"Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferrals of information." -Paulo Friere

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Two Brave New World Assignments, and one link just for fun

Seniors,

Assignment #1:

This article seems particularly relevant to our discussion of Brave New World, and I hope it won't impinge on any of your Power Read topics.


Please read it carefully and complete the first two article response steps in your sourcebook, like you did for the Moby Dick "Wicked" article.

1. Comprehension. In your sourcebook, summarize the main points of the article in about 1/2 a page. Bullet-point format is fine for this.

2. Analysis. Choose three significant quotes and copy them into your sourcebook. After each quote, discuss why you think that sentence is key to the argument.

We will go through the application, evaluation, and synthesis steps together in class, so come ready to discuss on Tuesday, September 28.

Assignment #2:

Please read this comic, and write a paragraph personal evaluation. For instance, you could describe what the point of this cartoon is and how true you find it.

Also due Tuesday, September 28.



Link just for fun:

I stumbled upon this
article the other day, and just had to share it. It's a list compiled from two other sites giving the most popular dystopian movies ever. I don't necessarily agree with their definition of dystopia, but this was still interesting enough to share. Brave New World is not even on the list, because the only movies that have been made of the book have terrible reviews. It seems to me like it's one of those books that never really works that well as a film.

I'd love to do an assignment with
Brave New World where we compare different dystopias and analyze them somehow....we'll see if we have time.

What are your favorite dystopian movies, students? Discuss in the comments section (purely voluntary, not an assignment!)

6 comments:

  1. Ahh, so many familiar names! (Though for most of the ones I recognize, I have only heard about them or seen a few scenes.) Many old movies also.

    I'm not a big scifi fan, so I'm not really into these kinds of movie. I really dislike IRobot because I hate the idea behind it - robots controlling and replacing humans. As nice as the idea sounds, I'm against it. But I could definitely see society slowly shifting that way as technology takes over our lives. I just hope artificial intelligence doesn't explode while I still live on this planet. (And, where do I draw the line? Obviously, these movies exaggerate the whole control idea.)

    And so after I told my friend my dislike of IRobot, he directed me to 1984. I have been meaning to read it, but I probably won't enjoy it.
    I just hope that modern-day human beings learn the lesson in those books/movies. That's the only reason I'd support them.

    So I guess I don't have any favorites to add. Sure, The Matrix. But dystopia just isn't my thing. (Starship Troopers is just so disgusting!!)

    Let's see what other movies people bring up.. :)

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  2. It's incredible how as human beings we're so preoccupied with how dreadful the future will be. Why is it that we don't see any movies depicting the future where technology, peace, and happiness are not mutually exclusive?
    Ms. Wyant, in AP USH and World History, showed us scenes from Metropolis. The speculation that robots are going to take over the world is scary, but is it going to hinder or maybe even halt the development and progress of technology as humanity moves forward? Nope. Look at the dozens of dystopian movies regarding technology made after Metropolis. They are warning us about where we're heading, yes but nothing's done about it. No one worries about the state of the world because the benefits outweigh the costs (for the moment) and no one wants to change their comfortable lifestyles anyway. I think what they do is speculate on what will happen if some themes and trends of the society today were made extreme. Just my two cents.
    Anyway, my favorite would have to be The Matrix. It's plot is epic. Oh, I wonder if they made a movie about The Giver? I really enjoyed the book.

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  3. Hm...I only recognized a few of the movies listed. I never watched the movie for 1984 but I read the book and it struck me, when I read Brave New World, how similar the two books are! However, the movie that stood out the most for me was Pleasantville. I watched the movie a long time ago but I still remember it very clearly and I like the movie a lot. It's interesting how Pleasantville was part colored and part black-and-white because I think it really did a great deal to emphasize and contrast the change coming over Pleasantville. Another interesting thing about Pleasantville is that the idea of a dystopia in that movie is quite different from the dystopia in, say, The Matrix. It wasn't really death and destruction in the way we usually see it. But it displayed a dystopia and a revolution all the same, just in a much smaller, community picture.

