Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"The Imagination of Disaster"; Social Annotations

Here are our class annotations of Susan Sontag's "The Imagination of Disaster":

"The Art of Immersion" Social Annotations

Here are our class annotations of some key quotes in Frank Rose' "The Art of Immersion: Fear of Fiction":

Library Day Homework

Now that we've started drafting the Close Reading essay, you should also choose which reference from the novel you're going to be researching, as we'll begin this research in the library (L-218) on Thursday! Please show up on time for our guest presenter!

The reference can be geographic, literary, historical, a concept, scientific procedure--anything you need to know more about to understand your scene because you're not a Victorian English citizen :-) Over the weekend, write about your research on the blog.

This blog post will be dedicated to your research of your chosen reference from your scene in Dracula. It should include background information to the reference, a summary or description of it, and a brief summary of how it relates to the novel. Your research should come from credible sources found through the library, not Wikipedia!


This post is due by class on Monday, July 21st.

Questions? Quibbles? Controversies?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Journal of the frustrated reader

            So how should I begin?  I guess I’ll start with where I read the Dracula novel.  I read it while I’m laying in bed and not really doing much, or when I wake up early in the morning because of my inability to stay unconscious for more than 4-5 hours at a time when I sleep.  I find that reading like 20-30 pages of the novel at a time, speeds up the process of falling asleep at night.  After that much reading for me I sleep like a little baby.  Normally I would annotate the book with sticky notes but I got lazy so I’ll just have to rely on my memory for the time being.  I understand most of the reading the old English gets a little tough to understand but you can still make out what they are saying.

            So far the novel is ok.  I got nothing against novel, but some of these characters in the novel gets on my nerves.  Probably means that the writer did a good job in writing the story, since I’m feeling something about the characters.  One excellent example of my frustration in reading the novel was the character Mina.  When she finally finds her Jonathan, in the poor state that he was in weak and delirious, he hands her his little pocket book that details everything that has happened to him while he was gone, but instead of reading the damn book like what he told her to do so she would know what had happen.  She goes and gives it back to him all wrapped up and I quote, “…I took the book from under his pillow, and wrapped it up in white paper, and tied it with a little bit of a pale blue ribbon which was around my neck, and sealed it over the knot with sealing-wax,…”(116)  I was like, “Really lady?! That was the very thing that would have answered all your questions!”  So yeah, I hated these parts of the novel, with all the, should’ve done this and everything would have been answered or resolved in some form.

This picture would basically depict what I would look like after reading 20-30 pages in one go at night. Although, I would be in bed doing the same thing.

Getting in to Bram Stoker's Novel

     While Dracula is a fun and interesting book to read, it can also be a difficult and challenging experience. Being written in the epistolary format, the story is often told through the journals or letters of various characters. While this keeps the excitement levels high, being able to receive the points of view from different characters with with different beliefs and values, it is also challenging, due to the difficulty of connecting the subplots of the many different characters.
      In order to help myself understand the book better, there are a few circumstances which I must meet in order to fully grasp the material. Firstly, I need to read the book somewhere that is quiet and undisturbed. I find that when reading Dracula in a public setting ( such as in a noisy room or at the beach) the everyday language of bystanders contradicts the Victorian British language used by Stoker, which makes it difficult to concentrate.
      Since there are many phrases and words I do not know, I also find it helpful to read either by a computer or my phone. This not only helps my understanding of unfamiliar words and phrases, but considering that Dracula is a Victorian Era novel, i can easily look up information on the Victorian Era to show how circumstances in the book were relevant to that time period. For example, early in the novel, Mina refers to the "New Woman", and through the aid of the internet, I was able to learn that the "New Woman" was a Victorian term used to describe women who pushed to be independent from men and challenge the male-dominated society.
      Probably the most important condition of my reading process is my use of annotations while I read. Whether it be a passage of major significance, or simply something that connects to another reading, I annotate it using post-its I stick in the book, which also serve as a place to write notes. What I find that these notes are both helpful and inspiring. They help me remember important details, but at the same time, I can look back and see how far along I've come in understanding and reading Dracula. While it may be challenging at times, reading Dracula has both helped my understanding of the Victorian era, and my understanding of the horror genre as a whole. The novel never fails to leave me wanting more and find out what happens next.

