Sexism in the early 20th century

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Title: The Fox

Author & Year: D.H. Lawrence, 1922

Publisher: Reading classics

Genre: Novella

“The Fox”, written by D.H.Lawrence, starts in a Berkshire farm where March and Banford live. Banford’s direst fear was that any man could appear in their farm to satisfy his deepest desires. This idea makes you think about what the society of England was like during World War I.

             Hell arrives at the farm with Henry, a young foolish boy that serves in the army in an expedition to Canada. In the first days, nothing special happened, but the boy eventually wished to marry March. She doesn’t want to but he forced her to leave Banford, because she is mentally weak, and he controls her actions. He is so obsessed with March that he killed Banford to compel March to stay with him.

            This book reflects very well the dominance of males over females, not only in England but in the rest of the world in the first part of the last century, when women had to depend economically from men.

Ismael G.

(The Great) Gatsby

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Title: The Great Gatsby

Author: Francis Scott Fitzgerald, 1925

Publisher: Penguin

Genre: Modernist novel

This novel reflects and makes the reader understand that the American Dream is an illusion. With the story between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, the author portrays that dreams can be corrupted by money and dishonesty. For instance, the unbreakable love that Daisy feels for Gatsby is broken when she realizes that his commodities and luxuries come from illegal businesses.

Fitzgerald also portrays how superficial people can be, something related to the individualism of the upper classes when -at Gatsby’s extravagant parties- people are ruled  by interests and they spend lots of money and luxuries. Fitzgerald creates a contrast between this and the ‘valley of ashes’, where the lower classes dwell. The author constantly plays with the contrast among classes, which is one of the main themes of the novel.

On the other hand, the author shows that in a relationship passionate love is not all that matters, for example when Daisy had to choose between Tom and Jay, and she chooses Tom to ensure her financial stability.

In conclusion, this novel in general shows that the American dream can come true, but it’s not for everyone and forever. And the evidence is that Gatsby is a man out of his time.

Pablo E.

Nobody is everybody

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Title: The Diary of a Nobody

Authors: George & Weedon Grossmith, 1892

Publisher: Penguin

Genre: Comic novel

“The Diary of a Nobody” is a critique to the diaries about famous personalities that were published in the Victorian era. As its title indicates, the book is an autobiography of a nobody, Charles Pooter, an ordinary clerk in a London office. His life is actually common and mundane. The events that he reports are banal and boring, mostly home and work routines and several social events he attends to. He has some small ambitions such as guarding the plate collection at church or having his son following his footsteps.

Even though Mr. Potter is a nobody compared to the posh and famous “somebodys” of the time, he feels he is over other characters within the social context. So he is, indeed, a contradiction. Partially, he is naïve and mean, but he is also loyal and hard-working,  which supports the criticism both towards celebrities and ordinary people who also feel -in a certain way- special inside.

Martina F.

In cold blood

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Title: In cold blood

Author: Truman Capote, 1965

Publisher: Penguin 

Genre: Nonfiction novel

On 15 November 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, a wealthy farmer, his wife, and two young children were found brutally murdered, there was blood all over the walls, the telephone lines were cut, and only a few dollars stolen. What could be the motivation for such a horrific and shockingly vile act? What kind of monster would do this?

One of the most haunting things about serial killers is that often times they seem sane and normal people -in some cases even charming and persuasive- which can make their detention very complicated. Such is the case of the murderer in this story, who is described as absolutely sane but at the same time thoughtless, without any regard of what he’s done, and capable of dealing, with or without a reason, the coldest-blooded deathblows.

What I found most interesting about this book is it reminded me of another murder case, -Ted Bundy- who was a famous murderer who admitted that he had killed over 30 women but was described as handsome, charming, and persuasive. Most people believed he was innocent until he admitted to his horrendous crimes when it was established that the death penalty would be applied in his case.

In conclusion, what I found most interesting about this book is that even the most sane and normal-looking person is capable of committing horrible deeds.

Rodrigo D. A.

Discussion: do you support free speech in a school environment?

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FOR:

On June 26, 2018 Shaina Chen, an Asian American student from California wrote for the New York Post an article about her own personal experience with free speech in her school. She talked about realizing how important the debates for learning about real life are. And she was totally right, because providing free speech to students should be an obligation of every single school in the world, in order to prepare the teenagers for the world outside the classes.

But, why is free speech that important? In the first place, as Shaina explains in her article ,free speech makes students realize that there are millions of different opinions for only one topic. And the existence of diversity of opinions takes us to our second point.

If a student thinks that what he believes is what everyone should believe, he won’t be able to accept an opinion that confronts his. Because of that, he won’t respect other people’s opinions and probably he will have problems for it. Providing free speech will solve this issue and students will learn to respect every person’s opinion even when they think that it isn’t correct.

