Blogger of the Week: Sweatshops and Modern Day Slavery

Nike sweatshop in China [1]

Many brand name companies use them. It allows them to continue making millions and even billions of dollars each and every year. However, they are illegal and negatively impact the lives of people living in developing countries. What are they you may ask? Sweatshops. In general, a sweatshop can be described as a workplace where workers are subject to extreme exploitation, including the absence of a living wage or benefits, poor working conditions, and arbitrary discipline such as verbal and physical abuse [4]. The US Department of Labor defines a sweatshop as a factory that violates two or more labor laws, such as those pertaining to child labor or working hours [4]. Often, people who work in sweatshops have nowhere else to work. They’re poor and cannot afford education which leaves them with a few options to be able to support their families. Children are even forced to work in order to help their parents, and are denied an education and a normal childhood. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has estimated that 250 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 work in sweatshops in developing countries [4]. From these 250 million, 61% are from Asia, 32% are from Africa, and 7% are from Latin America. It is no doubt that this is a significant issue in the world today.

Conditions in the factories: 

  • Workers are confined and beaten
  • Denied the right to leave the workplace and go home to their families
  • Some children are abducted and forced to work
  • Work in small areas 
  • Face starvation
  • Work long hours
  • Terrible working conditions
  • It is dangerous to be working in these factories because your life is at risk
  • Don’t make anywhere close to minimum wage
  • Can’t pay for the basic necessities of life

This video shows the truth about the working conditions and pay for people in China who provide clothing for the brand name company that we all know as Nike:

Why do people work in sweatshops and how is it allowed to function?

Defenders of sweatshops often bring up the fact that even though sweatshops are bad, they at least give people jobs that they wouldn’t have had otherwise [4]. However, because the pay is atrocious, it rarely improves the economic situation of the worker. Furthermore, working in sweatshops for prolonged periods of time can have negative effects on your body physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Unfortunately, these people are trapped in an awful cycle and have to go and work everyday and suffer just to be able to make it through another day. Some aren’t qualified for other jobs and if they’re living in Canada or the U.S. it is difficult to find another job because English isn’t their first language. Most factories are monitored by inspectors, who are paid by the industry. Often, they’ll call ahead to arrange a visit, this will give factory management time to make the place look presentable, and coach the workers about what to say [4]. This is why the conditions may not seem as horrible as it actually is to an inspector. Lastly, sweatshops aren’t severely restricted which allows them to still exist today.

What products are made in sweatshops?

  • Shoes and sneakers
  • Clothing/garments
  • Rugs/carpets
  • Goods and other products

The majority of garment workers are immigrant women that work 60-80 hours per week [4]. Additionally, they’re not paid minimum wage and they do not receive overtime pay. A lot of child labour is in the rug industry, nearly one million children are illegally employed making hand-knotted rugs worldwide [4]. In Pakistan this is a major issue because 75% of the weavers there are girls under the age of 14. What’s even more shocking is that North American toy makers earn $11/hour. However, in China this is drastically reduced to 30 cents! Cocoa and coffee workers receive wages that leave them at the edge of poverty and starvation. Finally, banana workers have one of the most dangerous jobs for they’re exposed to dangerous pesticides! 

Which companies use sweatshops and why?

Brand name companies who use sweatshops [2]

We often buy clothes and other products without taking into account where its from and what kinds of people are making it [5]. Many brand name companies such as H&M, Nike, and Wal-Mart rely on the services of sweatshops in countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, and China to manufacture their clothing [5]. This is because using sweatshops increases profit. Furthermore, some companies could even go bankrupt without the use of sweatshops. Also, companies would have to raise the prices of their products in order to maintain profit. However, this doesn’t seem to be a problem because a recent study by American professor Robert Pollin who is a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and founding co-director of its Political Economy Research Institute showed that doubling the salary of sweatshop workers would only increase the consumer cost of an item by 1.8% meanwhile consumers would be willing to pay 15% more to know a product did not come from a sweatshop [6]. These companies have dealt with severe consequences for their actions and have been publicly exposed for the use of sweatshops. Unfortunately, even though some of these companies claim that they no longer use sweatshops, it has been revealed that companies like Nike still use them.

Why you should care:

The Bangladesh Garment Factory Tragedy [3]

A building in Bangladesh collapsed in April of 2013 killing hundreds and trapping or injuring many more may have housed workers producing clothes for some of the world’s best-known brands. The death toll from Bangladesh’s worst industrial accident has passed 1,000 as recovery teams continue to find more bodies in the wreckage [8]. The truth of the matter is some people who work in sweatshops are working in environments that aren’t capable of holding a high capacity number of people. Ultimately, sweatshops are a danger to the workers, and need to be shut down. 

To learn more about the collapse and sweatshops watch this documentary:

What needs to be done in order to help bring an end to sweatshops: [4]

  • There needs to be full public disclosure 
  • Companies must disclose the treatment and pay of workers and how and where products were made 
  • The disclosure needs to be backed up with independent monitoring of working conditions and pay 
  • Violations that are discovered must be corrected in a way that protects workers and their jobs 
  • Companies could pay for the education of the children working in sweatshops and increase the wages of the parents 

What can you do?

  • You can boycott products made in sweatshops or by child labour
  • Spread the word and educate people on the topic
  • Donate money to charities supporting people who live in developing countries
  • Buy less clothing (you have more than you need anyway) [7]
  • Go used (you minimize the profit of other clothing companies) [7]
  • Make your own clothes [7]
  • Look for the following labels: Fair Trade Certified, Goodweave Label, and Rainforest Alliance Verified/Certified for clothing, rugs, and produce [7]
  • Research companies who don’t use them [7]

Conclusion:

Next time when you go out to shop, think twice about supporting large corporate companies who are run by greedy CEO’s. Look for the appropriate labels, or research into which companies make clothing that are made in Canada, the U.S.A. or other first world countries. Let’s all try to bring an end to sweatshops so that there can be a brighter future for us all.

