Friday, November 29, 2013


Jacob Fowler
Period 5

“No Exit” and “The Allegory of the Cave” Analysis and Comparison
Character is not defined by what happens to us but how we respond to events in our lives. This statement has been a common theme in literature and cinema for generations and in reigns true in our own personal lives. To face a crisis is only half the battle, the most important part is how we respond to this crisis. A major problem in this country that is creating personal crises for millions of individuals is the lackluster economy putting Americans out of jobs. Thousands of people have to deal with this new reality every day and each of them respond differently. The fact is that everyone deals with a tragedy of this magnitude in distinctly unique ways. Socrates, as Plato portrays him in “The Allegory of the Cave”, would think rationally and react to this situation with clear thoughts and rational actions which are eerily similar to the way Garcin from “No Exit” by Jean Paul Sartre would react.
            Socrates was a philosopher and great thinker; he is considered one of the most influential thinkers in history. He never published his own work, or if he did it is lost among the world’s greatest memories, but one of his followers Plato described and accredited him in many of his works including “The Allegory of the Cave”. In this particular piece Socrates is having a conversation with Plato’s brother Glaucon about reality and how the prisoners inside of this hypothetical cave view reality. In a very well elaborate and tangible way Socrates contemplates a very intricate and intangible idea of reality through a dialectic text. We can analyze his personality and personal philosophy through this text and therefore can predict how Socrates would react to certain situations.
            If Socrates was living in modern day America and he lost his job due to extensive layoffs at wherever he was working he would be taken aback, and definitely disappointed as any employee would be. His next course of action would be contrary to how most people act after they receive this terrible new, he would be happy. Socrates would find joy and contentment out of the fact that he has been relieved of his mundane obligations and would have more time to now ponder life and its unique features. Not only would he be excited about his newfound free time, but he would delight in the fact that there was now opportunity for another person to take his old position. Socrates would hope that this new person could find meaning and happiness out of the now vacant job, he would realize that he could not find the intense satisfaction that one would hope for out of an occupation and intensely hope that someone would be able to find contentment where he could not. If Socrates lost his job in this day and age he would embrace it with unusual grace and optimism.
            The character that was created by Jean Paul Sartre named Garcin would respond to this same tragedy with a similar optimism but for an entirely different reason. Instead of reasoning and thinking through this situation reasonably and rationally, Garcin would dully be indecisive and unaffected by this problem. He would quickly turn from his initial disappointment to almost immediate contentment with his situation. His rational would be that everything happens for a reason, but he would just accept his fate and become content with this terrible thing that would affect not only him but his family as well. But since he never treated his wife very well, he would selfishly sulk internally, but he would relay a sense of optimism with the rest of the world.

            All in all, these are two very different characters, one is an actual human being who walked this earth and established himself as a man of reason and rational though, the other is a fictional character who cannot be counted on to stand his ground or be a compassionate human being but they would both react to losing their job in current day America in almost parallel ways. Although they would not get to this same place in identical manners, the ends always justify the means. These two would have similar characters although their personalities could not be more different because when it is all said and done, character is not defined by what happens to us but how we respond to events in our lives.


I'm having problems uploading the video but my family enjoyed all the different renditions of Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss. My sister Grace recorded the best time at under four minutes but she had the clear advantage because she works with young kids the most out of all of us. My time was five minutes and one second. 

Monday, November 25, 2013


First of all, let's think inside the box and state the obvious, Jean Paul Sartre and Plato are completely different. They wrote hundreds of years apart from each other, Plato used complex sentences and diction to say his point while Sartre's was much more simplistic, Sartre described details that would be impossible for Plato to even dream of.

Now let's think outside the box, Jean Paul Sartre and Plato are the same. They are geniuses, they use allegories to convey very complex ideas in very simplistic ways, they are great writers who are both articulate, they used a dialect as their main form of literature, and they have captivated their audiences for generations.

But in the end the analysis of these two bodies of work really boils down to the differences and similarities between existentialism and Plato's philosophy. They both tried to seek the truth through reason. I think the main descrepancy the two theories is that Plato and Sorates saw more value in life than the existentialism followers and the authors of the theater of the absurd did.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


A Shakespearean Sonnet About "The Allegory of the Cave"

An interesting and beneficial conversation between Glaucon and Socrates
Can we ever be sure of what we see?
Plato’s brother and hero discussing truth, life, and all its anomalies
But what do all of these extended metaphors mean for you and me?

What is more real to the freed prisoner, the shadows or the fire?
We can’t envision reality unless we unchain ourselves
Seeing is believing unless our thoughts do their job to inspire
Because our new ideas go where all learning dwells

Not all life’s answers are revealed in the “Allegory of the Cave”
Plato can’t address all the world’s problems in The Republic
But Plato and Socrates do what they know is brave
And they help thinking today even more fantastic

A story that has been around for more than two thousand years
Shows us today how we can go about conquering our fears

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

My group
Kristen Crockett
Kendall Villa
Lindsey Wong
Kylie Sagisi

Basic Info
published in 1859
over 200 million copies sold
has been made into movies, comic books, and TV series

This will be an interesting adventure with all of us reading the book separately and coming together to collaborate and talk about our strengths and weaknesses while reading the novel.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


*Sorry for the lateness*

I really enjoyed this article because it was everything Dr. Preston has been saying in class but condensed into six pages.

I think it's interesting that after years of success, some people don't realize that it's almost always a direct result from collaboration.

Also, the new definition of a hero is interesting, a man taking a walk ins't a a leader, a man walking with followers is.

Interdependence- a community or system that depends on one another and need each other to survive.

