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Big Brother of 2011

The year 2011 may have it’s perks of advance technology, but is it worth sacrificing your privacy? Walker stated that, “There is simply no telling how much long-term control we are giving up over our digital reputations in these still-early days of the Web.”  With the wide range of technology today, anyone from anywhere can virtually track your every move, whether it’s through a cell phone, car, or credit card.  The biggest hot-spot for tracking would be through a computer.

Computers are able to doing anything you want it to do nowadays.  Shopping, books, friends, and news are all a click away.  Going from one website to another leaves a trail of cookies and history (Clearinghouse).  If anyone were to hack or come across your computer, they would be able to see what you’ve viewed since the time you bought your computer or the last time you deleted your history.

The history stored on the computer isn’t the only thing that keeps track though.  Search  engines are able to keep track of what you’ve searched before, especially Google.  Google stores information about you that you may not know about.   For all searches it records the cookies, IP address, time and date, search terms, browser configuration, and any information you and keeps the information indefinitely (Cleland).   Google is nearly a partner with every website, virtually making it a monopoly.  Even Youtube is a part of Google.  This enables it to be able to cross-reference any of the sites you visit (Cleland).   This makes Google the Big Brother of 2011.

Similar to the Big Brother of George Orwell’s 1984, Google can watch your every move.  However, Google does it quietly and secretively with a watchful eye while citizens of 1984 know they are constantly being monitored by Big Brother.  Big Brother is more than likely jealous of Google’s ability to be accepted into everyone’s daily life.  Orwell was definitely correct when predicting a bigger force looming over everyone.  Yet, he would be flabbergasted to see how widely accepted the Big Brother of 2011 is and how it’s actually watching everyone.

Privacy does not exist in Big Brother’s eyes nor Google’s.  Google’s actually watching you now.

Works Cited:

Clearinghouse. “Fact Sheet 18: Online Privacy: Using Internet Safely.” Privacy Rights Clearinghouse:  Empowering Consumers. Protecting Privacy. Web. Mar. 2011.  <>.

Cleland, Scott. “What Private Information Google Collects.” Web.  24 May 2010. <>.

Walker, Leslie. “Leslie Walker – Forgot What You Searched For? Google Didn’t –” The Washington Post: National, World & D.C. Area News and Headlines – Web. 07 Apr. 2011. <>.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Beyond 1984



Sex, Religion, Beheadings: Long Live King Henry VIII

Henry VIII was King of England from April 1509 until his death. He is known for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church. Henry had became the Supreme Head of the Church of England when he separated the Church from papal authority and demoralized the monasteries.  He changed religious ceremonies such as the religious holy days, hence holidays, in which it punctuated and defined the calendar year.

The basics of the English Reformation are widely known. Henry wanted to have a new wife, for he and his first wife were not happy together and she couldn’t produce a son for the heir. However, the pope wouldn’t let him divorce his wife because it goes against the Church’s belief of one marriage. In turn, Henry separated the English Church from the Roman Catholic Church so that he could marry someone new.  His remarriages continued for the total count of six wives.  All of this is true, but there are a number of missing details which make the story more interesting and more complicated.

Henry’s reformation of the English church was more complex than him simply wanting a new wife and an heir. Henry’s first marriage had never been valid, but the divorce issue was only one factor in Henry’s desire to reform the church. There were a  number of statutes that was enacted– the act of appeal (Statute in Restraint of Appeals, 1533), the various Acts of Succession (1533, 1534, and 1536), the first Act of Supremacy (1536), and others — that dealt with the relationship between king and pope and the structure of the Church of England. During these years, Henry also suppressed monasteries and pilgrimage shrines in attempt to reform the church. The king was always the dominant force in the making of religious policy, and his was in search for the middle way.

The movement  was seen as going away from religious orthodoxy, or the old beliefs, especially by Thomas More, who had been unable to accept the change and was executed in 1535 for refusing to renounce papal authority. Critical for the reformation was the new theology of obedience to the prince. The founding of royal authority on the Ten Commandments, and thus on the word of God, was a particularly attractive feature of this doctrine, especially the fourth (“Honor thy father and mother”), which became a defining feature of Henrician religion. 

Quite a few people supported Henry purely for political reasons.  It was at the time that nationalism was developing throughout Europe and people were objecting foreign power, even Rome, from having any say in the country’s political future.  That’s why the people liked the idea of English churches being controlled by English people.

This was also during the early stages of Reformation which was sweeping across the continent. Although it wasn’t practiced everywhere, it was still making an impact. There were many people ho appreciated the break from Rome for religious reasons as well. They, however, were to be disappointed because Henry did very little to advance the religious reform in England.  However, he did try to keep the Church as close t traditional Catholic practices as possible.

Unfortunately for Henry, he also had to endure disappointment because he didn’t get the son he wanted – although the surviving daughter from his first marriage, Mary Tudor, was declared by parliament as ineligible for the throne, they had to declare that the one daughter from the second marriage, Elizabeth, was the proper heir. It was not until one of his other four wives, Jane Seymour, produced a son that he finally got a male heir: Edward VI.

Because the English crown employed political authority to protect Protestant ideas and oppose Roman Catholicism, England became a haven for Protestants who had to flee political and religious persecution on the continent.



