Category Archives: ENG 201: Participants

About Me

My name is Beau Bommarito and I am from Saint Louis, Missouri. I am currently a sophomore at Emory University and am majoring in business. I am also on the Emory Basketball Team, and a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity. Although I am not sure what I want me career path to be, I hope to concentrate in Marketing and Finance in the Emory business school. I enjoy learning the Italian Language as well as learning about the culture of Italy. My website is focused on the Sicilian Mafia and its effects on Italian society both historically and in the present day.

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Post 2: Hoi An, Saigon, Koh Phangan

I last posted when we got to Hoi An. Our time there remains the most relaxing period of the trip. We stayed at a hotel and mostly just rode bikes around the quiet coastal city and ate its street food. The rest of the gang bought suits at a very impressive tailor, but I refrained (the most important part of a suit is obviously the name inside, c’mon) and elected instead to peruse the markets. We ate banh mi (baguette sandwiches) at some little restaurant that Anthony Bourdain went to. So far Vietnamese food has eclipsed both Thai food and Chinese food in my rankings of Asian cuisine (though Japanese remains in first by some distance).

Next we flew to Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. Our hostel there was boring and no one liked hanging out so we made our own fun. The first night we walked into a bar with maybe four large Indian men dancing with probably 15 scantily clad Vietnamese girls. Sketchy vibes. Tower asked one girl what kind of place we were at. She said, “This is a bar where you buy drinks and buy girls…………drinks.” The message was clear, and we took off.

We also went to the war museum in HCMC. They had a room filled with haunting pictures of the victims of Agent Orange. Spooky vibes, but historically important vibes. That night we went on a food tour around the city, riding on the backs of motorbikes. It was terrifying. Not the food, the traffic. At least 500 bikes would flood into one giant roundabout and just honk and nudge each other and spew out emissions. The food was amazing though. We also took shots of snakewine, which tasted more or less like scotch and came from a giant vat of brown liquid with a dead king cobra in it.

Next we took a bus/ferry to Koh Phangan for the Full Moon party. Every full moon, tourists swarm this island to paint themselves in neon and pee in the ocean to the soundtrack of droning house music. It was quite an experience. I remember walking out of our hostel to the end of the block and three (3) women had already accosted me to buy a bucket of alcohol from their stands. Red bull vodka was certainly the bucket-du-jour. We stayed up until the moon went down and the sun came up and my phone left this realm for good. Then we stumbled into a bar at 7 AM to watch the Cavs win the title. I was more exhausted than postgame LeBron when we got to bed at 10 AM. I had certainly worked harder.

I’ll sign off with that, but there’s more to share from Phuket/Patong. Sneak preview: I got iced by DeAndre Jordan. No kidding. DeAndre Jordan bought a Smirnoff Ice and made me drink it on a knee in the middle of the street. Still hate the guy, go Mavs.


Post 1: June 12, 2016

Tower and I arrived at our hostel in Hanoi at around midnight. Ten minutes later, we were standing in the street, taking pulls from a Vietnamese vodka bottle. As Peter and Andrew brought us up to speed on where they had been the last two weeks, a hostel employee ushered us into a dark nightclub across the street, closing the garage-style door behind us. Apparently, Hanoi has a midnight curfew, but many clubs pay off the cops to stay open later.

We get to this club and order some bucket of alcohol. British people are standing around with balloons full of nitrous oxide. The tone has been set.

Eventually we go to another club and meet more people from all over the world. Then the cops show up and shut down the outside part of the club. These new parameters, however, do not deter cigarette consumption.

We got back to the hostel around two. I took a very productive shower in the communal bathroom. The good news is that 3 years of living in a fraternity house prepared me pretty well for staying in a backpacker hostel for $8 a night. The bad news is that staying in a backpacker hostel for $8 a night made me wonder why I* paid so much to live in a fraternity house for 3 years.

Anyway, the first night in Hanoi was a success. The next day we went to Ho Loa Prison, where John McCain and other American pilots were tortured. It was pretty sobering stuff. They had one room about the American pilots that pissed me off. It showed them playing basketball and playing cards and smiling and celebrating Christmas and “Oh, look how nice we treated them,” etc. The guillotine in the other room told a different story of the conditions there.

