Friday, June 30, 2017

The recognizable quote from film Casablanca

The movie Casablanca has a very high rating on imdb: 8.5/10. This movie recognized as a classic of the genre.

Some quotes from this movie are complicated for English learners. For example this phrase from protagonist Rick "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine." The sentence means that she might have chosen from any number of pubs, but she entered mine. Or maybe she was just hanging around the city looking for someplace and by chance, she ended up in mine.

Rick was disappointed when the woman who he loved very much came to the city Casablanca. This random meeting hurt his feelings and he asked the rhetorical question why it had happened that "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."



Just after watching this movie I visited Casablanca - not in reality but in a virtual world represented by a great resource secondlife.com

We had an English class there with the teacher Daria from online school albert-learning.com

We walked through a beautifully made Moroccan street to the place where the most scenes of the movie were captured: Rick's Cafe Americain.



When we were sitting on the chairs inside the virtual cafe, we shared admiration of the famous song "As time goes by"
"You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss
A sigh is just a sigh
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by"



Somebody, who likes this movie, dedicated a lot of time for sharing his or her love with others creating this fabulous place in virtual world secondlife.com

Here is the link to the video about the place where we had a class:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1ahEwXww4U

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Short Story "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut Review

Literature's critics assert that the theme of the short story "Harrison Bergeron" written by Kurt Vonnegut is similar to Vonnegut's 1959 novel "The Sirens of Titan" which is one of my favorite novels in a genre of sci-fiction. This was an additional reason why I read this story with great interest.

The story represents a genre of anti-utopia and contains:
sci-fi elements,
presentation a horrifying situation through humor
interesting literature's style when the narrator ironically detached the situation.

The plot is how people in 2081 became completely equal. People which level of intelligence more than average, have to wear a special equipment for producing a noise or pain. The fourteen-year-old son of two spouses, Harrison was jailed in the prison for having high abilities and intelligence. The couple was trying to think indifferently about their son even when they saw him on TV escaped from jail.

I liked less the last part of the story when Harrison entered the television studio and declared “I am the Emperor! . . . Do you hear? I am the Emperor! Everybody must do what I say at once!". I thought that it looks simpler than I expected. But probably it is a feature of genre satire and readers need just to accept it.

The story is short but ideas which are carried up there are deep and important.

This is a link to the humorous video about topic "equality":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKcWu0tsiZM





Excursion to Kizhi Island (Russian North)

This one-day excursion trip was planned by organizers of business meeting for the last day of this meeting, on the 23rd of June in 2017. We had a meeting in Petrozavodsk, the main city of Republic Karelia in Russia.

This is one of the most suitable time for visiting this place because this is a time of white nights (nights when it never gets completely dark, at high latitudes outside the Arctic Circle).

I took this picture in the city Petrozavodsk about 10:30 PM, it looks gorgeous how light of sunset glows such as from under the earth.



We dedicated this day to Kizhi. It is an island located on Lake Onega. It took more than one hour to reach this place from Petrozavodsk on the speedy boat "Meteor". The island is about 6 km long and 1 km wide.

The island was populated from the 15th century, there were four small villages there. There were a few churches on this island. But by the time of previous century, this place was abandoned. It was decided by the government about 70 years ago to create here the museum. As a result, a several wooden built buildings were moved to this island from different parts of Karelia. Today the entire island is an open-air museum. It includes Kizhi Pogost (two major churches) which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. All buildings here are made only from wood without nails.

We can see on this picture the main church, it is under reconstruction now.



Next photo represents a typical view for field sown by cereals:



We were impressed by the beauty of the color of Lake Onega. Northern sunshine reflected through the surface of water creating the fabulous blending of blue water and sky!












Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Open Window by Saki Review


Children, teenagers, even adults like to create and tell others scary stories adding to them details, changing a tone during storytelling. The short story "The Open Window" by Saki represents that sort of entertainment.

The story tells us about the main character, Framton Nuttel, who came to a rural area to heal his nerves. His sister gave him letters of introduction to some of the people there. When he came to the one house, the niece of the hostess met him suggesting that he waited for her aunt. They had a typical small talk and after she understood that he was a stranger, the niece pointed to an open window and told Nuttel a story.

She said that her aunt had been keeping the window open since the day when her husband and two brothers of hers and the dog went out through that window and never came back. Here is the quote:
"In crossing the moor to their favourite snipe-shooting ground they were all three engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog. It had been that dreadful wet summer, you know, and places that were safe in other years gave way suddenly without warning. Their bodies were never recovered."