Now, I want to hear from you:

  1. Will you continue to buy clothing made from companies who use sweatshops? Why or why not?
  2. What do you think are some other alternatives to using sweatshops?
  3. Do you think this is a worthy cause to support? Why or why not?
  4. Has this post changed your perspective on the priorities of large companies?
  5. What was the most interesting/shocking fact that you have learned from reading this post?

References:

[1] No Author, “Nike Sweatshops in China”, n.d. Retrieved May 4, 2015 from http://fashion.lilithezine.com/Nike-Sweatshops-in-China.html

[2] Rodriguez, Ivan, “Stop Sweatshop Labor”, n.d. Retrieved May 4, 2015 from http://stopsweatshop.weebly.com/solution.html

[3] No Author, “Sweatshops”, June 11, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2015 from http://aiikc.com/artbot/?p=3365#.VUbVDvlViko

[4] Embar, Wanda, “Sweatshops and Child Labor”, n.d. Retrieved May 4, 2o15 from http://www.veganpeace.com/sweatshops/sweatshops_and_child_labor.htm

[5] MacIntyre, David, “10 Major Clothing Brands Caught in Shocking Sweatshop Scandals”, July 8, 2014. Retrieved May 4, 2015 from http://www.therichest.com/rich-list/most-shocking/10-major-clothing-brands-caught-in-shocking-sweatshop-scandals/?view=all

[6] No Author, “11 Facts About Sweatshops”, n.d. Retrieved May 4, 2015 from https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-sweatshops

[7] Rakestraw, Marsha, “5 Tips for Keeping a Sweatshop-Free Closet”, April 3, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2015 from http://humaneeducation.org/blog/2013/04/03/5-tips-keeping-sweatshop-free-closet/

[8] No Author, “Bangladesh toll passes 1,000”, May 10, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2015 from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-22476774

R&J Act III Song Analysis

I will be comparing and contrasting two songs and ultimately reaching a verdict on which of the two following songs better represent Act III of Romeo and Juliet: The Banishment by Prong, or Beat It by Michael Jackson.

The first contender:

The lyrics in this particular song relates to the scenes in Romeo and Juliet from act three. In the first few lines Michael Jackson sings, “They told him, ‘Don’t you ever come around here. Don’t wanna see your face. You better disappear’.” Romeo is banished in the first scene after he fights Tybalt and kills him. He was warned by the Prince that violence was strictly forbidden between the two families, but he didn’t follow the rules. Romeo was angry because Tybalt killed Mercutio, but he should have realized that Tybalt was going to get his punishment sooner rather than later. Furthermore, he sings, “The fire’s in their eyes and their words are really clear.” The Capulets were extremely angry because Tybalt died, and they used their hatred for Romeo to convince the Prince to declare that if he is seen in the streets he should be killed. This was exactly why Romeo ran away after killing Tybalt because he was terrified that he would have to pay the ultimate price for his actions. The lines, “You wanna be tough, better do what you can” relates to Friar Lawrence and Romeo’s actions. Romeo wanted to be the savior and avenge his friend’s death. That’s was all over with, and Friar told Romeo what he had to do. He told Romeo that all is well, he and Juliet are both still alive. Finally, he told Romeo to visit Juliet then flee to Mantua. Romeo had a new spirit after he was given a ring from the Nurse that was Juliet’s, and then agreed with the plan.

“Go hence, good night – and here stands all your state: Either be gone before the watch be set or by the break of day from hence. Sojourn in Mantua. I’ll find out your man, and he shall signify from time to time, every good hap to you that chances here. Give me thy hand. ‘Tis late. Farewell. Good night.” – Friar Lawrence (3.4. 176-183)

Michael Jackson sings, “You wanna stay alive, better do what you can” therefore, Romeo had to listen to what the Friar was telling him; he had to make smart decisions. Finally, he sings. “You have to show them that you’re really not scared. You’re playin’ with your life, this ain’t no truth or dare.” This explains that Romeo has to stay strong for Juliet, and assure her that everything will be well in the end, and that she can expect him to return safely.

The second:

The lead singer from the band sings, “Cos I’m bored. So I left” doesn’t relate to what actually happened in the first scene. Romeo didn’t have a choice, he was banished by the Prince. Also, “No reason for me to hang around this place” inaccurately portrays Romeo as a character in the play. He is living for Juliet and she is his world, that’s his reason for trying to stay alive. Later he sings, “Exhibiting no refrain.” This inaccurately represents how Juliet reacts when she is told that her parents have arranged that she is going to marry Paris. 

“I will not marry yet, and when I do I swear it shall be Romeo, who you know I hate, rather than Paris.” – Juliet (3.5. 126-129)

She says this to Lady Capulet near the beginning of the fifth scene. Capulet then enters and is disgusted that his daughter would disobey him. Juliet asks Lady Capulet to help her, but she doesn’t accept her plea. Prong also sings, “Everything in the world has become cruel and dirty.” These lyrics, however, relate to act three of the play. Juliet is very upset, and she goes to talk to the Nurse because she needs advice and wants to be comforted.

“Romeo is banished, and all the world to nothing, that he dares to ne’er come back to challenge you, or, if he do, it needs must be by stealth. Then, since the case so stands as now it doth, I think it best you married with the County. O, he’s a lovely gentleman! Romeo’s a dishclout compared to him. An eagle, madam, hath not so green, so quick, so fair an eye as Paris hath. Beshrew my very heart, I think you are happy in this second match, for it excels your first, or, if it did not, your first is dead, or ’twere as good he were, as living here and you no use of him.” – Nurse (3.5. 226-238)

This quote proves that the Nurse thinks that Paris is a better man than Romeo. Juliet is shocked that the Nurse would betray her, and thinks that she is disloyal. Finally he sings, “Done grieving, closer to the end” and “Put myself to rest with the curse I’ve always been with.” This relates to Juliet’s feelings after the Nurse’s response. Juliet admits that she has the power to take her own life. As for the second line, the “curse” is her name. Being a Capulet, and Romeo being a Montague has caused them to be in the situation that they’re in now, and she despises it. 