After that we went to Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum where Peter’s dead body fetish really came out. Unfortunately, we were three minutes too late to see Uncle Ho’s actual body because Peter had to read every damn word in that museum before going to the body. Poetic justice 1, Pete’s dead body fetish 0.

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Pregame Pete’s intellectual curiosity on full display.

Then we went to the Temple of Literature. It was built in 1070 which is neat. Poopypants Pete found a huge snail and named him Honus.

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Honus.

The next day we set sail on the hostel’s Castaway Island tour in Ha Long Bay. We took a bus, then a boat, then another bus, then another boat to get to there.

On the boat ride in I bought four beers from a Vietnamese guy, and for whatever reason we just started yelling “Four beers! Four beers!” together. Then he punched me in the dick. The tone has been set.

The island was unbelievably beautiful, but it was very strange to consider the contrast between an American’s visit to Vietnam today and that of only 40 or so years ago. One was hell; the other, paradise. For better or worse, this thought dissipated with the all the activity around us.

There was kayaking, wakeboarding, rock climbing, volleyball, basketball, even a booze cruise. At night, the DJ mixed up some tasty jams as the bioluminescent plankton came out to play. Everyone smelled horrible, but no one cared. The whole scene was surreal.
We also met some incredible people with some incredible stories. I maintain that my favorite part of the whole excursion was meeting these people. The bungalow we were in facilitated a lot of quality hanging out and degeneracy. Bung 102 forever.

IMG_5859View from our island in Ha Long Bay.

We departed after two wild nights there. On the way back to Hanoi, the hundeds of rice farmers I saw toiling over the landscape made me realize how blessed I was that a jellyfish sting and a hangover were the worst of my concerns that day.

That night, we boarded a sleeper bus to Hue, which seemed like a 5-star hotel compared to the den of sand and body odor that we had become accustomed to.

In Hue, we got some dank noods before boarding another bus for Hoi An, from which I’m currently writing this. When I get Wi-Fi, I’ll post it and try to add some pictures.

Peter Montgomery quote of the day: “Buying cookware is so fun.”


Post 0: June 5, 2016

In the month or so leading up to my departure for Southeast Asia, many friends and family implored me: “You have to send us pictures!”

Even though I graduated from the College of Arts and Crafts, I wasn’t a pictures major, so I decided to reclaim this website to post written updates from the trip.  Hopefully, this blog will also challenge me to reflect more critically on my travels than would a simple Facebook post or email.

Side note: I originally created this website for a Shakespeare class.  Please disregard those posts (unless you want to pore over the fruits of my worthless degree).

Typically, I’m not one to share photos or updates or even memes on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, but I believe an adventure of this magnitude warrants documentation and presentation.  Furthermore, I feel like not documenting the trip would be a disservice not only to myself, but also to the many friends and family who asked for pictures and updates.

Accordingly, this site is now your source for our shenanigans.  Depending on the availability of time/Wi-Fi, I’ll try to post periodic updates that include our experiences and perhaps a bit of reflection.  The goal of this site is twofold: (1) to document what we do, and (2) to force myself to think about the trip beyond “Wow these drinks are cheap,” and “What’s that bulge in that woman’s pants?”

So there you have it.  Tomorrow I set off on 24 days of travel.  See you on the other side.

To quote my buddy Spencer’s text from a warehouse rave last night at 5:46 AM: “Shit is about to heat the fuck up.”


ENG 212 Final Project: “Reasonable Doubt,” a Podcast

One semester after the conclusion of my Shakespeare class, I have returned to this site with a new multimodal project to present.  This past semester, I have oriented my study of English not around Old Bill, but around serial narratives.

In ENG 212, we read Dickens’s Great Expectations, we watched the first season of Mad Men, and we listened to the first season of Serial, the podcast.  We focused on how seriality affects narrative technique, how presentation affects content.

We learned that new technologies often lead to new modes of presentation and accordingly, new stories altogether.  The podcast Serial resonated with me as it was my first experience with a story that unfolded as I listened to it.  This form of presentation, as we discussed in class, promotes a greater level of investment and intrigue among its listeners than would an open-and-shut case.  For this reason, I chose to produce my own podcast for my final project.

