And Then There Were None   Leave a comment

For a project in my class, we are finding monstrosity in literature.  I chose to focus on the monsters in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.  I could’ve written a paper on any one of Christie’s book, but this one is my all time favorite.  My goal in life is to read all of her books at least once.  I highly recommend reading this book.  Even though I have told you who the murderer is, it is still an incredible book.  Also, do not watch the movie first.  The ending is different, and it is not nearly as good as the book.

In this book, ten people are invited to stay on an island for the weekend.  They are all offered some sort of job on this island, and they will all be working for Mr. U.N. Owen, or by a stretch of the imagination, Mr. Unknown.  When they arrive on the island, they find that their host has not arrived yet.  As they are sitting in the dining room, one of the guests puts on a record, and a voice accuses all of the guests of committing a murder.  As the weekend progresses, the guests are murdered one by one according to the nursery rhyme, Ten Little Indians.  The poem reads:

Ten little Indian boys went out to dine;

One choked his little self and then there were nine.

Nine little Indian boys sat up very late;

One overslept himself and then there were eight.

Eight little Indian boys traveling in Devon;

One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.

Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks;

One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.

Six little Indian boys playing with a hive;

A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.

Five little Indian boys going in for law;

One got in Chancery and then there were four.

Four little Indian boys going out to sea;

A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.

Three little Indian boys walking in the Zoo;

A big bear hugged one and then there were two.

Two little Indian boys sitting in the sun;

One got frizzled up and then there was one.

One little Indian boy left all alone;

He went and hanged himself and then there were none.

In this book, every one is a murderer.  However, the person who kills them all is a judge wanted to commit the ultimate murder and the ultimate justice.  He chooses his victims wisely.  He does not want to kill an innocent person.  I think this idea is very unique.  This book also raises the question: is it wrong to kill a murderer?

In the chapter following the epilogue, you read the Judge’s confession.  He explains how he committed his murders, and why he did it.  Then he takes his confession and puts it in a bottle.  He throws the bottle into the ocean with the hopes that someday someone will find it.  He doesn’t do this because he feels guilty.  He does this because he knows that no one knows what happened on Indian Island, and he wants the credit.  He wants to know that there is a slight possibility that someone will find out that he was the mastermind behind the murders.  But for now, all that is left is ten dead bodies and an unsolved mystery on Indian Island.

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Posted November 23, 2011 by heffner14 in Uncategorized

Blade Runner vs I, Robot   2 comments

Last week in class, we watched the first hour and a half of Blade Runner.  I thought this movie was very hard to understand.  The idea was pretty complicated, and I didn’t really understand who everyone was.  I think it is also hard to understand movies when most of the people in the movie are lying.

I didn’t like the movie very much.  I thought that it could probably be a good movie to watch on television if there is nothing else on.  It was interesting, but it was not my favorite.

I do, however, like this movie better than I, Robot.  At least the humans in the movie were trying to defeat the robots.  In I, Robot, the humans just gave up.  They didn’t care that the robots were taking over the world.  However, the robots in I, Robot were taking over the world in order to protect the humans.  The robots in Blade Runner were taking over the world in order to rule humans.  These robots were much scarier.

 They were actually evil.  In I, Robot, the humans programmed the robots to never harm a human.  Therefore, the humans were not afraid of the robots.  As long as the humans continue to program the robots with the 3 rules, there is no problem with the robots taking over the world.

I don’t like the idea of humans letting robots take over.  I much prefer the battles that occur in Blade Runner.

We did not see the ending of Blade Runner, but I am assuming that the humans win in the end.  I think that most people prefer this ending.  I have not seen the movie I, Robot, but I am pretty sure the humans win in that movie, too.  Hollywood probably didn’t want to leave the audience feeling disappointed with humans, so they changed the ending.  Hollywood does this with a lot of movies.  Maybe that’s why most people prefer the books over the movies.