Currently Listening: Henry VIII I Am. <>
Hobbs, Jeff.  "The Religious Policy of King Henry VIII." Britannia History. 25 Oct. 2010.
MacCaffrey, Rev. James, S.J.  "The Religious Changes Under Henry VIII and Edward VI."  ElCore.  25 Oct. 2010.
"The Beliefs of Henry VIII." History Learning Site. 25 Oct. 2010.
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Posted by on October 26, 2010 in Thomas More's Utopia


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Dante and the House of Fame

Throughout the history of literature, writers inspire other writers, whether it be on style, format, plot, or theme.  Dante Alighieri, an Italian poet of the Middle Ages, wrote The Divine Comedy, originally called Commedia. It is considered the greatest literary work composed in the Italian language, as well as a masterpiece of world literature.  This can be seen undoubtedly as a great inspiration for Geoffrey Chaucer.

Dante Alighieri and Geoffrey Chaucer

The House of Fame is the first of Chaucer’s Italian-influenced period which echoes Dante’s Divine Comedy.  With the journey at the beginning of the poem, the poet ends up in a glass temple with etchings of famous people and their deeds. With an eagle as his guide similar to Virgil, he goes on the course of fame and trying to understand it. This allows Geoffrey to narrate, telling the lives of the famous and the truth in what can be told.  Then the dreamer walks to the House of Fame and describes the walls made of beryl (semi-precious stone) with great poets on top of pillars of metal.  The metal represents the subjects of the poems (iron for war, copper for love, etc.) and the poets have to carry the weight of the fame of their subjects on their shoulders.  How Chaucer mentions the various famous people suggests that the poem was meant as a parody of the Divine Comedy.  The different levels of pillars and the affect it has on the weight of fame resembles the different levels of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven.  A reference at the end of the work to a “man of great authority” parallels to Dante’s third canto in which Virgil references God. As with several other works by Chaucer, the poem is apparently unfinished.

Allen, Mark and John H. Fisher.  Essential Chaucer. G.K. Hall and Mansell Publishers Limited, 1987.  <;

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The House of Fame. <;

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Posted by on October 18, 2010 in Dante


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The Seafarer


The Seafarer is told from the point of view of a man who has been exiled. He was forced upon the sea in isolation.  In the first half of the poem, he tells about how horrible it is being all alone on the sea and how lonely he gets.  In the second half of the poem, he talks about how important it is that you follow God’s will and he tells of what happens to men who forget their God.

Anglo-Saxon Beliefs:

You see the Anglo-Saxon beliefs in The Seafarer in his discussion of God and predestination.  At the end of the poem, he speaks of an inner-relationship with God.  Also, he tells of how he was destined to live life on the sea, in exile and loneliness.

Imagery & Sound:

The poem speaks of how life is dreary, weary, sorrowful, painful, and deadly.  For example, lines 25-26 speaks of how there’s no one to comfort him while his soul is drowning in loneliness.  He also says how the birds have death-noises instead of laughter to emphasize how his positive point of view on life has been annihilated.  On the other hand, the poem picks up towards the middle where he starts speaking of God.  He speaks of how the joys of God are comforting and holy… well, as long as you follow God’s will.


In Beowulf, Beowulf speaks of how “By God, punishment is forever for a crime,”  showing how God has the ultimate authority over one’s life.  That concept resembles The Seafarer‘s when it says “Fate is stronger and God mightier than any man’s mind.”  In both poems, evil comes when one opposes God’s will.  In The Seafarer, “Death leaps at the fools who forget their God,”  which is what happened to Grendel in Beowulf, who was “a brood forever opposing the Lord’s will.”

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Posted by on September 7, 2010 in Anglo-Saxon Poetry


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Charlotte Forten

  • first African-American to become a teacher for all white students in Salem, Massachusetts.
  • poet
  • her works were published in antislavery publications
  • applied to the Philadelphia Port Royal Educational Commission to teach over 2000 slave children the alphabet
  • was accepted and headed south in October of 1862
  • taught about 140 freed children on an abandoned plantation on St. Helena Island
  • fell ill and had to leave St. Helena after two years because of stress
  • married Francis Grimké
  • helped her husband in his Presbyterian ministry
  • also organized a women missionary group
  • fought for African American equality and education until death
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Posted by on March 13, 2010 in Civil War



A Sight in Camp and the Daybreak Gray and Dim

A sight in camp in the daybreak gray and dim,
As from my tent I emerge so early sleepless,
As slow I walk in the cool fresh air the path near by the hospital tent,
Three forms I see on stretchers lying, brought out there untended lying,
Over each the blanket spread, ample brownish woolen blanket,
Gray and heavy blanket, folding, covering all.
Curious I halt and silent stand,
Then with light fingers I from the face of the nearest the first
just lift the blanket;
Who are you elderly man so gaunt and grim, with well-gray’d hair,
and flesh all sunken about the eyes?
Who are you my dear comrade?
Then to the second I step–and who are you my child and darling?
Who are you sweet boy with cheeks yet blooming?
Then to the third–a face nor child nor old, very calm, as of
beautiful yellow-white ivory;
Young man I think I know you–I think this face is the face of the
Christ himself,
Dead and divine and brother of all, and here again he lies.

The mood seemed to be sympathetic and it seems remorseful.  The innocent soldiers are dead and they were like his brothers.  The theme is regret.  He regrets that they had to die.  He wants to show that the brothers were of any age and the innocent die because of war.

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Posted by on March 5, 2010 in Whitman's Civil War Poetry