This podcast examines a murder trial currently underway in Fulton County.  I have changed the names of those involved, but the facts surrounding the case remain the same.  The episode not only examines the actual criminal investigation and witness testimonies, but also comments on legal theory and the nature of our justice system.  I tried to challenge listeners to think: what does it mean that our court system can let murderers walk?  Or put an innocent person in prison for life?

I also looked at the nature of evidence and the psychology of eyewitness testimony.  How might a witness’s memory conform a narrative that investigators encourage?  Just how much doubt constitutes reasonable doubt?

If this podcast were to become a series, these questions would come up repeatedly, because, of course, these questions really do come up every day in court rooms all over the world.  Many people, however, never consider them until they’re either in handcuffs or sitting in a jury box.  It is my hope that this episode provokes its listeners to consider these questions more explicitly, and does so in an interesting and engaging way.

Finally, the podcast as a format challenged me in many ways.  I tried to communicate a large amount of information while maintaining listeners’ attention and interest.  To achieve this goal, I used music before, during, and after the narration to provide a sense of cohesion.  I also used audio from a TED Talk to alleviate the monophony.  Ultimately, I came away with a better appreciation for podcasters and all verbal storytellers.

Enjoy the episode!

Audio

Script and Sources

 


Blog Post #8 (Extra Credit)

The Destructive Nature of Humans: A Coral Reef Perspective 

Blog Post #3 Rewritten

I am a home. I am a resource. I am a wonder of the natural world. I was once a beauty to behold. I was once lush. I was once colorful and vibrant. I was once vast and epic. Now I am steadily withering away. Now, the animals and plants that used to utilize me and prosper have left to find better homes. But some of these animals have no homes to turn to. My bright color and lush landscape is darkening and decaying. I am a coral reef and I am disappearing in front of your eyes. I feel weak and I feel sadness. But I also feel betrayal. I feel disrespected by those that should want to protect me and heal me.

I feel disrespected by those that should want to protect me and heal me.

I am being smothered in sediment by large boats that rip through me dragging along debris. The ecosystem that once surrounded me and protected me is being widened and exposed to allow more human traffic to come through. There are plans in place that will speed up and even enhance this process, at which point I will have no chance to recover. There is a small number of those that are working to study me and trying their best to protect me from this human development, but their voices are being drowned out by larger, more established businesses ashore.

Why would they want to destroy like they have? Do they not understand the role I play? Do they not understand what I provide for them? Yes, I was once I natural wonder that was incredible to behold, but I am also a home to so many. I play such a crucial role in the cycle between plants and animals and even the humans on the shore. Do they not understand that I contribute to their own lifestyle? Do they not understand that by destroying me they are hurting themselves? And what about the others they are hurting. The coral species that necessitate my space to survive and once I am gone they will forever be gone too. What about the fish and the turtles that will dwindle in numbers dangerously low once I am no longer able to provide for them. Do they not care that they are destroying past a point of no return?

I am a coral reef and I am symbolic of a larger problem in human society. I am the remnants of humankind’s destructive tendencies. Humans do not think about the compounding results of their abrasive actions. They tend to not think about the future through the perspective of those who they have affected. I do not have a voice like humans do, but I have been essential to their lifestyle. Yet, they show me no respect. Not only do they ignore my existence within their developmental plans, but they ravage me along the away to achieve their goals. My only hope now is that I can serve as an example of human’s destructive nature. I hope that the world will learn from this mistake. I hope they will prioritize the natural world like me and appreciate what we do. I hope others will be appreciated and protected.

coral-bleaching-catlin-seaview-1

http://www.livescience.com/52427-chilling-photos-coral-bleaching.html

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http://usercontent2.hubimg.com/10419915_f260.jpg

