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Charlotte Forten Grimke


charlotte grimke

Charlotte Forten Grimke was one of the major abolitionist leaders during the American Civil War.  She became a member of the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society where she took over coalition building and money-raising.  On occasion she would give speeches to the public on her abolitionists views.  As the Civil War began she became the first black teacher to teach white students in Salem, Massachusetts in 1862.  Also in 1862 she traveled to St. Helena Island in South Carolina to work as a teacher in the Port Royal Experiment.  Port Royal was a Confederate fort captured by the Union which became the escape for many runaway and abandoned slaves.  Forten worked here as a teacher to help educate the former slaves.  However, she took her work much more seriously just to educate the freed slaves.  She found herself visiting their homes and making a more personal connection with the people so that she could instill higher values in their lives.  Sadly, after eighteen months of work Forten had to return to her home in Philadelphia because of health reasons.  She would continue teaching there and later return to the South to teach but not until long after the civil war had ended.  However, her journals taken from her first stint in South Carolina have shown historians the truly humanitarian work Charlotte Forten Grimke had done during the Civil War to help in the advancement of African Americans during such a chaotic time period.

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Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Women in the Civil War


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“The Dehumanizing Characteristic of Slavery”

I know nothing,
They had known nothing.
It was the blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery,
It was all new to me.
The means of knowing was withheld from me,
I could not tell why I was deprived of the same privilege.
It always depressed my spirit, and filled me with ineffable sadness.
I was broken in body, soul, and spirit.
The Dehumanizing Character of Slavery.
I understood,
From that moment, I understood the pathway from slavery to freedom.
The power of reason
and knowledge.
Under its tender influence, the tender heart became stone.
It was a glorious resurrection, from the tomb of slavery, to the heaven of freedom.
I finally succeeded in learning,
My escape from slavery.
This good spirit was from God, and him I offer thanksgiving and peace.

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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Douglass poem



-Was George Orwell Right?-


A major theme in 1984 by George Orwell was the theme of lack of privacy.  The government watched your every action to keep control over the people.  Today many people believe the Untied States government has many similar programs designed to surveil its citizens in order to protect our nation from acts of terror.  Several examples of these can be found of suspected programs can be found here.  Many of the major programs no longer exist today such as the “Patriot Act II”(which was never implemented), or the Total Information Awareness Program, and the FBI’s COINTELPRO program.

However another concern people need to have is not with the government itself but with the internet.  Many companies monitor your browsing history, online purchases, and even your Facebook photos.  These companies include our search engines such as Google or Yahoo! who use these files to personalize ads and information you would be interested in.  However the scarier thing is that there are companies that buy and sell our information as well as have open markets to trade our information without us even knowing such as EXelate or Bellevue.  A writer for time magazine wrote an article about his experience with learning about who some of these companies think he is.  Many of these “profiles” contained details on a very personal level such as the structure of the walls in his house or the car he drives, and they were also mostly untrue.  The idea that someone is monitoring our every move on the internet and trying to learn about who we are is rather frightening.


In the book 1984 the government controls the whole way people act in order to keep them in line. Today our government is trying to keep tabs on people who are considered a threat to national security.  Big Brother claimed to be looking after the safety and the best interest of the people however O’Brien tells us the real interest of the government is power.  Our government claims to have our security and best interests in mind watching over us.  We cannot, however, know exactly what our governments motives actually are in monitoring its citizens.  Our government does not find an interest in controlling our day to day lives or controlling our thoughts like Big Brother did in 1984.  So the idea that our government is wanting to monitor people is similar to the fact that Big Brother monitored its citizens, but our government supposedly has our best interest in mind and they also let us be to do as we please in our everyday routine.


In my own life the threat of government surveillance concerns me very little.  They would have no reason to investigate or monitor me so I cannot envision them wasting resources to monitor me.  The larger fear for me is  the idea that other individuals can have the ability to watch me or learn about me without my knowledge.  A person can watch me though a webcam at anytime or watch from a far with high power cameras without me ever knowing.  They can monitor my activities through my phone or computer and learn personal details about me.  Those things worry me more than government surveillance and things can only get worse.  In the future there will only be more technology and better equipment available at an individual level that will make it even easier to monitor other people.

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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Beyond 1984



Utopian and Dystopian Literature

Utopian Literature:
Dystopian Literature:

Dystopia- (n) An imaginary place or state in which the condition of life is extremely bad, as from deprivation, oppression, or terror.


Dystopian literature is a genre of fictional writing used to explore social and political structures in ‘a dark, nightmare world.’ The term dystopia is defined as a society characterized by poverty, squalor or oppression and the theme is most commonly used in science fiction and speculative fiction genres.

 Characteristics of Dystopian Literature:

• Propaganda is used to control the citizens of society.