                 

Posted November 23, 2011 by heffner14 in Uncategorized

Liar!   1 comment

One of my favorite chapters in I, Robot was Liar!  In this chapter, there was a mistake with the production of a robot, and the robot was accidentally given the ability to read minds.  He then began telling people lies because of the first rule of robots: A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.  The robot told people what they wanted to hear because he didn’t want to upset the people.  The way they defeated the robot was to tell it that he will hurt the human either way.  If he tells the human a lie, the human will be upset because he lied.  If he tells the human the truth, the human will be upset.  The robot becomes so confused that it refuses to speak.

I found this chapter interesting because it is debating whether it is better to tell someone a lie if it keeps them from feeling the pain of the truth or if it is better to just tell the truth.  I have always had trouble lying to people, but I also have trouble hurting people’s feelings.  I don’t know what the right answer to this question is.  I think it depends on the situation.

However, one lie often leads to several more lies.  Then if someone finds out about all of these lies, it becomes a much bigger deal than it probably should have been.  Also, lying adds a lot of stress to your life.  It makes you constantly worried that someone will figure out you lied.  Maybe the truth is always the right way to go.

On the other hand, telling the truth just to rid yourself of guilt, is not the right way to go.  If the telling the truth will make you feel better, but hurt someone else, maybe it is best to just tell a lie.

I think the robot figured out the best way to handle this situation: just don’t say anything.

Posted November 14, 2011 by heffner14 in Uncategorized

Robbie   1 comment

The second chapter of I, Robot is titled Robbie.  In this chapter, a mom decides to buy a robot in order to be their child’s nanny.  This robot, Robbie, is one of the early models and cannot talk.  The little girl loves it, though.  She plays hide-and-go-seek with it, and she tells it stories.  Her mother is afraid that she isn’t like the other children because her best friend is a robot.  Her mother decides that it is best for her child if she takes the robot away.  The child becomes depressed, and doesn’t want to do anything except look for Robbie.  After several attempts, the mother finally gives in and Robbie comes back.  However, the story ends with the world panicking over robot safety, and the little girl loses Robbie a second time.

I liked this story.  I thought it was very sad though, and I empathized with the little girl.  I have always had a strong attachment to inanimate objects.  I had to buy every stuffed animal I saw because I had this overwhelming feeling of sadness for the animal.  I felt like they needed me.  I was like the little girl in the Corduroy story.  She saw the bear and thought he needed her, and he did.

I also don’t think I have ever gotten rid of a stuffed animal.  I keep them all in storage in my basement.  I think they are too cute to give away.

I thought the ending of this story was depressing.  You went through this very long story waiting for this little girl to get her best friend back, and when she finally does, they take it away again.  The lead up to Robbie’s return was long and drawn out, but when they took Robbie away the second time, it was short and to the point.  It took only about 3 lines for all of the anticipation and good feelings about his return to disappear.  I thought this was very disappointing.  I really liked Robbie.  I think the story would have been much better if they had just left the last page or so out of it.  The little girl would have been happy, and so would I.

Posted November 14, 2011 by heffner14 in Uncategorized

I, Robot   1 comment

We started I, Robot this week in class.  As I read the introduction, a couple of lines stood out to me.  One is on page 3.  On this page Dr. Calvin asks the narrator how old he is.  To his reply of thirty-two, the doctor says, “Then you don’t remember a world without robots.”  I thought this was really interesting because this is very true in the new generation of children.  They were born into a world filled with technology.  They don’t know what it’s like not to have it.  The two girls that I babysit during the summer are amazing with technology.  The oldest can play the wii very well, and she also understands how to play all of the games on my iPhone.  The youngest one, who can’t read, can play most of the games, too.  She can even open the games and start them without knowing what any of the buttons say.  It amazes me how fast kids pick up on technology.  They don’t even need to be taught how to use computers or phones or games.  All they really need is practice.

Some people think that too much technology is bad for children.  I think it’s wonderful.  Kids use games to learn several things.  I used to play school related computer games all summer.  I played a typing game one summer, and that has helped me immensely when it comes to school work.  The only way too much technology can be bad is if you substitute sitting and playing video games for physical activity.  As long as you have a healthy balance between the two, I see nothing wrong with kids becoming obsessed with technology.