The Beginning of a New Journey

          Hi, welcome to my website! My name is Angeline Goh and I’m a student at Emory University. Growing up in Malaysia, our education system did not expose us to Shakespeare’s works, therefore I chose to enroll myself in a Major Authors English class that close reads the Tempest, the Taming of the Shrew, King Lear, Richard II, and Titus Andronicus. Being a math and science geek, I am quantitative by nature hence there were many challenges and obstacles I faced while I was introduced to the complex yet fascinating world of Shakespeare. Although, it was difficult to understand Early Modern English, my knowledge of Shakespeare increased exponentially with the help of google and the Oxford English Dictionary. Based on the plays we read in class, I found Shakespeare’s works to be highly misogynistic. I understand that it was written in a century where societal construct favors men but as a millennial, I found this to be extremely problematic. Also, Shakespeare incorporates nature and mythology into his plays, it was interesting to uncover the meaning of those references by reading various research and papers. To address those problems, I coalesced knowledge from different disciplines to think critically about Shakespeare’s play which is also the central theme of my website.

          Throughout the semester, with the lens of a 21-year-old female, I focused on different modern world problems such as feminism, both environmental and social problems, understanding how it plays into the diverse materials we explored in this course. One thing I enjoyed about this class is the conversations that ensured every week, listening to classmates share their perspective definitely enlightened me to the fact that no one person is the same. In fact, based on neuroscience, from single conversations to broader culture shapes microscopic details of our brain, who we are depends on where we’ve been, our brain constantly changes its circuitry and the patterns in our neural networks. Putting this lesson into practice in my daily life definitely improved my communication skills. As humans, we interpret messages using our own judgement and viewpoint which often leads to misunderstandings.

          Writing for this class requires a vast combination of cognitive domain which encompasses intellectual thinking skills. Before I penned my thoughts down, I identified previously learned materials then I summarized the key points and critical examples for my blog post. After that, I developed and restructured the information followed by breaking it down into parts so that the organization structure is understood. Subsequently, I synthesized the information and integrated details from other studies from various fields in order to modify and enhance my argument. This was the core process I used to complete the assignments, I found that the ability to evaluate and pinpoint which citations were relevant in validating my claim was crucial in forming a compelling case.

          I remember distinctly that I struggled with the visual rendering assignment because I was conditioned to write long wordy papers in college where I had the freedom to explain and expand my ideas in eight to ten pages. To condense a tremendous amount of why’s and how’s into a one-page infographic using visual iconography to help readers understand the Taming of the Shrew more fully was definitely a challenge. Not to mention, I possess the artistic abilities of an 8-year-old, it is one of my core weaknesses. Hence, it took eight hours to harness my inner Claude Monet. It paid off. Through creating a visual rendering that outlines the relationships between the characters, it highlighted the lack of a motherly figure in the play. This discovery steered me in the direction of unveiling the reason behind the exclusion of maternal characters in many of Shakespeare’s works which influenced my diverse compositions on feminism. As a result of this assignment, I acquired the capability to sum up arguments creatively with art, the aim was to provide my readers a mind map that captures the essence of the play, provoking thoughts and discussions with just one look at the piktochart.

          A career in business involves the obvious functions such as management and marketing, but there’s an increasing need for business majors to apply their skills in government, international commerce, health care, arts, and non-profit organizations. This is where the liberal arts degree comes in handy. Business principles can serve as the backbone for economic, political and social systems at all levels. Any business degree will involve working with numbers and statistical analysis, so being comfortable with math is an advantage. We need to have the ability to ‘see the big picture’ when it comes to organizational structures, taking into consideration the goals of the group, considering the raw materials or rough data, and developing plans to move projects forward. As a business school student, the ability to communicate concise written and verbal information, excel at team work, and work well under sometimes sustained pressure are expected.

          After pondering about this, I realize the aptitude required in this class is comparable to those needed as a business student. From this course, I learned to listen to instructions and deliver the assignments in a timely manner. In the real world, clients will have a list of demands and it is our job to provide the deliverables before a deadline. Problem solving is the prime asset of a business major, we ought to look at a setback from distinct angles to yield the best solution. The visual rendering assignment definitely taught me that approaching a subject differently brings light to issues that never crossed your mind.  Moreover, Shakespeare embeds problems with monarchy within his plays, the references and symbolisms send significant messages regarding the outcomes of greed and power. He urges us to ask the question, is greed for power human nature? Since animals react based on instincts, can we evolve beyond our animalistic tendencies by combating our innate hunger? Is greed a bad?  The concept of arbitrage in business is the simultaneous buying and selling of securities, currency, or commodities in different markets or in derivative forms in order to take advantage of differing prices for the same asset until prices are equal. This shows that greed has its pros, without it we as a species would not continue to develop and advance the world around us.