• Information, independent thought, and freedom are restricted.

• A figurehead or concept is worshipped by the citizens of the society.

• Citizens are perceived to be under constant surveillance.

• Citizens have a fear of the outside world.

• Citizens live in a dehumanized state.

• The natural world is banished and distrusted.

• Citizens conform to uniform expectations. Individuality and dissent are bad.

• The society is an illusion of a perfect utopian world.

Examples of Dystopian Literature:

George Orwell’s 1984

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

William Golding’s Lord of the Flies

Utopian Literature


a. often Utopia An ideally perfect place, especially in its social, political, and moral aspects.
b. A work of fiction describing a utopia.
2. An impractical, idealistic scheme for social and political reform.

Animal Farm

A Clockwork Orange

The Hunger Games Trilogy

Fahrenheit 451

City of God


The Fifth Sacred Thing

Other Book Covers for Utopia


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Posted by on October 30, 2012 in Thomas More's Utopia


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Frodo Baggins (The Lord of the Rings)

Frodo Baggins: The Everyman Hero

Frodo Baggins is the main character in the book The Lord of the Rings. There are three books and they were all made into a movie around 2001-2003. The books were written by J. J. R. Tolkien and the movies directed by Peter Jackson. Frodo is a 33 year old hobbit, a smaller version of a human. They are typically around 4 feet tall and have an average life expectancy of 130 years, making Frodo fairly young. Frodo inherits the “One Ring”, created by the dark lord Sauron, from his uncle Bilbo and is sent off a journey to destroy the evil within it.

The Mundane World

Hobbits make their in a small part of the western half of Middle-Earth that they refer to as the Shire. The Shire is a small countryside type area and is unknown and unseen by the majority of the rest of Middle-Earth. Frodo is living the typical life of a young hobbit, reading, fishing, and basically relaxing. He dreams of going on far off adventures, like the ones his uncle took, but appears to be forever stuck in the slow pace of the Shire.

The Call To Adventure

As Frodo’s uncle Bilbo prepares to leave on his final journey he leaves all of his possessions to his friends and family. He leaves his home and most of everything to Frodo including a strange magic ring. A friend of Bilbo, Gandalf the wizard, notices that this is the “One Ring” of the dark lord Sauron. Frodo is sent on a wild chase away from the evil creatures called Nazgûl, who were sent by the spirit of Sauron to search for the ring to restore him to power. Frodo is joined by three other hobbits (Sam, Pippin, Merry) and one human (Aragorn) as they flee to the elf city of Rivendell. Once they arrive a meeting is called between the elves, men, and dwarfs as to what should do with the ring. They decide it must be destroyed but that can only be done in the fires of Mount Doom. So the question comes about, who can resist the temptations of the Ring and carry it into Mordor? Frodo steps up and volunteers as he is the only one unaffected by the greed instilled by the Ring. The other heroes at the form the “Fellowship of the Ring” and they set out to escort Frodo on his dangerous journey.

Crossing The Threshold

The idea of crossing the threshold can be seen as Frodo takes off out of the Shire. Immediately he is faced with new challenges and new adventures. He has left his world of safety into a place where little is known of hobbits and where Frodo knows little about anything. The moment he leaves his home in the Shire Frodo’s life is changed forever and he begins to realize there is no returning.

The Path of Trials

Frodo is not much of a hero in his attributes or characteristics, but his journey is one of hardest imaginable to the typical epic hero. Shortly after he leaves the shire the Nazgûl catch up to his posse and Frodo is stabbed in the chest by one of their poison blades. He is later chased through the abandoned great halls of the dwarfs where is eventually stabbed in the heart, again, by a giant saved only by his armor shirt. After several encounters with hordes of evil creatures he eventually reaches the gates of Mordor. It is now just Frodo and Sam left as the fellowship has gone its separate ways to fight different battles and buy Frodo time. Frodo and Sam attempt to sneak into Mordor through a cave, where Frodo is bit by a giant spider again in his chest. He awakens and was freed by Sam. They continue though Mordor unseen and make it Mount Doom. This is where Frodo’s final challenge awaits him… Does he succumb to the power of the ring and keep it, or end all evil by destroying it.

Master of Two Worlds

Frodo is really, in a way, a master of many worlds. He interacts with men, elves, and dwarfs eventually uniting them to fight the forces of Mordor. He is responsible for carrying the Ring which takes the wearer into an unseen almost spirit world where Sauron’s spirit is waiting to find his ring. And eventually after the Ring has been destroyed and Middle-Earth is free of evil Frodo sets off with the elves as they are leaving to return to their original homeland. Off again on a new adventure in yet another new world.

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Posted by on September 16, 2012 in Epic Heroes