"Poor dear aunt", the niece said adding some details about "her husband with his white waterproof coat over his arm, and Ronnie, her youngest brother, singing 'Bertie, why do you bound?' as he always did to tease her, because she said it got on her nerves"

She finished her story that she "get a creepy feeling that they will all walk in through that window - "
It looks dramatic, doesn't it?

Eventually, the aunt came and after some polite questions about how her niece had welcomed him, Nuttel saw how her husband, two brothers and the dog moving towards the house (he saw it through window, alive, safe and sound, wearing a white waterproof coat, singing melody 'Bertie, why do you bound?'

Horror-stricken, Nuttel run out of the house and to the question of her surprised aunt the niece replied:
"he told me he had a horror of dogs. He was once hunted into a cemetery somewhere on the banks of the Ganges by a pack of pariah dogs, and had to spend the night in a newly dug grave with the creatures snarling and grinning and foaming just above him. Enough to make anyone lose their nerve."

As soon I had finished reading this story, I remembered my experience in telling such sort of stories in my childhood. It happened in a summer camp for children. My friends asked me to tell a story before we felt asleep and I told them "The Hound of the Baskervilles" by Arthur Conan Doyle. At a certain moment I lowered my voice and said: "They suddenly had heard a sound ... Uuuh! It was a miserable howl of an unknown creature!". I remember that one of my fellows told me that he had been afraid even to go outside at night because he had been so impressed listening to my story.

It is difficult to classify this story as a humorous or scary or just lifelike one. As I learned on the Internet this is a very prominent work of Saki, it is even learned in schools. This is a link to Youtube video based on this story:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZfSa0z8mvo



This story was discussed and corrected by the teacher Vitalii in online school albert-learning.com

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Infant Prodigy by Thomas Mann Analysis

"The infant prodigy entered. The hall became quiet." This a beginning of the short story "The Infant Prodigy" by Thomas Mann.

The audience is hypnotized by awareness of the importance of this event. The author described precisely the place around and atmosphere of the concert. Thomas Mann was a very consecutive in this description. After outer world, he started depicting the inner one.

Let's look how the author described the music:
"This was the realm of music that lay before him. It lay spread out like an inviting ocean, where he might plunge in and blissfully swim, where he might let himself be borne and carried away, where he might go under in night and storm, yet keep the mastery: control, ordain ..."

It sounds wonderful, isn't it?

Thomas Mann depicted the scene from different angles: the thoughts of young prodigy Bibi from the height of his position in music and what others are "thinking all sorts of things in their regular brains".

The reader sees how primitive are the audience’ thoughts about him and his performance:

"the business man with the parrot-nose was thinking. “... Fully fifty seats, twelve marks apiece, that makes six hundred marks ..."

Then there was a young girl who was thinking to herself: “If he kissed me it would be as though my little brother kissed me—no kiss at all"

An officer looked at Bibi's success and thought: “Yes, you are something and I am something, each in his own way.

A critic thought: “”Look at him, this young beggar of a Bibi. As an individual, he has still to develop, but as a type, he is already quite complete"

When the concert came to the end the wave of ecstasy of the crowd rose. I know this feeling, I experienced it when we applaud the troupe after a good play in a theatre. This is how it was described by Thomas Mann:

"And then the storm became a hurricane ... it went direct to people's marrow and made them shiver down their backs. They were carried away by a helpless compulsion of sheer noise. Loud shouts mingled with the hysterical clapping of hands."

This story represents the excellent example of masterpiece from the Master of the Word - Thomas Mann.





This story was discussed with the teacher Varvara in online school albert-learning.com




Confessions Of A Humorist by O. Henry Analysis

The story "Confessions Of A Humorist" by O. Henry gives to readers lots of positive emotions. It is also useful for enhancing vocabulary because it includes fun and memorable expressions.

The narrator told us a story how he had become a professional humorist when people "... called it humor instead of measles" and how he quitted this job. The plot line consists of several turns on this way so readers won't be bored. Here is the plot in chronicle order.

Beginning:
The narrator gave a little speech on the birthday of senior officer and it became very popular due to some jokes and pans included which narrator used there. "Old Marlowe himself actually grinned, and the employees took their cue and roared". Employees started to apply to the narrator for writing such things and he gained a reputation of a humorist.

2. Career:

The narrator received an invitation to write for local weekly magazine humor's column. He started working very productively but after some time he "burned", he wasn't able to find the source of jokes inside himself. Then he began hunting for ideas from other people and publishing results. "I was <...> like a hound springing upon a bone". His acquaintances started to avoid him. The narrator started catching ideas from his wife ("With devilish cunning I encouraged her to talk") and children so they started to hide from him. Eventually, the protagonist fell into depression.