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  4. There are way too many old movies on that list, so I only know a few. But aside from that (and quite the opposite of Joyce), I LOVEEEE sci-fi. They prove that fantastical movies aren't just for happy endings. And however exaggerated/unrealistic those movies portray the future, some of the ideas are mind-boggling. Movies are mostly just for enjoyment's sake, right? :)

    On that list, I think V For Vendetta and The Matrix have to be my favorites, and maybe Minority Report. On the subject of dystopia, V For Vendetta shows that creepy totalitarian government that we all fear in the future. Though I've never read 1984, from seeing the comic link, V For Vendetta seems to touch on a similar concept. I found The Matrix brilliant in the way that it uses utopia to capture dystopia. Things seem like they're all fine and dandy but that's just a cover-up for the true, ugly war between humans and machines. (Wait, isn't that like Brave New World?) But I'm not a big fan of slow-mo kick-butt kung fu moves. Minority Report was a good movie, but I don't see any great portrayal of dystopia... it just seemed like another sci-fi movie to me.

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  5. First off, like Mrs. Poulsen, I do not necessarily agree with the site's definition of a dysstopia either. I feel like a few of the movies--that I actually know and have watched--on the list are not exactly dystopias because when I think of a dystopia, I not only think of chaos and disasters everywhere, but also oppresion of human freedom, potential, and individuality. How I have always pictured a dystopia is basically a utopia gone wrong--like people trying to stablize the world and make everyone happy, but ending up suppressing people's real neads and emotions and oppressing them--exactly like what happens in Brave New World.

    With that being said, I believe that my favorite dystopian movies on the list are The Matrix and its sequels, I Robot, and Starship Troopers. I really like the first two because they emphasize individualism and one individual's conflict with a society that is so oppresive and constricting. I would have to say that that is my favorite theme and plot of any movies: an individual who starts out weak or seemingly a misfit but then rises either in rank or spiritually because he or she is the only one who can actually see the truth. The reason why I love Starship Troopers or even just have seen it so many times is because one, that is a common movie for Felix and me--we have always watched it together--and two, it is really exciting and when I watched it, it really feels that something that could happen. (However, I do not feel like this is really a dystopian film but rather just a sci-fi film; it does not really fit the categories of oppressing individual potential, an evil government, or even chaos--it simply depicts an alien invasion which is what the typical sci-fi movie usually does.)

    That is what I believe makes a good dystopian, or any, film for that matter: a film that is relevant to one's life and one believes can actually happen. I feel like an underlying theme in all these dystopian movies is our excessive dependence on technology and maltreatment of the environment. In both The Matrix and I Robot, robots take over humans, and in Starship Troopers, the troopers have to combat giant insects, all of which really emphasizes how enslaved we are by our technology. So much that people kind of lose a part of themselves--the human and thus individual potential part. Thus, I feel like all these movies really have a purpose: to encourage us to not be so dependent on technology and to go back to the basics a little bit and just enjoy and live life the way we used to--humanly (which is what is lacking in Brave New World--having pain and not immediate gratification--which is what makes the society so perverse and depraved because people can never know true happiness).

    A movie that I believe to by a dystopian film but is not on the list is Aeon Flux. Aeon Flux talks about this perfect society that has survived an epidemic--the only city left--and it is so perfect, but this perfection costs: people who oppose the government mysteriously disappear. Like the aboved mention films, the movie focuses on that one individual--Aeon Flux--who fights against society and sees the truth more and more clearly along the way (she finds out that the organization who is ordering her to kill the leader of the society is actually the villain)--this twist in the plot actually makes me wonder whether or not this is still a dystopian film. Nevertheless, as an added bonus, Aeon Flux is extremely skilled at fighting which inspires a sense of power and hope in the audience who watch the movie and relate with her--like the indiviudal is indeed powerful enough to fight against the evil society. :)

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  6. Dudes. And Mrs. Poulsen.
    This isn't a movie, but it's one hell of a damn good book.
    Read Regiment of Women. Author Thomas Berger.
    Incredibly sick but beautifully executed mind f*ck. It's about a world with a reversal of (stereotypical) concepts of femininity and masculinity. What is feminine to us, and I'm not even kidding here, like pantyhose, breast implants, and shaving legs, is what is masculine in their world and vice versa with muscles, a tough attitude, "male" dominance being feminine. Basically men and women are still men and women only on a biological level, everything mental has been switched and it's interesting to see how Berger changes things in this new world to fit in with this development.

    It takes a few chapters to get used to seeing the world in that context, but damn I had my mind blown into steaming pieces when I finally got around to adopting that outlook.

    I have to warn you though, there will be times where you actually forget what females and males are like in real life and you fall so in line with the storyline that you emerge surprised at your (in my case) masculinity. That's how good Berger is. And there will be sections of the book which will force you to see things briefly from a homosexual person's point of view. You will take a long hard look at what it means to be a woman or a man after reading this and you will develop a tolerance for taking trips into the darkest corners of your imagination. Brilliant stuff.

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