The "New Woman" is one of the new terms I learned from Dracula even prior to discussing it in class. As shown above, these woman challenged rules set by the patriarchal society, and many did things that were considered socially unacceptable, such as riding a bike. (

journal entry

July 15th 2014,

I woke up at 12:30AM. I had intended to nap for 30 minutes but that didn't happen. Guess I'll be up quite late today. I open up Dracula and find my bookmark at the start of chapter 19 and propped it against my computer monitor and the back of my keyboard. That way I will be able to write this down as I read.

Jonathan Harker's Journal: 270-277
I don't understand how Jonathan says his wife is "so absolutely strong and well." and yet he tries to keep Mina out of their awesome vampire slaying expedition. Obviously your wife is a woman capable of handling herself. Who are you to say where she can and can't go?

Indexy: and yields no results. Found a forum on and it says Renfield is referred to as the index of the count. Where by observing his actions one can possibly locate the Count. My question is why would Dr. Seward use a word like this?

Van Hellsing brings along Sacred Wafers(wafers blessed by the priest) along with his other gear. Does this act as a talisman to ward off evil like their crucifix? Or are they supposed to do something with it? One thing that interests me is the electric lamp they put on their chest. How does it look like and does it run on batteries?

Skeleton Key: Master key

In Manus tuas, Domine! is Latin for Into your hands, Lord!

Hobnails: Studded shoes. I wonder who left these marks. Dracula maybe? But why walk when he can fly?

When the group opens the door to the chapel, is that Dracula's breath they smell combined with blood? Jonathan did mention the Count's bad breath at the beginning of the story.

Lugubrious: Looking or sounding sad.

I don't see how three small dogs can manage to scare off a swarm of rats especially if there were enough rats to fill up a chapel storing 29 freaking coffins.

Van Hellsing mentions how Mina was saved the trouble of experiencing what had occurred today and that she can rest easy. I just think it's unfair how they don't let Mina see this through to the end because she is just as involved in this matter as the rest of them.

Pellmell: In a confused, rushed, or disorderly manner.

Really Jonathan? Mina didn't do anything today and she looks paler than usual in her sleep and nothing comes to mind? And why did you have to keep what happened tonight at the chapel a secret? What the hell?

Jonathan. You wake up to see Mina all drained and also saw her look of "blank terror." Get a clue man.

Chapter 19 started out great but the end of Jonathan's entry was so disappointing. I'll have to call it a day.

Dracula hahahahh

Dalphee Champagne

Prof. Ben. Villarreal

English 24

12 July 2014

For the first time I heard about Dracula, honestly speaking was the most frightening moment in my life. What have known is that Dracula is a vampire. From what people said, I have found Dracula very disgusted because he drink food and feed on human flesh. After reading the novel written about Dracula, it is the most famous vampire throughout films history. Dracula novel was first published in 1897 as Bram. Take place during Victorian era in the reign of Queen Victoria. It has become so popular in television and have become part of human life. Why do we enclave these horror movies? Is because they please our unsatisfied feelings and use them as our comfort zone to express our desires. The book of Dracula or the movie tells us about the Victorian society which was focus more on rules and sex. For example; men of that era, the author describe the character of men to be strong, protective and able to take care of their families. And most importantly afraid of women to become sexually independent that was their night mares. But Dracula being able to act without consequences without applying the rules, for Victorian era that was a big problem and big deals for not following the rules there are negative consequences end up to happened. We can related, because our society shape our ways of livings and gives it different meaning. The society express how to live, the rules of what to do, how to behave. By watching these movies they have fulfill our deepest, nastiest pleasure. We see pop culture still sending us these kind of messages bcause we act according to what the society have to offer cannot be truly ourselves. We have found Dracula as the sexiest at on television. To read this book, I have used some technics and most significant tools helpful with the novel of Dracula. It is a long reading. Some Important keys or concept that could be helpful for effective notes.
Which allows you to put on your own term and make it easier to understandings.
Go over the notes until I understand and can interpret it in my own language. Review High lighting important notes, thing that might be helpful for your study. Annotating and summarize in your own words, underling, research words that are unfamiliar to you until you have familiarized yourself with those words. And from now and then I would take a little break of 15-20 minutes, have some snacks so that I do not get bored and the best place I have found to be on my comfort zone is my bedroom to read this book. It is the most quiet room in my place.

