Journal Questions for the Week of August 22, 2011

1. Post about yourself on your wiki page--tell us who you are, what you like, what you want to study, what your hobbies are, basically anything about yourself you'd like us to know about. Post a picture of yourself using the File button on the editing toolbar (it's got a little color picture next to it).

2. Why did we watch a children's movie in a college class?

1. Hello, I'm Hunter. I am 18 years of age and I enjoy people, friendly interactions are pretty awesome. I have been a bit outrageously busy since college has started which is kind of exciting but also kind of stressful. I enjoy reading, going to the movies, sleeping, camping, the occasional party, eating, rock climbing, playing soccer and hanging out with the peeps, you know. When I'm not doing any of those things I am working as a soccer coach at Academy or going to class or sleeping through class (only one so far). Ummmm, I was born in Montana and I can grow a pretty magnificent beard if the weather is chilly and I desire the scruff. I'm also easily confused by internet and it's relationship to my homework.
Me.jpgit was very bright and quite early

2. I believe that we watched a children's movie because the film started off a year of dark and harsh villainies with beloved characters on both the heroic and villainous scale that we simplistic and enjoyable to watch. It also shows us that we have interacted with and watched truly amazing villains for almost all of our life.
The film exemplifies villains who are so evil to their core that they're necessity to take the evil path is never questioned, they are rotten to the core and we love to hate them and hope that their plans get foiled. The film started us off at the villains that we've loved since childhood and that will be the perfect first step into diving into the discord of other villains of the world and literature.


1. Abraham Lincoln wrote that “the true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject any thing, is not whether it have any evil in it; but whether it have more of evil, than of good. There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good.” Relate this quotation to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

The basic themes of this quotation are most certainly relatable to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As we discussed in class today, the premise of being wholly good or wholly evil can be quite unlikely and troublesome when it does come about (as Mr. Lincoln alluded to in his quotation); take for example the dilemmas of Mr. Utterson's goodness as a friend, professional, and as a exemplary member of the victorian era which led to his sluggishness and complete inability to possibly prevent or even act to alter the events of Dr. Jekyll's unfortunate and mysterious end. As we take Mr. Lincoln's words and our own conscience to heart, Mr. Hyde must be rejected at once; however, can you reject or embrace Mr. Utterson who's goodness is undeniable and yet unhelpful. And on top of that, what can we think of Dr. Jekyll who's desire to completely split the good and evil makes the equation of internal good vs evil that Abraham Lincoln alludes to nearly impossible. Do we follow in Utterson's footsteps and inquire into Jekyll's activities, but not alter them in order to preserve our own goodness? Or do we embrace Jekyll as human who we will give the benefit of the doubt to as far as his goodness in relation to the evil. The wonderful part about the ending of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is that the reader is left to question who was victorious in death between Jekyll and Hyde, we can never know who was stronger in the end (the good of Jekyll or the evil of Hyde). As far as I can tell, the ambiguity of whether to embrace or reject Jekyll as a creator and fighter of ultimate evil can never be answered.
On a small aside, I was also struck by the class' haste to consider Mr. Utterson somewhat of a failure as a good human being (or possibly better phrasing of that was a human being relatable to the members of our class). I found myself lost as to my opinion on that subject as my mind battled over his respect for Jekyll as a friend and the respect that he held for him to hold his suspicions in the dark, then I was angry at him for not acting as he should have and stopping Jekyll's sketchiness, and then I felt like as the narrator of the book, Stevenson couldn't have Utterson end the conflict of the book, instead he had to look on and describe for the events and clues for the reader. Anyway, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde illuminates the issues in Mr. Lincoln's quotation but it inspires a lot to think about.

Journal Questions for the Week of September 13, 2010

1.The poem Beowulf expresses distinct characteristics that are necessary for an individual fulfill to be a good king, as we discussed in class. What guidelines are implied for successful villainy?

2.Create your own Villain-O-Meter. As the semester progresses, rank each villain we encounter on the scale, compared to the others. You can use a 1-10 ranking system, a chart, or whatever way you choose in order to show the relative positions of each baddie.

3. How would you characterize a successful class discussion? What features are present? Which are absent? How would you suggest we best accomplish such a discussion?

1) Successful villainy is not too difficult for me to ponder. I believe that the basic elements are a rejection of conscience and society, a hero to oppose, and an element that defines them as evil. While all three are preferred, they are not necessary; take Grendel's mother for example, while she does have a hero to oppose and a clear connection to evil (being Grendel's mom), she is completely within her rights in the society to attempt to exact revenge. This merely means that she is not as villainous as say, Grendel or the Joker, but she is still clearly a villain. Another example that illustrates the ambiguity of the villain is Hyde, obviously pure evil as that is how he is identified and a clear rejection of all that victorian society stood for; however, no hero to oppose him. Jekyll attempts to fill the role of hero towards the end but even that is ambiguous as to if he is successful.