The Verdict:

Some of the lyrics in “The Banishment” by Prong don’t even relate to the events in act three of the play. One of the only things that the song portrays well is Juliet’s feelings after she is betrayed by the Nurse; life comes crashing down after the person she trusted the most proves to be disloyal. “Beat it” by Michael Jackson is the clear winner here. The lyrics better portray the actual events in the play such as the banishment. Furthermore specific lyrics such as, “You have to show them that you’re really not scared” represent Romeo’s emotions. He has to act brave, and ensure that he does not get killed. Go Michael Jackson!

No author, “Michael Jackson Crown”, July 12, 2010. Retrieved May 2, 2015 from http://mjsunifc.com/main/m/photos/view/Michael-Jackson-Crown

 This is only my opinion, do you agree or disagree? Please leave your comment down below and don’t forget to explain your reasoning!

Reasons for including this post in the culminating task:

I chose this post because I felt as though it really showed my persuasive writing skills. I used a point, proof, and explain model in this post more than the other song analysis. This post was also unique because in the majority of my posts, I try to prove a certain point. In this post, I prove that Michael Jackson’s song better represented act three of Romeo and Juliet, and I refuted the other song by proving that the lyrics don’t match to what actually happened. Therefore, this post was extremely strong. What I would do similarly, if I were to re-write this post is I would separate the two songs and clearly show which one I am explaining. Also, adding the crown at the end was a fun way to end the post so I would keep that. Finally, something I would change is I would add more questions at the end of the post to get people commenting their own thoughts/opinions on the songs, and the imagery seen in each of the videos. 

R&J Act II Song Analysis

The love story of Romeo and Juliet has been influential to media on a worldwide scale. It has influenced television shows, movies, songs. In printed media, themes of Romeo and Juliet are used in comic books, and novels completely based one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays/tragedies. 

I will be comparing and contrasting two songs and ultimately reaching a verdict on which of the two following songs better represent Act II of Romeo and Juliet: Love Story by Taylor Swift, or Closer by Ne-Yo.

The first contender:

The title of this song is “Love Story” and it perfectly matches the play of Romeo and Juliet. In the beginning she sings, “We were both young when I first saw you.” This relates to Romeo and Juliet because they met each other at Capulet’s house at the night of the grand masquerade party/feast; they were only teenagers. Then, “I’m standing there on a balcony in summer air.” In Act II, the scene with the balcony was a very significant part. This was where Romeo and Juliet truly confess their love towards each other. It is in this scene that we hear to what extent they actually love each other.

“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name, Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I’ll no longer be a Capulet” – Juliet (2.2. 35-40)

Juliet says that Romeo should no longer be a Montague, and if he won’t change his name, she will so that they can peacefully live together in harmony. Furthermore in the song, the lines “See the lights, see the party, the ball gowns.
See you make your way through the crowd and say ‘hello’ little did I know” speak volumes. At the grand feast is when they first lay their eyes on each other. Romeo asks the serving man if he knew who a particular girl was across the room (Juliet,) and when he met Juliet he forgot about Rosaline and knew she was the one. Moreover she sings, “And my dad said, ‘Stay away from Juliet’.” This relates to the feud between the Montague and the Capulets. These two families despise each other and it really is forbidden love. Finally the lines, ” Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone. I’ll be waiting; all that’s left to do is run,” sums up Romeo and Juliet’s true intentions. These two would risk it all to be with each other. They secretly get married by Friar Lawrence without their parents knowing! This is the most significant part in Act II (the marriage,) and it is in the lyrics of the song. Romeo and Juliet would prefer to live together with no judgement, without fear of other’s opinions, and without guilt. 

The second: 

Ne-Yo starts off by singing, “She shines just like a star, and I swear I know her face.” This relates to Romeo adoring Juliet and thinking that she is superior to all else. She is radiant, and can brighten up anyone’s day. Furthermore the lines, “And I just can’t pull my self away. Under her spell I can’t break,” describes Romeo.

“Alas, poor Romeo, he is already dead, stabbed with a white wench’s black eye, run through the ear with a love-song” – Mercutio (2.4. 14-16)

In the play, Benvolio and Mercutio think that all Romeo thinks about is Juliet. This is true, and Mercutio realizes that. This song is all about control and how the girl has a strong grasp on the guy. Romeo is in deep love, and he can’t stop thinking about Juliet. Ne-Yo also sings, “I don’t want to escape.” Romeo doesn’t realize that he is abandoning his friends, but Juliet has now become a part of himself and he just wants to spend every minute of the day with her for eternity. Finally, he sings, “The more I get the more I want. She wants to own me, come closer.” The more time Romeo spends with Juliet, the more he wants to be with her. This is because he falls in love with her even more each other that they’re together. In the play, Juliet sends the Nurse to talk to Romeo about getting married. She is anxious about what he says and can’t wait to hear whether or not he approves. The Nurse then tells her that they’re going to get married and she is overjoyed. This proves how much of an influence she has over Romeo.

The Verdict:                                                                                                                                                                                         

“Love story by Taylor Swift” not only better represents the love story of Romeo and Juliet by using actual moments from the play, but Act II as well. The balcony scene is included and ideas of running away, and being together forever is clearly heard. Ne-Yo’s song “Closer” does a good job at representing Juliet and her power on Romeo, but does not come close to doing a better job than Love Story on Act II and the overall picture of the story. After all, in the Love Story video Juliet (as Taylor swift) is on a balcony and she dances with Romeo at a party which appears to be a very luxurious setting!

Which video do you think better represents the love story of Romeo and Juliet? Please leave your comment below!     