Finally, free speech also helps students to develop a stronger opinion. If students are not allowed to say what they believe and the school provides an opinion that they should follow without questions, we will be educating machines and not humans. That’s why debating and arguing can help students to change their mind for a better opinion or create a stronger one.

In conclusion, free speech is a right that must be allowed in the schools because it helps students to grow as respectful people.

Lucía B.

Nowadays, society is getting more tolerant than 50 years before, and 50 years ago society was more tolerant than 100 years before. This tolerance comes from diversity and acceptance. It promotes respect between each other, no matter their gender, their race, or even their opinion, that’s the reason why this type of acceptance should be taught in schools.

                In the first place, racial diversity is one of the main things that students should accept whenever going to any place, as well as in their own school. That way, they’ll learn how to be ethically correct accepting equality between people.

                On the other side, opinion diversity, which includes freedom of speech, as Shaina Chen said, prepares students for their future, because that way they  learn that not always their opinion will be the best one, if it will be the popular opinion, or just if it is correct or not. Also, they’ll know how to defend themselves when having this sort of problems.

                In summary, these values should be shown in schools to children from the beginning of their lives, to prepare them for the future society and teach them morally, accepting and respecting each other.

Belén M-Q.

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AGAINST:

Shaina Chen doesn’t understand the students. Nowadays, at schools and universities freedom of speech is very important but this freedom should have some speech codes to prevent conflicts. Because protecting students is very important for them and their education.

Firstly, protecting students is very significant because education is obviously something good for them and also for their development as a person. And in the universities and schools freedom of speech is a very general term, and may include hate speech or offensive language. That’s something intolerable for students and their education.

Also, protecting students is important because education promotes human rights, and sometimes with certain opinions and kind of speech, people put them at risk, because it can be considered as an attack. And all people are equal and have the same rights, and that’s indispensable.

On the other hand, schools and universities have to protect students about some speech because that can prepare them for their future. Because with this protection students would also learn about what is considered as good or bad in their speech. And that would probably help them to think and speak.

In conclusion, schools and universities have to protect students because that is something fundamental in their academic life and their future. Don’t you think the same?

Pablo E.

Boycott at the 2016 Academy Awards Ceremony

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Nominated actors in a leading role at the Oscars (2016)

Diversity is great, in fact, it’s probably been necessary for human existence both intellectually and ethnically. And yet, as always there is a “but” because forced diversity tends to be the opposite of great: terrible. This leads to believe that Will Smith’s recent comments about the 2016 Oscar’s ceremony were misinformed at best and dangerously ignorant at worst. So, why where they so bad?

                First of all, diversity should not be a factor when considering nominees for an award show. As well as his boycott, Smith stated that this year’s nominated actors were “fantastic”. So why can’t it be just left at that. Instead of giving awards based on unchangeable factors given to someone at birth, give the prize to the most “fantastic” actors.

                At the same time, it’s easy to understand Will Smith’s reasoning: lack of diversity being a symptom of discrimination. But seeing as though there was diversity in previous years, and ethnic minorities are as their name suggests a minority in numbers, it’s much more probable that this correlation doesn’t apply in this case.

                In summary, simply stating disapproval over a lack of diversity is a very foolish thing to state, to further this phrase it is necessary to understand the context and consequences of the situation.

Alex R.

How the youth can be more involved in politics

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One of the aspects to keep in mind when talking about youth participation in politics is the amount of knowledge young people have about the subject and who this information has been presented by, whether it be a family member, teacher, peers or others, as stated by the reference document.

One solution presented by the UK government to attempt to ensure the minimum amount of knowledge each young citizen should know was a change in the curriculum creating “Citizenship Education”. Although this measure seems to have proven effective in youth participation statistics, it is somewhat indirect as it doesn’t require the student to actively seek out engagement in politics.

Having said that, I propose that students themselves be the ones who interest themselves in politics by reading the press and news articles online. What will this hope to achieve? Similar to citizenship education, the goal of reading the news is getting young people involved in current affairs and motivated about these issues from a personal standpoint. Since  they are discovering the news instead of it being told to them, it stands to reason that they will actually become more personally engaged than otherwise.

Of course, this doesn’t come without its complications, generally speaking the massive disconnect existing between major media corporations and the youth. There don’t appear to be any clear solutions to this issue, but the rise in social media websites such as Youtube have given form to new media, which is more appealing to young people, seen primarily in the fact that social media is dominated by their demographic.

For example, a recent piece of EU political news that got a lot of exposure among youth was the passing of article 13. The reasons for this are varied, but it was primarily due to the nature of its content, which appeared to really have an impact on younger citizens; because of this it was rapidly shared on social media where the regulation drew coverage and interaction like no other law before it.

Furthermore, this shows the potential of new media and youth participation in politics. If new laws and information were more easily accessible through these alternative websites in a more familiar format, it would foment a cultural shift among youth whereby they would start reading the news, and therefore become more involved in politics.

Alex R.