2) Rejection of Society/ Conscience Hero to Oppose Element (Connection to) of Pure Evil

Grendel 9/10 10/10 10/10
Grendel's Mom 3/10 10/10 9/10
Dragon 0/10 10/10 0/10
Lex Luther 5/10 10/10 2/10
The Joker 10/10 10/10 10/10
Dr Jekyll 6/10 0/10 8/10
Medea 9/10 3/10 7/10
I hope that my ranking system makes sense, if any don't, please ask and I will elaborate.

3) As far as a class discussion, I believe that it is built on mutual respect. We don't lack that respect right now, I just don't think we're showing it to the best of our abilities. Perhaps a talking stick or something, just to get us started and understanding how to listen again. We have all the elements of a great class for discussion, we are literally just too excited for our own good. I would like to foresee that in the future as we calm down a bit that out discussions will reach their best, as of right now though, we seem to need to lean on a bit of structure to assure that everyone gets to talk and that everyone gets to be heard.

I'm afraid your ranking system doesn't make sense to me :( Wait... maybe I got it now. Is the last rating "Element of Pure Evil?" If so, then I figured it out. I'm just slow, haha. - Kayleethegr8 Kayleethegr8 Sep 9, 2011Kaylee

Your three basic elements make a lot of sense and i think that there are obvious subcategories that are included. I think that I understand your villain-o-meter and i agree with most of your order.- Droybal Droybal Sep 13, 2011Daniel

1. Why do you think that Dexter is a series that enjoys popularity in our particular moment in history? Could it have been popular at another time? Why or why not?

2. What parallels can you draw between Dexter, Dr. Jekyll, Batman and Superman? Go beyond the surface. How are they different from characters like Beowulf?

3. From Miles's presentation: Why is the character of Dracula/the drinking of blood considered sexual?

1) I believe that the story behind the killer has always been popular to a well educated audience. With the high number of well educated people just waiting for a good story to follow, Dexter is a very good option. It also contains a large amount of humor (albeit kind of weird murderer humor) that our society seems to enjoy. I believe that with our open minded and truly unlimited popular culture, a show concerning the internal workings of serial killer, especially a humorous and unusually likable one, can easily catch the hearts of the American audience. Other time periods were always caught up in image, being good men, being polite and being good people (like Jekyll's time); therefore, watching something concerning murder would do nothing but arouse suspicion about your goodness.

2) Dexter, Dr. Jekyll, Batman, and Superman, all have a few simple facts in common, perhaps most importantly they have a question involved as to their motives. Nobody has ever questioned Beowulf's heroism, it's in his lineage, and as basic to who he as as having eyes is to sight. The others, though, you are always questioning their motives; why does Superman save humans, we aren't his people? Why does Batman need to be a vigilante, what makes him need to be a part of the night? They all live in worlds where they must keep they're villainous or heroic activities a secret, unlike Beowulf, who flaunt's and brag's as a part of the culture. The questioning of their motives stems from the direct opposition of societal norms.

3) Dracula is overtly sexual because of his brushing up with the acceptable aspects of sexual tension and the more supernatural aspects as well. He interacts with women with complete confidence and the sexual tension in viscous in the scenes. I believe lots of people have an association with the neck and sensuality, which I believe helps his case. It's just like that quote from the presentation, Dracula is raw power and energy, a lot of which is sexual.

I definitely agree with the sensuality aspect of the neck. And the background in your picture is amazing! Where was that taken? -Kharli

1. In Medea, there are several characters who know of Medea's plans, and yet they do not try to stop her. Why do these characters let villainy happen? Do the gods approve of her choices? What are the implications of their approval or disapproval?

2. From Kaylee's presentation: Choose either (a) or (b)
(a) Is Mao's quotation, "In this world, revolution is the mainstream" still true?
(b) Do you have a limit or a threshold of how many people can die before a cause becomes unjust?

3. From Lawrence's presentation: Everyone has an inner beast, an animal hidden within the subconscious. What is yours and why?

4. Keep updating your villan-o-meter!

5. Feel free to ask me questions about the paper (just not late Monday night!)

1) These characters, gods and the chorus, who allow Medea's villainy and plots to continue tell us a lot about the the society of the ancient greeks and their definitions of right and wrong. Medea, left stranded after she had sacrificed everything for the man she loved, did not fulfill her role as a woman and cry or crawl into the background to die. The gods and society appreciated her power and drive to move forward, to get revenge on the man that hurt her. It tells us that if your cause is just, or at least considered worthy of the gods approval, you may commit your actions (no matter how heinous) without fear of retribution. Medea acted with strength, and gained the approval of the gods and society.