Romeo’s Perspective

Romeo and Juliet , a rose is a rose-8x6

No Author, “Shakespeare’s Famous Lines,” March 26, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2015 from http://www.quotecounterquote.com/2013_03_01_archive.html

This was the greatest day of my life! Whenever I think of Juliet I am overjoyed with happiness. She gave me the satisfaction of telling me that she loved me. I cannot believe that she loves a man such as I. She is superior to all in beauty, and yet she loves me.  To see her beautiful smile, and to hear her enchanting voice has given me hope that we could actually live together forever. I risked my life to see her and it was worth every second. I would leave everything just to be with her. I wouldn’t call myself I Montague and she wouldn’t call herself a Capulet, we would just leave our names behind and live peacefully. After tonight, we will be married. It feels like an eternity until then but it will be worth the wait. She is like an angel and together we can get through anything, we will support each other and I will make sure that she is always satisfied and protected. I will risk my life for her that is how much I love her, and she would do the same for me. She cannot live without me and I cannot live without her. Juliet, until tomorrow I wait until we exchange our vows and spend the rest of time with each other.

Romeo & Juliet: Which Adaptation Will Rank Supreme?

 

360164-romeo-and-juliet-balcony

Puley, Aaron, “Caption This Picture (R&J: Balcony,) April 9, 2015. Retrieved April 15, 2015 from http://mrpuley.ca/

The classic Shakespearean play of Romeo and Juliet has many important scenes but the balcony scene is one of the most famous. There have been many adaptation to this particular part of the play in comics, novels, and movies. Many significant factors played a role in making this scene shine through or fail and consequently become a complete disappointment. Some of these factors include: the characters/cast, the setting, the music, and the position of Romeo and Juliet. I will be stating the differences between the original text (in graphic novel form,) the 1968 version directed by Franco Zeffirelli, Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film, and the 2013 adaptation by Carlo Carlei. The graphic novel and the 1968 films are very similar matching the book almost identically. Meanwhile, the 1996 and 2013 adaptations take a different approach to this iconic scene. I will be comparing the setting, the position of the characters, and the cast.

The Setting:

The graphic novel, the 1968 and 2013 versions of the film take the traditional approach with the balcony scene, whereas the 1996 version changes it up completely. In the 1996 adaptation, Romeo tries to see Juliet, but does not do this effectively. He makes a lot of noise, and is very clumsy. Furthermore, a huge difference is that there is a pool in her backyard, and this is the area they show their affection for each other, not on the actual balcony. There are also security guards, and the setting is overall more modern. The problem with this is that the whole point of the balcony was supposed to be that Romeo climbs to Juliet and that was where they swore that they loved each other; some of the magic was truly lost. Another issue with the setting in the 1996 version is the inclusions of the elevator, security camera, and other features that are not historically accurate for the time frame of Romeo and Juliet. In contrast, all three other versions do a good job at representing the scene. Romeo sneakily enters Juliet’s balcony climbing the wall and vines to get to her. There is a greater element of suspense, because you’re there thinking whether or not Romeo will get caught, or if the nurse will see him. There is no need for the addition of technology for this scene. The graphic novel keeps the setting fairly clean and minimalist with some trees, and the same for the 1968 version. However, in the 2013 version there are too much attention to detail and the balcony is surrounded by too many flowers and other items, which takes away from the focus which is the two main characters. Overall, the graphic novel and 1968 versions excel in this category.

23a45927b155474388c43086b5514f36

No Author, “Romeo and Juliet Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.” n.d. Retrieved April 15, 2015 from http://imgkid.com/romeo-and-juliet-leonardo-dicaprio-and-claire-danes-gif.shtml

The Position of Romeo and Juliet:

The reason why the positioning of these two star-crossed is because there is great meaning to it. Throughout the play, Romeo states that she is a celestial beauty, the moon is envious of her, and that her breath could even make the air sweeter. She is radiant and nobody can compare to one such as her. In the graphic novel, 1968 film, and 2013 film Juliet is high up on the balcony while Romeo is below either thinking about her (in the graphic novel,) or speaking quietly until he decides to speak. In the three versions (excluding the 1996 adaptation,) Romeo decides to speak up when Juliet admits that she has strong feelings for him and goes to kiss her multiple times. When she hears a sudden but familiar voice and realizes that it is Romeo, she is at first in shock, but is very pleased to see him. However, in the 1996 version she comes out of the main door and is not even on the balcony. Instead of Romeo climbing and being at the same level of ground as her, she comes to him. Afterwards, Romeo follows her for a little while then speaks. This produces the same amount of shock to Juliet, but was quite unnecessary and strange. Subsequently, they both fall into the pool and Juliet warns him that he might get caught, as she does in all of the other versions. You might be thinking if Juliet even enters the balcony or not, and she does, at the end where she exchanges a few final words with Romeo. Overall, the 1996 version did a poor job representing this scene, while the other adaptations followed the play and made a very good impression.

Romeo-Juliet-1968-1968-romeo-and-juliet-by-franco-zeffirelli-21346588-720-540

No Author, “Romeo And Juliet Balcony Scene,” n.d. Retrieved April 15, 2015 from http://becuo.com/romeo-and-juliet-1968-balcony-scene

The Cast:

In this category, there is an obvious distinction between each version of the play. The graphic novel doesn’t have a cast, it has characters. Therefore, you cannot understand the true emotion of the scene because there aren’t any people acting. With that aside, it follows the play almost exactly, missing only a few lines. Moreover, the 1968 version had excellent casting. Romeo and Juliet’s characters were believable and showed true emotion which set the balcony scene apart from the rest. Juliet seems to genuinely care about Romeo, and is worried that he will be murdered by one of the kinsmen. This adaptation also follows the book exactly, and really lets you experience this scene how it was meant to be seen. In the 1996 version, the characters aren’t as believable and Claire Dane’s performance is lackluster. Furthermore, the nurse appears on the same balcony as Juliet. The nurse isn’t as significant as her in the play which makes the balcony (representing superiority,) misrepresented which wasn’t a good directing move. Finally, in the 2013 version a particular issue which appears is Juliet, played by Hailee Steinfeld, delivers her lines with little/no passion. This is a major disappointment and it is seen when she says the famous lines, “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo which seems modernized. Finally, there are some word changes which I don’t prefer. Overall, the 1968 version wins this category.