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Titus Andronicus and Honor Killings

          Within the pages of Titus Andronicus, killing in the name of honor occurs repeatedly. My presentation aims to expose the reasons behind honor killing and tying it to the real world where it is still practiced in some societies today. I combined studies on feminism, honor killing and oppression to structure my presentation.

          The killing of Lavinia in Act V Scene 3 is a prominent example of honor killing in the play.

Titus Andronicus. An if your highness knew my heart, you were.
My lord the emperor, resolve me this:
Was it well done of rash Virginius
To slay his daughter with his own right hand,
Because she was enforced, stain’d, and deflower’d?

Saturninus. It was, Andronicus.

Titus Andronicus. Your reason, mighty lord?

Saturninus. Because the girl should not survive her shame,
And by her presence still renew his sorrows.

Titus Andronicus. A reason mighty, strong, and effectual;
A pattern, precedent, and lively warrant,
For me, most wretched, to perform the like.
Die, die, Lavinia, and thy shame with thee;
[Kills LAVINIA]
And, with thy shame, thy father’s sorrow die! (5.3.2566-2580)

          It begs us to ask the question, is the killing of Lavinia justified? Although murder is cruel, would it be worse to let her live in pain and sorrow?

Source Cited

Weber, William W. “Worse Than Philomel”: Violence, Revenge, And Meta-Allusion In Titus Andronicus.” Studies In Philology 112.4 (2015): 698-717. Academic Search Complete. Web.

SILVERSTONE, CATHERINE. “‘Honour The Real Thing’: Shakespeare, Trauma And Titus Andronicus In South Africa.” Shakespeare Survey 62.(2009): 46-57. Academic Search Complete. Web.

Scott, Lindsey. ““Groaning Shadows That Are Gone”: The Ghosts Of Titus Andronicus.” English Studies 96.4 (2015): 403-423. Academic Search Complete. Web.

Willis, Deborah. “‘The Gnawing Vulture’: Revenge, Trauma Theory, And Titus Andronicus.” Shakespeare Quarterly53.1 (2002): 21. Academic Search Complete. Web.

Shakespeare, William. “Titus Andronicus: Entire Play.” Titus Andronicus: Entire Play. MIT, n.d. Web.

 

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Shakespeare’s Globe

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Welcome to the site! Allow me to introduce its purpose, themes, and format.

I created this site for an undergraduate Shakespeare class at Emory University. The class, ENG 210W: Shakespeare’s Globe, explored a handful of Shakespearean plays and performances, with an emphasis on how they inform contemporary issues, particularly environmental concerns. This site, then, serves as a record of my own inquiries into how these enduring and esoteric plays survive to illuminate current issues like climate change.

For the purposes of this site, Shakespeare becomes a kind of ecology—a living, breathing subject that responds to shifts in culture and academia. These plays, while historically significant, offer much more than their historical interpretations might suggest. They reflect on the very psychology and sensibility that comprise the human condition. In particular, Shakespeare frequently comments on humanity’s relationship with nature. In what ways do these considerations of nature and human influence shine light on today’s environmental concerns? That question, along with some other considerations, become the subject and purpose of this website.

Unfortunately, Shakespeare does not offer a definitive interpretation of nature. For Gonzalo and his sailors in The Tempest, nature offers a potential for innocence and abundance. For Prospero and King Lear, however, nature becomes subjugated for their own advantage and ambition. In Titus Andronicus, nature provides an asylum for Chiron and Demetrius’s dark desires to play out, causing other characters to contemplate whether our planet’s natural order promotes life and prosperity, or chaos and violence. Ultimately, Shakespeare’s conflicting portrayals of nature parallel humanity’s own complicated relationship with the environment, which is precisely why Shakespeare studies can inform contemporary environmental issues.