2) I believe that revolution must still be mainstream because if not than humanity must be dead. Nothing in the history of our race would support a theory the revolution has or will ever cease. If you think about revolution as it fits into society, it is directly related to conflict within or between societies. This means that as long as conflict occurs in any form in a society, the desire to resolve this conflict may be know as revolution. As far as I can tell, revolution is a lot more than just mainstream, it's basic humanity.

3) My inner beast, if I had to choose, would have to be a monkey. One of those ones who swings around the forest always looking for something to do. I think that that is why he is a beast, he makes it hard to focus on things that I am responsible for and he always is looking to find someone to please. I don't know really what else he does, sometimes he just waits in the jungle that houses him, my Id. A major part of why I chose a monkey is because I believe that a lot of the mischief that he causes is for the purpose of fun or humor. His intentions are never lethal, however sometimes he does go a little overboard with his shenanigans.

I agree with you that the gods must have approved because
they never intervened. I also think that revolution is basic
humanity as well. Without revolution our whole entire world
would be completely different, and probably not for the better.
- HeyThereAri HeyThereAri Sep 24, 2011Ari

I very much like your opinions about Medea!! I like the idea that confidence and drive- no matter how appalling the results- glean respect from the gods and from society. Nicely put. It's quite the opposite from what I wrote, but you make me a little less upset that the gods did nothing. [[user:mlerussell|1317143505]Journal Questions for the Week of September 27, 20111. How do female villains differ from male villains?2. How is color used to portray aspects of good and evil in Sleeping Beauty?1) Female villains, in essence, do not differ much from male victims except in our perception. This is mainly due to the stigmas that society has placed on women over the centuries. I find female villains, not scarier, but more disturbing based on their image in society as the loving and nurturing half of humanity. There also seems to be some unwritten rule that women need some sort of justification or cause to commit acts of evil; even as a class, we rapidly turned to question the causes of Maleficent's evil. We have issues as a class, a society, and a race accepting that the creators and caretakers of our species can commit acts of evil.2) Color, basic visual stimuli, is there to easily define all characters of Sleeping Beauty. Whether it be the pastels of good, or the greens and blacks of evil. The colors reflect the color schemes that we learned as small children. No villain is a real villain if their garb consists of easter pastels, just as no hero is a hero if the are surrounded by the blacks, greens, and reds of hell and evil. Color is one of the first ways that we learn to visually comprehend who is good and who is evil. Given that this was a children's movie, made in 1959, I don't think that it is particularly surprising that the color scheme is the ultimate in basic good and evil. The color schemes served to reinforce and leave nothing misunderstood as far as a character's nature was concerned to the young target audience.Huh. Very interesting take on the differences. I'm not sure if, as a class, we needed to find a reason for Maleficent's evil because she was a woman or because we simply like to give backstories to all the villains. I know that personally, I'm fascinated by why villains turn out to be bad. However, thinking back to Medea, we did express that she was worse because she was the mother as opposed to the father. Interesting. - Kayleethegr8 Kayleethegr8 Oct 3, 2011Kaylee!

1. We have discussed how when something defies what is natural, we find it scary, but what makes something unnatural? There are a lot of elements to our world that are not natural, i.e. cars and computers, and yet we do not find them scary. What causes this difference?

2. If you had only this movie (The Dark Knight) to judge Batman for his actions, what would you define as heroic? Would you define anything he does as villainous? From where do your decisions originate?

3. We'll begin our discussion next week talking about The Dark Knight. Develop your own question to kick off discussion and post it here.

1) The true terror of the unnatural is not in inanimate objects, but in humanity gone awry. Take for instance, a gun versus a scary looking monster. Both are unnatural and scary; however, it will be the human aspects of the monster that are wrong somehow that will induce the fear. Take for instance, the joker, first and foremost, an appearance that shows humanity in combination with evil and insanity, followed closely by actions that betray human intelligence mixed with a terrifying love of chaos. It is not when something is unnatural that we are frightened (humans love the unnatural, we build it every day); the true fear comes from the visual (primarily) evidence that humanity has gone awry.

2) His choice to not kill the joker was heroic, as it showed that he would stick to a moral code even if that choice could be debated. Batman, in my opinion, makes no villainous choices in the film because his actions are completely in support of his goal of upholding good in Gotham. Some of his techniques may be a little debatable; however, no one would say that Batman is villain, vigilante maybe, but all those that know his actions in entirety (like people who've seen the movie) know that Batman is purely a force for good.

3) In the case of the Joker, would you agree with Batman's choice to never kill? Would sacrificing his code be worth the potential safety of a Jokerless world?