Take a look at the horrible acting.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, the graphic novel, the 1968 version, and the 2013 are all similar, with the exception of how Romeo talks/thinks about Juliet, the cast and the emotion delivered, and the setting. The 1996 is very different with a completely new setting, and a poorly executed balcony scene as a result of the positioning of the Romeo and Juliet. Looking at the balcony scene by itself, the 1996 was the worst because it was the least traditional, the 2013 version comes next with poorly executed lines and an overdone setting, the graphic novel comes second, and the 1968 takes the top spot with an excellent cast, a simple setting that puts all of the attention on Romeo and Juliet, music fit for the time and proper positioning of the two main characters.

Extension:

Susan Wloszczyna was very critical on the 2013 version of Romeo and Juliet. I agree that the vine and other accessories around Juliet’s background was unnecessary, and the acting was not that great. Aside from that, their positioning was appropriate, and at least it wasn’t near a pool. Comparing this to the 1996 version, Claire Danes’ acting was very boring, and dull. Hailee Steinfeld did a better job when it came to the balcony scene. Furthermore, I do not agree that the music was horrible. It set the mood for scene and I enjoyed it. Finally, although I haven’t seen the movie in it’s entirety, I do not agree that if it wasn’t done well then the movie shouldn’t have been made at all. There are many other important scenes in Romeo and Juliet such as them meeting for the first time, the ceremony where they got married, and their death to name a few. Overall, the scene wasn’t bad at all, there were some things that could have been improved but in the grand scheme of things, it was done fairly well and the balcony scene isn’t the most important scene in the movie so you can let it slide.

Click here to read Susan Wloszczyna’s full review and critique of the film and comment what you think: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/romeo-and-juliet-2013

Capulet Enemy Caught Stealing Kiss (Revised on March 31, 2015)

 By Subhan Adli

Verona, Italy

Montague Man by the name of Romeo causes an Uproar between two Royal Families

No Author, “Romeo and Juliet 1968”. n.d. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.glogster.com/kjabrail7483/poster-glog-by-kjabrail7483-g-6k8g3d73l6cmov6apckrp83

The Shakespearean Spectator

On July 15, 1395 at 7 pm, a Montague Man named Romeo secretly attended Capulet’s grand masquerade party which he hosted at his house! He is reported to have bestowed a kiss upon Capulet’s daughter Juliet who was waiting for Paris, a Capulet man who developed an earlier interest for her. It was love at first sight for Romeo, a serving man was interviewed and said, “he was very interested in Juliet from the moment he saw her and was anxious to find out who she was.” 

This scandalous love affair is guaranteed to cause even more tension between the two families for they’ve had issues for some time because Romeo is the son of Capulet’s most hated enemy. 

Romeo was with two other Montague men: Benvolio and Mercutio who entered Capulet’s house without the intention of getting caught. Benvolio had claimed, “At this same ancient feast of Capulet’s sups the fair Rosaline whom thou so loves.” (1.3. 89-90) Romeo attended the feast in hopes of seeing Rosaline who is Capulet’s niece.

A Capulet man named Tybalt recognized Romeo by his voice and said “This, by his voice, should be a Montague. Fetch me my rapier, boy.” (1.5 60-61) Witnesses report that Tybalt was infuriated that Romeo would have the audacity to attend an event hosted by the Capulets. His emotions were then diluted by Capulet who did not want to cause chaos at a cheerful event.

Romeo had seen Juliet from a far away distance and decided to introduce himself. He claimed that he never saw a girl as beautiful as her for he said, “Forswear, it, sight for I ne’er saw true beauty still this night.” (1.5. 59-60) After taking her hand, Romeo then proceeded to use religious metaphors to attract Juliet. He stated that he was a pilgrim and that she was a saint and he wanted her to replenish him of all of his sins. Subsequently, they shared another kiss to show their affection towards each other.

 A Capulet man named Adrian claimed that right after the second kiss, they were separated and Juliet had a conversation with Lady Capulet and the nurse. He reports that she was asking about the men at attendance at the party and specifically asked who she had kissed. Juliet was devastated when she was informed about Romeo’s identity and said the following, “My only love sprung from my only hate! Prodigious birth of love it is to me that I must love a loathèd enemy.” (1.5. 154-155)

Romeo is said to have fled the scene with Benvolio and Mercutio right after the second kiss with Capulet’s daughter, Juliet.

 It is unknown what will become of these two unfortunate lovers, but one thing is inevitable, they will have to face the dire consequences for their actions. Romeo and Juliet have left themselves in terrible situations uncertain of what is yet to come.

REFLECTION:

a) Reflect on yourself as a writer. What do you consider to be your strengths? Where do you feel you need improvement?

I think that I’m a strong writer. My strengths are writing a lot (quantity) but still maintaining quality. Also, I use a wide range of vocabulary in my written pieces of work. Furthermore, I usually make few spelling mistakes and check grammar and punctuation regularly. The area I feel that I need to improve on is planning my work ahead of time. This is because I can have a good idea of what I want to write before I begin so that when I do start, my work is organized and it has a good flow.

b) What is your approach to proofreading your work?                                                                                               

I begin by reading it over to myself out loud a couple of times to see if there are any mistakes. I correct them, and then I proceed to ask a peer to edit my work or a teacher if I’m really struggling to edit/fix my errors. I also use examples given by teachers or online to help give me an idea of how it should sound or look. Finally, I use rubrics to see if I have met all of the criteria, or often times, surpassed it. 

c) What was the hardest suggestion to implement while revising this work and why?                            