Monday, July 14, 2014

When I read

 Reading Dracula has been a good to great experience to read because the story paved the way to most of the horror based genres around this time. When I read Dracula I listen to music with just the instrumentals and no lyrics because if I listen to the lyrics I with start singing them and then lose focus and not understand what I'm reading. The music I listen to while reading is little hard to explain because when reading Dracula I can't just listen to Hip-Hop beats, I need music that is catchy to me and has a certain rhythm that captures the setting of the story. I read Dracula mostly at home, the trains I take to school, and at school it self. I find it hard to reading Dracula on my moms kindle because it is hard to keep focus and it's different because I don't have a physical copy to read it on. The story has ALOT of things going on and it is hard to keep track of things for me because I don't have a good visual of what I'm reading. Even though I'm not caught up to what the class should be up but I will get there.

My journal entry on Dracula

We all know that reading the book Dracula has made it difficult to read and understand , in my part I really had to sit down and concentrait to the max in order to grasp the reading and analys it in order for me to understand what's going on through out the reading. I have to be very comfortable in doing so, I usually lay down on my bed get a couple of snacks to actually start to read. My room has to be cool and very quiet so I could actually enjoy the reading and be able to read it over and over again to grasp the main point. The way I connect with the reading Dracula is by using my imagination, to be able to imagine and out together the scenes that take place in the book so I could actually see it in my head in a way. This really helps me understand the reading and connects the different ideas I have towards the reading. At times when I don't understand a word I look it up, if I don't understand what is going on in the reading I usually read it again.

"Evil Resides Within": A Sample Presentation

Here's my Sample Presentation to give you an idea of what you should be preparing for your own Class Presentations:


Keep in mind that the goal here is to present an article that we have not read and discuss it in relation to a piece of pop culture not discussed in the article! As long as these two conditions are met, your Presentation could be on the same article you're using for your analysis of Dracula in the Close Reading essay and/or Essay #3. So choose carefully!

Questions? Quibbles? Controversies?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Homi's journal, July 13

Homi’s journal,

           I don’t really know why I've never read Dracula before. Knowing and being interested in Dracula and in the vampire myth (myth’s in general), thinking about it now I find it kind of weird that I've never read the novel that influenced a lot of today's vampire stories and horror films. Usually when I read Dracula, I read it at home. Before reading anything, especially when I’m going to read multiple chapters at once, I get a bottle of water and a snack. To be able to actually focus on what I’m reading, my room needs to be really cool, and most of the time I read laying down or sitting Indian style on my bed. I don’t normally read on electronic devices, because it’s annoying, and I hate annotating online, but I decided to do so for Dracula because it was free, and who doesn't like free school books (especially in college). NOTE: get physical copy of Dracula sometime soon. So Dracula being a Victorian novel, has a lot of difficult words and phrases, I didn't understand. An advantage of reading on Nook is that you are able to download the dictionary on it, and just tap on the word to get the definition. Another good thing that came from reading on the nook app, is that I can highlight the interesting, confusing, awesome, or scary parts of the novel, add my comments and feelings, and it saves it all in one place, so I don’t have to flip through a book to find it. On the flip side I don’t like it because I can’t actually see what I annotated until I tap on it. Even though the novel is hard to read and understand, I thought it was cool reading something from a different era and country, and seeing the way society worked back then. While reading Dracula I got to see how people treated and communicated with each other, especially how women were supposed to be so proper and what not, all I’m saying is I wouldn't stand for half the bullsxxx rules women had to live by.

Till next time,

Keep it classy (lol) 


Journal-Entry for Dracula

      When I first heard the word Dracula in movies or others media , I felt like curious to know that character because it sounds powerful and scary. Then I watched him in many version movies and I started to understand why he used that scary name. I found he had a large contribution in movies, books, newspapers and so on. Back in the day, Dracula became a famous character in the world. Since I assigned to read Dracula's book until now, I became more interested about horror scenes in those chapters. While reading the novel, I felt like learning more about this character. I learned that Dracula as a man prossessed of a dark and evil soul. He had the ability to transform to an animal, and controled the weather. He remained more powerful than twenty men, but he was powerless by the daylight.
      I found like difficult and sometimes confusing to understand and catched the whole idea through almost each scene. Even though I found the novel sometimes confusing, but there are always some interesting parts in those chapters to keep us connected to an atmosphere of reading. In order to avoid certain confusion in the reading, I sometimes used my hot or online dictionnaries for many vocabulary words to make myself clear of many parts in the novel. I made a schedule to read the novel. I sometimes read at school, on the train, on city bus and at the park in order to cover the maximum reading of the novel. I tried different strategies to connect with the novel while reading it. I used certain methods as annotating, highlighting or  underlining important ideas, events, and plots on many chapters and identify them on the margin of the book by some relative notes.  At home, I sometimes used my bed room or kitchen as quiet places for reading. While reading, I enjoyed to have a snack and trying to avoid some heavy foods to make me fall asleep during this time. I intended to continue the reading process to the end of the novel.

