creation of Free Soil states as Western expansion proceeded. Slavery was a principal issue leading to the American Civil War. After the Union prevailed in the war, slavery was made illegal throughout the United States with the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[9] A few instances of enslavement of Indians by other Indians persisted in the following years. In the South, practices of slavery shaped the institutions of convict leasing and sharecropping. Illegal enslavement of captive workers, often immigrants, has occurred into the 21st century in nations across the world.


Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


Different Groups of Discrimination

1) Stereotyping: To believe that people must act in a particular manner
E.g. Chinese are smart but ugly.

2) Prejudice: Unreasonable judgment of a person without knowing the whole story.

3) Discrimination: acting on prejudice judgment where there in action

4) Bias: Can be good or bad

Different Groups of Discrimination:

  1. Ancestry
  2. Race
  3. Gender
  4. Education
  5. Sex
  6. Reverse discrimination
  7. Sexual orientation
  8. Employment
  9. Age
  10. Appearance
  11. Intelligence
  12. Perception
  13. Medical problems
  14. Nationality
  15. Marital status
  16. Background
  17. Economic status
  18. Genes
  19. Political affiliations
  20. Brand

Some Common Discriminations:

Discrimination in Gender:

Males think that they are better than females in terms of competency, culinary, education and etc.
Also, in some cases, males are paid with higher salary than females where both had done the same job.

Discrimination in Employment and Age:

People who are aged 45years or above and are jobless can’t find a job easily compared to younger generations with the same education degree. This is because some employers think that workers who are higher-aged are less capable in usage of technology and computer than the young generations. Also, they may also think that older generations have ‘old-fashion’ that would not attract customers.

Discrimination in Appearance and Disability:

Example A:
Person A: Nice-Looking and Handsome
Person B: Looks dull and ‘nerd’

Both of them went for interview together at the same company at the same time. Coincidentally, they graduated from the same university with the same grades, same age, same birthdays but different  lookings. This company Y is currently hiring promoters to promote their goods. The CEO thinks that being a promoter or salesperson, one must be good-looking and capable to persuade people. So, The CEO of Company Y decided to hire Person A but not Person B because of Appearance problems.

Example B:

Person A: Perfectly born
Person B: Born with one less arm

Both of them went for interview together at the same company at the same time. Coincidentally, they graduated from the same university with the same grades, same age, same birthdays but different physical appearance. As a biased person, the CEO of Company Z hired Person A as he is able-bodied.

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Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Uncategorized


Comic Strip

Family Day a

Family Day b

– Why did you choose the different pictures or background(s)?
I choose different pictures and backgrounds to enhance the image i want to convey to the readers. Example: I used a background of the sunset to convey to the readers that the characters are watching the sunset.

– How do they contribute to the elements (plot, setting, characterization) of your narrative?
The background sunset contributed to the setting as a happy day yet sad farewell to the lovely beach as the family leaves the beach for their home.

– How did you make use of the different elements to contribute to the theme you have chosen?
I used dialogues to contribute to the theme. Example is the dialogue in the last box. Tom wanted to go to the beach again because he treasures the family bonding he has with his family and he wants to get closer to his family members.


Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Uncategorized


Literature and Life – Shel Silverstein

The Little Boy and the Old Man by Shel Silverstein:




Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”
Said the old man, “I do that too.”
The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”
“I do that too,” laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, “I often cry.”
The old man nodded, “So do I.”
“But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
“I know what you mean,” said the little old man.
Q1: What is the underlying message that is being conveyed in this poem?
Q2: Has Shell Silverstein used any particular poetic technique that brings out this message more clearly?



Ans1: The underlying message of this poem is that the old man and little boy thinks only about their current life. Not their past or future.


Ans2: Yes, the poetic device he applied in the poem is dialogue to bring out more life to the conversation between the old man and little boy.





Messy Room:








Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
His underwear is hanging on the lamp.
His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair,
And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp.
His workbook is wedged in the window,
His sweater’s been thrown on the floor.
His scarf and one ski are beneath the TV,
And his pants have been carelessly hung on the door.
His books are all jammed in the closet,
His vest has been left in the hall.
A lizard named Ed is asleep in his bed,
And his smelly old sock has been stuck to the wall.
Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
Donald or Robert or Willie or–
Huh? You say it’s mine? Oh, dear,
I knew it looked familiar!


Q1: Can you say that the poem is humourous? If so, how?


Q2: What aspect of the human character has been highlighted in this poem?



Ans 1: Yes. The poet has exaggerated a lot by describing the messiness of the room. The room was in a mess and the persona could find fault in it and pointing fingers to whose room it belongs too. However, the persona fails to recognise that the room belongs to him.



Ans 2: It shows how people are quick to point fingers and find fault in others but never realises one self’s mistakes. When we point a finger at others, there will be three pointing back to us.





Clooney The Clown:



I’ll tell you the story of Cloony the Clown
Who worked in a circus that came through town.
His shoes were too big and his hat was too small,
But he just wasn’t, just wasn’t funny at all.
He had a trombone to play loud silly tunes,
He had a green dog and a thousand balloons.
He was floppy and sloppy and skinny and tall,
But he just wasn’t, just wasn’t funny at all.
And every time he did a trick,
Everyone felt a little sick.
And every time he told a joke,
Folks sighed as if their hearts were broke.
And every time he lost a shoe,
Everyone looked awfully blue.
And every time he stood on his head,
Everyone screamed, “Go back to bed!”
And every time he made a leap,
Everybody fell asleep.
And every time he ate his tie,
Everyone began to cry.
And Cloony could not make any money
Simply because he was not funny.
One day he said, “I’ll tell this town
How it feels to be an unfunny clown.”
And he told them all why he looked so sad,
And he told them all why he felt so bad.
He told of Pain and Rain and Cold,
He told of Darkness in his soul,
And after he finished his tale of woe,
Did everyone cry? Oh no, no, no,
They laughed until they shook the trees
With “Hah-Hah-Hahs” and “Hee-Hee-Hees.”
They laughed with howls and yowls and shrieks,
They laughed all day, they laughed all week,
They laughed until they had a fit,
They laughed until their jackets split.
The laughter spread for miles around
To every city, every town,
Over mountains, ‘cross the sea,
From Saint Tropez to Mun San Nee.
And soon the whole world rang with laughter,
Lasting till forever after,
While Cloony stood in the circus tent,
With his head drooped low and his shoulders bent.
And while the world laughed outside.
Cloony the Clown sat down and cried.




Q1: Explain the irony in this poem.
Q2: Does Shel Silverstein manage to convey some harsh realities in this poem?
Q3: What poetic devices has the poet used to effectively convey his message?


Ans 1: The ironic part in this poem is that Cloony tried to be funny by performing tricks he did but to no avail. He then tried to tell the folks how sad and hurt he felt. Cloony thought that he would gain sympathy from the folks but all he got was laughter from the sadistic folks. In the beginning, Cloony tried to be funny but he did not succeed. However, when he tried to pour his sorrows to the people, all he got was laughter.


Ans 2: Yes, he has.  The harsh realities are that people do not understand each other well and they would rub salt in peoples’ wounds.


Ans 3: Well, the poet has used poetic devices like alliteration to emphasize how the folks laughed at him: “Hah-Hah-Hahs” and “Hee-Hee-Hees.” Also, irony was used in the poem to describe how the people responded to Cloony’s jokes and misery.

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Posted by on January 22, 2011 in Uncategorized