The hardest suggestion to implement was not making my news report sound like a story. This is because I had all of the information, and I knew what happened in the event, but I didn’t focus in on the main idea. I explained the event too much, which got me started on the wrong track. Instead, I read some examples of news articles and used my notes to revise my piece of work. Afterwards, I found it easy to take out the unnecessary information and focus on Romeo and Juliet’s kiss.

d) In the future, how can you ensure that you are submitting the most polished piece possible for evaluation?                                                                                                                                                                                 

In the future, I can guarantee that I am submitting the most polished peace of work possible by editing my work a lot. Also getting the teacher to check it and editing it multiple times before making a good copy is valuable because they’re the one marking it and feedback is always beneficial! Finally, I can edit my friend’s work and see if I can catch any of their mistakes whether it be structural, grammatical, etc and implement those change to my own work to maximize the mark that I receive on that assignment or other assignments.        

 

 

Forbidden Love: A Romeo and Juliet Movie Analysis

Do the names Romeo and Juliet ring a bell? I’m sure most of us have heard these names, and are even familiar with their tragic love story. This story/play written by William Shakespeare in the late 1500’s has become one of his most famous. Many movies have been released that are related to the theme of Romeo and Juliet which is ‘forbidden love’ that include Titanic, and the Princess Bride. Over the years, there have been many adaptions to the play as we can see in movies. This is because directors interpret scenes from the play differently. While some movies capture the essence of Romeo and Juliet, others fail to do so. 

Titanic Movie

Limoge, “Titanic Movie Poster”, n.d. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from http://itthing.com/15-movies-wed-love-to-see-in-3d/titanic-movie-poster-c10053827

In “Titanic,” the love between Jack and Rose is forbidden because she already has a fiancé. Their love is also forbidden by Rose’s mother who sees Jack as threatening to their social status because he is third class and she is first class. Her mother also thinks that he isn’t suitable because he isn’t wealthy. It seems that in movies/stories with the theme of “forbidden love,” true love always prevails. The two people in love always seem to find a way through the many obstacles, and end up being together.

An Overview of the Play:

In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, there is a feud between two royal families including the Montagues and the Capulets who plague and disrupt the peace in the city of Verona. Romeo is a depressed young adult who cannot get over Rosaline (Capulet’s niece.) Romeo is a Montague, and later sneaks into Capulet’s grand feast. This is where he meets the girl of his dreams who turns out to be a Capulet by the name of Juliet (Capulet’s daughter.) She is pressured to marry a suitable husband by her parents who recommend a Capulet man named Paris. However, it is love at first sight for Romeo and Juliet as they fall for each other and would anything to stay with each other if it means defying their families, values, and loyalties. This story portrays the chaos and passion in love, and has other themes as well including death, and religion. Elements of religion occur in the play when Romeo expresses his intense feelings for Juliet by comparing her to an angel, referring to her hand as “a holy shrine,” and many other metaphors. This is used to explain that they’re young, innocent children who are deeply in love. Death is also prominent as Juliet drinks poison to trick her family that she is dead and can escape with Romeo. However, when the message was not clear and Romeo sees her laying there on her grave, he follows suit. They could not live without each other and when Juliet realized that Romeo killed himself, she subsequently stabbed herself. Finally, it is a story where there are many obstacles for the two star-crossed lovers and many people interfere who try to separate them. Therefore, it is easy to understand why this play was classified as a tragedy.

Which movie better portrays the love story of Romeo and Juliet?

Now that you know a bit more about the actual story of Romeo and Juliet, it’s time to see which movie is better overall.

Here’s the 1968 version.

Here’s the 2013 version.

A Few Key Differences: In the 1968 version,

  • In the beginning there is a huge fight in the marketplace (thumb-biting incident)
  • Romeo and Juliet seem to be a lot younger
  • Capulet’s speech with Paris is more significant for it is longer
  • At Capulet’s grand feast, the dancing is different and is more traditional
  • Romeo and Juliet fall in love with each other immediately
  • Capulet tells Tybalt to relax and says that Romeo is an honorable man
  • Rosaline is in attendance at the party

In the 2013 version,

  • Games are hosted in the form of a tournament
  • Romeo and Juliet are older
  • Capulet’s talk with Paris was rushed and very casual
  • Capulet’s tells Tybalt to endure Romeo because of the Prince’s warning
  • Music isn’t as classical
  • There is a love triangle between Tybalt, Romeo, and Juliet
  • Juliet doesn’t talk to Capulet, and is influenced heavily by Lady Capulet and the nurse

The Verdict:

The 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet is superior for many reasons. For one, it is more traditional than the 2013 version. It follows the story almost word for word while the 2013 version is hard to follow if you have actually read the book. The 2013 version follows the plot but only uses some of Shakespeare’s traditional dialogue which makes it misleading. Also, Romeo and Juliet look younger which matches the book exactly, and makes the movie more enjoyable because they’re only 13 or a little older, not twenty years old as portrayed in the later version. In the 2013 version, the conversation with Capulet and Paris regarding marrying Juliet is rushed even though it is a significant part of the story. This is because Capulet and Lady Capulet want Juliet to marry another Capulet, and he was supposed to be her husband. Furthermore, Franco Zeffirelli’s version of Romeo and Juliet (1968) is better because his actors bring the play to life once again. Romeo and Juliet actually seem to be in love, and the nurse appropriately matches her demeanor in the book. Juliet played by Hailee Steinfeld in the 2013 version, is too passive and doesn’t seem truly in love when she first sees Romeo. Another issue with the 2013 version, is that Romeo is more attractive than Juliet. This shouldn’t be as Romeo says things like “So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows,” once seeing Juliet at the feast and declaring that she is the most beautiful girl that he’s ever seen. On another note, the music in the 1968 version is terrible as it seems like it is being played on a loop and doesn’t have a lot of variety. To further solidify this opinion, the 1968 version of the film received Academy Awards for best cinematography (Pasqualino De Santis,) and best costume design (Danilo Donati.) Additionally it received two other nominations for best picture (Anthony Havelock-Allan and John Brabourne,)  and best director (Frank Zeffirelli.)  Meanwhile, the 2013 version was negatively reviewed by critics, and received low ratings on IMDb, and Rotten Tomatoes. 