1. Do you think there is a standard of morality that can be applied, regardless of external details and situations? That is, is there anything that is inherently good or evil?

2. From Ari's presentation: was Lord Voldemort born evil or was he a victim of his upbringing/life circumstances?

3. From Lena's presentation: How does the vampire lore of today reflect on society and what do you think the next era's lore could hold?

1) I honestly foresee this question running circles through my head and I don't think that being human, you can find anything that is inherently good or evil. Humans live relatively, which seems to completely undermine inherent good and evil. I know that certain actions, most obviously murder, seems to be quite basically evil; however, the reasons for such actions could make them good or evil.

2) I believe Voldemort was a product of his upbringing and destiny. In a world where magic and prophecy are the norm, it could not only be his upbringing; however, the book describes his upbringing and it is obviously connected to his dark deeds as an adult. Voldemort was evil, a villain raised and made of something akin to pure evil.

3) Vampire lore seems to reflect the obsessions of the time, whether it be the pasts obsession with concealed sexuality of society, or the obsession with beauty of modern society that the True Blood and Twilight world seem to exemplify. Honestly, for the next era, maybe continued obsession with beauty and sensuality, perhaps intelligence will become the vampire's most important attribute.

Journal Questions for the Week of November 1, 2011

1. "[M]ost of us never really grow up or mature all that much -- we simply grow taller...the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is still best described by fairy tales [remains]."-Leo Rosten

We began the semester looking at a children's work. What new insight can you bring to the child-centered works we'll be looking at the for rest of the semester? What can be gained by this exploration?

2. From Angelica's presentation: (H. H. Holmes) Why are people so fascinated by things that are so gruesome and morbid?

3. From Stephanie's presentation: Many times people blame their actions on demons--why is this an excuse that people use?

1) I believe that exploring childhood and childhood villainy is the core of villainy as life progresses, it is only with this strong base of childhood morality that we can attempt to understand the villainy of adulthood. Considering books that are in the syllabus for the end of the semester, we will explore villainy, and the increasing question about if someone is truly villainous in children's literature. I believe that we may find that some beloved childhood heroes or villains may be much more than they appeared to be years ago.

2) The gruesome and morbid, I honestly don't know why it is fascinating. Maybe it is just because we like to tease our inner villain. Or maybe it is the sheer wrongness of it and exploring the freedom of our society that would allow knowledge of the gruesome and morbid to be easily and safely attained.

3) I think that excuses for evil doing and terrible acts are merely apart of human nature. Wether it be a terrible act of passion or premeditated evil, shifting blame can help the perpetrator's conscience survive their action. Also, I don't think that we can discount the possibility that a demon does possess and force acts of evil to occur.

NOV 8th

1. Make a case for Peter Pan as the villain of the story. Also, please update your evil-o-meter if you haven't recently.

2. From Sam's presentation: Was Snape mostly a villain? Why or why not?

3. From Kharli's presentation: Did Spike deserve redemption after what he tried to do to Buffy?

1) Peter Pan is childhood ignorance incarnate. Nobody could argue that ignorance isn't dangerous; as such, Peter is a danger. He is childish and even somewhat charming; however, he uses this to instigate situations which are by no means safe or heroic. His instigation of violence throughout the book is much more comparable to the actions of say the joker than those of batman or superman. FOOD FOR THOUGHT :P

2) No, Snape's most villainous act exposed his humanity to himself and to Dumbledore. Snape could not stand his act of villainy and forced himself to become comrades with the killer of his beloved. On most counts, I believe that Snape's actions were obviously out of love and admiration for Lily and could not be classified and villainous, possibly as an attempt at redemption.

3) Spike's act, while a crime of passion, is honestly difficult for me to categorize as I have never been fully immersed in the Buffy universe. As far as I can tell, his final good act seemed pretty worthy of redemption; especially as the relationship that he and Buffy shared was a little sketchy to begin with. I'm by no means sure of this being deserving redemption, but as far as the presentation went, I think he deserved it.

Out of Class learning Experiences:

1) "More More More .... Future"
In this powerful dance piece and discussion afterwords, I learned about the villainy oversees and the inspiring acts of those people who cope with it in any way they can. The creator, Faustion Linyekula, taught me a lot about the villainy of a government, a system, and individuals and gave a heros story both through words and creative expression.
Sep 29th

2) "Gross Indecencies: The Three Trials of Oscar WIlde"
This high school play helped to illustrate the truly fickle nature of villainy, as it is nothing if not relative. Oscar Wilde's story helps us to understand that sometimes the law may be disagreeable, and society may shun choices, and even that sometimes acts that are seemingly against nature may take place by a person who is not only human and interesting, but also beautiful in many ways. The villainy may not always be that of the accused, possibly the accuser should be considered more ofter.
Dec 7th