Along the way, other assignments spurred me to consider other topics, like language, violence, and power. I explored these topics through a variety of mediums. The class emphasized “multimodal research techniques” to overcome a common handicap in conventional Shakespeare studies—the impulse toward historicist interpretations. While historical contexts certainly prove vital in understanding the plays, the concepts and themes benefit from their consideration not only in relation to contemporary issues, but also through contemporary means.

It is my hope that this site demonstrates Shakespeare’s capacity to contribute meaningfully to current conversations about climate change and other environmental issues. Furthermore, I hope that this site illustrates the benefit in addressing Shakespeare through unconventional, alternative methods by transcending, but not ignoring, traditional interpretations and presentations.


As I mentioned, this site tackles Shakespeare through a variety of analytical styles. Although the site exists more or less as a blog in terms of format, most entries reflect greater consideration than a casual blog post. The entries include a paper, an infographic, a presentation, a digital edition that includes a glossed text, and a handful of blog posts.

This variety of techniques challenged me to step out of the conventional rhetorical frame that most English classes operate within. I saw how analysis could occur and develop without thesis statements or even words, at all. The most compelling explorations of Shakespeare leverage not only their content, but also their presentation.

The first short paper, covering The Tempest, provided an opportunity to gain footing not only with writing about Shakespeare, but also with working through the diversity of interpretive modes within Shakespeare studies. In the paper, I examined an essay by Ingo Berensmeyer that advocates for “media ecology,” or the potential for a work like The Tempest to function across many mediums and generations due to its emphasis on fundamental, unchanging human drives and concerns. The essay, a familiar format, offered a chance to grapple with new ideas surrounding Shakespeare studies within a comfortable medium.

The next assignment tugged at my fledgling artistic sensibilities. Using Piktochart, I created an infographic that examined Shakespeare’s use of insults and, more broadly, the uniquely volatile character of vernacular language. The assignment developed my eye for design. I was challenged to consider what my viewers would think, where they would look first, in what sequence they would read through the graphic. Unlike in writing a paper, I thought acutely about how my work would be interpreted rather than merely developing an argument.

This newfound awareness of the reader carried over to my “Digital Edition,” an assignment that argued for the parallel between the ingratitude that King Lear’s daughters show toward their father in his final years, and the ingratitude that humans show toward our “mother” earth. I examine the strange phenomenon of caring for one’s original caretaker, or parent, as they grow older, and how this relates to the current need to care for the Earth. Again, I sidestepped the conventional frame of analysis and looked at both critical responses to King Lear and contemporary stagings of the play. It concludes with a close reading and glossed text of a passage from the First Quarto of the play.

My last assignment, a presentation of violence and power in Titus Andronicus, leveraged the power of images to convey the significance of violence. Although I kept it PG-13, the images nevertheless helped illustrate concepts like the commodification of human flesh, and the relationship between Saturninus and the Saturn of Roman mythology. This unconventional medium provided further evidence for the idea that Shakespearean analysis benefits from contemporary modes of presentation.


Going forward, I aim to apply the skills I’ve learned in this course when thinking through other contemporary problems. Climate change is not merely an isolated, recent issue; it is the manifestation of a hubris that began long ago, and that Shakespeare comments on frequently. I intend to explore how other classic texts and celebrated authors dealt with the human-nature dynamic, and how that can further inform today’s conversations.

Furthermore, this class has developed my research and presentation skills, which I will confidently carry over to law school one year from now. The diversity of both content and presentation that this course encouraged will help me to think through concepts and understand how older documents, like Supreme Court cases, can inform today’s issues. Law school frequently demands robust personal consideration of past attitudes and legal decisions. I am confident that this course has taught me to not only respect historical interpretations, but also formulate my own ideas within my position in contemporary society.

I have a newfound appreciation for mediums like visual renderings and slideshow presentations to convey ideas that are typically confined to an essay. Certain concepts, like violence, benefit from audiovisual enhancement. In the future, I will actively consider how new forms of media can supplant or complement conventional methods. This site mainly examines Shakespeare’s relation to contemporary environmental concerns—which is, after all, just one example of how the past can inform the present.

Image source.


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