“Unique in it’s disrespect for the play, the actors, and young people.” – Tony Howard in his Around the Globe review of the 2013 film

 

The Complicated Thing We Call Love

True Love Lasts a Lifetime

Xaniel, “Old Couples in Love Are So Cute”, September 7, 2012. Retrieved on March 8, 2015 from http://izismile.com/2012/09/07/old_couples_in_love_are_so_cute_30_pics_1_gif.html

How do you know that you’ve fallen in love?

What is true love? The answer is simple but there are many layers to it. When you’re truly in love with someone, you cannot live without them. You need them in your life, and you can’t function without them. They complete you and you complete them. There is a strong connection between two people, and the love is everlasting. That person is your priority, your future, your everything. These feelings are very powerful, and once you have found the person of your dreams, you will live your entire lives with them and only separate when they have perished, hopefully to be reunited in the greatest destination; heaven. You never fight with that person and if you do, you get angry that you let the problem escalate, and you want nothing more than to reconcile and get back together.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Watch this video.

Love at first sight does indeed exist. This is seen through the video; their love story is truly inspirational. They knew it from the beginning, they began talking and their relationship flourished. They fell in love and have been married for many years, this is the meaning of true love and is proof that there is meaning to the phrase.

“I was 15 and she was 12 which didn’t make a whole lot of difference, because at that age why you’re just infatuated, and that’s what I was. That brown eyed girl over there, I said I’ve got to get to know her.” – Elderly Man

Romeo and Juliet

Mary, Grase, “Art Romeo and Juliet”, n.d. Retrieved on March 8, 2015 from https://www.pinterest.com/grasemary/art-romeo-and-juliet/

It is also seen in Romeo and Juliet in Act 1, Scene 5. When Romeo first sees Juliet, he declares that he has never been in love until that moment. In lines 51-60 Romeo says the following:

“Oh, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night As a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear, Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear. So shows a snowy dove trooping with crows As yonder lady o’er her fellows shows. The measure done, I’ll watch her place of stand, And, touching hers, make blessèd my rude hand. Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”

Romeo states that her beauty is too good for this world, and that she is too beautiful to die and be buried. He also asks himself if his heart has ever felt love before this moment. Finally ends off by saying that his eyes were liars, because he has never seen true beauty until tonight. He forgets about Rosaline, and finally moves on. It is very realistic because you first fall in love with someone because of their looks, then afterwards, you learn more about them and their personality and the feelings intensify after.

What advice would I give to Romeo?          

  •  Never give up on finding love
  •  Don’t be discouraged if a girl doesn’t like you, there are many others out there
  •  Get to know the girl before claiming that you’ve fallen in love with her 
  •  Find out what the girl is like, maybe you will find that you don’t like her personality
  •  Once you have found the one, love her and never let her go

Which song best represents the theme of love in Romeo and Juliet?

It’s time to see which song best describes the relationship of Romeo and Juliet. First up is Céline Dion with “The Power of Love.” Have a listen.

This song talks about being dependent on your significant other. Also, about being inseparable, because even when “it seems I’m far away never wonder where I am cause I am always by your side.” Moreover, she sings about how when she is with him she can forget about all her problems. This song represents the basic knowledge of love. It does not address the bigger picture, and fails to describe how complex love really is. It is true that Romeo and Juliet love each other and they feel like they can beat all odds and do things that they never thought they could now that they’re together. But even so, the “Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News does a far better job at describing the theme and goes into further detail.

Again, have a listen.

This song better represents the love theme of Romeo and Juliet. He sings about love changing you as a person as well as your thoughts, your feelings, and your overall perspective on life. The following line perfectly explains their love:

“It’s strong and it’s sudden and it’s cruel sometimes.” – Huey Lewis

His love was so strong for Juliet, that he forgot his feelings for Rosaline. It was sudden, he randomly saw her at the feast and immediately asked the serving man who she was. He went up to her and asked for a kiss so that she could replenish him with purity, and get rid of his sins. It was a mutual connection and changed his attitude towards love completely. However, love is cruel, Romeo being a Montague, and Juliet being a Capulet, the love is therefore forbidden. In lines 61-62 Tybalt says “This by his voice, should be a Montague. Fetch me my rapier, boy.” These two families have a lot of tension between them and utterly despise one another. Therefore, it is dangerous to be in love with her.

 “The power of love is a curious thing
make a one man weep, make another man sing
Change a hawk to a little white dove
more than a feeling that’s the power of love.” – Huey Lewis

In Act 1, Scene 1, Romeo says “Tut! I have lost myself. I am not here. This is not Romeo. He’s some other where,” he lost himself because a girl who he had loved didn’t love him back and consequently was severely depressed. Fast forward to scene 5 where his demeanor has changed drastically. This was by the power of love, he was weeping before but now he has become hopeful again. Finally, this song addresses how complex love can really be. It is a roller coaster of emotions, and when you find yourself falling for someone else, you’ll do anything for that person, even if it may be forbidden, you can’t stand being apart from them. The power of love will make you do things that you never thought  you would do ever before.

 

Juliet’s Woes

Juliet pondering about her love life

No Author, “Juliet Montague 1968”, n.d. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/juliet-montague-1968/images/25092379/title/juliet-capulet-montague-photos-photo

My mother married at a young age, and she along with my father want me to consider marrying Paris. The problem is I do not know if I am ready yet, nor have I given it the slightest bit of thought. However, my parents know what is best for me and if they say that he is a good man, he probably is. The nurse also wants me to get married too, and she is the one who truly raised me after all. I remember all the memories I had with her and she is the one who made me into the human being I am today. But what if I don’t like him? Am I really going to disobey my parents? What if I find somebody else, will my parents approve our relationship? There is just a lot of pressure, I just really hope that Paris is the right man for me. I just don’t know, hopefully all of these questions get answered at the feast and everything goes well.