3. Climax and Ending:

The narrator visited the undertaking establishment and found himself relaxing to speak with the owner who was absolutely indifferent to jokes. He became careless ("I dumbfounded my family by relaxing long enough to make a jocose remark in their presence"), the soul's piece came back to him.

The owner of undertaking business offered him to join this deal and the narrator invested all his money in this enterprise. Meanwhile, the magazine refused to prolong the contract. Initially, his wife was shocked, but later everything went well, he started making jokes again and his financial deals were ok too.

It delivers much pleasure to carefully read jokes which O'Henry put in this story.

My interpretations of the moral of this story.

In terms of humor itself:

Every joke or witticism or pun should be spontaneous. If they are created deliberately, under compulsion, they won't be funny, they lose sincerity.

In other respects:

Things go well if they are done with pleasure. Do as you like - this is good advice from O'Henry.






This story was discussed with the teacher Vitalii in online school albert-learning.com

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mr. Know-All by Somerset Maugham Analysis

I read this story with a great pleasure and told it in my family checking in which point of this intriguing story the ending became clear. The plot of the story "Mr. Know-All" by William Somerset Maugham is how the narrator had to share the cabin on the ship with Mr. Kelada, who was described as a very annoying person, and what happened next.

For the purpose of keeping intrigue, I'm not going to tell the plot. This analysis is dedicated to the themes which Maugham used.

Prejudice:
The narrator said in the beginning of the story "I was prepared to dislike Max Kelada even before I knew him." Let's compare this with one of the final phrases of the story "At that moment I did not entirely dislike Mr. Kelada". What happened it the story is a riddle (I encourage readers of my blog to read the story).

Jealousy:
What the narrator thought about belongings of Mr. Kelada:
"He had unpacked his toilet things, and I observed that he was a patron of the excellent Monsieur Coty" probably it is a very expensive perfume.
About his knowledge and abilities:
"He ran everything. He managed the sweeps, conducted the auctions, collected money for prizes at the sports, got up quoit and golf matches, organized the concert and arranged the fancy-dress ball. He was everywhere and always. He was certainly the best hated man in the ship. We called him Mr. Know-All, even to his face."
Snobbery:
It is a cliche for British to look down upon others. This is a quote from the narrator:
He spoke with a fluency in which there was nothing English and his gestures were exuberant. I felt pretty sure that a closer inspection of that British passport would have betrayed the fact that Mr. Kelada was born under a bluer sky than is generally seen in England."
But all negative emotions was covered by the action which Mr. Kelada did. Welcome for reading.
I would recommend you to watch an old movie based on this work. The link to youtube is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfO-6RP7mko



Saturday, June 3, 2017

The "Selfish Giant" by Oscar Wilde Analysis

"The Selfish Giant" by Oscar Wilde written for children. This story became popular as a class material for learners who study English because the language there is not difficult and the story includes lots of questions and dilemmas about the good and the bad, human relationships, the meaning of life.

The main character (Giant) was selfish refusing to give children permission to play in his garden and nature punished him. Among the children was a small boy who loved people so much that he died for everyone. Eventually, the Giant let children to play in his garden and became happy.


There are two plot lines in the story I would like to highlight:
- A selfish person is usually unhappy;
- Retelling the Bible's story about Christ Redeemer.

The clue fact that the giant had realized that he was selfish and he was forgiven. This message is good advice for children and adults.



This story was discussed with the teacher Vitalii in online school albert-learning.com

We discussed during the class these grammar constructions (they are highlighted in the text above)

Substantivization: The action or process of converting an adjective (verb, etc.) into a noun (substantive).

Adjectivization - The action or process of converting a word or phrase into an adjective or an adjectival form


Thursday, June 1, 2017

"Eyes Do More Than See" by Isaac Asimov Summary

Let's try to think what life would be after hundreds of billions of years. I thought about it the first time after reading a short story "Eyes Do More Than See", written by Isaac Asimov.

I asked my colleagues if they had ever thought what would happen to the world and the human race after billions of years? They answered, “no, never”. And this is what differentiates the work of a genuine writer from an ordinary one. Isaac Asimov is a classic of sci-fiction literature and he is a genius without any doubts.

The human will lose the physical form of life. It is logical according to some scientists which prove certain dependencies between energy, matter, speed, waves, gravitations etc.

The two main protagonists of the story used to operate with Energy and they decided to manipulate Matter. This is the quote from the text:

"Imagine! A symphony of Matter. Why bother with Energy. Of course, there's nothing new in Energy". "... why not build up an imitation of ourselves in Matter, ourselves as we used to be?”

My interpretation:
"Matter really matters”, that is the moral of the story.



This story was discussed with the teacher Vitalii in online school albert-learning.com