Collaboration is key.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


This sonnet reflects my big question because it talks about how love and value changes throughout generations. This particular sonnet was written by John Barlas in 1889, it is the fourteenth sonnet in his selection titled Love Sonnets.

"Sweet lady mine, behold this desolate world:
The little children go with weeping face,
And women, that sowed love to reap disgrace,
Walk the cold streets with lips grown cruel and curled:
Falsehood like lime into the dark air hurled
Blinds the dim eyes of men: in frantic race
For wealth, the noble are trampled by the base:
The red street runs, the red flag flies unfurled.
Sweet lady, kisses for a little while,
And then who knows what end for thee and me
Who cannot bear these things, nor walk these ways?
Ah make me brave enough with thy dear smile
For the truth's sake to leave both it and thee.
But woe for Love born in these latter days."

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


This is a very simplistic and possibly inaccurate view of performative utterance, but this is how I explained it to myself when I was reading deBoer's essay.

Thanks to my teammates for helping me out and Jose for filming.

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Jacob Fowler
Period 5
Hamlet and Performative Utterance
              In his play Hamlet, William Shakespeare created one of the most interesting and relatable characters in the last five hundred years of literature, however there are problems deciphering his title character and they all relate to this idea of “performative utterance”. To call Hamlet insane would be an inaccurate shortcut that does not fully describe Hamlet’s character. We see throughout the play, Hamlet is a very intelligent character that makes clear cut and concise choices in his mind, the aspect of his character that fails him is his inability to escape his “cognitive paralysis” as Fredik deBoer calls it in his essay titled “The Performative Utterance in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet”.  Fredik deBoer also uses J.L Austin’s ideas in his book How to do Things with Words; his ideas state that language is divided into three main forces. Performative utterance, cognitive paralysis, and Austin’s theory are ideas that are relevant in not only literature but have real world applications.
This cognitive paralysis is usually confused as madness, but in actuality it is Hamlet’s ineptitude of vocally conveying his ideas to both the audience and the other characters in the play. In Act I, after the ghost of Hamlet’s father informs him of his uncle’s crimes, Hamlet knows exactly what needs to be done, he sits down at his stationary and immediately begins plotting how to exact his revenge.  The next scene he is in the king’s court obeying his mother and her new husband King Claudius, the murderer. How can our vigilante be submitting to the orders of the man who killed his father? It must be his indecisiveness and as readers this subtlety might be lost on us. However if we were to see this performed on stage as it was intended, we could see how Hamlet interacts with his mom and step father, his cognitive paralysis would be visible through his facial expressions and body language and we would be able to interpret his actions not as weakness, but as genius.
We see in his soliloquys that Hamlet is a very sentimental and emotional man that is struggling with the death of his father, this is a very significant detail that seems to be overlooked by some that are analyzing this piece of literature. This is a young man dealing with the death of his father and we criticize him for his sporadic behavior, and this being said, he still composes himself in most social situations throughout the play. The other characters call him mad and insane because they do not know what he really is thinking as a result of his intricate scheming. Different characters think he is mad for an assortment of reasons, no one can agree on the reason for his insanity; this is purposefully devised by Hamlet so Claudius will never expect his looming attack. Hamlet isn’t crazy, but it’s hard for readers to understand this because words on paper can be misleading sometimes, Hamlet is a play that was intended to be both seen and heard and we need to remember that crucial fact.
Hamlet had to deal with a lot throughout the course of the play, in every situation he had to meticulously plan out and think through his actions, and the most effective way to plot out is to talk to yourself. J.L Austin’s theories can be applied to the way Hamlet thought through his actions; the audience can see the three forces of language in full effect. The first force, the locutionary force, is the ability to deliver a message through words. We see that Hamlet is incredibly efficient in the locutionary force through his elegant soliloquys; his speeches to other characters, even his “mad ramblings” serve a purpose to further both the plot and the pathos Shakespeare creates. The second force, the illocutionary force, is the words that make action happen, his orders that he gives to others and to himself are very crucial to Shakespeare’s intentions. Finally, the prelocutionary force is when action occurs and we see Hamlet act and while most of his actions are murders, we see that through his conversations with both himself and other characters push him to action for a cause.
Performative utterance exists beyond the end of Shakespeare’s quill, we all struggle with both the concept of performative utterance and this idea of cognitive paralysis. The reason that memorizing the “To be or not to be” soliloquy is not to have thirty five lines worth of Victorian era English filling up your mind, but to be able to relate to a character that was created half a millennium ago. In those words that Hamlet spoke to himself he was able to “self-overhear”, this idea is a concept vital to learning. Using this technique we are forced to vocalize our ideas and actually listen to ourselves. We all struggle with vocalizing our ideas, whether it is creating a mission statement for a business or collaborative working group, asking a girl out, or making a speech before a big game, the hardest transition for ideas is the from the mind to actual words. Our thinking, or Hamlet’s thinking for that matter, is much like a football play, a quarterback tells the others what he wants to do and then they all go and run the play as a team, they act based on words they just heard.  To truly succeed you have to break free of your cognitive paralysis and whether you need a ten million dollar check, a pat on the back, words of encouragement, or just a platform for your ideas to be recognized, you must be able to convert ideas into words and words into actions and those actions will produce results.
Hamlet is a five hundred year old play about a young man whose father had poison poured down his ear, yet it left us with one of the most relatable and important characters in the history of literature. Through a story of revenge and death, Shakespeare is able to dive into the human condition and make a commentary on the difficulties of standing behind your beliefs and ideas. Hamlet struggled overcoming his cognitive paralysis, as he did the audience was able to watch as his thoughts turned into words, his words into actions, and finally by the end of the piece those actions resulted in consequences. We see this concept of performative utterance that reigns in Hamlet’s life and beyond the text in our own lives.