    

The other line that stood out to me was still in the introduction on page 3 as well.  There is a section that talks about how all of the robots are human-made.  It also says that machines were not meant to take the jobs of humans.  I agree with this to some extent.  I think that there are some jobs that machines should not do, such as surgery or teaching, but the machines that people make for factories are pretty incredible.  Someone still has to design the machines and maintain them, so the jobs are not all replaced.  Machines just make life easier.  I love the show How It’s Made.  I think it is really interesting, and I love to watch it.  I have a lot of respect for the people that design those machines.  They are geniuses.

http://science.discovery.com/videos/how-its-made-playing-cards.html

(This is a short video on how playing cards are made, in case you are interested.)

I also used to love the section on Mr. Rogers where he shows you how things are made.  My favorite episode was the one about crayons.  I have always found the “behind the scenes” work to be fascinating.

   

Posted November 6, 2011 by heffner14 in Uncategorized

Nosferatu and Buffy   1 comment

On Halloween, we watched Nosferatu and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Nosferatu was a little weird. The sound wasn’t on for the movie, and even though it is a silent film, not having music made a big difference.  It was hard to tell when something was supposed to be scary or when it was supposed to be funny.  I’ve always been amazed at how much music adds to a film.  There wasn’t any suspense build up or any dramatic music to tell you how to feel.  Without the music, it was just a lot of overacting.  It makes sense why the actors have to overact.  It is a silent film so they have to be able to portray emotions without words.  However, when there is music playing, the overacting is less noticeable.

   

We watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer next.  A lot of people don’t like that show very much, but I like it.  I have watched it before in a different class, and while it’s not my show of choice, it is a pretty good class movie.  In other words, it makes the class go by quickly.  The acting in that show isn’t terrific either, but the plots are pretty good.  This particular episode confused me though.  In it, Dracula comes to meet the famous vampire slayer.  He seduces her, and he ends up biting her neck.  However, she does not fall under his control.  She finds it hard to resist him, but she ultimately ends up conquering him.  My question is: why doesn’t she become a vampire? Maybe it is too soon, and she becomes a vampire in a later episode, but I don’t think so.  I don’t know much about the show either, so maybe she has a certain power that keeps her from becoming a vampire.  If that is true, then why was she afraid of Dracula at all?

  

Posted November 6, 2011 by heffner14 in Uncategorized

The Finale of Dracula   Leave a comment

We finished Dracula this week in class.  It was a very simple ending.  This disappointed several students in my class, but I liked it.  I liked the fact that it was pretty easy to defeat evil.  That’s the way it should be.  Once you know how to kill the evil person, it should be a pretty simple task.

In my last post, I mentioned some of the fears that Dracula could possibly represent.  I am a little skeptical to some of these ideas, but if you take them into account, the ending makes perfect sense.  To recap, some of the fears mentioned in class were: religion, science, media, the new woman, economy, and a few others.  Most of these things are not very scary.  Once you force yourself to accept the changes in society, they really aren’t scary at all.  Maybe that’s why it was pretty easy to defeat Dracula.  They weren’t afraid of those fears that he represents anymore.  Once you aren’t afraid of something, it loses all it’s power over you.  There are several examples of this in books or in movies.  One example is Monsters Inc.  The monsters use the energy they get from scaring children to power their world.  Once the little girl, Boo, loses her fear of the monsters, they become unable to scare her.  Randall, her assigned monster, lost his ability to scare her at the end of the movie.

Another example is Shrek.  Shrek is a huge ogre who scares almost everyone at the beginning of the movie, except Donkey.  Shrek tries to scare him so that he will leave him alone, but it doesn’t work.  He also tries to scare the fairy tale creatures when they show up on his door step, but they don’t leave.

Dracula could possibly be an addition to this category.  The world gained control over these irrational societal fears, thus, making the fears disappear.

Posted October 30, 2011 by heffner14 in Uncategorized