Thursday, February 18, 2010


I thought our class time in the MASC was really interesting today. One of the books I noticed was a travel guide called something like "Pacific Coast Travels". It had a couple paragraphs written about most of the cities along the coast of California and a couple major inland locations. Being from San Diego, and having traveled around California I know about most of these places now. It was so interesting to me to read about San Diego in 1880, from a tourist attraction standpoint. It was described as a place with "ideal weather" never getting too hot, but being comfortably warm for most of the year and its major resource was its safe harbor that didn't get too many rough wakes. These things are basically the same today. It also stated, and astonished me, that the population was 2,600ish, when today it is above 3 million and my own high school that I graduated from had over 3,000 students. It blows my mind that the entire population of San Diego was smaller than the amount of people I went to school with. Another funny thing was that it had a little disclaimer about the possibility of large sharks off the coast and the fact that a swimmer had disappeared recently. Now, it is a well known understanding that there are great whites that breed off the coast in the deep water.

Finding this book really made me appreciate the archived books and all the insight they have to offer.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Daisy Miller

After our discussion in class about Daisy Miller I began to really dislike the girl. We spent a lot of time comparing the differences in cultural and time period social rules and expectations. One thing we did not discuss, however, is the fact that while there are differences in social rules, people should be respectful of the expectations in the time and place that they are living. Daisy's behavior, while acceptable in the United States was not acceptable in Europe and it gave her a reputation that she may not have wanted to support. She never took responsibility for her behavior being different. She consistently gave the excuse that basically said "this is okay in America". The thing is...she wasn't in America. She may not have agreed or understand European culture, but as a respectful tourist she should have submitted to it. By not doing so she was acting offensively toward the people that did live there. Comparing this to modern times, people that travel to other countries are also expected to follow the culture of the location to avoid offending the locals. For example, if traveling to certain places around the world like Africa and Middle Eastern countries, there are rules for what kind of clothing both men and women may wear. Americans now-a-days that travel the world and don't follow the rules give American tourists a bad reputation, just like Daisy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More Joaquin

I absolutely loved the last couple of pages of this novel. As a whole, I found the book easy to read, unemotional, and very play-by-play. I liked it, but felt no emotional draw toward any character or theme. Regardless, I liked that it was written in a way that left out too much dialogue or thought, which can sometimes complicate and confuse the purpose of the book. This purpose is fully explained and summed up by the line on page 158: "a wrong done to one man is a wrong to society and to the world". I think this is an amazing lesson of how humans treat the people around them. Obviously when people do bad things, all the victims don't immediately run out and rampage, kill and rob everyone they see. However, if a person hurts someone and that happens to be the final straw, that victim may lash out at someone else, which could be that third person's final straw. Joaquin Murieta is an extreme example of what hurting others can do, but it is an important lesson.

The women have an interesting role in this novel because they do not retaliate. Joaquin's wife was hurt just as much as he was, but she also has to deal with the guilt of running around with her bandit husband, and the sadness of watching him ruin their lives. The women are the biggest victims of the book because while they have received the wrong-doings the rest of the men have, they do not murder or rob anyone, but blindly follow their mates. The last line of the book draws attention to these real victims. And it makes an important point that cruelty is learned. I think the author's point is that we, as humanity, needs to stop teaching people that revenge is an appropriate response to hostility and that aggression toward others is ever okay. By learning these, we will not continue the evil cycle that Joaquin Murieta displays.