Are All Muslims Terrorists?

        How Muslims are Seen from http://www.bordc.org/blog/does-fbi-really-believe-all-muslims-are-terrorists

Prasad, Mike, “Does the FBI really believe that all Muslims are terrorists?”, September 30, 2011. Retrieved February 17, 2015 from http://www.bordc.org/blog/does-fbi-really-believe-all-muslims-are-terrorists

There are many misconceptions about Muslims and Islam in general. There is an idea that Muslims are extremely violent, but is this necessarily true? Some may argue that Islam is a religion of hatred because of prominent terrorist groups such as Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, or Islamic State (ISIS).  These groups are reported on very often in the mainstream media and because of how they’re portrayed the general public think that all Muslims behave in that way; that we’re all evil. However, this just isn’t true Islam is a religion of peace and all Muslims are not terrorists. When people think of Islam terrorism shouldn’t be the first word to come to your mind. The Quran promotes peace and does not condone violence or murder. These are just some teachings of the holy book. Now, you may be thinking how could people who follow this supposedly peaceful religion commit such heinous acts? It is important to realize that these people in terrorist groups commit acts of crime based on their political agenda as opposed to their faith. Also, some are often misguided in their religion and fail to realize that murdering a human being, a creation of god, is a terrible sin.

Do you think all Muslims are Terrorists? Click here to read why it isn’t true. This is a great article which explains the truth about terrorism, and why Islam is negatively looked upon in the media.

 Islam and the Quran’s Teachings: The Islamic Sacred Book

  • strongly advocates kindness
  • promotes a healthy and active lifestyle
  • forbids backbiting
  • forbids cheating, false accusations, and jealousy
  • be righteous and avoid falsehood
  • promotes peace and tolerance
  • these are just a few examples of the many teachings in the holy book.

The Holy Quran

No Author, “The Holy Quran, Chapter 45, Verse 20”, August 24, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2015 from http://islamicsharing.com/quran/the-holy-quran-chapter-45-verse-20.html

This photo represents how merciful and benevolent Allah (God) is and how Islam is a religion that guides people on the right path.

Facts and Figures:

  • In the United States since 1995 56% of attacks and plots were committed by Right-Wing Extremists
  • 30% were committed by Eco terrorists
  • Only 12% were committed by Islamic Extremists! 
  • In Europe, less than 2% of attacks were because of Muslim groups!

“Muslim countries average 2.4 murders per annum per 100,000 people compared to non-Muslim countries that have 7.5 murders per annum per 100,000 people.”

UC Berkeley Political Scientist M. Steven Fish

The Media’s Influence:

In the media, terrorist groups such as Lord’s Resistance Army, and the New People’s Army are reported on, but not as much as Islamic terrorist groups even though these groups as well as many others abduct, rape, violate human rights, and murder. Do not always believe what a news reporter or anchor is saying, research these topics by yourself and see the truth. Most of the time, these news companies are bias and want you to believe what they’re saying is true. They will only report stories that do not harm their image and strengthen their reputation. Fox news comes to mind as they report on their opinion on not on actual news, and they often report information that is false. For example, one congressman by the name of Peter King falsely claimed that 90% of terrorism comes from Muslims as it is seen in the video below. The Media plays a huge role in this misconception because if there was a Christian terrorist attack news companies will hesitate to report on it because it makes the majority religion (Christianity) look bad, instead they focus on Muslim terrorists.

Other Types of Terrorism, Something to Think About:

There are over 1.7 billion Muslims in the world, it is time to stop thinking that we all are guilty by association and that we’re the only religion that commits terrorist acts. Some may argue that the world’s most troubled spots such as Afghanistan, and Pakistan are plagued with Islamic Terrorists today. However, they fail to realize that countries such as the U.S. have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan for oil and other resources. Many relate their fears of Muslim terrorists because of the attack on 9/11 however, only 3000 people died in that event. Meanwhile, there are over 500,000 civilians dead or wounded in Iraq since the U.S. invasion and over 15,000 in the War of Afghanistan. People need to open their eyes, and see the world around them.

Discrimination, the Word “Terrorist” and How it Affects Us:

“Muslim women are being denied jobs and girls prevented from attending regular classes just because they wear traditional forms of dress, such as the headscarf.”

Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s expert on discrimination. [1]

On another note, there is stigma against the people of Islam. People need to be welcoming to cultures and allow them to express themselves without prejudice or bias. This is simply not how people treats Muslims, and it is extremely disheartening.

 

Islam is Against Terrorism http://www.patheos.com/blogs/azizpoonawalla/2013/09/the-silence-libel-do-muslims-condemn/

Aziz, Poonawalla, “The Silence Label: Do Muslims Condemn?”, September 26, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2015 from http://www.patheos.com/blogs/azizpoonawalla/2013/09/the-silence-libel-do-muslims-condemn/

Education is key, and once you do educate yourselves on certain issues, then and only then should you form an opinion. Women of Islam wear these traditional clothes because they want to show modesty and want people to judge them on who they’re as a person as opposed to their outer appearance. This all relates back to the Quran and how people think Islam is an evil religion when it is not.

“Society has given the word “terrorist” a religion, a colour, and characteristics that all relate to Islam.”

Yousef Erakat [2]

A terrorist can be anyone, but its not always Muslims. Stop believing this, a Muslim is not more likely to be a terrorist than anyone else. It takes a certain type of evil to become someone like that. So now what do you think when you hear the word “terrorist”? I sure hope it isn’t “a Muslim.”

[1] Perolini, Marco, “Muslims discriminated against for demonstrating their faith”, April 23, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2015 from http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/muslims-discriminated-against-demonstrating-their-faith-2012-04-23

[2] Erakat, Yousef https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tz12mZ4Kfkc