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Sunday, May 15, 2011

American Literature- Summer C or my first online class EVER!

Professor Robison announce that she was teaching a sophomore American Lit class and I decided to jump at the chance to have her again.  I need this class for my major, so why not take it?
Each week we are supposed to read 3 short stories or poems written by the classic greats of America : Hawthorne, Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickenson, Thomas Paine etc. Then we are to participate in a discussion forum 2 x’s a week. First with our thoughts and  questions of our own then choose someone else in the class to discuss with before 11:59 p.m. each Saturday.
My first week was this week-
Introduce yourself to your classmates and answer 2 of the following questions.
There were five questions that I was able to choose from:
I choose “What does it mean to be an American?” and “What unique qualities do American’s Possess ( positive or negative.)
This is what I wrote for each: Sorry, but you might thing that it is long, but it really wasn’t compared to what I really wanted to write down.(in blue,) Following my comments are what Professor Robison wrote back in return. (it will be in red.)
Hello, My name is Sandra Brower, but I prefer to go by Sandi. I am 41 years old and just returning to college after raising 3 wonderful children. My husband and I with 2 of our 3 kids moved to Ocala in 2009 after living in Utah for 9 years! My oldest child just graduated with his AS and is ahead of me in college and likes to rub it in, but I am proud of all that he is accomplishing, so I can take the ribbing! I am excited to be an English Major because reading and writing is like breathing to me. Literature and all the other arts help me burn off stress. Reading takes me far away to whatever world I want to travel to, whether it is running from a dust bowl in Oklahoma and traveling to California with Tom Joad and his family in Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, Watching Esther journey from Student to her tragic entrance into a mental Hospital and feeling unsure as to whether she is really able to live in the real world in Plath's The Bell Jar, or Falling in love with Rhett Butler, and learning that Southern Belle's are not only beautiful but strong as can be when faced with Hard Trials like Scarlett O'Hara in Margret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. Between these three author's and Langston Hughes as a Poet, I feel as if books are written just for me.
There is a saying, "For those who are given much, much is expected." Being An American is a huge responsibility. Our freedoms are clearly written out in the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. We are not subjugated to laws that are overly restrictive. Because of those rights, I don't take the task of voting in a new Leader of any type as a small choice. I feel a challenge is given every 2 to 4 years when we are given the right to choose a new President, a Mayor or just a school board member, and I take that challenge seriously. After all, we are helping make this country better (or worse,) for our children and deciding the future of this great land. If we don't vote, we don't have the right to complain about what is given to us. It is with great pride that I cherish the rights that I have as an American. Speaking with friends who have grown up or are now living in other countries, the consensus is that our citizens don't understand the small blessings that we have; just even to be able to write a blog entry about our country and not be thrown in jail for that free thought. Or, as a woman the fact that I have the freedom to live as I would like, to wear what I like, to have the chance to go to school and be able to influence other people how I please. We are given so many more rights than most of the world and it is our job to not take those freedoms for granted. Do we live our lives to the fullest or just focus on the things that we see as the strict boundaries our government places on what we see as incorrect? Do we forget the freedoms we are given by not protecting them? Are we doing something to right the wrongs that we know are happening in our government and help keep our world truly free? Some might say that there is nothing that they can do to make it better, but I know that just one person can make a difference which in turn might inspire others to do the same thing. Our founding forefathers sacrificed much to build a free country where every man, woman and child is able to live where they want, become educated and work where they want, to think the way that they want just as long as we also respect other people’s rights and don't take their freedoms away. Thomas Payne once wrote in "Common Sense, “The cause of America is in a great measure the cause of all mankind." I cannot help but be thankful for that cause. It is our duty to protect our freedoms, the right to bear arms, the right to freedom of speech, the right to believe the way we feel is correct and I for one am not about to take that away from anyone else but want to help make the world a better place. The mission statement of our family since the time of the birth of my first born is, "Help, not hurt others."
Part of being an American is our quirky personalities. Some of the positive qualities I feel Americans have is their desire to better themselves through education, financial security, to rebound from trying times, look forward to have a good life but also look backwards to learn from past mistakes and to, better the world through fundraising and service. I have seen times in America where people love each other and share with others and I feel proud to be an American. As American's we have qualities that are extremely negative; we are not as tolerant of other's beliefs, their relationships and the way they tend to live. If they are different than we are then they are considered wrong, confused, ignorant or worse evil. Whether negative or positive we have a different way of acting than the rest of the world. A great woman once taught me that one of her favorite authors viewed us Americans as loud and obnoxious. Are we loud because we are shoving our opinion down someone’s’ throat or are we loud from the happiness that we feel from the freedom to love and live as we want? I believe that as American's we can come off cocky- as if we are the only ones that know what is right in how to be free. American's are good deed doers and we help a lot in other lands, but how much more can we do to help those who need it most in our own country? It always bothers me that we can pull off successful fundraisers for causes outside our own land when it comes to starvation, Aids and other tragedies, but when it is so prevalent in our own nation, we expect the government to take care of it and think it is not our responsibility. Now don't get me wrong, there are many great service organizations in the United States, but as a whole, our nation is lacking in the compassion division. New Orleans still has tons of homeless people even though Hurricane Katrina happened 6 years ago. How do we expect the poor to stay in what might be the only town they have ever known without providing affordable housing to them? We have children who go to bed hungry every night and don't have heat or running water in their homes, and yet, we don't focus on those issues except after a disaster like Katrina strikes do we focus on the issue and then after a certain time, they are once again forgotten about. We have soldiers’ protecting our rights every day since as long as I can remember, but even after 9/11/01, how many of us actually think of those soldiers more than just on veteran's day or when something happens like Bin Laden being taken down that we are once again on the band wagon?
There are people in our country who tend to focus on what we are entitled to and not what we are given. Why must we have bigger, better houses, cars or anything else for that matter than our neighbor when there are people who barely have 4 walls to live in ? I am not saying we should have a Socialistic Government. I am just saying that we should be more aware of those around us. Our very own town of Ocala has families that live in rat-infested, hovels who can barely make it day to day, and still try to give back. Our family helps at the Salvation Army and I am always super touched by the families who the year before were the ones getting Christmas presents and then come in and help the next year to give to other’s who need it more. These are the true Americans. They are who I look up to in my life.
Wow, Sandi! This is absolutely splendid. Your persuasive writing, your critical thinking, your examples, all blend to earn you a grade of 5 +. GREAT start.
Welcome back to one of my classes.
Dr. R.
now not trying to brag, but some of the other kids got critiques, and other’s just got a “great start to the class. Welcome!” 
I cant wait for the rest of the class to roll. First Author : Nathanial Hawthorn- stories “Young Goodman Brown”, “Ethan Brand”, and “The Minister’s Black Veil.” just in case you want to read along!
Just a funny coincidence- I wanted to watch this old Henry Fonda movie but Netflix didn't have it so I did a search and came up with "Rappacini's daughter"  Start to watch it- Henry Fonda is only the intro to the short movie, but low and behold... it is a Nathanial Hawthorne story!  I guess, this is what I should really be doing taking this class right?!