Dracula- The beginning

Dear Journal,
So at first I was skeptical about reading Dracula. Why? Because books that aren't written in modern English is so freaking annoying, like Shakespeare. And even though I didn't know much about Dracula, like I had written in a previous blog, I know that he was nothing like the vampires that I enjoy watching today. I also didn't want to read the book because I didn't want to buy the book because I would never read it on my own time outside of school. But once I found out it was free online, I said, okay and it was also required. At first, I read SparkNotes to get a gist of the book. After reading the summary and analysis, I thought to myself, "hmm, this seems interesting." I find it most uncomfortable to read the Dracula PDF on my iPhone's browser. I downloaded it onto my laptop but then a peer told me about the Nook app and I find it much easier to read it on there. I like to read in my bed, which is where I like to do everything because it is ever so comfortable. I also enjoy reading on the train on my way to school. I really like the Nook app because you can highlight as you read, add a note and also look up words you don't know. Which is more than convenient because there are more than enough words that I never even heard of. I do think I was pretty lazy while reading this, but in general, I am a procrastinator. Something I have to work on. I just can't wait to finish the novel because I don't know what theme I want to look at as yet because I feel like the entire class will pick sexism, I mean it is the easiest. I also want to know how it ends because I think I have a clue but the obvious is usually always wrong, but when you think that, the obvious is right. I don't know. I'll see.


Patrick Hennesey to Dr.Seward

   As per your order, I've kept a report of everything that's happened under my watch. There have been some problems regarding patient Renfield. He went through another violent episode today. This afternoon there were two men delivering cargo to the empty house near our asylum. The same house Renfield ran away to twice during his escape. The men were new to this area and asked our porter for directions. I was in my study enjoying a smoke after my meal when i look out the window to see one of them walk up to us. While walking to the house, he passed patient Renfield's room and was showered with ill words. The man told Renfield to shut up and Renfield accused him of being a thief and wanted to murder him. I opened the window to tell the man to ignore our patient and when the man realizes he was in front of an asylum, he tells me "quote here." He then asked me in a polite way for directions to the empty house and I told him where to go. Renfield continues to curse him as he went away. I went down to see what was causing our patient to behave in such a way when he;s normally well behaved. It surprised me to find Renfield so composed and when i asked him about the incident he seemed oblivious of the event. It was all an act put on by him because within half an hour, he broke through his window and ran towards the empty house. I was afraid of what he'd do upon getting there so i called for the attendants to follow after him. Renfield pulled one man off the cart and
began to hit his head against the ground. If i hadn't made it in time to restraint him, he probably would have killed him. the other man jumped off the carriage and stuck Renfield in the head with the butt of his whip. Renfield was unaffected by the blow and goes onto grab the 2nd man and wrestled the both of us. We were pretty big guys but Renfield manages to push us around easily. Renfield was silent as we fought but when we got the restraint coat on him, he began to shout "quote here." not seeming to make any sense. It took us much effort to put him back in the padded cell. One of our attendants, Hardy broke a finger but I was able to set it back. He's been fine after that.
   The two cargo men threatened to sued us but they seemed to be demanding something else. They gave the reason for their defeat to Renfield from being exhausted after lifting the cargo. And the other reason they gave was because they've been on the road far too long because their occupation requires it and they need something to quench their thirst. I see where they were getting at and offered them a drink and a pound sterling each after which they were satisfied. I took down their names in case we needed their service for transporting. There names are Jack Smollet, of Dudding's Rents, KingGeorge's Road, Great Walworth, and Thomas Snelling, Peter Farley's Row, Guide Court, Bethnal Green. They work for Harris&Sons, Moving and Shipment Company, Orange Master's Yard, Soho.
   If anything interesting occurs, I'll write to you again, and if anything important comes up, I'll let inform you pronto.